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I am interested to hear from the serious players out there with families. Is it even possible to be serious about disc golf with a family? Does anyone have some good advice or stories ? FYI -- my bio picture is my wife and child. Cute, aren't they? :)

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Hello Jamie, the fact that you are asking this question shows that you have your head in the right place. In my case as long as I put my family first, then I always know that I can think about my game without distractions. For me, whenever I have a day at the course that is a little out of the ordinary, my first thought is my family and how they are doing. When I take care of the most important people in my life first, then everything else just seems to fall into place.

There has been a tournament or two where I left before the second round to comfort my pregnant wife and be with my 3 yr old son. Those times were some of the greatest sacrifices and decisions that I have made. From my experience, if you try and make others happy or help others to have an enjoyable experience, then you will have the same returned to you ten-fold. Love, respect, and self-sacificing are the defenitely the best attributes for a family man. My family appreciates it when I treat them with the utmost respect and then they respect me for the person I am, on or off the course!

Hopefully I helped. Just my .02!
What I did was involve my wife and kids in the game. I spent a lot of time patiently teaching my wife to throw, and made playing disc golf part of a date: 18 holes and a movie or 18 holes and dinner out or a tournament and dinner out. With my kids I did the same thing. I always focussed on making the game more fun for them than for me. When they were little, they got to tee off from whereever my drive landed. They'd get gummi bears if i didn't beat them on a hole with that handicap. When they were bigger, i helped them run a junior league and a junior tournament travel group. Now I'm likely to give my kid five or ten quarters and then say, "But we're playing a quarter a hole, same tees, straight up." If i take all the quarters back, I win. If i don't I still win. No matter who wins, there's a soft serve store on the way home if the loser had a good attitude.

I play as many rounds with my wife and kids as I do at tournaments or leagues, probably more. Disc golf is a family thing. Running tournaments is often a family reunion thing. My oldest is going off to college in the fall. Playing disc golf did not cause me to miss her childhood -- it caused me to be a bigger part of her childhood.
I like your reply Tracy.

A person doesn't get mulligans when it comes to raising a child or a good marriage.
I like what Bruce is saying when I started playing it was my out to get some well needed alone time. However now that the kids are older 5&7 they are both playing. It is now the major family event for all of us to enjoy. We play around the house and when we go out we always make it a day. Play 18 than hit the playground that will always make them happy. As far as serious tourney play. like Tracy says make sure all is well at home and their should be no reason to be able to get out and do your thing. Just don't put the game first. Family first and the rest is gravy. Get the family involved!
I found my balance by not playing on a regular basis right now. I got away with it for several years, but as the kids grew up, their activities grew as well, and my free time to play or even practice has been severely limited.
having a job, a band, golf, and a woman becomes difficult. scheduling seems to work out best for me. if i keep things set everyone stays happy. For a few months recently everything was tentative and the stress was enough to make me quit something. it was going to be the job i believe
I very much appreciate your approach. Involving family directly in the game. Gummi bears. Soft serve. Thanks for your input.
I don't want to make the live-in girlfriend a 'golf-widow' but she has no interest in taking up the game, or even accompanying me on a casual round. Fortunately, my rating proves I'm not that 'serious', just dedicated. She's training for a marathon and I can find some time for a round that doesn't take time away from us time but those chances aren't nearly as often as I'd like, and no one will improve with one round a week. I don't know that there is an answer to my dilemna, just an acceptable medium.

On the other hand, every single time I go throw instead of doing something like time with her, mowing the lawn, or whatever the next right thing may be, I end up having a terrible round and leaving early to take care of what I should have been doing first. So I guess my answer is, when I should be doing something else (ie- people obligations) my game lets me know.
Its all about balance. If your family is into disc golf like the Brakel clan thats great. If your spouse isn't into it but your kids are that's good too. You are having special time with the kids. If your spouse isn't a player and your kids have their own lives - like me- you have to strive for balance. When the kids are young that makes it very difficult. You can get a couple hours here and there to go throw and you can bring a few discs to the park while the kids run around. When the kids get older you can get more concentrated time every once in a while. My spouse is very understanding of my passion for the sport. However, the game and travel eat time. When I spend an entire day at a tournament and come home in the evening my understanding spouse can feel that she got gypped. I really can't blame her. Odds are that when you get time to yourself you come home refreshed and fullfilled and are a lot more fun to be around. With balance everybody wins.
My wife enjoys it sometimes, my son is as in love with the game as I am, and I am taking it pretty seriously this year and my wife is behind me 100%. I make time for everyone. If I don't get out to play, I spend the evening in the backyard when everyone goes to bed, either way, I play EVERY day.
Great question... While we Disc Golfers pretty much obsess over our sport, when we can play, etc - we still have to have priorities. I don't balance the two, my family comes first, and my DG time comes second. I squeeze in a few holes when I can, head to practice putting when I can, and about once a week get in a round by myself.

The "family" part of disc golf comes when you get your family out to play! Runner/trail strollers work like a champ (if your kids are a little bigger where they can handle a bumpy ride). Taking your kids out to let them run around, pick flowers, chase bugs - that's all part of the experience for my family. In Des Moines, around July, we begin caterpillar hunting for monarch caterpillars. Now THAT's fun... My kids have enjoyed the metamorphosis experience year after year.

I figure it's not about playing DG so much that I burn out, but keep enjoying what I enjoy for a long time to come. When I sell people plastic in my "play job", I push the family side of the sport, and continue to try to get people outdoors more as a family through DG. It's a healthy thing to do on many fronts.
One thing to add. When your spouse has an activity that makes her be herself, it works well for everyone. Those situations aren't always going to happen though, and that's where it can be stressful to balance. (-:

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