The Safety Post
I have had almost no negative comments when I tell people about bringing my son to the course with me to play. Oh yes, there was the one woman who said to me – but what if he gets hit?!? That was the last thing I needed to hear. I didn’t quite know how to react so I just looked at her dumbfounded. Yes, it was a risk that I recognized. Naturally, I take precautions when my son is with me on the course. I don’t think she was suggesting that I didn’t care or didn’t consider it I just think that some people are reluctant to be supportive and feel the need to point out every possible flaw in your plan. We all know at least one person who is this way. Nevertheless it is wise to suggest precautions to take; one cannot be overly safe. And, what I SHOULD have said to this woman (but of course you never think of what you should have said until afterwards) is that (1) All sports have the potential to be dangerous even when the child is properly protected, golf is relatively low risk, and (2) Tiger Woods, John Daly, and Phil Mickelson probably would not be as good as they are if their parents didn’t take them to the course when they were very young, (Tiger was 2, John was 2, and Phil was 18 months).
As a mother I can be overly cautious. Here are the things I do to protect my son on the course.
Play when it is empty. You are far less likely to encounter stray balls when the course and the nearby fairways are empty. You can also get around faster before baby gets bored. See my post on best times to play with a baby.
Take a cart. This is a little more money but since you probably won’t have time for 9 holes, unless kiddo is sleeping, it shouldn’t be too expensive. Also, most golf courses will allow you to buy a cart card if you’re a member which will give you a discounted rate on a series of cart rentals. Carts are highly visible and most people will aim away from them.
Be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to who is playing around you, where they are on the course and where they are hitting their balls. Normally I wait until someone in an opposite fairway has hit before I stop paying attention to them and line up my own shot. I am always watching out for possible balls that may be shanked. If the guy behinds you hits into you to get you to hurry up, stop and let him through.
Position the cart behind you. The golf cart carrying your child should NEVER be in front of you it should never cross the plane of your body or even be in front of you diagonally. Check to make sure you have clearance to swing (especially behind you) before swinging; you would be surprised how far away from you a cart that is positioned to your rear needs to be.
Park the cart wisely. Park the cart behind you even when you’re chipping and pitching, you never know when you might skull the ball. Never park the cart so that it is right next to an adjacent fairway and a potential target for a stray ball. Park it as far away from other fairways as possible. If you’re playing with people make sure they hit their ball before you do and never park the cart in front of them as they swing. Position the cart in wise places and take advantage of natural protection such as from large trees and bushes.
All in all golf can be a fun and safe thing to do with your kids. Just be sure to take the correct precautions.♣
Photo: tonobalaguer / 123RF Stock Photo