In March 2015 my wife and I welcomed Simon Alexander Bruce to the world. I have been lucky (very lucky) in that I have been able to maintain some resemblance of a golf game since his birth. Unfortunately, my wife who was also an avid golfer was unable to get in any games last year, but with a new golf season upon us and Simon 14 months old, the time was right to see if we could facilitate a 9 hole round of golf as a family.
I am happy to say that we have now played 3 successful 9 holes rounds with Simon, here is how we did it.
First off, you require a willing golf course. We are lucky to have a long standing relationship with management at the course I am a member at and so far they haven’t raised any issues with it. I do know that from an insurance point of view many courses are not that keen to have non playing individuals on the course, but so far so good for us. In order to mitigate any potential issues, Simon is confined to his stroller from the first tee to the 9th green.
Second, you need a willing child. At 14 months Simon is walking (running) and the biggest concern with a family outing of golf was his potential inability/unwillingness to sit in his stroller for 1.5 – 2 hours. The way we approached this was to play very early in the morning, right after he got up, this way he is still a bit drowsy and more of a willingly passenger. Additionally, very early in the morning also provides for a less busy course, which means less chance of any wayward shots coming close to us. With a tee time around 7am, we finish up around 9am, just in time for his morning nap, which he is ready for and takes in the car as we drive home.
As for strategies on the course, what has led to our success is near constant movement. The longer the stroller is stationary, the more chance the little one thinks its time to get out. This helps keep the round moving, but doesn’t allow much time on the green (since you want to keep the stroller off the greens) or looking for lost balls. With two people one of you can keep moving while the other putts and vice versa.
In addition to keeping the stroller moving, it is a good idea to give your son/daughter something to do, whether it is a toy or in Simon’s case a few golf balls, it keeps them distracted.
A few things for your consideration:
- You likely need a decent stroller to pull this off, at the very least you need a stroller with the larger, inflatable tires to handle the terrain.
- If your child is anything like ours, plan for him to spend a bit of time yelling during the round. Nothing like a few high pitched squeals in your back swing to test your nerves.
- People will want to talk to you or even take your picture. Apparently this is a rather novel thing to see on the golf course (I am not kidding).
- Be prepared to abandon round if need be. I wouldn’t be dropping much money on the round given that it may only last a hole or two depending on the child’s mood.
- You will spend a significant amount of time making sure your child is good, and less time thinking about your own game. This may actually help you play better.
I am looking forward to more early morning 9 hole rounds with the family this summer, and by next summer maybe he will be hitting a few balls himself! Anyone played with their infant/toddler before? How did it go? Any other tips?
See you at the turn,