Youth is served: Local 7th grader interviews Zurich Classic winner Jason Bohn

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Jason Bohn on 2011 Zurich Classic of New Orleans Media Day

When I write a story, I try to take an angle that is not the obvious.

I had the pleasure to attend the Zurich Classic Media Day at TPC Louisiana featuring 2010 champion Jason Bohn.  The room was set up perfect with the television cameras, the great spread of food and New Orleans hospitality at its best.

I was touched to see how The Fore! Kids Foundation impacts our city and region by the number of checks that were passed out to deserving causes.  The Zurich Classic is much more than just a golf tournament, it truly makes a difference in many peoples lives.

The press conference moved outside to the putting green and Jason was there with the media heavyweights of New Orleans from print, radio and television.  I had the real pleasure to have one of the best 7th grade junior golfers assist with our younger junior golfers at our weekly junior program at Lakewood.  Her name is Madeline Gordon, daughter of Alison and avid golfer Doug. In fact, Madeline’s dad also has given countless hours of his time to help our junior golf efforts locally.

Madeline is one of those special young people who places other people first.  I must add she is a student of Rob Noel, PGA, who I feel is one of the finest golf instructors in the country.

Madeline earlier in the week told me she had a school project and asked me if it would be possible to interview Mr. Bohn.  I told her it was a great idea so let’s go for it. 

When the media event concluded, I introduced myself to Jason and informed him we have one of our junior golfers who would like to interview him.  He was more than kind. 

When the interview was over, Bohn told me he was impressed with Madeline’s questions and how she handled herself.  He actually said it was the first time he had ever been interviewed by a junior golfer and it was one of his all-time favorite interviews.  You could tell it meant a lot to him remembering his days as a junior golfer and how family played such an important part in his life.  

I feel Madeline reached him in a way that made him grateful for his success and reminded him he was also once a junior golfer.  The future of golf is in good hands with young people like Madeline. You will see a refreshing interview from a junior golfers perspective.

Madeline Gordon at 2011 Zurich Classic of New Orleans Media Day

Patience: A Recipe for Success
By: Madeline Gordon, Junior Golfer

On March 28, 2011, I had the privilege to interview the 2010 winner of the Zurich Classic, Jason Bohn. As I entered The TPC of Louisiana, it hit me I was really about to interview a winner on the PGA Tour!

Walking into the clubhouse, I saw lines of cameramen, waiting for the event to start. As a junior, I was worried that I might not even get in a question.

The presentation was led by Tommy Fonseca, President of The Fore Kids Foundation. The media room consisted of news reporters and members of charities that the Fore Kids foundation supported. Tommy Fonseca introduced Jason Bohn and presented checks to local charities on behalf of The Fore Kids Foundation. 

Madeline Gordon, a junior golfer and Country Day School 7th grader, interviews Jason Bohn on 2011 Zurich Classic of New Orleans Media DayAfter the presentation, Jason went outside to the putting area for photos and additional one-on-one questioning from the media.  After a few minutes, the crowed thinned; a kind word was said to Jason from PGA Professional Jimmy Headrick. Then I finally had my chance.

My first question was regarding Jason’s start in junior golf. I asked him who introduced him to the game when he started and if he had a mentor. Without hesitation, Jason provided the following answer, “My father introduced me to golf when I was at the age of seven.   I’ll never forget my very first hole we played together; I made a 27. His attitude and his perspective were so proper in the game that he told me that all I was trying to do on the second hole was make a 26.  Just do one better.  To have that kind of patience and introduce somebody and let them just hit the ball until they get in the hole is something I’ll carry on to my kids for sure.”

Mr. Bohn continued reminiscing about life in a golf-loving family. “You know what – that’s funny! My mentor was actually my brother James; he was three years older than me and was a much better player than I was in junior golf and even through college. He had a lot more natural ability than I did so he didn’t have to work as hard, but he was really patient with the game.  He was kind of the guy I really looked up to when I played. Until I was able to beat him, then I don’t know what happened, I kind of just took off from there.  No, I really looked up to my brother and watched how he played the game.” It is evident that Mr. Bohn’s values were instilled upon him at an early age, and he has already begun to pass them on to his children.

I quickly followed up by asking him how involved he is with junior golf today. Once again, Jason came back with a thoughtful response. “I work with a lot of junior golfers at my local clubs back home.  I typically try to do a clinic or two a year based on my schedule when I can get back in town.  Every New Year’s Eve, I take all the juniors, and I play a best ball against them all.  And I’ve never beat them!  I take them out for nine holes: it’s freezing cold, and sometimes the super is yelling at us because he doesn’t want us walking on the greens. But we go out and play nine holes.  I play them all; if they can beat me, I buy them all a milkshake when we get done.  I’ve never won, so I’m assuming if I win, I’ll get like twelve milkshakes.  I don’t know (laughing), but I’ve never been able to beat them.” The success of junior golf is dependent upon people like Jason Bohn and others who give back to the community and interested young golfers.

Madeline Gordon, a junior golfer and Country Day School 7th grader, interviews Jason Bohn on 2011 Zurich Classic of New Orleans Media DayMy final question was one that is very important to me. I asked him how involved his parents were in his junior golf development and what advice he would give to parents and children who play golf. I was impressed with his meaningful response. “My parents were very involved in the aspect of getting me to events and letting me have a golf course where I could practice and play or a driving range that I could hit balls on.  They really worked hard to take me to those places, and now being a parent myself, I can understand how difficult a chore that was.  They were very involved with that aspect but not much with the coaching or teaching. They just let me do my thing with golf, but they always got me to the place I needed to be.” Listening to Mr. Bohn speak about the dedication of his parents made me think about how fortunate I am to have family and friends who support me.

Next, he addressed the second half of my question and offered advice to parents and children. “Both for parents and children the biggest word with golf is patience.  Absolutely, the number one word to me is patience.  You have to be patient.  It’s a game that takes a lot of work, a lot of energy, and a lot of time. You have to be patient on the golf course from the junior perspective and from the parents’ perspective.  Parents need to be patient with [their] children as they practice; it is very time consuming.  Parents, just enable your children and let them learn the great game that it is!”

Throughout my time as a junior golfer, my parents, coaches, and instructors have reminded me of the value of patience. Perhaps in the past, I never really appreciated the advice. As a teenager, sometimes I struggle with it. However, after today, the advice of patience from the 2010 Zurich Classic champion will stick with me every time I pick up a club. I appreciate Mr. Bohn’s time and sincerity and how he allowed me to conduct this interview.

— Madeline Gordon,  7th Grade Metairie Park Country Day School.

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