When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, people around the world were suddenly “grounded.” For adults this was difficult, but for kids – having no school, sports, or regular social opportunities… the shutdown was almost incomprehensible.
This was especially true for Bodie Ransom, a 14-year-old from California. As a year-round athlete, Bodie thrived on team interactions and being with friends. Bodie’s mom, Ashley Ransom, said the pandemic was especially hard for her son. “Since Bodie is extremely extroverted and suffers from ADHD, the shutdown was very difficult for him. In addition, my son’s school was virtual, so he was on a computer 8 hours a day, and all of his sports were cancelled.”
Ashley and Bodie take up golf to beat the pandemic blues.
Like many parents, Ashley looked for ways to make the situation better. When she heard the local driving range was open, she thought it might be the ticket. “I said to Bodie, ‘how about we go hit some balls?’”
Bodie was all in. But there was just one small problem – even though they were both lifelong athletes, neither Ashley nor Bodie had previously golfed.
Ashley explained, “I didn’t grow up golfing, even though my mother was a champion golfer. She was a member of two clubs and her trophies were all over the house. Her greatest disappointment was that I wasn’t a golfer.”
However, Ashley had an old set of her mom’s clubs and took them to the range with Bodie. A day or two later, Bodie asked to go back. This led to more and more return trips – Bodie was loving it.
The Magic Ticket.
When Ashley saw the positive impact golf had on Bodie, she bought him his own clubs. “My son, who had been going downhill mentally due to the pandemic, suddenly seemed lighter and happier. He got to be outside, and with friends, playing a sport which he had been missing. In fact, Bodie and two of his friends started playing together once a week. I called them the ‘Bunker Boys’ after a Scottish company with the same name. Golf saved Bodie.”
Mom and Son – Bonding Through Golf
Golf became something that Bodie and his mom could do together, even in the midst of the pandemic. “Bodie and I started playing together often. He loves it, and it’s made me love golf too. When we play, it’s a great opportunity for us to talk and spend time together. It’s not that often parents get 4-5 hours of uninterrupted time with their kid. We get that when we play together. And, Bodie’s a natural – we were about the same ability the first three months, but then he just took off.”
At first, Ashley and Bodie golfed at a course close to their home (Peacock Gap). Then Ashley started looking for new courses to play. When a family friend told Ashley about Youth on Course, the opportunities exploded. “I joined YOC for Bodie and we decided to find as many YOC courses as we could. We went to San Francisco and other courses near us… then I called the YOC office and asked for recommendations because we were going to Carmel. This is how our streak playing YOC courses began.”
Now Bodie just wants to golf all the time. And he’s incredibly happy. In addition to playing his home course at least 25 times and another nearby course at least 15, Bodie and his mom have been golfing their way around California, playing YOC courses. Ashley says, “Although Bodie is a kid who is very good at several sports, now all he wants to do is swing a club. Golf is the only sport he’s ever worked on outside of practice. He’s had about 5 lessons at this point. He’s a natural, but needs to be taught so he doesn’t develop bad habits.”
Adding team play and tournament play
Bodie joined the school golf team last spring and also started playing in tournaments. In his first tournament, he was the lowest scoring qualifier and ended up third in the tournament. His mom says he drives 250 or 270, down the middle of the fairway, and has even talked of playing professional golf. This is all after starting to play in May of 2020.
Handling the ups and downs that come with the game
As Bodie develops as a player he’s learning that every golfer has good and bad days. Bodie’s mom tries to help with the inevitable frustrations of the sport. “I tell Bodie that golfers have to be many different people all in the same day as they encounter different situations, and they need to take each day on the course as it comes and remember that every shot is a clean slate. That’s a challenge for even the least emotional person. I remind Bodie that if he gets upset on a hole, it’s okay, there’s a new hole waiting for you.”
For now, Bodie simply loves golf and will continue to play as much as he can. Also a baseball player, he’ll need to choose between golf or baseball in the spring. Regardless, he’s looking forward to tournament play and rounds with his mom and friends. But the best part of Bodie’s golf story isn’t when or where he’ll play, but the impact golf has had on his life. As Ashley says, “The best part of Bodie’s success is that he’s just so happy now, and he’s so happy when he’s playing. In light of everything that happened with the pandemic – golf truly saved Bodie.”