Golf with a five-year-old girl
When spring rolled around this year, it held something a bit more special than the typical excitement that golf season was rapidly approaching. You see, I'm the mom of a five-year-old ("I'm gonna be six SOON, Mama") girl who appears to really LOVE the game of golf. Granted, she's held and swung a club since she was two and a half. And, when we go to the driving range or play a few holes I must sound like a Stepford Mom in my cheery, nearly sing-song voice, saying "Golf is so much fun!" But - and please don't blatantly roll your eyes or scoff out loud - she really does LOVE golf.
When she connects and knocks it in the fairway (70% of the time), we high five or do a little dance. When she makes a putt, we slap the same high five, with my occasional reminder that only walking is allowed on the green - no running, skipping, galloping, jumping, or dancing. My (mostly) non-competitive girly girl talks about the fact that she's the BEST five-year-old golfer at the club (we're not sure there are any others by the way).
But much better than long drives or sinking putts is the chance to write her name in one sand trap on EVERY hole - accompanied by the heart and star that follow her every signature whether on paper or in the sand (much to the dismay of her Kindergarten teacher). Sometimes even a handprint or ball print to boot. Then there is that orange butterfly she chases halfway down the fairway. Or the bug she sees and yells for me to "Come look, Mama!" (in the middle of my backswing, of course). But the bug and the butterfly don't even rival the masses of mammoth bass fish at the halfway house, gaping mouths awaiting the next chuck of bread she tosses over the railing. Or the decades old snapping turtle that hangs out on number five. Or even better, the cherry slushie she wrangles out of the big, sweet, gentle man, Rosie, who works at the halfway house. These are the things that can really make a girl love golf.
I constantly have to remind myself that she is five - "six SOON" - and that golf has to be fun -- never boring, never tedious. I diligently watch for signs that she is too tired or bored, because then it's time to scoot and "preserve" the fun in golf. I admirably struggle to contain myself when she really knocks it off the tee (80 yards or so) and I want to dance and strut like an NFL player who has just returned a kick-off for a touchdown.
Because right now golf is about writing your name in the sand trap, chasing the butterfly, examining the bug and the turtle, feeding the fish, and turning your tongue red with a cherry slushie. It's really fun. It's Mama and daughter time, and I hope it never ends.
Did I mention how much farther she hits the ball this year?!