Hans Kersting: Golf’s positive role models

This is a great time to be a junior golfer.

Between the tournaments available and the quality of instruction, there are plenty of reasons for junior golfers to become successful. However, it’s not the tournaments and instruction that will play the biggest part in the future success of junior golfers.

Instead, the tremendous role models we have in professional golf will be the key factors.

Perhaps it’s due to social media, but I don’t recall a time when I’ve witnessed so much positive interaction between touring professionals and junior golfers.

It is cool to see.

You can go to any tour event, PGA or LPGA, and see an incredible number of junior golfers following their favorite players. The PGA Tour has never had the number of positive role models that it has today.

Among the most popular are Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas. However, the list is much deeper than that. Juniors want to drive the ball like Dustin Johnson, think their way around the golf course like Bryson DeChambeau and dress like Rickie Fowler.

Because of the popularity of these players, there is a tremendous responsibility to do and say the right things around the golf course. Sergio Garcia was recently fined by the European Tour for his poor display of etiquette during a tournament.

Garcia was unhappy with the course conditions, and his display of poor etiquette was seen my many junior golfers.

This is unacceptable.

I’m hoping that Garcia can regain his image of being a good guy, but it’s going to take quite a bit of effort.

I’ve always believed that it shouldn’t be difficult to be a positive role model for juniors. For any professional golfer to be thought of as a role model, it generally means that the player has had plenty of success already on the tour.

With that success comes many perks and quite a bit of money. Success also brings added responsibility to behave properly.

My golf team and I have an understanding that our behavior is always on display wherever we may be. All it takes is one junior golfer to see you behaving poorly, and they can immediately be impacted in a negative manner.

Fortunately, most tour players seem to have the proper perspective when it comes to being a positive role model. Whether it’s signing an autograph, giving away a golf ball or simply smiling for a picture, it’s not hard to do the right thing.

I’m happy to see that most players are doing the right thing these days.

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