Tournament Journal

how you slice it, though, repetition can make your child a better player. Practicing once or twice a week is recommended for a child. However, if your child aspires to be a top-ranked player, then daily practice and a personal coach are essential.

Deciding on the instructor is key, says Jordan. “The person needs to be non-threatening to the kid. You’re looking for someone who encourages them, someone who brings them out of their shell.”

If possible, a parent should observe a potential coach as he or she works with other students. Does the coach get along well with the other kids? Is this the type of coach who will fit in with your child’s personality? Does the coach stay on the sideline or does the coach make a practice of exchanging volleys on the court with students? Does the coach profess to know the ins and outs of the player rating system? One of the keys to Tiger Woods’ success is that his father knew golf’s system and guided his son through it gracefully. Tennis can be 10 times as complicated for those vying for national rankings. Who you know, or better yet, who and what your coach knows, can make a very big difference.

Most golfers, without fail, can recall the days when they were first learning the game. They didn’t become good golfers overnight and they didn’t learn golf etiquette in a day, either. Most veteran golfers, therefore, are fairly tolerant of beginners and novices. Still, you owe it to yourself — and them — to get a grip on the customs of the game as quickly as possible. To help you along your way, here are a few rules of etiquette. Remember: You don’t have to be a veteran to play with the veterans.

  • Turn off the cell phone: Golf is supposed to be fun, a chance to interact with new and old friends and business associates. Don’t ruin it for them or yourself by bringing along one of life’s most highly irritating conveniences.
  • Pick up your tee: Unless your tee has landed several feet away, you’re responsible for picking it up and disposing of it properly.
  • Keep an eye on the ball: Whether you are playing by yourself or with a group, one of the most immediate and valuable contributions you can make is to watch the flight of the ball. The less time spent searching for lost balls, the better the round of golf.
  • Five’s the limit: Don’t search longer than five minutes for a lost ball. It’s also common courtesy to release those who are helping you search for balls after two or three minutes.
  • Those beeping carts: The warning sound that golf carts emit when put in reverse are a nice safety feature, but that incessant beep can be very aggravating to those on the links. Make sure there’s room to back up before shifting into reverse.
  • Show some class: Retrieving your ball from the cup with your putter is considered uncouth. Reach down and do it the right
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