The Secret To My Success

February 15, 2016
February 15, 2016

adhd-studentI remember listening to my parents tell friends, camp cousellors or coaches “Keep Doug away from Red Food Dye, pop and Chocolate he will be relatively “normal” and controllable”.  Ahhh, now back in the 70’s little did they know what was actually causing the “hyper” activity, restlessness, impulsivity and my mischevious curiosity.  Looking back at my childhood and teenage years I am absolutely amazed I got through high school and graduated from College. I now understand why I had to change schools in grade 6, why sports were my escape, I did poorly at math but excelled in english and was a great Camp counsellor.

I have ADHD. (squirrel!) Now the interesting thing is today ADHD is almost common place in children and diagnosed from an early age (about age 5).  They can have EAP’s (Eduction Action Plan) and strategies for Teachers and School Special Education Teams to give these kids the best chance at getting through their education. (Both of my kids have ADHD btw).images-1

Oh one other thing… I am on DRUGS! (Some of you at this point may be thinking; “????”. Yes, I take 15 mg of adderol every day. This was prescribed to me when I was diagnosed and they caution you about restless sleep, mood changes when coming off the effects and generally give you some cautionary things to be aware of when first taking something to help control ADHD. What they don’t tell you is what you actually experience. As an adult I could immediately see the benefit. CLARITY! Complete clarity in thoughts, calmness in sleep, brilliant ideas that I could start and finish, and where did I see the biggest benefit? On the golf course. I could concentrate on shots, putts and not expect distractions to pop in my head. WOW! In fact if I DON’T take my adderol I feel sluggish, hungry and like there is a fog that has settled into my head like an early morning. So call me an addict, but only because I am addicted to the benefits. It lets me be me!  

I was officially dignosed with ADHD at the age of 39. This meant I had gone through my entire Golf Professional career without any idea that this was affecting me in so many ways. But you know what the amazing thing about having ADHD is? I would not be where I am today without it. Often when diagnosed with ADHD kids are given the label of being different, tainted, uncontrollable, distracted and very hard to work with. In fact I believe whole heartedly that it is BECAUSE I have ADHD that it allows me to be creative, kooky, personable, funny, social, positive, connect with kids and especially the ones with ADHD.ADHD more than you

I know what is happening in their heads, and because of this I make the experience the absolute BEST one for them every time. They are never a burden, but in fact I use their ADHD to boost their creativity, give them structure, (one of the amazing things I’ve discovered is that kids with ADHD thrive in a challenging yet structured environment such as golf) and at the same time let them be exactly who they are without feeling they are different. Watching their facial expressions change when they are praised instead of reprimanded (which a lot are used to) only makes them want to do it more.

I’m sure that there are a few other successful coaches who can sympathize and agree that they too would not be where they are today without ADHD. Some of the world’s most successful people have ADHD – Albert Einstien, Will Smith, Michael Jordan, Justin Timberlake to name a few (Read the Top 10 list HERE)216776_tomsan_adhd-bunny

As golf professionals we aren’t given any training with regards to dealing with kids who have ADHD. In fact a large part of kids are still undiagnosed because parents don’t either believe that ADHD exists or that it’s just a phase of their development. So we are interacting with kids that have no idea what makes them be impulsive, interrupt and distracted. This leads to us trying to control their behaviour and rather than knowing some key strategies or unless you are an incredibly fast learner, most likely struggle with balancing your clinic, camp or lesson. I am here to tell you that it’s perfectly OK for you to feel that way. It can be down right exhausting putting so much effort into ONE child when you have 5 others that need your attention and this child is taking up most of your time and brain power. They are trying to cope with what you are telling them, they really are, so we must realize there are about 25 other things flashing across their brain at the same time. 


I think I could writea novel about instances, examples and ways that I have used my “super power” to my advantage as well as instances that I know were not so positive and a disctinct result of my ADHD. What I have learned and I hope that I can pass on is that having ADHD doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you. In fact understanding it only allows you to learn coping strategies that can help you. Kids aren’t always as aware as adults, so it is our responsibiluty that we do these 5 things when working with kids who have ADHD: 

  1. Have a Schedule – Structure allows for rules and consistency
  2. Don’t Patronize Them – be polite, upbeat and positive as much as possible at their level.
  3. Allow Them To Take Breaks – if they seem distracted ask them if they want to sit this one out. 
  4. Find Out Their Strengths – Observe them and what they do really well have them repeat for success
  5. Be Patient – Don’t take it personally that they may not listen to you but find a way to communicate. 

So there you have it. The Secret is out…I hope that this inspires you to ask questions, look at this subject differently and most of all realize….(oh look I got a Facebook notification) oops sorry, that having ADHD can be an incredble bonus instead of a detriment. 

Coach Doug. 


Doug Lawrie is the Owner and Director of Instruction of the highly successful Focus Golf Group Academy, with 2 locations in Burlington & Milton, Ontario. PGA of Ontario & Canada’s Junior Leader of the Year in 2012, he continues to develop programming and award winning junior golfers and most recently was recognized for the 3rd year in a row by U.S. Kids Golf as one of the Top 50 Kids Teachers in the World. Married to Susan for 21 years, they live in Burlington and enjoy their time with Daughter Abbie, Son Alex and their puppy Georgie.

Twitter – @focusgolfgroup

Instagram – @focusgolfgroup

Facebook – Doug Lawrie

All I Want for Christmas is…

December 7, 2015
December 7, 2015

You already said thatAll I Want For Christmas is….

Ahh the eternal line from the song made famous by Alvin, Simon & Theodore. It always makes its way across the airwaves at some point during the month of December in that wonderful high pitched melody. But it does get me thinking, “What do I want for Christmas this year?”

Well I think this could be fun. I am going to try and relate my list of what I would like for Christmas in Golf through relating each wish to a movie Title, Quote or Line. (this could prove very interesting) So here is my Top 10 list of what I would like for Christmas….

  1. “If you build it and he will come…(Field of Dreams)”– Allow More Access for Kids to Play Golf – Simple fact. Get the kids & the parents will not only support it, they may even follow.
  2. “Just Keep Swimming…(Finding Nemo)” – Too many of my colleagues, former students and really good professionals are leaving this business for one reason or another. This needs to change and keep working towards a goal.
  3. “May the Force Be With You…(Star Wars)” – Brooke Henderson, Nick Taylor, Mackenzie Hughes, Rebecca Lee-Benthem some of Canada’s best and brightest to inspire a country and young people to chase their dreams continue to inspire a nation for the future.
  4. “Man who catch fly with Chopstick accomplish anything…(The Karate Kid)” – Always remember that what may seem the HARDEST to overcome can be done with belief oneself. Keep going. Don’t stop.
  5. “To Infinity…And Beyond!…(Toy Story)” – Keep encouraging, inspiring and leading others to be the absolute BEST they can be. Sometimes they need a bit of direction or a nudge but do it in a way that helps show them there is a future.
  6. “Why so serious? … (The Dark Knight / Batman)” – Golf has rules, they aren’t made to be broken. BUT the enjoyment of the game is why people stay playing. Ask a child why they PLAY and they will say because it’s FUN! Ask an adult and you might get another answer.
  7. “You had me at Hello…(Jerry McGuire)” – From the very first time I saw a ball soar off into the sky, the game of golf had me hooked. It was because there is nothing like sending an object into the air that only YOU are responsible for. That feeling alone is BIG enough to bring people back and try it again (Just watch at the local driving range). How can you capitalize on that feeling?
  8. “Say Hello to my Little Friend…(Scarface)” – While the line from this movie is referring to a completely opposite direction of this blog, introducing a friend to golf is a perfect way to give others the opportunity to try a sport they can play for a lifetime. Your actions can have far reaching results.
  9. “Nobody’s Perfect…(Some Like it Hot)” – Exactly. Eternally searching for the “perfect” swing or attempting to play “perfect” has ruined more talented players than we can shake a stick at. Learn to love your experience and everything golf is and has to offer. You will be amazed how more enjoyable it is.
  10. “I’ll Be Back…(Terminator)” – Finally my last wish for this Christmas season is a reflection on the job I love and hold most dear. It wasn’t always this easy to say #ilovemyjob. I thank God each day for this blessing I have been given to make a difference in the lives of those who I teach, inspire, lead and coach. I too am like Arnold, I keep coming back and will continue to do so relentlessly until more kids love this sport and PLAY becomes our first language again.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I hope 2016 is your very best year yet!

Contact me for any questions or comments:


The TOP 50 Things I Learned This Season

October 7, 2015
October 7, 2015

top-50Wow, another golf season is coming to a close here in “The Great White North”, most of Canada is going to be glued to their TV’s watching the Toronto Blue Jays vie for a World Series Championship for the first time since 1993.

I am on the other hand getting ready to head indoors to continue my quest for “World Domination” (Oh, of the Junior Golf instructional market, silly me for not including that!).

Each year I find I have learned valuable lessons and grown in so many ways. I always reflect and look back at what I’ve learned from the good and the bad. Failure is a constant instructor. It teaches you immediately and in golf there is a whole lot of failure. When you are a Junior Golf Coach it’s these failures (both by student and instructor) that help you grow into being the absolute BEST you can be day in and day out.

Here are my   top-50Things I’ve Learned This Season. 

  1. Junior Golf is the Future of the Game
  2. Kids make me laugh
  3. Parents have the ability to seem possessed by evil                          (only for fleeting moments!)
  4. Milkshakes are a perfect reward
  5. 8 yr old boys are very silly
  6. Saying the word “Booty” will make a child laugh 100% of the time
  7. Golf Courses need to EMBRACE the family dynamic of today’s society if they want to survive
  8. Some of my fellow professionals absolutely ASTOUND me with their ability
  9. Words like “DUDE” “BRO” “SWEET” “AWESOME” “RIDICULOUS” & “INSANE” are regular words in my vocabulary
  10. I have the most AMAZING and UNDERSTANDING Wife.
  11. That giving 150% does not guarantee students will stay with you
  12. God has blessed me with the ability to connect with children
  13. Listening to a 5 yr old tell you about the caterpillar she caught on the 4th hole is worth it’s weight in gold
  14. Water Balloons = Laughter
  15. Games = Learning without them knowing it.
  16. Hot Yoga has changed my mind, body and soul
  17. Caddying for a Junior under 12 is NOT easy
  18. Siblings don’t always play nice with each other
  19. 240 FPS (Frames Per Second) makes golf swings look AWESOME
  20. Water, Sunscreen and a Huge Bucket hat are staples of being a golf instructor
  21. Fibreglass Driveway markers have about 25+ uses
  22. Early mornings at a golf course are my favourite time of day
  23. Superintendents are unsung heros of the golf course
  24. The right footwear is essential when you are on your feet 10 – 12 hours a day
  25. Girls are VERY competitive
  26. The US Kids Golf World Championships is a special place
  27. No one has made a cap that won’t fade, show sweat marks or last longer than 2 weeks outside
  28. A aluminum yardstick is a fantastic putting aid
  29. Golf is a wonderful instructor for kids
  30. Golf needs to change with the world
  31. Launch Monitors and Pressure Mats have allowed us to expand our learning
  32. Apple has changed the way golf instructors teach
  33. It’s not about the money
  34. 61 lbs of Dynamite can make a golf ball go 180 yards
  35. Social Media has allowed me to build some incredible relationships with some fantastic professionals
  36. Jordan Spieth is something special
  37. Jason Day makes it look easy
  38. Teaching is different than Coaching
  39. A Child’s laughter is nature’s Red Bull
  40. You need to have compassion
  41. You must be invested
  42. You have to show patience
  43. Sometimes you need to take a moment and EXHALE
  44. Its important that your passion comes out in your communication
  45. Doing things for others is important and can have long lasting repercussions
  46. Smile … a lot
  47. A Double Espresso tastes so good at 3 pm
  48. Take time for the ones you LOVE the MOST
  49. Be HUMBLE and show good CHARACTER
  50. That #ilovemyjob

What’s your TOP 50?

All Star Lineup Joins FGG Academy This Season

April 14, 2015
April 14, 2015

Watching Flight small.jpgBurlington, ON – With the imminent golf season around the dog leg, the Focus Golf Group Academy is proud to announce it’s lineup of Teaching Professionals for this season. The professional resumes of the newest members of Halton’s #1 Teaching Academy contain experience from across the globe, tour playing experience, longevity in the Canadian PGA and a history of working at some of the biggest and best golf courses in our country.

Colin Thompson – Director of Instruction – Within Range Burlington.

Colin brings a wealth of knowledge from a career that has seen him Head professional and Director of Instruction at 2 of Canada’s top private golf clubs in St. George’s & Royal Montreal. His desire to  work with the members improving their games and creating programming that sees marked improvement. We welcome Colin’s extensive background and his desire to help others to the Focus Golf Group Academy.

Contact Colin:

Steve Chapman – Teaching Professional – Within Range Burlington.

Steve has been a staple in the Instructional and playing ranks of the PGA of Canada for over 30 years. Having played on the Austral-Asian Tour, Canadian Tour and all over the world, Steve has most recently returned from being the National Team Coach for Turkey. Steve’s energy and passion for the game of golf is immediately felt by every student that works with him The Focus Golf Group Academy is excited to add Steve to our Team!

Contact Steve:

Where Juniors Can Play & Compete This Summer in Ontario

March 3, 2015
March 3, 2015

IMG_1369Spring is ALMOST here and often I get calls from parents asking where their child should play and compete. This season I am a member of the Hamilton Halton Junior Tour and I highly recommend this to Halton based kids looking for a wonderful challenge based on the great Clublink Courses they play.



I would also like to say thanks to my colleague Dave Smallwood of the Whistle Bear Performance Centre he has compiled a list of EVERY tour for your Junior.

Remember if you are having trouble figuring out how to plan your Junior’s competitive season, here is a wonderful article by Golf Performance Coaches – Click HERE for that article.

Enjoy and have FUN!


Ontario juniors are very fortunate to have 11 regional single day tours to support their competitive development. These tours are instrumental in initiating juniors into competition, teaching etiquette, rules and sportsmanship. They play an invaluable role in developing and advancing juniors to higher level multi-day tours as well as provincial and national competitions. Listed below is a list of the tours, convener and contact info:

photo (9)


Ontario juniors are very fortunate to have 11 regional single day tours to support their competitive development. These tours are instrumental in initiating juniors into competition, teaching etiquette, rules and sportsmanship. They play an invaluable role in developing and advancing juniors to higher level multi-day tours as well as provincial and national competitions. Listed below is a list of the tours, convener and contact info:













My Top 10 Ways To Connect with KIDS

January 14, 2015
January 14, 2015

I’m 6’3 …. I remember growing up that my Dad would bring his colleague over, Norm whom I thought was the tallest man I had ever seen! ( I was 6 at the time) But I do remember looking WAY up and at times it was a little intimidating. So imagine the thoughts going through ANY and ALL of your Juniors under the age of 12. You are an adult. YOU”RE HUGE in their eyes! They are a kid. They equate your size, stature and appearance to that of their school teachers and their parents.


So where they could be perceiving you as an authority figure or a potential “negative” influence on them, here are my TOP 10 Ways I’ve found that are the BIGGEST and EASIEST way to connect with kids and have a BLAST!


Here are my TOP 10 reasons why this works and is something you need to do:

1. Leggo your Ego – Who cares what you look like! Lose the ego and you’ll gain massive influence with them being silly, happy and letting go of the regimented structure they get in other sports and even school.

2. Grade 2 Level – Remember their brains think so differently than you do,  speak clearly without patronizing them.

3. Look Them In The Eye – Now they’ll believe you are interested in THEM and what they are doing


4. Listen to Every Word – Does it really matter if they ask you “why don’t you have hair?” or tell you “my dog Rex ate a bar of soap”, no the best part is they’re excited to express yourself so why shouldn’t you listen? It might make you laugh!

5. Gain Perspective – Next time you are in Walmart stop in the Toy section or Video Game Section and see what’s the latest and best thing kids are playing with. This way when you ask them what they like to play when not golfing you can suddenly seem really cool cuz “Coach actually knows who Skylanders are!!!!”

6. Identify the Dynamic – Don’t automatically stuff each group or individual into the box you always use for them to learn. Learn to “read” your kids and be ready with alternate plans if necessary to connect better. (Eg. have 6 or 7 stations / activities (instead of the 2-4)  for the group that is in constant motion because that is how they thrive)

7. Parents Take 5 – Give the parents a break from having to “hover” or “helicopter” during your sessions, ask them to wait in clubhouse or come back at a specific time, and watch the kids feel free to be themselves. EB

8. It’s About Excellence not Winning – Too often the game and world these kids live in is about winning and if they don’t it’s a BAD thing. Structure your learning to have them be EXCELLENT in each activity and that it’s about achieving the task at hand.

9. It’s ALL about Them – The more you show a desire to be on their level and listen to what they are saying, the more there is no fear, no worry and no anxiety. Dive right in and make mistakes along side of them to show you are human too!

10. GET DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL – Kneel, squat, sit, bend over, whatever you do I can guarantee the MINUTE you do this and are now looking them right in their tiny little faces, you are going to WIN far more than you will lose their attention!

TRUST ME! If you are able to some or ALL of these things before you know it your kids won’t leave you alone and you will suddenly realize that being a small person comes with a whole different perspective….try it!

Oh, and I almost forgot, your calendar will suddenly become a whole lot busier!


Should Junior Golfers Workout?

December 10, 2014
December 10, 2014

For someone who coaches competitive junior golfers as early as the age of six, it is not surprising to me that parents often ask:

Should junior golfers workout?kid working out

Parents ask me this all the time because they fear their kid will be left behind if they are not striving and pushing all the time. Parents sometimes think that kids need to specialize and be the best at such a young age. When faced with this question, my response is always: “What other spots does your child play, other than golf?” Research has shown that kids should spend 80% of their time diversifying in other sports, other than the one they want to progress in. This in fact challenges kids to develop different skills and balance points that translate to helping their specific sport. One of the keys to effective early child development is Play; see this blog post .

Often my recommendation for parents who ask this question is to get their child to play more sports. According Sport Canada, early child development in sport is much more focussed on play. If play is the basis for kids to develop, why would we be asking them to workout in a traditional sense? We need to be careful with how much we try to push the working out type of exercise on kids. They are still in a crucial developing stage; their bodies and minds cannot always comprehend when to give up and stop pushing. This in turn could cause some issues in the way of physical development.

So when is it okay for kids to transition to sport specific workouts and when should they focus on just one sport?

This is another VERY popular question I get asked all the time.

Sport specialization should not happen before the age of 12/13.

Kids are 75% less likely to have a sport specific injury if the follow this age rule.

Kids who do not specialize before this age find they have:

Less pressure

More enjoyment

More focus

More well-roundedness

Longevity in their sport

Once kids are high school age, they should be through their development stage and therefore can slowly start to introduce sport specific workouts into their schedule.

teen workoutI recommend getting some advice from your local gym trainer, combined with your sport coach to see what drills and skills you should be focussing on.

There may be other coaches who do not agree with me on this, but I do not ever want to see my students pushing themselves before they should be.


How Did Tiger Choose Chris Como?

December 3, 2014
December 3, 2014

There is a huge necessity for a coach and the joy of having the right coach is highly important.

Tiger is on his 5th coach.

Tiger is goingTiger_Woods_-_AT&T_National_tournament_2009 into 5th relationship with a PGA coach, giving him help on his game. If you look through media Chris Como is regarded as his coach.

When Butch Harmon started working with Tiger as an amateur, was Harmon labelled his coach or his teacher?

Was Rudy Duran, the first professional Tiger worked with, considered his instructor?

The point is; what separates a coach, from instructor, from teacher?

There have been lots of articles written about coaches in sport. Lately this term is applied to individuals who do more than merely explain and instruct the golf swing. Is Como considered Tiger’s coach or swing coach? The question raised after parting ways with Sean Foley was “Does Tiger actually need a coach”?

Some people would argue yes, others no. By definition,  a coach is a person who trains, prepares or instructs. When we look at it this way, the word coach can encomapss so many variables around golf. The transition to have pros become coaches, rather than just instructors or teachers of the golf swing, allows for so many more opportunities for golfers and juniors to become successful.

In order to be successful, you must be a multi-faceted coach. Coaches have so much depth to their work. It’s not just training. There are lessons, practice plans, psychological processes, personality adjustments, personal preferences and way more to take into account. To be prepared, as a coach, there needs to be a plan, guide, roadmap on which your eduction can allow your student to visualize the road they are going down.

Instructing means breaking down finer points to better understand the workings and why they are better done in a certain order or method.

Who knows how many coaches one should go through in their life span? What the golfer needs to find in a good coach is someone they connect with personality wise, holds a good reputation, is well respected, has taken the necessary training and are always improving themselves.

Finding a good coach is all about obtaining life’s points of balance:

Fun / play


Trying hard / mastery


Helping others

Trust / honesty

Once you find a coach that can fulfil all of these, you will be well on your way to really improving your golf and your life.

Chris Como most likely hits all of these life balance points in line with Tiger’s personality and what he is looking for in his game.

An Oxymoron – Job Security in the Golf Business –

November 26, 2014
November 26, 2014

Golf CareerIn the past week, I have learned of 3 friends in the golf industry who have either been let go or have resigned. It is scary. How do you build security where your livelihood depends on the wants and needs of present and future golfers? The past few seasons, work / life balance, Pay $ for time & effort and the fact that so many professionals are leaving the industry I believe contributes to these factors. So whats the deal? I absolutely love what I do. However I can count about 10 people I know personally who have left the business in the last year. Working in this industry where the “bulk” of activity is: 28 weeks (Mid April – October 30 ) or 196 days (Provided we have perfect weather) or approximately 3000 hours (averaging 15 hours per day) or 2.7 million minutes to make enough money for an entire year is incredibly HARD!

Who is going to replace us when we retire if we constantly lose the best talent  in the business don’t have a process that moves quick enough with our changing world to make this job appealing and practical. it is a hard game being a golf coach and it scares me to think that this industry is declining. I have taught in a PGM Program for 14 years and have watched enrollment and student enjoyment lower each year.  They are looking at this Industry and are seeing this vocation as not prosperous. Why?  The guys coming out of the courses want a job being paid very well and remunerated for their skills based on the generation of expectations and when they don’t receive what they want they LEAVE.

So I ask you where does the passion come from? Where are the next round of golf professionals able to be found and how can this be looked at so we don’t lose our most talented to a secure job in another field. in summer of 2013 I had 3 teaching professionals working for me. As the winter came I kindly helped them find jobs through my friend at a chain of hot tub stores. Well, when summer 2014 rolled around, they were all too comfortable to come back to teach. They could’ve made an extra 40% wage teaching golf, as well as the hot tubs, but they chose to stay in the consistency of a paycheck.

As golf professionals we are not finding the right mix to make this industry sustainable and appealing for the next wave of future golf professionals.


This blog post by Matt Diederichs nicely sums up how golf has changed.

So what can we do? How can this industry make the necessary shifts to stay profitable and enjoyable?

I don’t have the answers here, but things really need to shift. There are some indicators as to the toughness ahead for the golf business.

Below is part of a Maclean’s Magazine article titled Why Canadian Golf is Dying. Click HERE for the full article

“If you talk to a golfer, he’ll say the game of golf is fine,” MacKay says. “But if you talk to a golf course owner, he will say the business of golf is suffering because we overbuilt.” Don MacKay who has built and bankrolled more than 18 courses in Ontario. Macleans said The numbers are stunning. There are an estimated 2,400 golf courses across the country, while Statistics Canada pegs the number of golfers in Canada at about 1.5 million. That’s one course for every 625 players, or 14,500 Canadians—among the highest number per capita in the world. Moreover, Canadians appear to be playing less golf than they used to. A recent study by the National Allied Golf Associations, or NAGA, found that the number of rounds played on the average Canadian course has dropped 10 per cent over the past five years, with the blame falling on everything from waning interest to the time commitment required.

How did the industry end up in such an obvious hazard? Overly optimistic predictions about how many retired Baby Boomers would hit the links was part of it. But the real culprit was golf’s unhealthy relationship with North America’s overheated real estate market. Developers can sell houses for far more money if they back onto a golf course and the fancier the golf course, the bigger the premium. But not everyone who wants to live next to a golf course plays golf—so many courses sit relatively empty. Egos also play a role. “I watched in astonishment as people poured tens of millions into a course that they probably knew they weren’t going to get their money out of,” says MacKay, who once worked for a company that built golf courses.

Neil Haworth is a Canadian golf course designer who spent most of his career in Asia, where he’s worked on some of the region’s top courses, including Shenzhen Golf Club in Guangzhou, China, and Sheshan International Golf Club near Shanghai. He recently completed a renovation project at the Parcours du Cerf golf course in Longueuil, Que., that involved transforming nine holes of a 36-hole facility into a new, faster-to-play 12-hole executive course, the first of its kind in the province.

Haworth says one way to appeal to a wider audience is a greater focus on forward tee boxes, which often lack the dramatic vistas or challenging obstacles that the back tees do. He also suggests golf courses adopt slower greens and fewer bunkers, which are expensive to maintain and “tend to catch the golfer you don’t need to catch, because he’s shooting 120 already.” A change in attitude is evident at the professional level, too. For the first time in recent memory, this year’s U.S. Open was held at a course without any rough. As part of a $2.5-million renovation, North Carolina’s Pinehurst Resort ripped out the lush, Augusta-style turf that edged the fairways on Pinehurst No. 2 and replaced it with sand, hardpan and brush. The new look was sold as a nod to its century-old heritage. “It’s the way it should be,” gushed two-time U.S. Open winner Curtis Strange. But an equally compelling reason for the makeover is what it will mean for the grounds crew: They need 150 million fewer litres of water each year to do their jobs. Which should free up time—and money—to cut soccer ball-sized holes into the fairways, should it come to that.

So there seems to be ideas on how to attract people to golf, keep them interested and get new players playing more often. Maybe there should be a similar “SHIFT”  in employment on how to get them attracted, interested and stay!


How to Get Young Kids into Sports

November 19, 2014
November 19, 2014

A typical Sunday morning routine I am exposed to is seeing parents bring their young kids to the range for the first time. From as young as 2 years old, kids are being introduced to golf, which is a great start!

But it is almost comical watching these parents try and properly instruct their kids with golf techniques at such a young age. As people walk by and say “Aw, isn’t that cute” it reminds me of how being introduced to golf (or any sport) is a very challenging thing to do properly. Golf must be introduced in the right way.

At a young age, sports MUST be centered ONLY around play and fun.EB

“Cute” is a four letter word which is often tossed around in an inappropriate way in regard to young kids and sport. Instead of starting out in golf  being cute, this involvement needs to be regarded in terms of encouragement, awe and support.

Too often we look at the child’s involvement from our standpoint and not theirs. The only thing children can and should focus on, at this point, is having a good time instead of trying to be a perfect little golfer. This early formative experience will either contribute to your child’s ongoing love for golf or not. This time is crucial and detrimental and must be approached properly.

I just recently listened to this Ted Talk by Sarah Curtis and it is what I have always believed to be true. She is explaining how starting out in school with the introduction of play is a huge key factor in the success of children long term. It’s like she took the ideas out of my head. I was introduced to this Ted Talk by PGA Professional and child development guru Kate Tempesta who is the creator of the Early Birdies Program that I deliver to my students.

In this Ted Talk, Sarah Curtis quotes Evelyn Beyer, an ECE Specialist who said, “Young Children are often appealing and amusing, but they are more than “cute”; they are real.”

The problem with saying the word “cute” demeans what the true experience of coaching kids actually is. I coach Early Birdies, which is introducing young kids ages 2-5 into the game of golf, and I contend that these are some of the most outgoing, adaptable students that I have. While yes, they are cute, but in the midst of developing their personalities, they are so much more than just cute kids hitting golf balls. At these early ages, children are developing at such a rapid pace and scientists have proven that we become who we are in the world by the age of 5. I love that I have the privilege to be part of this early childhood development and that I can also encourage parents in a positive reinforcement way in terms of sport. If a child can play in sports, it offers the best possible way for a kids to learn and want to be involved in more sports in the future.

Research has shown over and over again that all children need to PLAY. It is a survival skill and needs to be cultivated. Play allows a child to have an idea and follow through with this vision. While play is highly important, kids cannot be left alone to teach themselves and be “let loose” in golf. There is an essential presence needed and that is of the coach. Play in the presence of the coach is essential as the response and working through challenges together allows the child to teach themselves how to learn, with a coach’s guidance.

A play-based approach to Golf Introduction teaches children how to approach experience and affirms that every experience is worthy of respect and encouragement. It is so important that parents build trust in coaches right away so that children can begin their involvement with sports right way as this is the best way to self expression and learning at such a young age.

So parents. next time you are bringing your young children to the range, let them explore and learn through PLAY and allow yourself to act just as an encourager and catalyst to your child’s involvement in Golf.