- P.G. Wodehouse
Those who regularly brave the links and swing the crooked stick often refer to golf as "the unwinnable game," "strenuous idleness" or "a good walk ruined."
Given these appropriate nicknames for the centuries-old sport, why on earth would we expose our kids to such a torturous activity?
While golf might cause frustration and a maddening sense of ineptitude in those playing the sport, there are many lessons to be learned by taking your son or daughter to the links.
Patience and Persistence1 of 5
One of the most valuable lessons we can teach children is the virtue of patience.
We live in an age where people want results in the blink of an eye. Golfers know all too well that such speedy results are—more often than not—unattainable.
Since the Scots first invented the game over 400 years ago, it has been rare to find someone who's a natural at golf. No amount of athletic ability, mental acuity or knowledge of physics will make someone good at hitting a small, white, dimpled ball on a grassy surface.
Nothing in this sport is handed to you. Instead, golf requires a great deal of practice and patience to excel. After buckets of balls and rounds upon rounds of golf, your child will see massive improvements in his or her game. These improvements, while taking time, money and practice, can make playing golf far more enjoyable.
Etiquette2 of 5
Golf is recognized worldwide as a gentleman's game. More so than most sports, it contains a litany of rules and unspoken protocol that demands an immense amount of courtesy to others.
You won't hear golfers boo, talk smack or interrupt during back swings. To the contrary, you'll hear only praise for made putts and straight drives.
In fact, you shouldn't even step on the line of your playing partner's next putt because it could alter the putt's read. After all, your opponent isn't the person you're playing with—it's the course you're playing on.
Golf's strict etiquette requires the brash and impolite to conform, as such rudeness will only result in a stink eye from fellow players.
Anyone Can Do It3 of 5
Despite its sordid history, golf is an all-inclusive sport. You don't have to be seven-feet tall, faster than an Olympic track runner or stronger than an ox to take to the links.
No one is born predisposed to becoming a great golfer. Short, skinny, big, tall, near-sighted, far-sighted—they're all welcomed to play the glorious sport. When your child begins playing golf, he or she is on a level playing field with everyone else.
The same cannot be said for football or basketball, where the bigger, stronger and faster kids dominate. In fact, all one has to do is look at the diverse characters on the PGA Tour to realize that, with plenty of practice and motivation, anyone can become a great golfer.
So, if your kid feels left out of pickup basketball games or rides the bench in little league baseball, introducing him or her to golf will give them a sport to try without any prejudices.
Getting Outdoors4 of 5
With TVs, tablets, video game consoles and smartphones, it's easy for kids to get stuck inside for hours on end. To break this spell, parents have to be be proactive in introducing fun outdoor activities to their children.
For some, camping is too primitive, playgrounds are too dangerous and sightseeing is too boring. Golf might be the perfect way for your kids to get in touch with nature while also receiving some of that all-important vitamin D.