"Tiger is definitely teaching him the right techniques, but there’s not the intensity that Earl has with him," a source tells PEOPLE

By Steve Helling and Jason Duaine Hahn
August 20, 2020 04:48 PM
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Tiger and Charlie
| Credit: Gotham/GC Images

Tiger Woods has been helping his 11-year-old son Charlie pick up golf, and the results are already showing.

Earlier this month, Charlie reportedly claimed the top spot in a U.S. Kids Golf-sanctioned event at Hammock Creek Golf Club in Palm City, Florida. The up-and-comer shot a three-under 33 across nine holes in the boys' 11-year-old division, and finished with no bogeys and three birdies, according to Yahoo Sports and U.S. Kids Golf's website.

A source close to 44-year-old Woods says Charlie enjoys spending time with his father and perfecting the game that made him world-renown.

"Charlie clearly loves the times he spends with his dad on the golf course," the source tells PEOPLE. "It’s a definite bonding activity for the two of them."

Woods shared a similarly close relationship with his late father, Earl Woods, whom he once called his "best friend and greatest role model." But Earl, a former Green Beret, was alleged to be "very strict" while teaching golf to his son, who first learned how to swing a golf club when he was 9.

Woods has made it a point not to be as stern with Charlie, the source tells PEOPLE.

"Tiger loves spending time with Charlie on the golf course, but he has a completely different vibe than Earl had while working with him," the insider says. "Earl would sometimes be very strict."

"Tiger loved being out there with Earl," the source adds, "but there were times that he’ll now say were just not any fun."

A rep for Woods did not immediately return PEOPLE's request for comment.

Tiger Woods with his children in 2015

"Tiger doesn’t want that for Charlie or for himself," says the source, who recalls seeing the duo hit the course together. "They’re all smiles. Tiger is definitely teaching him the right techniques, but there’s not the intensity that Earl had with him. It’s a total bonding situation. Tiger can get goofy and funny with Charlie. It’s not 'all work and no play' like Earl could sometimes get."

Last month, Woods spoke to GolfTV about his son's interest in golf, telling the outlet that "he's starting to get into it."

“He’s starting to understand how to play. He’s asking me the right questions," said Woods, who shares Charlie and daughter Sam, 13, with his ex-wife Elin Nordegren, from whom he split in 2010. "I’ve kept it competitive with his par, so it’s been just an absolute blast to go out there and just, you know, be with him."

The father of two also said that he pays close attention to Charlie's skills out on the golf course — and is learning a thing or two from him.

“I analyze his swing all the time," he said. "I wish I could rotate like that and turn my head like that and do some of those positions, but those days are long gone, and I have to relive them through him.”

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Earl was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1998 and had been in frail health in the months before his death in May 2006.

"I’m overwhelmed when I think of all of the great things he accomplished in his life,” Woods said after his father's death. “He was an amazing dad, coach, mentor, soldier, husband and friend."