Life Changers: Junior Golf Principles in Dental Ethics & Patient Care
Every year I sponsor a tournament, The Marlboro Junior Classic Pro AM, to benefit junior golf at the Marlborough Country Club. This event brings in some of the best regional golf pros to raise money for junior golf. Junior golf is very personal to me because of my own experience as a junior golfer. It taught me about core values and the importance of having a work ethic, which has led to the full live I have.
We lived in Brandon, Vermont, a town of about 4000, which had a 9 hole golf course. My dad took me for my first 9 holes when I was 13 on a Saturday morning in April. I still remember that day because it was special for me. From that day on, until I was probably 16 years old, I went almost every day to practice, play and meet other golfers during the season. The key lessons I learned were: 1. Integrity: Golf teaches the importance of honesty in everything you do. 2. Work ethic: To get better at the game, you have to work really hard and never give up. 3. Relationships: In order to work well with adults at an early age, you have to be respectful and polite - which generally leads to building and maintaining better relationships.
The best dentists have integrity without reproach. They have only their patient’s best interest in mind and give real information, ideally in the most compassionate way. To be successful at any occupation, it takes hard work. Within golf, there is also coaching, listening skill development, and observation of the situation or game - this is very similar to dentistry. I had a dentistry mentor early in my career, who I met golfing, that really impacted my ability to provide dentistry in a special way. This relationship was similar to the two people that mentored me at the Neshobe Golf Club in Brandon - Wendy and Hub. Both experiences taught me to be consistent in my work ethic, always bring my “A” game, and never give up until I am happy with the result. I learned what it was like to be respected as an individual and be respectful to others at the club and in the office. Dr. Seely Estrabrook, a rural physician in my hometown, made a real impact on how I conducted myself and related to other people because at age 13, I knew I wanted to have a career like his. I still hear the lessons I learned from him every day when I meet with patients. When I have a patient come into my office for a full mouth reconstruction or a ‘smile makeover’, I want them to trust that I will do everything I can to give them the smile they are looking for.
Beyond my own success as your Waltham cosmetic dentist, I have been able to see my son grow to be a very mature and responsible senior in high school, in a large part because his experience with junior golf. I feel it is important to pass on the opportunity of these experiences through helping all juniors to have the opportunity to play and learn from the game, which is why I sponsor the tournament. It is a perfect fit, having the pros available to act as mentors and the members provide sponsorship to many junior players at Marlboro Country Club. I chose Marlboro because it has a junior program that is second to none. My early experience with golf, the people who mentored/coached me, and the personal ethics I learned and incorporated into my daily personal and professional life so closely parallels the principles in dentistry and patient care - there could not be a better fit for where I can provide sponsorship, help mentor future leaders and care givers, while giving back to the community!