Archive for October, 2015

Junior Golf: More About Grips

imageIn today’s Wednesday Waggle we will finish this journey into the world of grips by looking at more information about them. These often overlooked and undervalued pieces of equipment are vital to playing good golf.

There are probably 10 or fewer companies that make grips in the US and several of them make only putter grips, another world of it’s own that we can discuss in a future post. Let’s continue looking at grips for everything other than putters. (Jason Duffner photo golfdigest.com)

The 3 Big Gorillas in the golf club grip world are Golf Pride, Lamkin and Winn. Each one offers a large variety of grip styles, textures and colors. Go on their websites and get some knowledge about the differences among their styles. Then find the biggest golf specialty stores in your area and grab all the styles in the grip bins and see which ones feel the best. Then see if you can find them actually on clubs. Once you have a couple that feel good, then have your son’s hand checked for proper grip size. A huge number of junior golfers and golfers in general are playing with grips that are the wrong size.

Examples: Dad, if you give your preteen-age son your old set of clubs, you are not doing him a favor unless you check out the grip size and have the grips changed to properly fit your son’s hands which are most likely smaller than yours. Linda was using grips that were way too small. She said it felt like she was holding straws in her hands when she held her clubs. Once her hands were measured, her grips were changed from regular to jumbo and now she can really hit some good shots. So Linda’s grips were 2 sizes too small. Grips that are too small can make your shots more wristy and lead to exaggerated hooking and lots of frustration. Now, S3, who has fast hands anyway, came up with the idea of trying larger-read thicker/fatter-grips in order to slow his hands down. And it worked. He went from regular to medium and now he can control and play less draw, actually aiming more directly at the target rather than playing out so far to the right to allow the ball to work back to the target. It has been great! And grips are very inexpensive. Frequently you can get grips changed out for $10 per club or less.(photo hogwire.biz)image

So once you do some research, changing out grips is quick and inexpensive. So Dad, get you son and get his hands measured. Get the correct grips for his hand size.

See you on #1 tee… Get a grip… Sam

Junior Golf: Get A Grip

imageIn this Monday Mulligan we are looking at a very important golf tool, but one that is ignored a lot, especially by junior golfers and other amateur golfers. Professional golfers pay a bunch of attention to this little item because it provides an extremely important function. (photo by jennlefforge.com)

Yes, we are talking about grips, the grips on your irons, driver and metals, not your putter. We’ll give the putter it’s own post. So why are grips important? Well, yes, grips do provide the ONLY point of contact between the player and the club. Grips provide a great amount of the the feel which is critical to every shot. And they come in different materials, different colors, different textures, different thicknesses. It is the classic something for everybody.

For a more advanced skill level, more consideration is necessary. Materials should be chosen on a welcoming feel to your bare hands, you don’t want to let go. Color is more about what you like or maybe what will look dirtiest the quickest and most often. Textures,like materials, some feel much better than others. And thickness is part of grip sizing and is vitally important to proper shot execution. Higher skill levels may play with different grip thicknesses for different clubs. Bubba Watson puts extra wraps of tape under his driver grip to give him the super-custom feel he wants so he can shape his driver shots. This is very advanced stuff. Most important for higher skill juniors is proper grip size and a really pleasant texture.

For beginners and very young junior golfers you may have to just deal with whatever grip size you can get, particularly for a 5-7 year old. Once your daughter gets a bit older you will have an opportunity to explore different grip sizes/thicknesses. So as her skills get better you can help her with a better fitting grip. Please take a trip to a big golf store so your daughter can check out a large selection of grips. And never just have grips put on because they look cool. Sometimes the latest and neatest-looking grips feel terrible once you actually feel them on a club. (photo image.dhgate.com)

And remember lighter-colored grips-read white-look beautiful in the grip bin, but get dirty faster than you can imagine. So washing/cleaning white grips is a frequent chore. I’m just sayin’!image

And Phil Mickelson has used the Golf Pride white and black grips for years and certainly his caddy, Bones, has washed them more times than he can remember. Washing/cleaning grips is very important because sweat and dirt can destroy your grip and feel. And grips are not forever! They need to be changed on a regular basis. S3 does his grips every 12 months or sooner if he feels they are getting slick. Pay attention to your grips. They are inexpensive, but critical.

See you on #1 tee… Sam

Junior Golf: Lesson 2 From The Tour Championship

imageIn our Friday Flop Shot we’ll take a look at the 2nd lesson to be learned from The Tour Championship. Every time you watch a professional golf tournament, there are many things to be learned, both good and bad. (photo from offcoursegolf.com)

So our 2nd and final lesson we will take from last week’s Tour Championship is: nobody plays great all the time. Yes, the greatest names in the history of the game had their streaks when they won multiple golf tournaments. And Byron Nelson won 11 events in 1 year in the 1940’s, but as great an achievement as that was, he didn’t win everything. Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Johnny Miller, Tom Watson, Tiger Woods and more guys have won a lot of golf tournaments in 1 season. But they all had times that they weren’t playing good enough to win. Yes, none of them liked it, but it’s called being human.

LPGA Hall of Famer Judy Rankin was talking on the golf channel about how many tournaments in a row the pros play, and for most it’s 2 or 3 in a row because it is so demanding. However, Judy made the point that if you are playing great, you want to keep playing because you know it won’t last forever. This is reality in professional golf.

Jason Day was hot as a firecracker the last few months on the PGA Tour and he was a favorite to win it all. In Atlanta however, Jason’s magical play had faded and while he was playing pretty well, after 2 days it appeared that he would really need to finish super strong to get back in it. In the meantime Henrick Stenson was on fire in the 1st round and looked like he was going to shoot about 30-under par if he could keep it up as he did at this same venue in 2013, winning it all. Ricky Fowler looked like he was always just about to get a bunch of birdies going but he never caught fire.image

Then there’s Jordan Spieth who had everybody, except him and his caddy, shaking their heads after he missed the cut in 2 of the playoff events. As the other guys on the PGA Tour know, Jordan is a competitor to take very seriously when the stakes are high. Stenson could not maintain his torrid birdie streaks and Jordan patiently caught up with and ultimately passed him. No one else was really a threat on Sunday as 2 days of rain had made a mess of everyone’s scores, except for Jordan’s. Congratulations to him! (Byron Nelson photo from media.nj.com)

Mom and Dad, you junior golfer is not going to win every golf tournament they play in. Winning just 1 is a big deal. Any golf tournament is hard to win so don’t beat your junior golfer up when he doesn’t play well or is not competitive. It happens. It’s part of golf. Players at every skill level are looking for consistency and guess what, sometimes your golfer is more consistent and sometimes they are not very consistent at all. Accept the fact that designing a plan to work toward better consistency is the way to go. This isn’t accepting failure. This is about accepting that golf is hard and being an elite athlete in any sport is hard and all athletes in all sports at all levels want to be more consistent in playing at a higher level.

So love your son. Take him to #1 tee and I’ll be looking for him… Sam

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