Golf: A Gift For The Whole Family To Enjoy

In celebration of Mother's Day, the SCGA checked in with Judith Sumner, SCGA member and parent to two Youth on Course juniors, about her experiences as both a mother and golfer.

What drew you to golf?

First and foremost, family drew me to golf. I recall visiting my parent's home in my 20s, when mom said, "Why don't we try out the new 9-hole course?" Our parents played golf but up to that point us kids had not. My brothers and I had a blast! The course was undeveloped to say the least, but for novice golfers like us it was perfect. We were all athletes and easily slipped into the mental and physical draws of learning to swing a club. We were hooked. Much later, while living and working in the Bay Area, I suggested to my softball team that we should all go golfing. Those were excellent days. We used to play Harding Park for $22 on a resident card. It is now of course TPC Harding Park! Amazing.

What drew your kids to golf?

My future husband Scott was on that softball team. We shared a love of golf, and later shared that love with our children Emily and Elise. We slowly let them discover the game on weekend family outings. There are some fun stories and photos from those early days. When they were old enough to decide on their own, they committed to golf as their primary sport. They love to compete on the SCPGA Jr. Tour, but also adore playing golf with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. Annual Thanksgiving tournaments at Avila Beach Golf Course (a Youth on Course facility) is eagerly anticipated each year. Marathon golf tournaments, traveling with my parents all over the Southland, these are an endless and priceless source of laughter and memories our children cherish. Family is the draw across three generations of golfers.

As a mother, what do you see as the benefits to having your kids play golf?

The sport of golf is of course amazing! It challenges children and adults alike. The sport inspires lofty yet attainable goals of patience, goal setting, perseverance, strength of character, respect, etiquette, physical and mental fitness and learning the importance of balance in our lives. Definitely a great list to draw from for successful parenting! We strive to instill these attributes including, "study hard and then, GO PLAY!" After school, one of the kids may say, "I have to go home to study." I usually remind them of the importance of taking a break after working hard in school all day. Going to the course to enjoy fresh air, beautiful trees and grass and interaction with their friends will refresh their minds and bodies for homework. Golf is a gift. We ask them to enjoy it.

How has Youth on Course impacted your family?

First, we have met some amazing people through Youth on Course. Jennifer, Robbie, Julia, Desi and The Girl's Committee ladies we consider as friends for life! We enjoy the benefits of a Youth on Course membership through reduced range and green fees. As you might imagine, having two kids playing competitive golf, the reduced rates are much appreciated. As the kids have grown older, we travel further for tournaments. Many of the tournaments are at unfamiliar courses. It is very helpful to receive reduced green fees on practice rounds. Giving back to Youth on Course through the Golf Marathon has been our pleasure and we encourage our fellow golfing families to participate! We've made some wonderful friendships.

Judith Sumner was last year's SCGA Youth on Course Parent Volunteer of The Year. If you'd like to get involved volunteering with Youth on Course, contact rmatz@scga.org.


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