You might be wondering – why 11 reasons? I could tell you there is an extremely complex algorithm I used to determine that 11 was the perfect number, but to be honest it was much simpler. I had a list of 10 and as I was starting to write this post, I thought of another one!
Here we go – top 11 reasons I love Jr. Golf Trips – in no particular order……
1. Room Stays – during my jr golf travels we have stayed in resort rooms and cheap hotel rooms, but from my perspective, they are all the same. This item makes my list because of what happens when the entire family is sharing a room. Sure, there can be disagreements in the tight quarters, but what I remember are the laughs. The four of us all trying to go to sleep at the same time – someone makes a smart comment or starts snoring – I have laughed so hard I cried several times just trying to go the sleep with the fam!
2. Birdies & Eagles – of course – there is nothing more exciting than when your kid drops a birdie putt or makes an eagle – they can feel very rare sometimes, but I enjoy all of them. Regardless if your junior golfer likes to play it cool (my older son) or likes to give the Tiger fist pump (my younger son), I love to see the look of satisfaction on their face when the putt or chip drops.
3. Food – let me be clear, I am not talking about healthy food. If you are trying to lose weight or watch your figure, I would avoid jr. golf trips! As you travel you have the opportunity to try new things. Our approach – use Yelp and look for a local spot that has 4+ stars and give it a try.
4. Crazy Parents – I don’t necessarily mean this in a bad way – you get the chance to interact with families from all over the country and the world – you get to see different relationships and different dynamics. It can be very interesting and you may even find something you might try with your jr golfer. Yes, you will also run into some psycho parents, but I don’t think that is unique to golf.
5. Tee Gifts – there is just something about tee gifts – it feels like a prize just for showing up – of course, you paid for it (and probably a lot), but that isn’t the point. We typically do a tee gift assessment at every event – do we like it? what is the value? is it something we will actually use? How many golf umbrellas does one family need? etc.
6. Miracle Pars – they are often better than birdies – it is the true golf redemption story – you hit several bad shots, but somehow save par! Feels great walking to the next tee. The one that sticks in my mind. My older son was playing a par 4 and hooked his drive in the woods next to some tree roots. Sadness. He whiffed a shot. Then hit a shot off the tree back into the fairway. Then he made an 8-iron par. Sweetness.
7. The Chance to Caddie – it can be hard to caddie for a parent and many tournaments don’t allow it, but I still love the challenge. I love being inside the ropes with my son – trying to help – trying not to say the wrong thing – trying to help them navigate the tournament round. Oh yeah and we love to have conversations/arguments about who is the better caddie (me or my wife). She knows nothing about golf, but is always positive and has lots of snacks – hard to compete with positivity and food!
8. College Coach Outfits – this is a small one, but it always makes me laugh – college coaches show up to recruit dressed like a Ryder cup player from the 90s. Yes – we know you are from Clemson, you didn’t need the orange shoes, orange socks, Clemson shirt, orange hat, and Clemson belt :).
9. New Courses – junior golf can take you to courses all over the country – many, you wouldn’t get a chance to see if it wasn’t for the tournament. As an avid golfer, I love getting the chance to see new courses.
10. Car Rides – yes, junior golf trips come with a lot of driving and plenty of time in the van. There is nowhere else you can convince your kids to play silly games – we try to find license plates, play a spelling game called “GHOST”, and even made up a game we call “categories”. One challenge in the car – if I mention is it time for the meal, I get to hear my oldest son say “Siri, fast food restaurants near me” about 100 times!
11. Resorts – So – you play golf on golf courses and many golf courses are part of resorts, so you end up spending time in some pretty sweet spots. A nice drink by the pool can help when a round doesn’t go the way your child was hoping. We have traveled to several spots that I look forward to revisiting once my career as a jr. golf parent is over.
About the author
Mike Harris is a former college golfer and dedicated father of two talented junior golfers. With a passion for the sport that began in his own childhood, Mike now focuses on helping his children, Avery and Olivia, navigate the world of junior golf. He’s eager to share tips, advice, and insights with other families on their own golf journeys. Join Mike as he tees off into the exciting realm of junior golf, providing guidance to parents and kids alike.