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My spirited 3 year old has fallen in love with miniature golf. As golfers ourselves, my husband and I used to play together often on weekends in the “before times.” It is our dream and goal to get our son to learn the game so that we can go play together, so when he began showing interest in mini golf, I shrugged my shoulders and paid for us to play.

If you’re ever unsure of how much patience you have as a parent, try to teach your child to play mini golf. You will find that you have far less than you think, both with your kid and, unfortunately, with those around you who should really back off. The first time, we had an older couple without kids behind us. They were patient enough, I suppose, but given the summer heat, it was tough to just stand around when there were people behind them waiting their turn as well.

We played again yesterday, and as we approached the first hole, the family of six who were on the last hole mysteriously ended up behind us again. I didn’t see them pay for another round, so my assumption is they just went again. The children in their group had NO concept of personal space and often would “tee off” while we were still playing.

Beyond that, just getting my son to understand that you can’t hack blindly, or use hockey style sweeping, or pick up the ball in your hand to put it where you want it over and over again, well, it just wears you down. By the end, I was just completely wiped out, and felt like garbage because there was very little time spent actually playing, and more time just yelling about what was going on.

On the way home, we decided to stop off at the golf store, figuring we could foster this love of the game a bit better if we had the tools at home. Our son is a blooming left-handed player, so we wanted to get him an appropriate club for that as well. It was FAR less stressful to let him pitter around on the putting green once we bought him his own club, and much easier on my stress level. Now, with his new toy, we can take him to practice greens and let him have at it, as long as he doesn’t hit anyone.