The Drive Home: A Junior Golf Journey Through the Lens of the Parents
The parent/athlete relationship is complex, rewarding, terrifying and satisfying – all at the same time. Watching our kids compete can create amazing bonds, or it can risk damaging family relationships altogether. That line can be thin and a slippery slope if the journey is approached with mismatched goals, unrealistic expectations, and a mom or dad who ‘wants it’ more than the player does.
This book is a look at that dynamic in great detail through the lens of junior golf and our journey as a family. This is not a resource to teach you how to raise the most successful golfer – more so, it is about taking our advice as you start your journey so that you can avoid many of the mistakes that we made as parents and as a family. Golf is an amazing game that will teach us so much about life, adversity, overcoming, failing and succeeding, hurting and healing, winning and losing with grace – and we are all better off if we let it happen organically and enjoy the moments along the way.
Our hope is that in reading this book, you will be vulnerable enough to look in the mirror and see yourself in some of the pages and to ensure that above all else, you never lose sight of your athlete’s ‘why’. In addition, we invite you to take to heart the advice offered by the amazing collection of coaches, business leaders, and professional and college athletes as they provide insights through their unique lenses into the parent/athlete dynamic and how to avoid those car rides home in silence.
You are invited to take to heart the advice shared herein by 38 prominent coaches, mentors, business leaders, and college and professional athletes as they provide their answers to these two questions:
- How can parents most effectively support their child(ren) as a junior athlete(s)?
- What is one piece of advice you have for a junior athlete?
The list of those sharing advice includes Clemson University Head Coach Dabo Swinney, Dr. Mark Broadie (father of the Strokes Gained metric), Scott & Susan McNealy (parents of PGA Tour pro Maverick McNealy), renowned sports psychologist Dr. Matt Krug, famed women’s college golf coaches Jeanne Sutherland, Heather Brown, and Angie Ridgeway, Emmy Award winning Asia Mape who founded ILoveToWatchYouPlay.com, coach and author Renee Lopez, New York Times best-selling author Don Yaeger, co-founder of Operation 36 Ryan Dailey, highly respected Mental Coach & author Tami Matheny, NFL great and 1992 Heisman finalist Garrison Hearst, and more. The heartfelt, honest, and hard-hitting advice to both parents and juniors is priceless.
Life is crazy sometimes – well, most times – and if we pay attention, we will see that it deals up some pretty interesting stories. Case in point is October the 5th, 2014 at a youth golf tournament at Applewood Golf Course in Keysville, GA.
That was the first day the McKinneys ever met Miguel and Christine and their then 3 ½ year old son, Xeve Perez whose swing was so repeatable that it didn’t seem possible to come out of a young man so small. Britt and Mark captured the obligatory photo because they had a feeling that ‘this young man is something special’ and never crossed paths with the Perez family again.
Fast forward 8 years to 2022, and Xeve has since captivated the golfing world as the now 11-year-old phenom whose personality is larger than even his golf game – he is an old soul in a young body without a doubt. In parallel, Mark had met and developed a relationship with Keith Blakely and the team at OnCore through his work, and Ben, a now Junior in high school, was putting the Vero X1 in play in his junior tournaments. So, it was a welcome surprise when the news broke and the McKinneys saw that OnCore had developed the relationship with Xeve, Miguel and Christine.
It is not often that a golf ball & golf ball company can be the catalyst for a reunion of sorts and cause someone to frantically search external hard drives for the ‘photo that they know was taken and deeply hoping it has not been lost’ – but OnCore did just that. Mark & Britt have since reached out to Miguel and Christine to share the photo and reflect on how much has transpired since that day way back in 2014 and are looking forward to a real reunion soon, so a new photo can be taken – this one with an OnCore ball.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Mark and Britt have been married for 25 years and have walked the fairways of junior golf tournaments for roughly 10 of those. They are the proud parents to two children, Katie Britt and Ben, reside in the upstate of South Carolina, and are proud members of the roller-coaster community of golf parents.
Mark is a graduate of Clemson University, works in the software industry, and has a passion for storytelling, laughter, and anything golf. Mark authored his first book, Faith on a Sticky Note, in 2010.
Britt is a lifelong educator with a passion for teaching and writing. She describes herself as an avid golf mom who gladly gives up vacations to walk the grass fairways instead of sandy beaches. Britt graduated from Georgia Southern University and also holds degrees from Furman University and Augusta University.