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Let Them Be Kids

18 holes with Tina Mickelson


Tim, Phil Sr., Phil Jr., and Tina MickelsonTim, Phil Sr., Phil Jr., and Tina Mickelson

Golf season is in full swing, and that alone seems to make the world a happier place. Golf camps and junior clinics will be starting up soon. Unfortunately, each clinic usually comes with at least one overzealous parent who is slowly sucking the magic out of being a child, one sideline temper tantrum at a time.

One of the things I appreciate most about my father, Phil Mickelson, Sr., is the way he gently introduced me to the great game of golf while allowing me to love the sport in my own way and on my own terms. If I wanted to wear my gymnastics leotard to the golf course and do back handsprings down the fairways without ever hitting a golf shot, he never flinched (at least on the outside).

The most memorable experiences came in the form of valuable lessons. If any of us were caught (ahem) improving our lie or knowingly breaking a rule, we were met with a slow shake of the head and, “You are only cheating yourself.” Throwing a golf club resulted in an immediate long walk back to the clubhouse. Alone.

My dad would always “call it a day” when we were at the peak of having fun. His philosophy was that we would be more excited to return to the golf course if the last thing we remembered was how much fun we had instead of remembering the part where we grew tired and wanted to go home. He was right. I find my husband and I implementing that same tactic now with our own kids.

So happy Father’s Day, Dad. Thank you for allowing all three of us kids to find our own way with this wonderful, frustrating, and magnificent game. Golf has been a steadfast platform for more cherished childhood family memories than I can count. Our passion for the game is stronger than ever, and that is thanks to the way you fueled our flame. Thank you for the great example.

Read Tina's weekly blog Fore! San Diego's Best Golf here.

Tim, Phil Sr., Phil Jr., and Tina MickelsonTina Mickelson

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