Building International Relationships Through Golf

Building International Relationships Through Golf

Three weeks ago our two sons competed in the US Kids Golf European Championships outside of Edinburgh, Scotland on the “Golf Coast” (  We have been to Edinburgh several times in the past for a wedding, tourist stuff and base-camped there during previous Open Championships (2010 St Andrews, 2018 Carnoustie).  This time felt different because all our experiences in Scotland were mainly before kids, when we could hike for hours and go to the pubs to replenish our calories lost.  We still did a little of that but to see Scotland through the perspective of our kids was truly incredible. 

First, hats off to US Kids Golf for coordinating such an amazing event.  The days and weeks of preparation and synchronizing all the participating and supporting golf courses for multiple age groups is a huge feat.  Any hiccups or issues were minor and transparent to the families.  Fist bumps and high fives to the entire team, we are all-in for the event next year.  Check out event info here - 

Second, the people of Scotland are the best in the world.  We would move there tomorrow if visas were easy.    

Third, being paired up with international players and their caddies was an invaluable learning and playing experience. 

Why did it feel any different from our rounds in America?  One main reason, the parents let their kids play.  The vibe was very chill, laid back, the kids simply just played.   There was a casual player/caddie conversation mainly about club selection as the wind swirled around the course but for the most part, the caddies (parents) just hung back and enjoyed the match.    

Players from America, Poland, Ireland, Austria, England, Estonia, Italy (and several other countries) may have spoken different languages, or come from different cultures, but they had much in common - emotions, errant shots, birdies, bogeys, missed putts, sand trouble, etc. Nothing out of the ordinary from a typical round anywhere in the world but the highs and lows of tournament golf established a collective/shared experience that immediately brought these international players together.      

After the round, the kids hung out and chipped/putted, had a coke and a snack, talked about their rounds, bonded over music and video games.  The parents had a beer or glass of wine, talked about their home courses, the golf landscape in their home countries, tips for practicing, geo-politics. 

Speaking of geo-politics, we were excited to see the great country of Ukraine represented.  Glory to Ukraine!        

The vibe reminded me of working in a NATO environment in the UK, Belgium, Netherlands, and Afghanistan from 2008-2011.  I learned the value of establishing and building international relationships, business partnerships, that spawned from years of friendship development, all established overseas (stay tuned for a neat story and project we are working on with a close friend from those days). 

There are so many good people doing incredible things in their home countries.  As we meet each one of them, we want our kids to continue developing those relationships and building shared experiences through golf.  This is one of the main goals of FutureBirdies, to build and contribute to the community that encourages and grows the global game of golf, starting at the junior level. 

Cheers, Ben