Realistic Goals for Spring

Tom Velarde
Golf Professional
Black Mesa Golf Club
La Mesilla, AZ

More Information

It’s almost time to gear up for spring for those of us in the northern climates, and with that comes the “hope springs eternal” goals for the new season.

I for one like to set some realistic goals for myself, qualify for the US Open, set the course record the first two rounds and go on to break the scoring record in the Open, all while keeping my new granddaughter happy. Well, I know I can accomplish one task.

If you have a new grandchild, you may want to introduce them to golf and if you do here are some good words of advice.

Be prepared to have the best round of your life go unnoticed! My granddaughter does not care if my drive went 320 or 20 yards, she is just happy to pretend she is driving the cart. If you’re one of those who allows your very young companion to drive the cart or sit in your lap and drive, think about this. When you have to take control of the cart it is always because your experience indicates that you could be in some type of danger. If not, you could let the cart just roam free without guidance. The young child could get an arm stuck in the steering wheel when you’re turning it and either you get into a crash or the child gets their arm hurt. Both options are not good.

Grandchildren are one of the best joys of being a senior member of our society and we never want any harm to befall them, so try this when you want to take them to the golf course.

•  Children love the putting green and with small children use those large SNAG clubs, (these are light, oversized club heads and very colorful). The best experiences for children are with SNAG equipment and backyards with dogs that love to chase balls. Young children can have endless fun making the family dog fetch the ball. SNAG equipment also uses tennis balls for young children, making it easier to make contact.

•  If you want to take your young child out on the course, choose times that the course has light traffic. Contact the golf shop and ask what times they would recommend you bring out a child. As a young child will most likely not make 18 holes, save some cash and do not pay for peak time use. Once again, ask the golf shop if they have any special pricing for non peak use.

•  Bring snacks that are healthy, sliced apples, oranges and carrot sticks are much better than candy, but I have to admit that a Butterfinger should be one of the main food groups.  Everything in moderation as a sugar rush in a three year old is something to behold. As my granddaughter warns me, “I’m going to be horrible”…I do not know where she learned this but thank God she issues the warning. Her other one is, “I have a plan”…while I have not seen the outcome of this statement, I am trying to implement it to my golf game.

•  The child will tell you when it’s time to go, usual warning signs are you noticing that you only have one club in your bag, you have no golf balls, your cell phone is lost along with your keys and wallet. Children are always giving us these signs…we as adults have to listen.

•  And last but not least, when the child hits a great shot, encouragement does not mean immediately assuming that you have the next great prodigy on your hands. Encouragement is being excited about the fun the child is having playing our great game.

Engage the local professional for help, all professionals will offer some type of junior programs. Ask your professional for information. All professionals also recall the times when they were young and the special meaning they got when talking to the pro, so introduce your young child to your local professional, you may be surprised at the outcome.

Tom Velarde is the Director of Golf at Black Mesa Golf Club in Espanola, New Mexico,
just northwest of Santa Fe. For more information or to reach Tom, email