Column: The joys of junior golf

In today’s column, Chilliwack Golf Academy instructor Kathy Stecyk talks about the rewards of teaching junior golfers.

I feel thankful this week that the weather has cooperated and we haven’t seen any ‘liquid sunshine’ as the Fraser Valley Junior Golf Tournament tees off.

Rain is tough to play in, but unfortunately, unless the golf course is deemed ‘unplayable’ by tournament officials, the game must go on. On those occasions, I the coach bundle up in my super warm ski clothing and rain gear and off I go.

These lush green floating fairways hold so many of their hopes and dreams.

Rain or shine.

From a coaching perspective I think, ‘Ah, junior development at its finest! Be strong and carry on. Golf your ball!’

I have come to respect and embrace all that the game of golf has to offer our youth.

Naturally we automatically think of the many educational opportunities to be had through the sport, for boys and girls.

Of course, continuing education is a big one but let’s not over look the subtle stuff. Stuff like significant opportunities to grow as a person, you know….on the inside.

Developing takes many hours of commitment throughout the year.

As a coach I have come to appreciate the times when it’s just too cold to practice or play because we now have the opportunity to learn about ourselves and what makes us tick — what ticks us off and what all that inner chatter we listen to all day long is about.

Most junior golfers spend their time developing their technical skills.  But what of the emotional and mental skills required in presenting out our best effort and performance as an athlete and competitor on the golf course?

We have a community that is against ‘bullying.’

We have Pink Shirt Day in schools to show our stand against bullies and yet, you wouldn’t believe how these wonderful young people talk to themselves after a golf shot! I’ll ask them, ‘if your buddy hit that shot would you say to them what you just said to yourself?’

The answer is a resounding no!

I encourage them to grasp the concept that they have to be their best friend out there, and as such, treat themselves with respect.

Your measure as a person is not in any way related to how far you hit the ball or what you score.

I relish the fact that our youth, in the process of learning the game, have the added opportunity to grow as a person, to develop their sense of honor and integrity.

In summary, there is a standing discussion on the topic of ‘growing the game of golf.’

I prefer the point of view that if we are able to assist our youth in their personal development through golf, then the game itself will grow.

Wow, what a game!

 

Kathy is a 20 year coaching veteran, Kathy is one of a select few women golf professionals in Canada to hold a Class “A” status in both the C.P.G.A. and L.P.G.A. Associations.

She is an instructor at the Chilliwack and Northview Golf Academies, and head coach of the Robert Bateman secondary school academy.

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