Some parents are conflicted on how to balance their child’s academic requirements with those of an extracurricular activity such as golf. The schools emphasize (and rightfully so) the importance of good grades and study habits. School councilors often recommend that students should enroll in after school tutoring programs to increase their knowledge and “get ahead” so that they will be able to have a better chance to attend the university of their choice. The students are then exposed to the many SAT programs that are offered to increase the students performance on the dreaded SAT college entrance exams. These programs are pushed by the schools and of course are profit motivated. Parents want the best for their youngster so they enroll them in all of the various programs that will enhance the probability of passing entrance exams and be accepted into a “prestigious” university.
But what about the youngster that has talent in a sporting discipline such as golf? How will they be able to balance the demands of all of the “honors” and AP classes AND find the time to practice and participate in developing their skill set in golf? These are questions that many parents are conflicted with. The answers are based in what the goal is for the individual youngster. If a child has no interest in golf then the academic, after school programs are fine and should be explored to determine which will help them advance academically if that is their goal.
Some parents have their children participate in a sport and burden them with all of the after school programs available to humanity. This is when and where the youngster begins to have problems developing the skill set necessary to play golf at the elite college level. To play golf at an elite level, the youngster needs to practice on a daily basis (yes, 7 days a week). That requires a commitment from the player and the family to be able to do this. And yes, it will mean that the after school programs may not be for your child. I had a talented youngster who did not take one honors or AP class and because of their golf talent, they were given a full scholarship at a prestigious university.
It should be noted that I believe academic’s are more important than golf and that it is a student’s responsible to study and achieve the highest level they can in all of his/her classes. Balance is critical to the development of a youngster so that they are not overloaded and become so stressed that they cannot perform well in school and on the golf course. It is important that parents understand the value of participating in a wonderful sport such as golf and the benefits that can be derived from playing collegiate golf.
It should be noted that most children will want to participate in many activities. If they display a talent in any specific sport they should be encouraged to further develop that skill set and be supported by the parents. Talk with a PGA Professional golf coach to discuss a program that will give the player an opportunity to develop his/her game to the level required to play golf at the advanced junior and collegiate levels.
If a child is talented in golf and has done fairly well in school, the golf can ensure the probability of entrance into the school of choice. There are no shortcuts. Students must take responsibility for their academic achievement as well as their golf achievements. Balance is critical in getting the right mix to allow success in academic and athletic success.