b'Some parental advice from Jack NicklausRaising a young golf phenom to become the 2022 NCAA Division II Player of the YearA.J. Ewart was the recipient of the 2022 Jack Nicklaus Award BY BRAD EWART as the NCAA Division II Player of the Year, with the award presented by Nicklaus himself at the PGA TOURs Memorial I TS NOT EASY BEING A GOLF PARENT. Tournament in early June. The award ispresented to the But, there are times when advice from another sourcePlayer of the Year in NCAA Divisions I, II, and III, as well as can be very helpful. Especially when that source is JackNAIA and NJCAA. (Photo courtesy Brad Ewart)Nicklaus.In 2009 I was working on a golf construction project inthe right thing only to find that the cautious, parental Bangalore, India where Jack Nicklaus and his staff alsochoice gets in the way of their childs development.happened to be in the early stages of designing a golf course. A.J. played on his high school basketball team and Prior to arriving in India, the 12-man Nicklaus contingentwent on to have his best year in junior golf. In the fall made design stops in Japan and Korea and would be in Indiahe was selected to represent Canada on the Junior for only 24 hours. They toured the Nandi Hills site, NicklausDevelopment squad. That made me wonder how many made a number of design changes and then attended apeople throughout Nicklaus career have benefitted from dinner party with 10 of the richest men in India. the Golden Bears sage advice.The next morning, while the group was finishingI didnt want to push my son into golf. I wanted golf to be breakfast and preparing to head off to the airport, I hadA.J.s self-chosen sport and waited until he was ready. He the opportunity to ask Jack a few questions. started walking at 12 months of age. I gave him a month to Mr. Nicklaus, I said, my son A.J. is developing into aget his balance and A.J. started golfing at 13 months of age.pretty good golfer and is being considered for a spot onPerhaps a few weeks earlier would have been rushing Team Canadas Junior Development team, I explained. things.Any earlier and I could have been accused of being Before I left for this trip, A.J. told me he wants to playa pushy parent.on the high school basketball team. What should I do? ImA.J. developed his passion for golf during his days in worried he could get hurt and it would hamper his chancesdiapers swinging Babys First Club. The little golfer used of making the national team. a real miniature 7-iron with a metal head, an iron shaft and Nicklaus thought for a minute, then said, When Ia thin rubber grip. His first bucket of balls he hit was that age, I wanted to play baseball. Golfwould only dribble two meters off the driving wasnt tops on my list. I played baseball andrange mat. In those days A.J. wouldnt go to basketball. I would let him play. sleep at night unless we putted a few holes Turns out, that was the best advice, ason the carpet and then he would sleep a coach and as a father, that I could havewith his putter.received. Instead of saying no as manyHe played his first Junior Linkster concerned parents might, I said Yes, youtournament at the age of five. Its hard can play. A.J. was happy. He had a clearto put a total on the number of golf head to do what he really wanted to do andtournaments he has played over the past 18 that was to play basketball with his friends. years.All too often, parents do what they think is 22PACIFIC NORTHWEST GOLFER| SEPT 2022'