September 2008


First Junior Golf Tournament held in Vietnam...

The Vietnam Golf Association will be hosting its first Junior Golf Tournament and it really is an auspicious moment because junior golf programs are vital to the growth of the sport in Vietnam, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what learning golf can do for an impressionable young child.

Golf teaches young people about the importance of accepting responsibility for one’s own actions, about obeying rules, cleaning up after oneself and, most importantly, why cheating is bad.

One of the biggest problems facing society is a breakdown of belief in the system of rules. Far too many kids nowadays feel its ok to lie a bit, cheat to get ahead and flout the rules because they see people on TV or in the movies do it. Their role models are far from flawless.

Their rationale is that "everyone does it so if I don’t do it first, I will lose out."

While this might seem to be somewhat true on the surface, the truth of the matter is that once you sacrifice your principles for immediate short-term gain, you lose and worse it’s a dark slippery path they’ve committed to follow.

So, how to save our children from all the negative influences out there nowadays? It’s not easy and I am sure that many parents have wrestled with this question because the odds are against them. The first thing is to face facts – MTV, HBO, ESPN and your children’s friends have more influence over them than you do.

The best way to fix a bad habit is to replace it with a good habit. Replace a negative influence with a positive one, but which ones?

In the old days, parents would tout the benefits of religion and use the "fear of G-d" to keep kids in line, but unfortunately less people seek the comfort and safety of religion nowadays for many different reasons and this is yet another reason why society seems to be going down the tubes.

If you have no fear of the afterlife, what is to stop you from running amok here and now besides fear of prison? Very little, that’s what.

Golf is probably the closest game which espouses many of the same virtues found in the major religions, yet doesn’t offend people of different faiths because it doesn’t invoke a deity.

Thus, "fear of G-d" is replaced by the "fear of being ostracised".

Cheaters and sandbaggers are despised by most every "true" golfer and make no mistake there is a difference between being a golfer and someone who plays golf.

Cheats have trouble walking through the clubhouse without people whispering behind their back, or openly sneering at them. Come tournament time they can barely make a swing without people questioning it and their scorecards are examined like the secret of the universe is contained on a microdot somewhere on it.

To me, the single most important lesson kids can learn from golf is "accepting responsibility for their own actions."

In golf, you choose your route to the green, pick the club that you think gives you the best approach, set your stance and alignment and make your best swing.

Then deal with the results.

If the ball is in the fairway, congratulations you achieved your immediate goal, but if its in the trees, you have to deal with it. Weeping, tearing your hair and complaining about the unfairness of the universe won’t change a thing…you hit it there, nobody put a gun to your head and said "slice into the trees or I’ll blow your head off."

The ball doesn’t move, it just sits there waiting for you to hit it (yes, scientists are trying to verify reports that the ball is silently laughing at you as well), so if you hit a bad shot, accept responsibility and deal with it. Get back into play and try to salvage the situation. Its not over yet, you still have a lot of holes yet to play.

So, golf builds moral character and reveals peoples deepest flaws if you know how to read it properly. Watch someone who blames everyone but himself for a bad round…bet he does the same thing in business too.

See someone cheating? Would you trust them in a business deal?

Golf also teaches you that one bad shot doesn’t kill a round and that there are always ways to get back into the match.

Just like life…

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