Life can be stressful. This is obviously not a newsflash. Adults are faced with a multitude of stressors every day. Adults raising kids have an added layer of stress as they work to raise healthy and happy kids in a day and age when life for kids is more stressful than ever. Besides the normal growing pains, kids encounter pressures from school, friends, family, and society. And let’s face it, the pandemic hasn’t helped matters. Because stress can affect physical, mental, and emotional health, it’s crucial for both adults and kids to develop positive strategies to deal with it. Golf is a great example of a sport and a positive de-stressor that adults and kids can enjoy for a lifetime.
Not only does golf help relieve the physical feelings of stress, but golf can also help enhance one’s attitude and outlook. YOC parents can attest to this, as 85% of YOC parents say that Youth on Course is positively impacting their child’s life, and 73% of parents say that golf is helping their child manage their emotions both on and off the golf course. Golf is an activity that gets kids outside, active, and introduced to new people and ideas. All of these things help our kids feel better. And we all know that when we feel better, we do better.
In fact, golf checks off many of the recommended activities for stress reduction. According to the American Psychological Association, children and teens can deal with stress through proper sleep, exercising, talking out problems, making time for fun and quiet, going outside, writing about feelings, and learning mindfulness. Except for sleeping and journaling, many of these techniques can be done on the golf course.
Exercise. Nothing beats the adrenaline rush of hitting a drive straight down the fairway, or pounding through a bucket of balls at the driving range. Playing 9 or 18 holes not only gives one a chance to get hours of exercise and perhaps a long walk but also serves as an escape from “regular” life.
Fresh Air. What’s better than a sunny 75-degree day, or a crisp fall day on the course? Golf offers kids the chance to be outside and in nature, breathing in fresh air and enjoying the scenery. When kids are outside, they’re away from their devices, giving their eyes and bodies a break from screen time. Who doesn’t feel better after spending a few hours outside?
Talking out problems. A round of golf can be extremely therapeutic. Many players find it easier to talk about ideas and feelings out on the course. Kids golfing together can bring up common problems – whether it’s about their golf games or issues in their lives. In addition, parents find that perhaps the best secret of golf is that it offers them a chance to really talk with their kids – on the drive to and from the course, as well as during the round. This is precious, uninterrupted time between parent and child, offering countless openings for conversation and shared moments.
Making time for fun and quiet. What an amazing combination – hours of fun and peaceful quiet at the same time. Golf offers the perfect mix of entertainment and sport, in the solitude of beautiful, quiet surroundings. Golf is time away from technology and distractions. Without the noise of life, kids can focus on their game and simply be. The solitude of nature, combined with the challenge and fun of golf help us all keep cortisol levels in check.
Learning mindfulness. Meditating and practicing mindfulness techniques are great ways to deal with stress, but not always realistic for kids or teens. However, golf is all about mindfulness, as golf asks us to take things slowly and thoughtfully. When golfers focus intently on their games – putting, driving, swinging, etc. – they’re learning skills to be more mindful on the course, and in life. Kids learn mindfulness without even realizing it.
The reality is that stress will always be a factor in our lives. But, by building a tool kit of techniques to deal with stress, both kids and adults can find relief. Golf is one of those techniques, and YOC members do notice the positive impact golf has had on their lives, helping them feel better all around.
The lesson for all of us? Since we know stress isn’t going to disappear, perhaps the secret to beating it can be found in our golf bags. Grab yours, head to the course, and appreciate everything this beautiful game has to offer!