Junior Golf: Who You Are Playing With

imageIn this Monday Mulligan we will look at who you are playing with. Who is in your group on the golf course and why it matters, even though really it should not matter very much, if at all. (photo jennlefforge.com)

In last Wednesday’s press conference before the BMW Championship, Ricky Fowler was asked if he was looking forward to playing the first two days of the event with Jason Day and Jordan Spieth. Ricky’s response was basically, “We’re all really good friends and it’s going to be an absolute blast playing together!” Even the world’s top pros, with all their mental toughness, still are impacted by who is in their group during tournament play.

Parents, please remember that golf has all types of boys and girls playing the sport. Your junior golfer will play with kids who are: nice but not really talkative, nice and talk just the right amount for your golfer, barely tolerable to the point of unpleasant, those who have no clue about golf rules and etiquette or choose to ignore them and just plain jerks. Do not be surprised when your son is in a group with someone who is basically uncomfortable to be around. It’s going to happen, more than once, at every age and skill level.

So how does your son deal with this? It’s tough. Frankly, brutally, the only obligation, in addition to obeying the rules and etiquette, that your son has is to accurately keep 1other group member’s score and go take a look when someone hits a shot that ends up in or near a hazard, out of bounds or in a situation that may require a ruling.

Your son has no requirement to make friends during a tournament or even talk more than the minimal amount necessary for play. Our family talks. We are communicators me, Linda, S3 and our other kids too. Even in college S3 is more comfortable playing with someone who will carry on a little conversation. And sometimes he is paired with someone he already knows and it tends to relax him a bit on #1 tee. 1of S3’s teammate’s, who is a very nice and polite young man, says he is enjoys his golf the most when nobody is his group says a word, for the whole round. Well, that would drive our family crazy! Chocolate and vanilla!

So, it’s different when your son is playing with friends or family members and shoots a very nice score. Then when the “P”, Pressure switch is turned on in a tournament, it’s all more difficult.image

Reinforce in your son that the personalities of those in his group are there to help him remember to stay focused on his game and his shots. Being mentally tough is a big deal and something that he will have to cope with in every tournament. Help him learn to stay in his game and reduce the influence of distractions. It’s necessary, it’s difficult and it’s an ongoing part of improving his ability to play winning golf at the higher skill levels.  ( photo sports.cbsimg.net)

See you on #1 tee…with some focus… Sam

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