Big Play Twelve-year-old Michelle Wie made history at the LPGA's Takefuji Classic and continued an unprecedented youth movement

March 11, 2002

Last week everyone was agog over Michelle Wie, the Hawaiian who
became the youngest golfer to play her way into an LPGA
tournament through qualifying, but I didn't understand all the
fuss. The game has gotten so young that Sergio Garcia qualifies
as an elder statesman. Wie is just the latest (pre)teenybopper
who's exceptionally fit and big for her age (5'10" and 150
pounds), and has enjoyed years of topflight coaching. Inspired by
the success of her peers, she is also utterly fearless.

'N SYNC The two most impressive things about Wie, who shot a
six-over 146 to miss the cut by three strokes, are her
preternatural maturity and her fabulous swing fundamentals. Her
grip, posture and nice, wide base with her feet are ideal. This
allows for a big shoulder turn, a superwide swing arc (above) and
terrific balance. All of this results in tremendous clubhead
speed and length.

PHAT FACTOR Golf used to be for sissies and kids who couldn't
play "real sports." No more. Now golf is cool and attracts
athletes who in the past might have gravitated toward other
sports. My two sons--Stephen, 11, and Sean, 9--recently told me
they're quitting Little League to focus on golf, and I can't say
I was the least bit surprised.

ALL OR NOTHING Kids in this era of fast food and MTV have far
less patience than their elders did, and on the course this
antsiness yields lower scores. I was taught to play defensively
and that par was a good score, but I advise juniors to think
birdie. This aggressiveness can lead to wild swings, but I'd
rather see a kid shoot 68-81 than 74-75. Experience and swing
guidance can fix the flaws that cause rippers to make big
numbers, but it's all but impossible to teach conservative
thinkers to go low.

Steve Bosdosh is the director of instruction at Four Streams Golf
Club in Beallsville, Md., and one of Golf Magazine's top 100
teachers.

FOUR COLOR PHOTOS: COURTESY OF THE GOLF CHANNEL COLOR PHOTO: COURTESY OF STEVE BOSDOSH

THE TIP

My wife, Debbie (a 12 handicapper), and I have four golf-crazy
children--the two boys, plus Stacey, 13, and Stephanie, 6. (That's
Sean in my lap, with Debbie and Stephanie to my right.) Here are
five ways to make the game enjoyable for your kids.

1. Provide nongolf activities on the course. We bring snacks,
dolls, sketchbooks and Magic Markers to have something for them
to play with when they get bored. This makes every golf outing
fun, even if there's very little golf involved.

2. Never stop kids from running into sand traps. It's an ideal
opportunity to teach them how to rake bunkers.

3. Be a parent, not an instructor. You're there to make sure your
children have fun. Hire a kid-friendly teacher to instill the
fundamentals.

4. Play games. We offer ice cream for made putts and candy bars
for chipping over a bunker. If we arrive at a water hazard, we
pull out old balls and offer bubblegum to the kid who makes the
biggest splash.

5. Bring the video camera. Kids always love seeing themselves on
tape, and the video is also a great instructional tool.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)