Junior Golf: St. Andrew’s Ultimate Lesson

imageIn today’s Friday Flop Shot we will look at the Ultimate Lesson from St. Andrews and this year’s Open Championship and put it in a junior golf perspective. So what on earth is the Ultimate Lesson we take from last week’s major championship? (photo from offcoursegolf.com)

It is learning how to win and how to lose with grace. Often we tell our kids that although losing can be painful and very tough, it is important to be decent and polite, even though you did not take 1st place. While being a good loser is frowned upon by some and they think everyone who ends up in 2nd place or lower should be mad or disrespect the winner. We disagree.

There is losing, where your child makes unforced errors and ends up being out of the running. And there is plain old just getting beat, where someone makes better shots and has a lower score. The response although difficult should be the same. Congratulate the winner and move on. This is not the last round of golf to be played. And whether your youngster lost or got beat, depending on her age, it may be hard for her to differentiate between the two. Doesn’t really matter as a serious golfer should always be seeking to improve her game.

Zach Johnson won The Open Championship with humility and grace. He played better than everyone else. His emotional press conference was a classic in how to gracefully and respectfully respond to winning a huge event. He gave God praise and thanks for his talent, he said the win would not define him, but his family and kids would. A class act, congratulations Zach!

And Jordan Spieth, who was certainly shocked when he saw his approach shot on the last hole land near the pin and then spin back some 20 feet, off the green. His birdie putt, to make the playoff, was hole high and an inch or 2 left of the cup. A good effort, just not good enough this time. Most players, once they see they are not in the playoff, head straight for the airport and get out of Dodge. Not Jordan. He followed the guys in the playoff, stayed to congratulate Zach on his win and even drank out of the Claret Jug. Nothing but class! (photo from usatftw.files.wordpress.com)

imageS3 is 4 and 1 in playoffs and the 1 defeat is from his opponent making a birdie on the 1st playoff hole. S3 was disappointed, but played well enough to make the playoff and he just got beat, period. So he sincerely congratulated the winner, accepted the 2nd place trophy and then we went home. A decent day really.

Golf tournaments at any level are hard to win so when your junior golfer is seriously contending with a few holes left, they really want to win. Different kinds of pressure show up in these instances and can make those last few holes very challenging. And winning is more fun than losing, but she needs to respond properly in either case.

Remind her that she will have many more golf tournaments and encourage her to keep improving her skills.

See you on #1 tee…with a smile on her face… Sam

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