I don't mind six-year-olds playing golf, but they have no place on full-sized golf courses and they shouldn't be in organised competition.
There has been an extraordinary amount of hot air expounded on the subject this week on sports talk radio because of a kid called Jack Green. This child has some ability and enthusiasm to hit a little white ball into a hole 4 1/4 inches across. Good for him.
He also seems to have parents who might have become more than a touch excited over his progress. Do they see dollar signs lighting up?
I groaned when Jack was featured on television. He'd finished third in the six and under age group at the Junior World Championships in San Diego. Far more important and significant was Danny Lee's second placing in the 15-17 year old competition at that tournament. But when Jack's mother put out a press release about her boy, newspapers and TV jumped on the story.
This tournament has real credibility. It's been going since 1968 but until 2000 the youngest age category was for nine-and 10-year-olds. Many players who became among the best in the world have taken part. Tiger Woods won six titles between 1984 and 1991. In 1990, when he won the boys 13-14 age group, Lorena Ochoa, who's now the world's number one woman player, won the girls 9-10 title.
But organisers made a bad move when they introduced younger divisions. These kids play on courses which are all par threes. Where Jack played, the holes are between 67 and 108m. If kids that age want to learn and play golf, then those courses are ideal. The holes are short, easy and great for beginners - of all ages. It's the kind of place young Jack should stick to for now.
One bit of nonsense I heard was that his parents were thinking of shifting to Australia because their wunderkind was not allowed to join a club in this country because he was too young. The North Shore Golf Club has relented and allowed him to join, but one wonders about the motives of parents even thinking of structuring their life around the fantasy of a six-year-old developing into an international golfing star.
Is the example of BJ Wie and daughter Michele not enough? A lucrative and promising career has been ruined, perhaps irreversibly, because of overly ambitious parents.
Kids need a healthy balance in life. I'm all for golf being a part, but I think schoolwork, family life and team sports should be in the mix too.