Junior Golf: President’s Cup Lesson 1

imageIn today’s Friday Flop Shot we will take a look at lessons to be learned from the matches being played in The President’s Cup. This very prestigious event is held every 2 years and puts 12 American professional golfers against 12 World-wide professional golfers, excluding Europe. This year’s event is being held in Inchon, South Korea on a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course. (photo offcoursegolf.com)

The Day 1 matches started the competition Thursday-Wednesday evening in the US due to a 14-hour time difference, and the 1st matches were Foursome. Now Foursome is a confusing title because there is also Fourball Matches. Foursome is also called alternate shot, meaning 2-man teams alternate shots until the ball is holed out. It is very interesting to watch since you only see it once or twice a year in this type of international competition. The pros will tell you the pressure is extreme since the last thing they want to do is hit a bad shot and put their partner in a terrible position.

S3 and I have played in a few alternate shot tournaments and I will tell you the pressure on Dad or Mom is the most I have ever felt in a golf tournament. As much as kids don’t want to disappoint their parents, we parents also really don’t want to disappoint our kids. In our 1st event I was shaking over 3-foot putts, talk about the yips! I have played in a lot of athletic competition in my life and had never been this nervous. I can’t explain it, maybe just didn’t practice enough 3-footers before the event. In our 2nd alternate shot tournament we actually made some birdies and played pretty well. And birdies in alternate shot are a great thing!

Right now let’s talk about paying attention to what your competition is doing around the green. A pet peeve you’ll hear the announcers talking about is when a pro misses a putt on the same side of the hole that his competitor just missed on. All golfers get some education from the roll of the other guy’s ball on and around the green. Many times when 2 pros have the same line on a putt, the 2nd guy will make his whether the 1st guy made his putt or not. This is called getting an education and using it. (photo golf.com)image

So on hole #11 in alternate shot, Bubba Watson had a10-footer for birdie. He struck a beautiful putt that looked in all the way and lost speed and curled out of the hole to the left at the last second. Hideki Matsuyama had the same putt from the exact opposite side of the hole. So eyeing what happened to Bubba’s putt, what would you do if you were Hideki? You might hit the same line, but firmer to keep the speed up or hit it about an inch more to the left to allow for the last bit of break around the hole. Well, for whatever reason, Hideki did neither and his putt was the identical mirror image of Bubba’s, appearing to be in all the way and curling away from the hole to his right at the last second as it lost speed.

So what is the lesson here? Does the other guy’s putt teach you anything about your putt? Surely it tells you something. Use it. Pay attention. Adjust. Your son is going to misread some putts, everybody does. He is going to miss hit some putts, everyday does. But he will make more putts by learning everything he can around the green and that means paying attention to what’s happening to everybody else’s chips and putts.

See you on #1 tee and keep alert around the greens… Sam

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