Kids Golf Advice
Here at UK Kids Golf we are committed to not only providing great golfing opportunities for your young golfer but also the information you require to make their relationship with golf a long term success. We have teamed up with a number of leading experts in the fields of Nutrition, Fitness, Psychology and Coaching to make sure you have everything you need to keep your kid on course.
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In an article for Forbes, Rob Cook sets out why he believes more parents can't raise a Rory McIlroy. It's a thought provoking article and whilst i would challenge certain aspects of it I completely agree with his final sentence, "Does my child actually want to do this — for himself or herself, and not to make me happy?" What i believe as a parent is that all children are individual, are their own person not another Rory, Tiger or Annika and should be supported in whatever path they choose and at whatever speed they go along it. Yes lets look at what we can learn from the path Rory and his family followed and look on in owe at his talent and the way he conducts himself but he's Rory McIlroy and your son, daughter, grandson and grandaughter are individuals and not identikits.
"Why More Parents Can’t Raise a Rory McIlroy
Rob Cook, June 21st 2011
With 22-year-old Rory McIlroy finishing a record-setting romp through the U.S. Open on Father’s Day, attention naturally turned to his father, Gerry. Gerry McIlroy, seemingly unlike most fathers of prominent young athletes in individual sports, is notable because he’s not an obsessive, out-of-control nutball, a kind father straight out of a heartwarming Hollywood story.
Actually, that should be Holywood with one “l,” what with the Holywood course in Belfast playing such a prominent role in the life of the golfing McIlroys. It’s the course located near the public housing complex in which Gerry grew up, and where he learned to play on his way to becoming a scratch golfer, and where he parked little, diaper-pooping Rory in his stroller so the boy could hang with Dad while he hit practice balls. Also, it’s where Gerry McIlroy tended bar, one of the numerous jobs he held to support Rory’s budding golf career. Gerry McIlroy seems like the dream sports dad, one who imbued his child with the love of his favorite sport, and offered just the right mix of support and distance to help Rory on his way. As another Northern Ireland golf pro, Darren Clarke, put it in his U.S. Open blog for the Guardian in London:
Then there are Rory’s parents, Rosie and Gerry. They are the biggest reasons he is the way he is. They are such normal, down-to-earth and genuinely nice people. They have sacrificed a lot for their son – as most parents of pro golfers have – and I know he is very appreciative of that.
Certainly, Gerry McIlroy is no Marc O’Hair, father of golf pro Sean O’Hair, who made young Sean run one mile for every shot over par, who sold his shutter business for $2.75 million to finance Sean’s career, and who twice made his son (as a minor) sign contracts turning over 10 percent of any future earnings to dear ol’ Dad. “I told him, `I can’t blow this kind of money without a return,” O’Hair told GolfWorld in January 2005. “When you make it, there has to be payback someday.’” (As it turned out, Sean fled from dad, returning him neither money nor love.)
So before the inevitable book comes out on Sports Parenting the Gerry McIlroy Way, let me save you a future $20. Here are three big reasons why Gerry McIlroy’s sports parenting worked:
1. His child happened to like the sport Dad wanted him to play.
The biggest mistake I see sports parents make is that they love a certain sport, and they’ve always dreamed their child would play it. I love basketball, which is natural, given I grew up in Indiana. I love to play it. I love to watch it. I’ve loved coaching my kid’s teams. Out of four kids, the number of basketball players I have so far: zero. Collectively, they love boxing, horseback riding, softball, bowling, dodgeball, chess and other activities that have less to do with competitive sports than chess. But despite buying them little hoops, having a big hoop in the backyard, and coaching their teams, my kids haven’t stuck with the sport. It just so happens that Gerry McIlroy was very fortunate that Rory genuinely loved the sport of golf, and wasn’t playing it merely to please his pop.
2. The McIlroys have only one child.
It can be either a blessing or a curse for parents to have only one child to hold all their hopes and dreams. But it’s a blessing in this way: the McIlroys, unlike myself, didn’t have to worry about how to get their oldest son to boxing, their oldest daughter to softball, their youngest son to bowling, and their youngest daughter to her softball game, with all events going on at the same time at four different venues, often before Mom and Dad were home from work. The McIlroys didn’t have to worry about siblings jealous because of all the work attention paid to Rory. They worked very hard to get the considerable amount of money needed to foster Rory’s career — but none of that money had to go to any other child. Certainly, plenty of kids with brothers and sisters become pro players. But in the McIlroys’ case, the task was less complicated without other children to worry about.
(I’ll add that I don’t know why the McIlroys only had one child. I don’t believe it was to create a golfing machine, and lord knows there are plenty of families who have only one child because of physical complications that prevent the conception of any other children. I don’t mean this point as a value judgment on the McIlroys. It’s merely to point out that things get more complicated with more kids.)
3. Gerry McIlroy knows when to back off.
“The great thing about Gerry is that he always steps away and lets Rory get on with it,” said Karl MacGinty, a reporter for The Irish Independent, to the New York Times. “It’s actually an impressive feature in the man, with so many golf parents famously trying to seek publicity.”
Unlike many sports parents at all levels, Gerry is smart enough to know what he knows, and what he doesn’t know. As a pretty good golfer himself, Gerry had every right to serve as Rory’s coach and mentor. He certainly knows more about golf than I know about basketball. Yet, Gerry concluded his son needed the teaching help of an actual golf pro once Rory’s talent exceeded what Gerry thought he could teach the boy. That happened, by the way, at age 4, when Gerry sought out the help of then-Holywood pro Michael Bannon, who is still Rory’s coach and mentor. Gerry continued to caddy for his son, but backed off at age 17, not long before Rory turned pro. At the U.S. Open, Gerry was in the crowd, but was quiet. No words of encouragement — and more importantly, no words of advice.
What Gerry remembers, and a lot of sports parents forget, is that you’re a dad before you’re a sports dad. In terms of dedicating his work life to financing Rory, Gerry could seem like an obsessive. But given his demeanor, and that his son seems actually to like him, Gerry’s work raising Rory was about supporting his child in what the child wanted to do — not in what Dad wanted to do.
Sports parents, it may already be too late to adhere to point No. 2 in the McIlroy Way. (Please, don’t put up your other children for adoption or rent.) But before you shell out big bucks for those lessons or leagues in the sport you love, the answer to one question should tell you whether you’re wasting your money, or whether you’re Gerry McIlroy: Does my child actually want to do this — for himself or herself, and not to make me happy?"
Author: Simon Jackson