We teach about 75 – 100 kids every summer the great game of golf. Since they are our little toads, we call it our Tadpole Junior Golf program. We try our best to be clever and possibly a little corny, too. It’s a curse and a blessing! Needless to say, we start the kids young. As in, 5 years old kind of young, which is really unusual in the golf world. It is our goal to get them addicted to golf at a young age, so that we help to turn them into the next Tiger Woods and help their parents to retire early. Tiger minus all the women and affairs part, that is.
When you have a bunch of five through eight year olds and often their younger siblings on the golf course, you can only hold their attention for so long and then it stops. In order to keep their interests peaked at the golf course, we have something fun that we do with them after each lesson. We have putting contests, a water balloon toss, a long drive contest and more. When we first started doing the long drive contest, we used real golf balls and I stood in the middle of the driving range and made the assumption that they were eight years old and surely their ball speed wouldn’t hurt too badly if I did, in fact, get hit by one of their long, ahem, drives.
Then, I went to a golf conference and I overheard someone mentioning the idea of using marshmallows for their long drive contest. That was all I needed to hear. Brilliant.
My first stab at a marshmallow contest happened last year. The kids decorated their marshmallows and we hit them and then I left them on the driving range tee and our ball picker hated me for several weeks because they were a gooey mess and made the other range balls get stuck in the ball picker. I aim to keep a happy work environment. “It was for the kids!” I kept saying as he scraped the melted marshmallows from the ball machine.
This year, we got bigger marshmallows and I put someone else in charge. Who said I don’t learn from my mistakes? I had my helper just write each kid’s name on his/her marshmallow.
Here’s Lance with all the kids. They needed to spread out along the driving range.
As with all things that are fun in golf, Lance taught them the art of talking smack and had them raise their hand if they thought they would be the winner. Me! Me! I’m going to hit it the farthest!
FIRE! The Marshmallows started flying!
Lance spotted the marshmallow that had gone the farthest and picked it up to declare the winner!
He declared the winner who received a free round of golf at the miniature golf course. Victory at its finest.
Then Lance did something that made my ball picker very happy. He had all of the kids pick up their marshmallows. He’s a smart fellow, that Lance. When the kids asked if they could eat the marshmallows that had been hit, written on with a marker and had ants crawling on them, he did his second smart thing for the evening. He told the kids to ask their parents.
Yep. Those contests make each night fun and exciting! How about you? Have you ever eaten a marshmallow covered in grass and ants? It probably adds some protein giving the marshmallow some nutritional value.