9 Golf course ESSENTIALS (when you have little ones with you)
Bringing your children to the golf course with you can be an excellent option when you want to play or practice. It can be a win-win for everyone: you get to spend time with your children, you don’t have to pay a babysitter or impose on family or friends, and you can share with them something you care about which they might love too.
However, it can be a disaster with everyone angry and upset at the end if you are not prepared. After many attempts I have come up with several MUST HAVES if your venture is to be successful.
1. GOLF CART
How romantic the notion of strolling the course calmly hitting perfectly positioned shots, with well-behaved children in tow wearing clean and pressed clothes, all while waving at the people gawking at the supermom who plays Par golf and simultaneously raises perfect children!
Let’s get real…
Walking with your children might work once they are old enough to carry a backpack, or even their own set of golf clubs, but it does NOT work when they are very young. Get a golf cart, it gives you a place to store the things you will invariably need to keep them occupied and helps you get around the course a lot faster. Also, when they are a little older you can reward them by letting them drive it around to entertain themselves.
2. HIGH CHAIR/SAFETY SEAT
In the picture is the real high chair seat I used. This mostly applies when they are old enough to sit up on their own but not yet able to ride next to you without restraint (approximately 6 months to about 3 or 4 years). A portable high chair with straps to attach to the cart and a table for them to play on worked perfectly for me. With this they have a “desk” to play or eat snacks on and they can also see you from just about every vantage point. Just make sure you park the cart in a safe area.
Foods work best on the course when it doesn’t need to be refrigerated and can be carried in and out easily such as granola bars or crackers. My boy drank bottles until about 2 years old so I always had one with me on the course. Once he got older I replaced these with juice boxes or sippy cups that wouldn’t spill.
I cannot stress enough how helpful it is to have hand wipes for a variety of different circumstances. Not only do they come in handy for cleaning hands and faces but they are also a life saver when it comes to those inevitable spills on clothes, in carts, and encounters with various other things on the course, including even dirty diapers.
5. SEVERAL FAVORITE TOYS
Pick a handful of their favorite toys and stow them in a diaper bag. Don’t bring them all out at once, however, one at a time, choose wisely and alternate with snacks and books. The goal is to keep them occupied so they don’t become bored and cranky.
6. A PEACEFUL TIME OF DAY
A Saturday morning at 10:00 when the course is packed, play is slow, and balls can be flying everywhere is NOT the time to drag your baby to the course with you. If you have the luxury of playing on a weekday do so, and at non-busy times. I found Tuesday or Wednesday at about noon to be one of the best times, but choose according to when your course is the quietest. This way you may have the course to yourself, you won’t get paired with someone who isn’t baby friendly, and can get around as quickly as you need. Babies and children do best when you keep things moving.
7. CHANGES OF CLOTHES
Have a few extra clothes for the child, and for yourself, just in case. It’s amazing how things can get messy in such a short periods.
8. AN EXIT STRATEGY
The best-laid plans can be nullified by a poor nap or a generally cranky and fussy baby. The last thing you want is to become resentful of bringing them to the course because you expected too much and a melt-down followed. Be prepared to leave the course at a moment’s notice if things start to go south.
9. A GOOD ATTITUDE
YES, YOU WILL BE NERVOUS when you bring your children to the course, at least the first time! I have found that your happiness will counteract any uncertainty and discomfort. Will it work out? What if they have a melt-down? What if they have a blow-out diaper? What if they scream on someone’s back swing? All of these are possibilities that moms must be prepared for if they want to play with their young children. Things are rarely perfect (sometimes they are better!) but roll with the punches and remember you are out there to have fun. ♣
Photo: Berry / Copyright 2012