Zack (13) and Jake McDonald (11) (both pictured right), active Youth on Course members, have been to numerous Youth on Course Clinics and Play Days. We checked in with their dad, Todd, to learn why the days have been so beneficial to his kids.

How did Zachary and Jacob become interested in golf?  How can golf be an important tool in life for them?

Zack and Jake became interested in golf years ago. Jake took a mini course through the city when he was about four years old. He really enjoyed it and the instructor thought he would excel if he had instruction. Zack became interested after watching his brother and I. Zack was always in team sports but found he enjoyed the personal growth he could achieve through golf. I have been a golfer his entire life and was hoping the boys would become interested in the game. Golf is also a great way to spend time with the boys for several hours, uninterrupted by electronics or other distractions. Learning to “check out” from life’s distractions is a skill most people do not enjoy anymore.

What impact have the On the Road clinics and play days had on Jacob and Zack?

There are a lot of benefits to the clinics. They get some instruction from a pro, meet other kids who are interested in the sport and have a great time enjoying a round of golf. We find that after a clinic, they often remember some of the lessons learned and apply them to their game. We also enjoy that they’ve made a few friends through the clinics and have stayed in contact with them.

How do you use golf as a teaching tool? 

Golf is a great teaching tool. We are homeschoolers, so we use it as one of our PE activites. The skills required for golf have such great life lessons, such as patience and physical endurance (we ALWAYS make them walk!). The game of golf is like life in that you have to endure some challenges in order to reap the benefits. It doesn’t just “happen” for you. You don’t typically find the pro golfer who ended up winning The Masters because he was “lucky.”

There are many choices for physical activity to fulfill the kid’s physical education needs.  What advantages does golf have, and why did you choose golf over other options?

We chose golf, at first, because I enjoy the sport. It was an easy way to fulfill the PE requirement and give mom a break from the teaching aspect.  We found that, because golf parallels life in so many ways, that not only were we fulfilling the PE requirement, but we also found that these other lessons were being taught as well.  Zack (pictured), in particular, is very competitive. We wanted to use his competitive nature to encourage him to set goals and find success. In a team sport, you can find success as a group, even if you don’t always try your best. With golf, it is all about your own skills and determination. You can’t ride on the skills of others and, if you slack, it is obvious to everyone. Jake has always enjoyed personal sports as opposed to team. He likes setting his own goals and knowing it was his determination that helped his success. Golf was a perfect match for him.

The next Youth on Course clinic will take place Oct. 13 in Solana Beach. Click here for more information.