The Importance of Integrity, Character and Honesty in Junior Golf

Those of us who are involved in teaching the game to the young people who are the future of the game, know the importance of integrity, character and honesty in the game of golf. An unfortunate occurrence developed at a recent national junior tournament involving 4 player’s who were competing in a tournament with age division’s. The age’s involved were under 14.

At the conclusion of the final round, the 4 player’s proceeded to the scoring table to check, confirm and sign their respective scorecards. Unfortunately, the player’s did not check carefully enough and they signed their scorecard’s and left the scoring area. Two of the player’s were discussing the round and they though something was strange about the score posted by another player in the group. They noticed that the score was not correct for the player in question. The two player’s contacted the third player in the group to confirm that the score was in error and what they should do about it. The third player agreed that the score was wrong and they discussed the hole where the discrepancy was in question. All three player’s agreed that the player in question had hit a shot into a green side bunker and then advanced the ball onto the green and then putted out.

The 3 player’s contacted the tournament director with their concern’s. The tournament director contacted the player in question and with the foursome together, asked the player to recount the strokes on the hole in question. The player recounted the shot’s taken, but said nothing about a bunker shot. That is where the discrepancy was. The other three player’s all vividly remembered the hole and the player’s shot’s including the one in the bunker that was not counted in the score. The player in question denied hitting a ball into the bunker. Obviously, counter to what the other player’s stated happened.

The tournament director pulled the scorecard and found a number of erasure mark’s. However, once the player’s have signed their card’s and left the scoring area, the signed results will stand, according to the Rules of Golf.

What are the lesson’s to be learned from this experience?

  1. Check your scoring carefully, BEFORE signing the card.
  2. Address any question’s about a scorecard, before you sign it.
  3. Incorrect scoring, affects the outcome of the results of other player’s in the field. That is
    why it is important to report any infraction’s immediately to the tournament director. This
    is called “protecting the field”. If a player cheat’s with the score, it rob’s another player
    of a potential win or higher place in the field. In the end BOTH player’s LOSE.

What can we do to help young player’s play by the rule’s of golf? Honesty and integrity begin’s in the home and must be ingrained at a young age. If parent’s insist on honesty in the parenting of their children early on, then we can expect the children to continue that behavior. However, if the parent’s have a “win at all cost” attitude and teach their child “shortcut’s to success”, then we may have a future problem player.

Coach’s and instructor’s MUST teach the importance of honesty, integrity and character to the young player’s that they can influence. These traits will carry over as the youngster’s age and move into their adult life. It should be noted that problem scoring is found more at the younger age’s of junior golf than at the more elite level’s.

Remember, honesty, integrity and character play well, at any age and any forum.