Remember the Guitars?Now, What About Golf for A Christmas Gift?

cupofkindnessSeptember 18, 2006

Last year about this time I posted a question about purchasing guitars for my two teenage boys (now 13 and 15) as Christmas gifts and giving them lessons. I received a lot of encouraging responses and I'm happy to report that each of them thoroughly enjoys their guitars, practice just about every day, and take lessons from an older man who they consider to be very cool.

Turning my thoughts to this Christmas, although I'm under a lot of pressure to buy the up and coming NIntendo video gaming system Wii, I'd rather give my sons something like the guitar: something that adds another skill to their life, something that really makes them a better person.

Like on the other thread about teenaged boys, it is hard to find a balance with how they spend their time. Of course, I do not to allow my sons to plop down with their Game Boys for unlimited hours a day; they certainly would do so if they could. They seem to never tire of the Game Boy. But if they finish their homework and chores, and if their grades are good, then they are free to play until bedtime. My sons do well in school and I recognize that they need down time.

But back to golf. My sons have never been more than average athletes in the usual childhood sports: soccer, baseball, and basketball. We never made it to football. Both have asthma and coupled with intensely hot Texas summers, outdoor sports like soccer usually make us miserable. My high school son does fencing four times a week (we are taking about a fairly intense workout), but he isn't very competitive about it and his school's fencing team is rather small, so it isn't as consuming as other high profile sports like football or basketball. My 8th grade son plays "B" level basketball. That's his sport and he could take it or leave it, it's a social thing as much as a physical thing for him.

In terms of their futures, I think that learning golf would serve them well in life: in their careers and as a sport that they could pursue recreationally. Golf seems learnable and enjoyable. As a family, we don't follow ANY sport, let alone golf, so this is rather out of the blue. I'd love my husband to do this with my sons. We view Boy Scouts as a father/son activity, but it's less about their relationship and more about the troop, so golf would be a little different. My husband could also use the exercise.

Do any of you have golfers in your life. Is this something that teenage boys will want to do? What would you recommend to get them started? What sort of clubs should I buy, if any? Or is this just a stupid idea and I should get the Nintendo instead!

Thanks in advance for your replies.


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DS plays- his buddies play and there is not a lot of trouble anyone can get into on a golf course!

Of course I say that- borrowing DH's scuba gear and diving for golf balls in the lakes, upending a golf cart on a steep path and trying to tee off with an arm in a cast and heaving the driver through a clubhouse window come to mind, but nothing bad...

DS plays with his dad, with his friends and loves being outside, (usually) walking and just hanging with the guys. They play at night with glow-in-the-dark balls!

DH is a good golfer- it has opened many doors for him in business. He is very competitive but golf is a great stress reliever. I can tell when he's played by his step when he comes through the door.

DD2 plays, too- loves to hit with her daddy. I think introducing your sons (and daughters!) to golf is a great idea. Other posters can help with the clubs, equipment, etc., but remember that the game is time-consuming and the distance to an accessible course is to be factored in as well. We are fortunate to be within walking distance.

You know what they say- a bad day on the golf course beats a good day at work!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 1:18PM
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Hi there, Cup! Good to see you again! I'm puzzled by one thing you said: you mentioned that the boys have asthma and outdoor sports make them miserable. So why, then, consider golf, which would involve lots of exposure to grass, trees, pollen, insects, etc? Maybe something like tennis, which is often played on a solid surface or indoors, might be better for them. And it's also a sport that can be played with friends, family, and business colleagues and at all levels of ability. Just a thought. It's great that you want to do so much to foster lasting interests and abilities.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 2:49PM
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How about fishing rods and gear? it doesn't even have to be bass gear-- flyfishing equipment and lessons in how to use it would work just as well.

(you KNEW that was coming, right?)

Seriously, the favorite times in my life as far back as I can remember have always involved a rod and reel. Of course all kids are different, and golf can be just as much of a good infuence in their lives.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 9:15PM
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Good questions! About the asthma, it's seasonal when the live oaks pollinate in the spring, so soccer and bseball are affected. March is the worse month. Heavy exercise makes it worse somehow. But fall and winter are fine for them to be outdoors. Of course, all of us hate to be outdoors in the summer unless there is a pool nearby. Tennis is wonderful, in the past I have thought of lessons for the boys. They have cheapy raquets and love to hit the ball against the house.... thanks for reminding me about tennis. That's something to consider as well. Plus, there are more courts available than golf courses and most of the courts are free. Plus it's a fun thing to do with a date.

Bill, a rod and a reel plus a large body of water sounds incredible. I guess that it seems so unattainable. Although my oldest son loves to sail and canoe (thanks to Boy Scouts), I hadn't thought of fishing. But anything that takes your mind of the demands of daily life would be such a good thing. You're fortunate to have found and stayed with something so good for your soul. What is it about fishing that makes it so wonderful?

Pecan: I wish we had a golf course in walking distance. Geeze Louise, I hadn't even thought of the nearest course. The only one within five miles of our house is a country club golf course. We drive by it several times a day, but the dues/fees are probably beyond our means at this point. Maybe this isn't the season of our life for golf. I guess I need to rethink this. Perhaps I'll just get the boys electric guitars...

If this is going to work, it needs to be easy, in the sense that it has to fall in place without too much effort to maintain the initial momentum. That's why guitar worked so well, because it just fit right into our demanding schedule. Traveling to play golf means that golf might never happen. Maybe a trampoline?

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 10:38PM
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Tennis might be a good alternative. Usually not too hard to find a public court for free - they'd even have each other to play with. We have some friends whose twin sons took up tennis as something to do when it wasn't swimming season. In our obesity prone society, I think it's wonderful to be thinking about something you can inspire them to do that is a means of exercise. Tennis would be great and walking a golf course carrying your clubs is too. I think you should keep thinking along those lines. They are activities you can enjoy all your life - DH has two uncles in their 70's who both still play golf and tennis - probably no coincidence they're fit, trim and healthy.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 11:33PM
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Being active in your spare time is better than sitting in front of a screen. Sports like golf or tennis that can be continued into adulthood are good ones to start. Other choices might be to give inline skates or park equipment like a frizby, volleyball or a competitive style kite. The last is something I purchased a few years ago for my son, now 25. He still uses it.

If you do decide to go the golf route, get a series of lessons, with rental clubs included, before you invest in clubs for a sport they may not enjoy.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 7:19AM
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What is it about fishing that makes it so wonderful?

I bet I could write a book (literally-- no pun intended) on this one question. When I'm on the water, every emotion comes into play--

The anticipation of the day when I'm leaving the boat ramp-- will it be a nice day? Will I be able to pattern the fish and catch "the big one"?

Sitting there with a few dozen other boats, waiting for "blast off", the adrenaline building up, and then your number comes up, and the throttle stick gets jammed forward. In an instant, you're going across the lake at 60 miles an hour. It's the closest thing to flying that there is! At the same time, looking around at your surroundings, just enjoying the absolute beauty of it all, feeling the warmth of the morning sun, thanking God that you're alive to appreciate this!!

Once you get to your "spot", (and this includes fishing from shore, as well) there's the aniticpation of the bite-- a complete paradox of feelings-- you're waiting for that first "tap tap tap" on the end of your line signaling that age old instinctive battle of life, but at the same time it's a very calm, peaceful time, when it's easy to get lost in yourself-- almost like a focused meditation.

Then there's the hit, and the battle's on-- you've got a milliion things going thru your mind, all focused on that fish at the other end-- Is the knot on the lure going to hold? I hope the line isn't too chaffed? Will he measure? Is it a "PIG"?

Then, depending on whether YOU win, or the FISH wins, it's either complete elation, or frustration, and either way, it's time to do it all over again. Also, either way, you feel a very special connection with nature that's indescribeable.

There's also times when God sends you very special gifts, that have nothing to do with fishing. Things like a beautiful sunrise over the water, as the mist is rising in the new light. Or the time a couple of ducklings decided they wanted to follow me for a couple of hours. Or the best one-- as I was silently going along the edge of the lake one morning on the trolling motor, I came around a point, and there was a doe and her fawn taking a morning drink, and as I came around the point, the doe picked her head up completely startled and I'm sure, wondering how the heck I could have snuck up on them so quietly! but the best part was that once she realised there was nothing to fear from me, she and her fawn went back to their "breakfast", as though I wasn't even there. An absolutely beautiful sight.

This is only beginning to touch on what I love about fishing, and why it's very literally what I live for.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 8:27AM
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You might want to call up your local golf course and get information. It can get pretty expensive. They might have a family membership where if your DH joins the boys can golf with him for nothing (not during prime times) or for a reduced "guest" fee. Most places around here charge $60+ per round. The guys I knew that golf often played with their high school, so it was a cheap way to learn. Driving ranges are a fun, cheap way to start.

Personally, walking around in the sun trying to hit a little ball into a little hole is my idea of hell. DH loves it, but he doesn't get to go much anymore. I agree with Bill - give me a fishing rod!

I'm the wrong person to ask about Nintendo, Game Boys, etc. I think they should all be gathered up and run over by a dozer.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 1:45PM
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Second that dozer idea, Sue.

I had a chance to talk to DS about what he liked most about his favorite pasttimes (golf and fishing) and his answer surprised me. He said they gave him time to think. We do runrunrun and perhaps the contemplative nature of these sports appeals to an inner need.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 1:53PM
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I'm laughing at your post. When I'm in a bad mood (because someone hasn't done his chores and I find him on a Game Boy) I often tell my sons that I would love nothing better than to smash their Nintendo stuff with a sledge hammer. The creators and engineers/programmers/artists have developed an insidiously addictive pastime with these devices. My boys get completely lost in gameplay: loss track of time and are generally less friendly after they are finished.

I'm not sure that golf is the answer for us at this point due to the logistics. But tennis is sounding very good. High school tennis is very competitive, but maybe we can do lessons at the rec center.

Bill, your description of fishing sounds like the perfect cure for whatever ails anyone. I'm with Sue, give me the vast outdoors and solitude and time to just reflect on life. Plus, speeding in a boat sounds really cool too. I wish we lived a less urban lifestyle, because even fishing on the near-by man-made lakes is nothing short of a major event for our large family.

Any other ideas for creative, mind-stretching gifts (but not "educational" as my oldest son tells me)? Thanks again!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 2:01PM
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What about Karate or Tae Kwon Do (spelling?) lessons? Or does that not count as a gift? Do they have sailing where you are? Sailing lessons might be a fun gift. I know I've always wanted to learn! It is a little athletic, and very adventurous.

In addition to tennis, what about squash or racquetball?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 4:34PM
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Welcome to the world of "it just gets harder trying to find a gift for a teenage boy" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I used to rack my brain for something creative and wonderful . . . something "quality" . . .
It took me some time but I finally got it through my head, that DS just wanted money !! I always am coming up with creative ways to give money as a gift . . .
Clues around the house so he had to "hunt" the money down, taping bills together to make a really long money roll . . . . (he hated this, by the way . . . too much work to untape them !!! ) . . . Just this past year, for his 18th, we gave him cash, and I went to the bank, getting it all in crisp new 20's, so it was a really nice stack of money, and the next day, he went right back to the bank, and deposited it !!!!!!!!!! So, I am definitely finding out that it's not HOW it's presented . . but that it's just there !!!!! All my creativity is for naught, but hopefully, someday, he'll remember all the goofy things I did to try to disguise money as a gift !!!!!

Money is not the answer for every kid, granted, but for my son it really works. He's invested in the stock market, and did fairly well, enough so that he had more $$$ to put into his truck. He's also bought lots of tools and woodworking equipment . . . doesn't have quite the workshop of Norm Abrams on New Yankee Workshop, but he can dream. Woodworking, constructing, etc. is his passion, . .and has been for YEARS . . . but maybe that's something you could consider . . . getting your boys something along those lines . . .
When DS was working on his Eagle project, and had friends helping him . . none of them had worked with wood, etc. before to any degree, but really enjoyed it . . . One of his friends even went out and got some tools so he could start working on projects . . .

Well, anyway . . . good luck with it all . . .
I must say that I am so impressed that you are actually actively thinking Christmas at this point !!!! And the key word there is ACTIVELY !!! I'm thinking about it, but not doing a thing about it at this point !!!!!!!


    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 10:00AM
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