Archive for June, 2015

Summer Junior Golf Tournaments: 4 Steps to Deal with the Heat

imageIn today’s Monday Mulligan we’re going to look at 4 steps to deal with the heat in summer junior golf tournaments. Your junior golfer is going to play in a lot of tournaments where it is just plain hot! Embrace the summer tournaments, even when it is very hot.

Here we go:
Step 1: hydrate properly. Your youngster hopefully has established the good habit of drinking plenty of pure, clean water every day. Three days before a hot weather event, S3 starts drinking extra water, mainly sipping/drinking water all day long, not to a point of discomfort, just steadily throughout his waking hours. All golfers need to be constantly drinking water during their hot weather rounds. The ill effects of dehydration can be life-threatening at worst and lead to poor mental decisions and poor shot-making during a round.

Step 2: eat properly before and during the round. Load some carbs and healthy fats 48-72 hours prior to teeing off. Eat a good meal before teeing off. For nutrition during play we use fruit snacks, peanut butter crackers, beef jerky (non msg) or a pbj cut into 4 pieces.

Step 3: dress appropriately. Light-colored breatheable wicking fabrics make all the difference n the world in comfort. Our family rarely wears cotton shirts/tops any more. The comfort level of the new high-tech fabrics is absolutely amazing! Long pants are pretty much worn during cooler weather.

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Step 4: set a positive mental attitude. When Sammie was 5 years old he said to me, “Dad, it’s really going to be hot playing golf today.” To reset his attitude, I said, ” Son, we live in South Texas and you are going to play more tournaments when it is 90-degrees or hotter than you will in cooler weather. We will work as a team to prepare you to be comfortable in the heat and play well in it.” He said, “OK, Dad.” And that was the end of the discussion. We implanted these 4 steps plus some additional factors which we will get into later this week.

Enjoy your hot weather golf! Proper preparation makes for an enjoyable time!

See you on #1 tee… Sam

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Junior Golf Tournaments: Last Minute Checklist

imageIn today’s Friday Flop Shot, we’ll go over your last minute check list for junior golf tournaments. It is time to gather everything and head to the golf course. Your child is excited, really everyone is excited and it is easy to forget something important in the thrill of today’s possibilities! (Flop shot photo from offcoursefolfnetwork.com)

Take a breath and lets get started:

1. golf bag and clubs, 14-club maximum by rule.
2. golf balls, tees and 2 gloves
3. a towel or 2, small ones, for cleaning balls and clubs and to wipe face, hands, arms, etc
image4. sunscreen and insect repellent
5. cap, visor, glasses
6. golf shoes

Proper clothing is another requirement. The mindset is that you want to dress nicely out of respect for the game, course and tournament. For boys it is basically wear slacks or Bermuda-length shorts , with belt and collared golf shirts tucked in. Denim shorts, jeans, T-shirts, sleeveless shirts, denim shirts and shirts with inappropriate words or images are not permitted.

Girls are asked to wear blouses with sleeves or sleeveless blouses with collars. The most popular top for female golfers, however, is the polo-style shirt. Turtleneck tops are also widely accepted. Inappropriate tops for the golf course include T-shirts, halters and tank tops. For warm weather, girls are mostly wearing crops, shorts or skorts. Jeans, sun dresses, sweats or athletic pants are all considered improper. (photo from paloaltojrgolf.com)

Last but not least is nutrition and hydration. Make sure your golfer get a good meal, but not too heavy or spicey before teeing off. During the round, which can be as long as 5 hours, your kiddo must have a lot of hydration and additional nutrients. Good clean water is best and some sports drinks are OK as well. Snacks for summer golf are tricky, because some are made inedible by the heat. Foods that work are: gummy bears in the small baggies as the brain must have some glucose. Additional excellent choices are peanut butter crackers, pbj sandwich cut into 4 pieces, small baggies of non-msg beef jerky and health/granola bars. Avoid chocolate as it turns into a nasty mess almost immediately in the summer heat. Remember that in most tournaments, unless you are the caddy, you cannot give you junior golfer anything once they have teed off. So these items must be in the bag.

Your junior golfer needs to drink fluids almost constantly and consume some food, just a few bites,every 3 to 4 holes.

Are you wishing you had reviewed this list last night-lol! Enjoy the tournament, these are some of the best times of your family life!

See you on #1 tee… Sam

Junior Golf Tournaments: 5 Steps for Lower Scores

imageToday’s Wednesday Waggle will give you 5 steps for lower scores in junior golf tournaments. These are practice, playing and conditioning oriented, basically pre-tournament routines to provide a degree of confidence in your youngster’s shot-making and playing ability. (photo of Jason Duffner from golf digest.com)

1. So obvious, but sometimes overlooked, take your young golfer to the tournament course and play a practice round. Some courses have selected dates for practice rounds, often with discounted pricing. Contact the course, refer to the exact name and date of the tournament and provide your child’s name so the course can confirm he is entered. Please do this. A practice round gives your kiddo an amazing amount of course knowledge that will be very helpful during the tournament.

2. Maintain or increase time at the driving range. If you have a very young beginner with just a 5, 7, 9-iron and putter, sometimes it is best to just let him tee off with the club he likes the best. Maybe it’s the 9-iron, that’s OK, spend more range time with the 9-iron so he has some confidence with it. The objective is for your junior golfer to have fun. (photo from threeriversparks.org)image

3. Do some extra conditioning. Most kids are in better physical shape than they are given credit for, however, the pressure of competition, summer heat and carrying a bag of golf clubs can take a heavy toll. Walk a few blocks with your son carrying his golf bag and you carry yours. Make a game of it. Mix in a few sprints with the walking. More is better and anything, properly done, is better than nothing.

4. A simple way to practice putting at home is put a plastic cup on its side on some carpet, and have your young golfer putt into it from a distance of 4 feet. 30 to 50 putts daily can really pay off on the golf course.

5. Chipping practice is so easy at home. Buy a bag of whiffle balls, a couple of dollars per bag and available at most big box stores and sporting goods stores and go to the back yard. Have him focus on landing the ball on certain spots: the base of a tree, in a bucket, on a towel, be creative, make a game out of it. Since there is no rollout with whiffle balls, again the object is to focus on landing the ball in a specific target area.

image If you need some golf instruction help, The Golf Channel Academy app is free and has wonderful videos.

There is always more prep that can be included in every pre-tournament routine, but for now these tips will get you started.

Start with Step 1 and work your way down the list. See you on #1 tee… Sam.

Junior Golf Tournament Registration: 4 Steps for Success

imageIn today’s Monday Mulligan, we’ll look at the 4 steps that will result in a successful junior golf tournament registration. While entering your child’s first or any new golf tournament can be a bit confusing, they all have some common ground. After filling out a few different entry forms, you will have a decent comfort level. (tjgt photo from mygolfpros.com)

Step 1: confirm that your athlete actually wants to play in a given tournament. If you are forcing them to play when they really don’t want to play you will have an undesirable situation. Sometimes your family needs a few days to make a decision and this is OK, we have done this many times over the years. Do diligently keep in mind the Closing Date for every tournament. These are notoriously strict, by rule, and virtually never have exceptions.

Step 2: determine that there is a skill level appropriate for your kiddo’s golf proficiency. Entering an inappropriate division is not good. We discussed the difference, scorewise between beginner, intermediate and advanced last week. “Playing up” is only advised if your child is consistently playing beyond the skill level of his peers. “Playing down”, sometimes called “sandbagging” is something to never do and a “sandbagging” label can stick with a player for years and it is a very derogatory term that can cast doubt on your kiddo’s and your character.

Step 3: confirm that you can afford the entry fee. Usually you can pay online, over the phone or by mail. Just make certain to get a confirmation of your payment. As you become more familiar with the hard costs associated with junior golf tournament play, you can more effectively budget for the summer, the school year or all 12 months. A tournament budget is important and should have its own line item in your golf budget. (photo from Alabamajuniorgolf.org)

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Step 4: make sure the logistics work for you and your young golfer. Who is providing transportation to and from the course? Can you, your spouse or both stay and watch your child play this wonderful game? Is the course a reasonable driving distance from your home?

Now, fill out an entry form and get your confirmation. In the Wednesday Waggle we’ll look at how to prepare for the tournament.

See you on #1 tee… Sam

Junior Golf Tournaments: The Biggest of the Big

imageIn today’s Friday Flop Shot, I must wrap up the week by telling you about a very special junior golf tournament, the “Biggest of the Big”, the “only one of its kind anywhere in the world”! OK enough suspense, I’m talking about the Starburst Tournament, held each June in Waco, Texas. S3 played in this for his last 3 years of eligibility and he would have played more years, but we didn’t even know about it until his freshman year in high school and it’s only 200 miles from us!

With more than 1,000 junior golfers from all over the world, there is truly nothing like Starburst! Entries are by age and sex, open to all boys and girls ages 7-18, and include a championship division for boys and for girls. When entries open in mid-February, you need to get yours submitted ASAP, because everything will fill up, even with 100 kids in each age/sex group. You also need to book your hotel because once you get past mid-March the whole city of Waco will not have 1 hotel room available.

imageWe planned our summers around Starburst, it is that much fun! Junior golfers play 3 different courses over 3 days and meals for the whole family are provided free for 2 nights. The atmosphere is unique and very special and we believe that every serious or even half-way serious junior golfer should play at Starburst at least once, just for the experience.

OK, get online and check out Starburst Junior Golf Classic! Star planning your summer of 2016 today. See you on #1 tee… Sam

Junior Golf Tournaments: Age-Specific Details

In today’s Wednesday Waggle we’ll look at a few age-specific details pertinent to junior golf tournaments. imageSome tournaments allow entrants as young as 5 years old and others start at 6 or 7 years of age. It is so neat seeing the really little ones carrying a bag with 3 or 4 clubs in it playing from tees moved waaaaay up towards the green. Yes, Dad and Mom, you are usually allowed to carry the golf bag for your little bitty, but that ends quickly as they approach 9 to 10 years old, so enjoy caddying for them while you can. (photo from BlueHeronGolf.org)

Start your tournament experiences by entering inexpensive, probably $35 or so, events for beginner skill level. Good ole competition is what makes the world go ’round and golf gives you an accurate report on the status of your youngster’s game. Keep playing in appropriate skill level divisions until your kiddo is taking his game to the next level. You always want them playing with good competition. There will be times your kiddo is much better or much worse than someone in their playing group. This happens and is an opportunity for patience and focusing on “his own game”. They will love playing in these tournaments and will make some lifelong friends in the process.

What is a given skill level? Beginner speaks for itself and scorewise it is someone shooting around 100 or higher, for 18 holes. Intermediate is maybe 82-92 and advanced would be low 80’s or below on a consistent basis. Stepping up a level is exciting! It shows advancement and a commitment to the game. It is also more of an investment. Higher skill level tournaments can easily have entry fees of $200-$350. Some are 54-holes on championship courses and the entry fee may actually be less than paying for 3 green fees. Also the goodie bags can have great stuff: S3 has received items such as 1-dozen premium golf balls, top name brand golf shirts, high-quality wind-breakers, rain gear and cold weather mittens. So while the entry fee is high, the value is great!

There may also be some “under the radar” events in your area. The more asking you do locally, the more opportunities will show up. S3’s long-time swing coach would put on a tournament every month through the Central Texas Junior Golf Association, a group which consistently promoted inexpensive events for their kids. All age ranges and skill levels had their own division at every event.image

Start looking at the logistics: budget, schedule, equipment, skill level and enter your junior golfer in just one event. Once you all see how much fun it is, you will be hooked on junior tournament golf! (photo from eaglelandingonline.com)

See you on #1 tee… Sam

Junior Golf Tournaments: Your Child Will Love Playing in Them

imageThere are more junior golf tournaments today than ever! You child will love playing in them. in today’s Monday Mulligan, we will take a look at junior golf tournaments and how to determine the best ones for your kiddo to enter.

My Dad was one of the founders of the Texas State Junior Golf Championship in 1946 and ran it along with my Mom and a few friends until the early 1970’s. In those days there were really only a few junior events like high school tournaments, some youth organization games, maybe a club junior title and then the big one, The Texas State Junior Golf Championship, known as The State Junior. And it was, in those days always played at historic Brackenridge Golf Course in San Antonio, now home to the Texas Golf Hall of Fame, one of my family’s favorite golf courses.

Today, there are hundreds of junior events to choose from. During one of S3’s high school summers, he played in 22 tournaments and that’s a bunch over a 90-day period. In fact the next summer he asked to play in fewer tournaments. The point is there are likely more summer tournaments than your wallet and logistics can handle.

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Where do you start? Ask around. Your local golf venues will know about some of the tournaments and can put you in touch with sponsoring organizations such as your state PGA chapter. Here in Texas we have the NTPGA (North Texas PGA) and STPGA (South Texas PGA) and both have junior events in their part of the state. Nationally, you have the First Tee which has a myriad of opportunities for your junior golfer. There are more elite tours for higher skill levels like the Texas Junior Golf Tour and the Legends Junior Golf Tour and in California they have the Future Champions Tour and the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour has tournaments in many states from the Southeast to the Midwest and along the Atlantic coast. Search for junior golf tours and you will find plenty of information.

Start contacting some of these groups and send in some entries!

See you on #1 tee… Sam

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