Junior Golf: Lessons From The Tour Championship

imageIn this Wednesday Waggle we will look at a lesson to be learned from last week’s Tour Championship. The top 30 golfers on the PGA Tour gathered in Atlanta to play in the final event of the PGA Season. (Jason Duffner photo golfdigest.com)

This 1st lesson is very simple and very obvious: weather affects everybody. As plain as it sounds, yes, the weather impacts every golfer, even the best 30 pros on the PGA Tour. When it is sunny and pleasant, everyone is in a pretty decent mood. The greens and fairways and bunkers are impacting the ball as anticipated, so really the guys just have to execute their normal shots. No big deal, you’re either hitting good shots or you’re not, but you are in a comfort zone at least as far as course conditions are concerned.

Now let’s throw in an overcast, rainy and chilly Friday and Saturday with 36 holes to be played and see who’s in a comfort zone. Maybe the guys from the British Isles who grew up playing in worse weather than this, but heck, even they don’t play in it as much as they used to. So out of the field of 30 perhaps a handful were in some sort of comfort zone. Probably a better way to look at it is who has the patience to deal with the soggy conditions. How many times did you see umbrellas opened and closed, rain gear put on and taken off, grips wiped, club faces wiped, hands wiped and gloves changed out? This weather wears on everybody and it is tedious to deal with. And they were playing the ball down, meaning you played the ball as is, no lift, clean and place. If your ball had a glob of mud on it, you got to hit it mud and all, until the ball got on the green where it could be cleaned. Just a good mental test. (photo static01.nyt.com)

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The scores reflected the conditions as most players were just trying to hang on to a decent position to be able to make a Sunday run. And Jordan took the lead Saturday as he dealt with 48 hours of unpleasant conditions better than everyone else. And at the ripe old age of 22 years old. You know the ending. Jordan played a solid final round and won The Tour Championship and also The FedEx Cup. Several of the guys had lower final rounds than Jordan, but it was his Friday and Saturday play that put him in a strong position for the final 18 holes. No one shot super low Sunday to come close to catching him. Congratulations to Jordan Spieth!

Your junior golfer will play in weather like this or worse. Much of the preparation is having proper wet weather gear. We’ll address that another time. The often overlooked prep however, is mental. The pros talk all the time about being patient on the golf course, so patience is super important. In inclimate weather, the patience factor goes up by 3 or 4 times. Everything is different. So start working on patience now because your junior golfer is going to need more of it than you ever imagined.

See you on #1 tee, patiently… Sam

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