Golf is a unique sport in that the best players come in all different shapes and sizes; there’s no ideal body type for this physical and mental game. Short and chubby players can do just as well as tall and lanky players. So in this respect the great game of golf really is one of the most all-inclusive modern sports. When competing on the golf course, the best players separate themselves with great skill sets, drive and a winning attitude. A popular destination for golf lessons, Bradlee Ryall Golf Academy at Lionhead in Mississauga, and all six Kaneff Golf Courses across Ontario teaches golfers of all ages and abilities the basics and finer points of the game.
Bradlee Ryall himself has some interesting thoughts about sculpting professional talent at his junior summer golf camps. At his school a big part of the program centers on finding and amplifying each junior golfer’s state of mind in order to improve their willingness and ability to learn new and permanent life skills.
The best junior golfers have these common character traits,
Safety – be careful with those golf clubs. The best young golfers already respect their tools and treat their own clubs like surgical equipment. “We teach safety and respect when swinging clubs and hitting golf balls right from day one.” Bradlee says, “these objects are very hard and dangerous and we don’t tolerate any horseplay on the course with our juniors”.
Punctuality – to be late is to lose every time. If you’re late to the game you lose – nobody wants to wait for you, and tournaments and competitions are very strict about registration and tee times. Junior golfers soon learn the importance of being on time for matches and carry the discipline throughout their lives.
Honesty – the importance of a confession in cementing personal honor. Golf is a game of honour, and recognizing that a transgression has occurred and taking responsibility for the error, whatever the size, is part of the game. Good junior golfers that are already sticklers-for-the-rules are sometimes survivors of a traumatic personal humiliation where they themselves were caught cheating and embarrassed at some point earlier in their childhoods. These are the kids who grow up to become Rule Hogs and some of the most honest golfers you’ll ever meet. Respecting the rules and your fellow players in golf can build a strong personal honour code early in life.
Silent courtesy – they give the gift of being quiet and polite on the golf course, and in life. Golf requires a high level of concentration especially when you’re just learning foundation skills. Quiet is required on the course as the serenity of the natural setting is very much part of the game. Professionals often remark how they were ‘Zen with the park’, or felt ‘alone in nature’ as they played the best game of their lives. Young people frequently have trouble keeping still and being quiet, and Bradlee Ryall Golf Instructors have special tactics to deal with disruptive students. The best junior golfers are often quiet as mice as they watch their competitor’s swing, and polite when they remark on any stroke, and helpful as they wait patiently for their turn to play.
Visioning – imagining how you can win tomorrow’s game is key to making it happen. The best junior golfers are already working on a life skill that most professionals on the PGA tour are still perfecting. Having the ability to visualize the course in their minds before and during the game is a pivotal advantage on the links. Its been said in countless testimonials from professional golfers that walking or even just seeing the course before the match is an important step needed for visioning – a complex mental digestion which weaves geography, wind conditions and terrain types into and artful and empowering personal success story. Bradlee Ryall remarks the best shots are often executed when you see it before it happens.
Problem solving – the elation juniors feel overcoming impediments is addictive in golf and life. Bad games make better golfers, and so does the feeling of success that juniors get when they overcome major obstacles in their path to victory. Problems can be caused by lost balls, strong winds, even excessive noise can cause performance anxiety for younger players; how the Juniors overcome these random penalties is the story we want them to tell. Clever problem solving can build confidence and lead to immense personal growth both on and off the golf course.
Malleability – The best junior golfers are nimble learners and take instruction really well Some kids are particularly adroit. It doesn’t mean they will become the best golfers, but they are often the best students. The savants can see new techniques, try them, and commit to them very quickly, putting what they’ve learned into regular play in a very short period of time. This is also in many respects a function of their state-of-mind. The most agile juniors don’t bristle with hurt pride when a golf instructor critics elements of their style, but rather they perk up and become even more receptive in the face of new opportunities to learn. These are the people who adapt most quickly to changing circumstances, on the golf course and in life. Great students embrace learning and have a passion to grow.
Humility and Respect – Game play ends with friendly hand-shakes at Bradlee Ryall Golf. Sour grapes and bruised egos are stored deep down in the golf bag where they’ll be easily forgotten, except for referencing in motivational speeches before upcoming games. Rivalries can be healthy, but players must know the limits, and golf is game that teaches all manner of limits and we are all students learning humility and respect on the course.
Discipline to Practice – Persistence pays dividends on and off the golf course. Having the patience to stick to the program and practice golf everyday (or three times a week) is only possible if you believe in yourself, and trust your own abilities and your potential to be a world champion. If you read the inspiring personal accounts of most sports heroes, the common motif the drive to succeed.
The key to juniors having a powerful golf school experience, and getting these life changing golf lessons, is their attitude and desire to better themselves. Its either there or it isn’t. When they are ‘turned on’ and ready to learn, juniors can better incorporate the ‘teachable moments’ that occur on the golf course. This is key to succeeding in golf, and life.
All Photos © Rob Campbell
Guest Author Bio
Rob Campbell is a freelance nature writer and author living in Toronto, Canada. Son of a beekeeper, Rob is keenly interested in using technology to improve conservation and the preservation of our natural world; he funds projects that use gadgets to study and improve the lives of insects (honeybees) and animals around us, especially those unfortunate creatures that are, like so many of us humans, stuck living in the city.
Rob is actively involved in Toronto’s business world and the city’s cultural art scenes.
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