Junior Golf – Passion is Key

December 26th, 2010 by John Graham Leave a reply »

Junior Golf - Passion

Passion. A word that has so many different definitions. Dictionary.com uses this definition below as there first.:

–noun

1. any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate.

You can see the definition by Jack Nicklaus in the picture above.  While I agree with this statement, I don’t know if everyone would be able to relate to it.  The ability to do the things that you enjoy as a means of providing a livelihood for your family is a rare one indeed.

Passion for me is the thing or things that you can’t stop thinking or talking about. How many girlfriend’s/boyfriend’s have been upset because all we talk about is golf, what happened at the range today, what happened on the course or how the lesson went. I used to tell my players that I can guarantee you somewhere there is someone getting up at 5am to go practice or workout or something to improve their golf.  If you aren’t, you’ll most likely get passed by.  Now, this doesn’t mean that if you do get up at 5am and work on your game that you will be a successful professional.  There is more to golf as a job than just hard work and ‘passion’.

Think back to the times when you have had passion or seen true passion.  It is quite obvious when it’s there.  Use this to help determine those that have it and those who don’t.  Like anyone that gets hooked on golf, I remember vividly the time when I couldn’t wait to get up and get to the golf course. The thought of hitting that ball as solid and as true as could be was a powerful draw for me. No question about it. I was a range rat. I just loved it.  Still do.  I know as a coach of a college team, having players that loved the game was very important.  There was no amount of practice I could give them that would stop them from doing more practice on their own.  These are the types of players you want on your team.  Teach them how to practice and you are on your way.  We would spend entire weekend playing, practicing and talking about golf. Very special indeed.

So, is their a way to develop passion in our junior golfers? We’ve probably all heard that golf is in a state of decline or very nearly even.  More people are leaving the game than are entering it. Why?  I’m sure we can come up with any number of reasons; time, cost, or competition from other sports just to name a few.  As teachers, what should we be doing with junior golf to start growing the number of kids that have a passion for the game.  First we have to answer this question. For juniors, does passion come after a junior becomes good at something or is passion the piece that produces a junior that is good at something?  Personally, I think it is the latter.

I think coaches can play an integral role in developing passion.  Make learning the game fun. Make it exciting. Make it memorable.  These are the things that a successful junior golf program must have.  This is the training ground for developing passion. As coaches, we need to display passion in our approach. If you put developing passion in the skill set you are trying to develop, I bet you might do things a little differently.  I know I have been guilty of not displaying passion in a way that makes it contagious. You know what I mean.  You’ve been around people that have the ability to draw you in fully into what they are doing.  It is this kind of passion that we want to display to our juniors. It is this passion we as coaches should be trying to produce in our junior golfers.

Play golf with your juniors. Practice golf with them. Create a team atmosphere. Maybe you can create a special logo or sticker they can put on the bottom of their bag to pull them into your passion so you can share it with them.  People want to be a part of something special. I think this is especially true for juniors. Use your ability to create the passion and let the passion create the golfers of tomorrow.

As always, please consider sharing this post by clicking on one of the social media buttons and pass it on to your friends.

I will continue to share my passion with all of you and hope you will share your passion with others as well.

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9 comments

  1. Jason Sutton says:

    John,
    We are very fortunate to do what we love and are passionate about. To think we get paid for it. It is hard to hide passion and you definitely have it. Your students are very lucky to have you as a coach. Keep growing, learning and sharing and it becomes contagious.
    Jason

  2. Steven says:

    Hello John, and Happy Holidays!

    One thing that I take very seriously with junior golf (I have four distinct groups), is knowing that juniors look up to me. The kids see everything I do, say, act and it reflects on their development. My “Junior Champions” group, for example, practices throughout the entire year. One way to get them to practice is to know that I also practice and train hard (whether it is in the gym or on the putting green). I try and show them what it is like to be a true professional.

    As a kid, passion came for me when I started getting good at what I was doing; whether it was playing baseball, golf, the saxophone, singing, etc. I had a passion about it at the time, because I was good at it and it was fun.

    I think a good coach develops passion in juniors when he/she creates an environment that is both educational and fun. The kids should always have the opportunity to get better at what they are doing, while having a blast doing it. I would hope that all coaches who are teaching juniors take the responsibility seriously, because at the end of the day, we are touching the lives of these young people. That certainly makes me want to get better at what I do; it is great fun; and of course, I am passionate about that!

    Regards,
    Steven

  3. John Graham says:

    Jason,

    Thanks for the kind words. Same for you and your students I’m sure.

    JG

  4. John Graham says:

    Steven,

    Interesting that in your case passion came after success. I think it could make for an interesting study when players feel like their passion arrives.

    It is quite clear reading your posts, comments and tweets that you are quite passionate about your responsibility to the junior and their development. I’m sure this will serve you and your academy well. Even just reading your comment made me want to improve.

    That’s the kind of passion that can change lives.

    JG

  5. Jeffery Passage says:

    For me, I have probably carried my passion for golf a little too far. I want so badly to improve my game, to be able to compress that ball the way I need to, to see that 10 foot putt roll in for a birdie, to hit that wedge shot just perfectly, etc. I can’t let go of the game. Passion, addiction? I am hooked and glad to be.

    John, thanks for your excellent writings and insights into the game. It is a pleasure getting to know you and to participate in the dialogue. Happy New Year.

  6. John Graham says:

    Jeff,

    I think there is quite a big difference between passion and addiction. Exactly how you have stated it. Addiction is passion taken too far. I wouldn’t put you in this category, yet. =)

    Really looking forward to see how things go in 2011.

    JG

  7. Yancy says:

    Great post John. After coaching different sports from surfing to soccer for juniors, your post really hits the nail on the head for whatever you’re teaching juniors.

  8. John Graham says:

    Yancy,

    Thanks.

    I’m very excited for 2011 and nice weather to get here.

    JG

  9. Steven says:

    Thanks John,

    I appreciate the kind words.

    Hope the snow storm didn’t hit you too hard…

    Regards,
    Steven

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