I got a nice break today, as our junior coach was off for some unexpected reason and I had to start off a kids tournament first thing in the morning. So I stood there in lovely sunshine on tee one of our west course, first watching the experienced juniors taking their turns off the tee. Not much to do other than taking pics and chatting away. But then the babies, as I call them, were on. Some of them for the first time in a competition. No idea about routines and rules and what to do and, of course, dead nervous.
One of the boys, a tiny eight year old, playing his first ever golf tournament, was visibly shaking. He had a hard time getting the ball onto the wooden tee to start with. I was surprised he hit that ball at all. It swooshed off maybe some 30 meters to the left, not even making the ladies tee-box. Of course I walked on with him, looking for his ball and calming him down. His mum told me later, he was whispering to her that he could do much better than that and couldn’t really understand what happened. All in all, the girls were much more composed. But then girls are usually further down the line than boys at this age.
I felt a wee bit guilty for creating such an official air what with calling them to their first shots the traditional way. Announcing them with: “On the tee now Mr./Mrs. such and such”, giving their full names. Officially seeing them off, wishing them each a great game and much success. But then again: they ought to learn it early. As this is exactly what is going to happen if they ever become any good at this. Just crowds and press will be added.
In fact, I recall professional golfers, puking into bushes or hard rough after teeing off at important competitions. Important to them. For whatever reason. The difference being, that they first get their balls off the tee decently, to lose it out of sight of most everyone. Apart from their caddies. Who have the indecency to write about this in their blogs, aeons later. After they have been promoted to the post af a Head Tee Starter for once…
Alec Kelly, Head Tee Starter at Carnoustie Golf Links, Scotland