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