My mom wanted to share her side of the story as she watched me grow up in the junior golf world, then move on to college and professional golf. She thought this might help a junior golf parent better understand the big picture of what junior golf and college golf is all about.
Brandi Jackson, I think it’s time for your Mom to speak up. So, if you will, indulge me for a few minutes.
First, let me say how very proud I am of the professional that Brandi has become. She pours her heart and soul into her business and everything that she does. I see this more and more every day. Quite often as we make plans for family trips, or even simply to meet her for dinner, we know that the plans have to be made around her schedule of meeting with her players, tournaments that she needs to attend, or speaking engagements. Why heck, we’ve even sat through dinner as she takes the time to talk to a player or a parent on the phone. She is so passionate and dedicated to her work.
Throughout this venture with Brandi Jackson Golf, and all the articles and blogs that she writes, she has been (to say the least), very protective in the way that she talks about her parents’ involvement in her career. She has never “thrown us under the bus”, and we appreciate that. To say that I wish we had had a “Brandi Jackson” when she was growing up would be an understatement. We thought we knew what was best for her. I thought it was my responsibility to do all the paperwork (entry forms, applications, preparations, etc), and her Dad, well, he thought he knew her game inside and out, and for the most part he did. The two of them sometimes didn’t see “eye to eye” on things. It became evident that she responded so much better to outside coaching and instructions. I think she knew that her Dad was usually right, but hearing it from someone else seemed to resonate better with her. Don’t get me wrong, the two of them had, and still have a great relationship.
As Brandi began to play competitive junior golf and being so new to this arena that the first time she qualified for the US Junior Girls’ Championship, we considered not going. ??? We didn’t think it was such a big deal. We would have to take off work, and the expenses of the trip, and would it really benefit her golf game? Little did we know how big qualifying was. We weren’t exactly the ideal junior golf parents. We often had those long discussions (?) on the way home from tournaments, the good ones and the bad ones. Brandi finally figured out the best thing to do was fall asleep as soon as she got in the car. Putting a lot of emphasis on parents’ involvement, and what it means at tournaments, and during the recruiting process comes from her personal experiences. Although, she never calls us out for the things we did or the way we handled things. All we wanted was the best for her – sometimes we just didn’t know how to see that she got it.
Brandi is not embarrassed to admit that we couldn’t afford to fly her all over the country to play in big tournaments or send her to big name instructors. We knew that she had the game, deserved the recognition for the player that she was, but, we had to take a different approach and hope that she would be noticed. Brandi’s emphasis on the junior golfer taking responsibility is so important now. We thought we were supposed to take care of everything. We scheduled the tournaments, completed the entry forms, “packed the snacks” ……. Then, when it came time to consider college, we knew where she wanted to go and what she wanted to do, we just didn’t know all the ins and outs of what to do to help get her there. We thought it was our responsibility as her parents to contact the coaches and do all the talking. So, when she talks about her experiences, she is very truthful.
When I read her articles and blogs, it gives me such a great feeling of pride to see how far she has come. During her school days, Brandi would often ask me to proofread papers, etc that she was required to write. (And, trust me, English has never been my best subject.)
Little did I know that she would become the writer that she is. I still read them all, and critique occasionally, but mostly, I just smile and think to myself “that’s my girl”. I love reading her articles and blogs because I know that everything she says is (1) from experience, (2) well studied, (3) well planned, (4) the truth, and most importantly (5) it’s from her heart.
Oh, and another thing – when she posts the pictures of herself growing up, I can’t help but giggle knowing how she use to hate having her picture made. It was always “Mom……. that’s enough”. Well, those pictures seem to have come in handy for her. She even posts some that I don’t remember, and have no idea how she has them. It’s funny how some things just happen.
People often talk about wanting a “do-over”. I think that if she could have a “do-over” now knowing what she knows, and with her experience, things would be a lot different. But, do I want a “do-over”?? Probably not. We’ve had some great experiences with her throughout her career. We’ve traveled a lot, was there when she defeated Lorena Ochoa in match play, witnessed her runner-up finish at the Women’s Amateur, shared the US Open experiences with her, and met so many interesting and famous people including Vince Gill when he caddied for her.
We celebrated the wins and shared the disappointments of the bad days. Yes, I would love to have seen her have a more successful LPGA career and become a famous golfer, but I don’t think it was God’s Will for her. He had other plans that included helping these young ladies with their careers, and being a strong influence on them. Her passion and dedication are beyond measure. I wouldn’t want her to change who she is for anything. She is doing exactly what she is supposed to be doing.
Her Dad and I are grateful that she has allowed us to be a part of her exciting career.
Love you Brandi Jackson!