Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Junior Golf Fashion

B was pretty excited to wear his new white Puma golf pants for the first time at this year's U.S. Kids Golf Jekyll Island Cup.
Even though they were covered in mud by the end of both rounds, they washed clean without any problems.  As a Mom, I have to report these important details haha!
I really liked the look of the turquoise and white, especially in the photos in this post.

Of course B wasn't the only one sporting those white pants and some trendy golf fashions.  Here are a few pictures I snapped of some of the cute junior golf attire.
 Special note, here, that this adorable fella had a glove that matched his hat and belt - so cute!!
White was not the only color for pants on the greens this first weekend of Spring.
These Loudmouth pants were, well, loud - and cute, too! These colorful trousers were very eye-catching.
 Even the Daddy Caddies were in on the action, coordinating with their player's custom outfit!
This patriotic number featured a matching hat and pants in Old Glory, fabric.  B wants to wear something like these at the upcoming U.S. Kids World Championships with a Canadian leg and an American leg, since he is half-Canadian.
These bright splatter-look shorts remind me of the 80s fashions we wore back in the day...oh how I loved the 80s!
The young ladies were also sharply coordinated, and this sweet girl even had golf balls that matched her outfit!
 I also loved the look of the knee socks some of the girls wore!
I was amazed to see so many varieties out there, with such a limited selection in junior golf apparel.  I often wonder why there aren't more choices in the junior golf sections in stores.  Our local Dick's Sporting Goods has ONE rack of boys golf clothes, which has been reduced to only Under Armour.  I do shop online, and travel to Atlanta to find more choices, but still, I think manufacturers are missing out on an opportunity - even in a down economy, parents are shopping for their junior golfers!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

U.S. Kids Golf Jekyll Island Cup 2014 {Practice Makes Peace}

This weekend Brodie played in a U.S. Kids Golf Regional Tournament, the Jekyll Island Cup.  It was hard to believe that it has been a whole year since playing his first ever regional event there in 2013.
If I had it to do over, I might rethink going to this event, for a couple of reasons.

Having just turned 8, Brodie is at the younger end of his age group.  This means he is working to adjust to a new yardage, while competing against players who are bigger and more experienced at it than he is.  It is almost like we are setting him up for failure.  For example,  Brodie had to compete against this kid (left), who is 8 but will turn 9 next week...
Now, size does *not* always matter, but let's get real, size and a full year of playing the longer yardage does work to the advantage of the older player.  And while it is great for Brodie to have a challenge, I am wondering at what point does a great challenge become an overwhelming obstacle -one that makes a kid who is already way to hard on himself feel as though he will never be good enough?

It really makes me regret not taking him to the January regional where he would have been on the "older" end of his age group.  We were signed up for it, but Brodie had declared he was on a "break" from golf for a while.  I told him that was fine, and we decided to delay until the March regional at Jekyll Island, instead, thinking the weather would be better and he would be practicing more before then....which brings me to my next point...
Brodie has not practiced golf or had a lesson in weeks.   The weather here has been terrible, and he has been interested in doing other "kid" things, so I didn't force him to practice.  Sure, he has hacked around in the back yard and played in his weekend tournaments (which he has also struggled in) but he hasn't practiced or received instruction in over a month.  I did try to line up lessons, but for one reason or another (weather, no coach availability, etc.) things didn't work out.
So with every excuse in the world, and me not knowing how to help him anyway - and of course in all my infinite motherly wisdom - I thought it best not to force Brodie to practice when he didn't want to.  He is a kid after all and should enjoy being a kid.
Well, here's the thing I realized this weekend.
It is not fair for me to allow him to come to these events when he is not prepared.  
He is so very hard on himself.  It is hard to watch him struggle and agonize, and feel degraded.
Brodie is not one of those children you can just say, "Oh just have fun and don't worry about winning."  He is so competitive, and he wants to play well.  He can tolerate losing much better when he plays well vs. playing poorly and losing - especially when he knows he can play better.  And you can't really say "just do your best and be proud of that" when he knows this isn't his best.
So, for his sake, we don't need to sign up for any more events unless Brodie is willing to commit to a practicing schedule.  Not because we are "psycho golf parents forcing our kid to practice" as we have falsely been accused of in the past, but because it is not good for his well being and self esteem.
After all, kids who play every other sport in the world probably whine and complain about having to go to practice, but they have to go nonetheless.  I guess what makes this different is that if he played a team sport like soccer, for example, we would be required to go to practice, like it or not.  With golf, though, there is no required practice unless we say so, so it feels like we are forcing him when we say you have to go practice.
I was mistakenly thinking that forcing him to practice would take away his natural joy and love for the game, but in actuality, sending him off to a regional tournament unprepared without practice is much worse!  This all became crystal clear when Friday night (the night before the first round), I found this under his pillow in the condo...
He wrote, "I am going to win Jekyll Island" as his goal, and slept with it under his pillow. 
Oh the agony for this super stupid Mom when I found it.  I knew he wouldn't win.  I was just hoping for top half of the leader board for him!!  But what do you do when you know your kid won't win?  Do you tell them ahead of time there is "no chance", "don't dream", just "be happy you are here and have fun" while you are losing?  No.  You just stand by encouraging them along and wait to pick up the pieces after. And I did.
Later, it did give us a great opportunity to talk.  He told me he wanted to win and I reminded him that he had not been practicing and that the majority of his competitors had been working hard, so it would stand to reason that they would play better than he was.  We talked about how it is important to practice and prepare for events like these, and how we could be sure to do the same next time.  Hopefully there will be some "gain" from the "pain" he endured this weekend, in not playing "up to par" pun intended.  Practice may or may not make you perfect, but at least it will give some peace of mind.  And, I do know one thing, he was still one of the cutest golfers out there,
and I was so very proud of the courage he showed in battling through his short comings without giving up.  And so this Mama has definitely learned another lesson, and will be doing her part to help him prepare for the next one!