Your Junior Golfer Isn’t Charlie Woods — Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That

Charlie Woods at PGA Championship

While Tiger’s cub enjoyed a well-deserved moment in the sun, this Colorado pro says the focus for kids should be on having fun.

By Anthony Cotton

By now you’ve undoubtedly seen some of the viral videos that circulated during the recent PNC Championship, images of Tiger Woods and his 11-year-old son Charlie in matching outfits swinging clubs on the practice range in perfect synchronicity, or the young cubs ripping fairway woods onto the green for eagle putts—there were even some Augusta National-like fist pumps going on. It was all great theater, sometimes brilliant (as when Woods fils left a trash talking note for Justin Thomas in a bunker)—the kind of thing that sets a Mom or Dad off on flights of fancy, thinking about the day when their little rug rat is hoisting major championship trophies.

(And, of course in today’s legally bet on almost anything world, immediately after the silly season event, one bookmaker came out with a proposition, setting the odds of Charlie Woods winning a major championship before his 25th birthday—in 2034—at 825-to-1.)

It’s reactions like that led Bryan Heim to suggest that we might want to pump the brakes a little bit.

“The game of golf is too good for kids on so many levels, but at the end of the day it’s just a game—it’s not a job and it may or may not lead to college golf or the PGA TOUR,” said Heim, the head pro at Columbine Country Club in Littleton. “It’s a great vehicle for kids to mature and learn life skills, but let’s not get too caught up in all of this.”

A kids master instructor and the director of a thriving junior program at Columbine (as well as a father himself), Heim says he’s long appreciated the dynamics at play when it comes to juniors, golf and their parents—the people who most often serve as bridge between the two. Heim has written about those links, hoping to help families navigate the oft-tricky relationships.

“The one thing you can never teach in life is passion, and you can look at any captain of industry or leader—whether it’s Warren Buffet or Bill Gates or Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky—it’s just wired in them,” he said. “But if you try to force it, it just pushes kids further away. You see it first and foremost with your own kids—what is the right move?

“There’s no book on exactly how to do it…and I’m certainly not saying that sports isn’t all that—I just want to provide a little perspective.”

More from Bryan Heim on Junior Golf.

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