Accidents, meltdowns, thrown objects, tears…am I describing your child or you on the golf course? There’s sure to be moments where you feel like giving up, which are almost always immediately followed by glorious experiences that create lifelong memories. Parenting can be pretty cool too at times.
2. There’s never enough time
You have to work. That’s one lesson that you learn as an adult that sobers you to the realities of life and robs you of the carefree shenanigans of childhood. You’d rather be golfing and spending time with loved ones than grinding it out at a 9-5 and fighting your daily commute. But your work also keeps the lights on, food in your belly, air conditioning in your houses and–in a broader sense–keeps the world functional. But still, we all lament the fact that Kids, like golf, take an enormous amount of focus, patience and practice and it always feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to give our passions the attention they deserve. So we do our absolute best, squeeze as much in as we can get away with and enjoy the incremental progress we make–knowing full well we’ll never be the best and that that’s okay. Being a 10 handicap golfer and dad is still pretty damn good.
3. Integrity matters
Dustin Johnson Foundation
Golf is one of the few sports without an impartial official monitoring every action to ensure the rules are being followed, placing it mainly on the golfer to play honestly. If you don’t, it doesn’t take much for other golfers to start labeling you a cheater. Good luck finding anyone to join you after that.
If that’s not enough incentive, think of it as good practice for when you go home and you have your kid’s eyes watching and learning from everything you do. Lecture all you want, but your little one’s going to take after the examples you set by your actions.
4. You spend more time thinking about the future
Back in the day, “planning for the future” mainly meant setting up your next tee time. But I’m guessing that as soon as you found out you were going to be a dad, one of the first thoughts in your head was looking forward to the first time you could get a golf club in that kid’s hands. Suddenly, protecting the future for the next generation (including the future of golf) became a much more personal topic.
5. You always feel like you could do better
From the time I started taking golf seriously (i.e. tracking scores and keeping a handicap), my personal benchmarks have constantly been shifting. I started as a 20 something handicapper and just wanted to get down to 18 so I could at least make the claim of playing bogey golf. Then I just wanted to get into the realm of “average” golfers at 15, then down to that single digit barrier (still working on that), and I’m sure it’ll never end. Parenthood starts out pretty similarly: feeling clueless and constantly presented with new challenges. As time goes on, you start to feel more comfortable in many different situations, but also have moments where you’re humbled and find something new to learn.
In both cases, no matter how many times you get things right, there are always days that devolve into chaos and you don’t know where it all went so wrong. When you feel those bouts of panic creeping in, it can help to take a look back at how far you’ve come and remember that you’re getting better each day (I know, easier said than done). As I mentioned above, when it comes to golf, there’s a great method for doing this: tracking your Handicap Index. Not only will it allow to compete with anyone without feeling like your in over your head, but you can keep a history of all your past scores to monitor your progress. (Psst…head here to get yours for 60 days free).
Unfortunately, there’s no handicapping when it comes to parenting, but just remember that the fact that you’re trying to do better is enough and that…
6. It’s worth the effort
Anything worth doing in life is hard. And I can’t think of anything that’s harder than playing golf and raising kids. But when you see your kid accomplish something difficult, it’s the same feeling you get when you pure a 7 iron from 150 out to within 3 feet of the hole: a sense of accomplishment. Despite all the ups and downs, the hardship, the frustration, you feel that sense of satisfaction that it was all worth it.
Kevin is a born and raised Southern California golfer. His golf highlights include occasionally breaking 90, losing an entire dozen balls in one round, and sinking a 20 foot putt on camera on the first take. Kevin is a member of Tiny Putters Golf and his current Handicap Index is none of your business.