Introducing Kids to the Game of Golf.

Preparing for Tournament Play – “the line” (for parents)


A Universal Truth… all parents want their children to be successful.

Just returning from a wonderful experience at the US Kids World Golf Championship where thousands of kids from all over the country converged on the historic Pinehurst Resort for the “big tournament” of the year for youth golfers worldwide.  Seeing these children, with their “daddy caddies” walk the courses for 3 days was a cherished moment for building lifelong memories.

Inspired to share some observations, I wanted to write a blog around the “learning of competition” for a child, but as I started writing, I transitioned to “The Line” for parents who have children playing competitive golf.  What I mean by “The Line”… is that point in which a parent crosses where their actions/motivation strategies, etc turns from being constructive to destructive.

First off, The Line is a moving line.  It is different for each parent–child relationship as well as the timing related to the event.  With respect to competition, The Line moves as a child builds up for the tournament, during the tournament and after the tournament.  My goal is that this blog might highlight to parents to observe The Line, in hopes they don’t sacrifice short term success for the long term loss.

Preparing for Tournament

Months prior to a tournament, you are in “teaching mode” – during this time, you have the ability to raise the line, pushing your child to perform at a higher level.  This is the time to nail down your swing changes and gain confidence in your pre-shot routine.  As you get closer to tournament time, you have to begin change your approach.


2 weeks prior to the tournament, you should stop all swing changes and start focusing on building confidence with “what you have.”  As a parent, you should lower your intensity; transitioning from a “teacher to a coach.”  Your goal should be your child’s #1 cheerleader to enhance your child’s confidence.


Playing in Tournament

During the tournament, the best advice I can give any parent is to completely “Drop the Line.”  Going into the tournament, your child is already filled with adrenalin and more emotionally sensitive… so nothing good will happen when a parent starts pushing them or overly critiquing their performance.  Any negativity during tournament time has a good chance of creating distress, which will negatively impact your child’s performance.


After the Tournament

Before each tournament, I ask my daughter what her goals are… she will give me two: the first will be a number goal like “shoot 40” and the other second will be related to attitude/effort like “try her best or have fun.”  As a parent, focus on the second goal and less on the number goal.  If your child tries their best and has a good attitude, you should be proud.


Assuming your child does not hit their number goal, use this opportunity to focus on constructive criticism whereas you can motivate your child to be better prepared (practice) for the next tournament.

Hopefully if you are a parent with a child that plays competitive golf that some of this is beneficial.

Take Dead Aim!

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