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Golf can be fun in small spurts at any age

April 2, 2014

Just a few days prior to my annual pilgrimage to Hilton Head Island for four days of golf with uncles and cousins, I broke down and bought a new set of clubs...for my 5-year-old son.

While I was cleaning my clubs a couple days before the trip, my son asked if he could hit golf balls with them. I handed him my shortest club and told him to carefully carry it into the backyard. I followed with some balls, plopped them down and suggested he swing away expecting him to do more damage to the grass than anything around the yard.

I did have him aim away from the house. Our house that is, because all of a sudden he swung and "Bam." He nailed the ball, which then nailed an empty bird house. I was more excited than after any good shot I had ever hit (a sad statement about the quality of even my best shots).

A quick trip to the local golf shop and $80 later-on sale, I bragged to my wife-my youngest has a bag and three clubs to get him started. The clubs weren't out of the wrapper for more than five minutes when he was dragging his now-scratched iron across the sidewalk to show his mom.

We strapped his new bag to his back, took some photos which I proudly sent by text to every friend I have, and headed to the back yard for his first real golf experience.

It lasted two minutes.

He hit each of the 10 balls he pulled out of his bag, but not well enough for me to plan an early retirement to caddy for him on the PGA Tour. And then all of a sudden, the motorized tractor the neighbors were going to put on the curb but instead chose to give to us arrived, and his curiosity completely changed.

He showed no interest for the game the rest of the day, much to my disappointment. But the next morning he couldn't wait to get outside and play again. In fact, he wanted to play inside when he first woke up. Fortunately for the valuables in the house, his mom was home and answered for me (although we did have a quick putting lesson while she showered).

I don't expect my son to be the next Tiger Woods-seriously, do any of us really want that now?-but what I do hope is that he'll develop a love for the game, mainly because it's something we can play together for a lifetime.

I'm convinced the day will come when I will spend an entire day on the golf course with all three of my sons, and I can't wait for that time to come (my wife has offered to pay the greens fees).

But for now I'm content to enjoy five minutes at a time on our backyard golf range together, in between watching him play on the tractor and doing all the other things little boys love to do.



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