Since the emergence of Covid-19 as a serious threat to our health and way of life, the environment for junior golf has undergone dramatic changes. In the short term, the challenge has been finding places to play and practice. In the long term, courses will reopen, but there will be more significant challenges to overcome. Junior golf tournaments have been cancelled, college golf programs are in jeopardy, and the landscape of competitive athletics is being reevaluated and will, no doubt undergo adjustments in the future.
With all the change and uncertainty, there are some things that remain constant and enduring, and these truths should be the focus of every competitive junior golfer.
Golf is a Lifetime Sport
Among its most appealing attributes, golf is a sport that spans the generations. Those that learn to play it, and play it well, continue playing for decades. Children, parents, and grandparents can compete on the same playing field and enjoy time together. It is well known that the golf course is a place where business associates can spend time together and get to know each other better than in typical business settings. Because of these unique features, golf creates opportunities to socialize and enjoy the company of others – that is something we surely need these days.
Excelling at Golf Offers Many Rewards
Like with many sports, the better you play golf, the more likely you are to enjoy it. Because it is such a difficult sport to master, junior golfers put in many hours of work trying to perfect their skills and learn to perform well under pressure. This desire to excel is an essential part of the whole process, especially for competitive juniors. It provides motivation and focus. I have witnessed the first-hand benefits this effort creates – junior golfers that work hard over an extended period of time develop habits and traits that they can use and profit from for the rest of their lives.
Good Coaching Makes a Difference
Because of new technologies, ample educational programs, and the sharing of information across multiple platforms, advances in coaching have accelerated at a rapid pace in the last few years. Now more than ever, an experienced coach who seeks out and understands the latest information can make a big difference in the progress of a young golfer. The best coaches also serve an equally important role as mentors that help young players navigate through this critical stage of development. If you are fortunate to have a top coach who is invested in your progress, I would strongly suggest you take advantage of his or her expertise and closely follow his or her advice.
Tournaments are the Ultimate Testing Ground
Despite all the changes in the past and those yet to come, one thing has remained the same -- the best players separate themselves on the golf course in competition. The scoring system for golf, created in 1764 at St. Andrews, has stood the test of time. Because of that, previous generations of golfers are connected with the current generation of golfers. Like those before them, today’s junior golfers will be tested on the golf course and will be judged by the scores they produce in tournament play. Tours like the TJGT are adjusting their procedures to keep everyone safe and still offer a full schedule of tournaments. My advice to young golfers who want to improve is to have the desire and courage to compete often knowing that the results and feedback you receive from competitive tournaments provide the best opportunity to improve your game.