Hard Driving Father Seeks Golf Greatness For His Two Daughters

Updated: March 1, 2008


Robert Howard


Who knows for how long in the age of the Internet but for now anyway the biggest newspaper in the United States if not the world is SUNDAY’S NY Times All $4 worth of it. A little slimmer than in Sundays gone by except maybe at Christmas but still BIG. And today of all the many stories in 12 or more individual sections ONE will be longer than all the others. And that stories is about two very young African American girls who ply golf lots of golf under the tutelage of their father.

Robert Howard harbors DREAMS of Greatness for his two daughters Rather than focusing on the daughters the subject of the LONG story in the quarterly Sports Magazine included with The Times 4 times each year – our focus is Dad the Driving Force behind his daughters Ginger and Robbi who probably would not even be playing golf let alone tearing up the junior links where they compete.

Be forewarned this will be one of those Lazy Boxes when we quote HEAVILY from another source ’cause it’s Saturday night and more other than The Times there is precious little written about Robert Howard and his daughters So let us Begin …..

” Robert Howard is a doting father, a cheerleader kind of dad. He records for posterity his two daughters every achievement, every nuance of their lives, as he has done since they were 3 and 4, on film, on paper, on his computer. He punctuates each achievement, no matter how mundane, with exhortations: Congratulations, Howard sisters! Excellent work, girls! Great job, girls ! ” ” Robert is proud of his daughters, but one overwhelming worry shadows his pride: he is waiting anxiously for them to grow. Robert is 6-foot-4. His wife, Gianna, however, is 5-foot-5. His daughters, Ginger, 13, and Robbi, 12, are not much over 5 feet. An average height for girls their age, but the Howard sisters are not average girls.”

Continuing …..

” Their father presents them as the Venus and Serena Williams of golf. In fact, he is so assured of their future greatness (he calls the process of getting there “the Journey”) that he says: “I’ll make their dreams come true. Lately, I’ve had my wife step up to do interviews and stuff to show that she’s part of the Journey, so to speak.”

And more …..

” I had a video camera,” Robert said, “and I filmed the girls so Gianna would know I did something productive with them. A golf pro was there. He came over to me and said, ‘How long have the girls been playing golf?’ I said, ‘Oh, about 15 minutes.’ He said they had nice swings, so we started playing golf for fun, as a family thing — just hitting balls, not playing 18 holes or anything. Then I entered them in their first tournament. We were the last twosome after nine holes. Robbi shot a 32 and Ginger a 33. I had no idea what the other girls’ scores were until I saw that the next-lowest score was 48. That’s when I thought, Lets see how far this thing will go. So I eventually bought them two sets of $750 golf clubs that we had to cut down.” They also joined the Tantallon Country Club, in Fort Washington, Md., which he described as ” not an exclusive country club.”

Then this ….

” After a couple of years of successful tournaments, Robert figured that maybe golf would pay for his daughters’ college educations. But the more events his girls played in, the more he realized how good they were and how golf might lead to something even grander than scholarships. By the time Ginger was 8, parents of other girls were pulling their daughters from tournaments that Ginger had entered. So Robert began withholding her name until the last minute; otherwise Ginger would have been competing against only 4 girls instead of 15.”

Followed by …..

” Robert began to formulate his own career plan for his daughters. He noticed that most of their best opponents came from warm climates. So he left what he calls “30 feet of snow in Maryland” and moved the family to Jacksonville, and then to Bradenton, where the girls could be close to specialized instruction at Leadbetter. (Robert now works for Goodwill Industries: “director of transportation,” he says. “I love that title.”) While his daughters competed and he waited for them to grow, Robert studied the career paths of other famous sports prodigies.”

Of course Robert Howard speaks of Richard Williams ….

” If anyone is Robert’s idol, it is Richard Williams. He spoke of trying to get a few words with Richard as if it were like getting an audience with the pope. “I wish I could talk to him,” he said. “I talked to him only once. I told him I had two daughters who could be the Venus and Serena of golf. I gave him my card, but nothing happened. You know, I applaud what Richard has done, but I’m one of those people who find their own path. I have no one to turn to for advice. This is uncharted water for us. We’re taking it one step at a time.”

As for Robert Howard’s philosophy ….

“I want my daughters to have the qualities of champions,” Robert continued. “Passion. Drive. They must want to do it. And have fun. My philosophy, which my kids understand, is that they play the best of the best so they’ll know who they are. Earn what you get. Its O.K. to be on TV and all, but you have to prove your worth, too.”

OK that’s the core of the article

from Robert Howard’s perspective

Sure his two young daughters are talented but Ginger is 13 and Robbi 12 and it is really too early to know if they are a REAL story one of them let alone two. But they do have the necessary ingredient to accompany their ability in golf DRIVEN parents in particular their after Robert. Of course there are always plenty of these stories even if more of them involve White Parents to an extent.

What is always true is that these stories of youthful all consuming Sports passion is as much if not more about the parent or parents as the kids. And it is easy to argue either the pro or the con of these Sports success DRIVEN families. When it works the results can be SPECTACULAR. Of course Tiger Woods is the Poster Child with the Williams Sisters a respectful distance pretty far behind but still WILDLY successful.

The REAL story is

90% or even more of

successful athletes did

not require quite as

much DRIVE on the

part of their Parents

good solid support

is often enough as

for the Howard Sisters

check them out at

their Website


Howard Sisters