Archive for February, 2016

Junior Golf: Enjoy Florida Golf


In today’s Monday Mulligan we will take a look a Florida golf and all the many ways for you and your junior golfer to enjoy it.

You may be thinking, “We’re nowhere close to Florida so how can we enjoy Florida golf?”. It’s easy! First, if you’re not familiar with the state you can get a decent geography lesson. Yesterday was the final round of the Honda Classic from Palm Beach Gardens on the Atlantic coast about 100 miles north of Miami. Then this Thursday the World Golf Championship-Cadillac Classic from Trump National Doral in Miami begins, followed by the Valspar Championship on the Gulf coast near Tampa and ending with the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando. Of course the pros return to Florida in early May for the Player’s Championship in the Jacksonville-St Augustine northeast part of the state.
Other than the panhandle, you have had some golf exposure to both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. There are lots of wonderful golf courses all over the US, but for sheer number of courses and the number of top-quality courses, no state is even on the same plane as Florida. I think there are 70 courses in the Orlando area alone! Depending on whose numbers you are looking at, there are 1200-1500 courses in the state.  (blog.2ndswing.com)STD-SC.QK
How does this benefit you and your son? Watch these events. They are all on the Golf Channel and/or CBS or NBC. The signature holes should have your son drooling to want to play the course. You will see so many legendary and challenging holes. Every golfer and this includes kids, gets excited about playing where the pros play. Sure these courses can be expensive and you can’t really get on some of them. Be optimistic. Get online and see what it takes to get a tee time. Then plan a trip.
Here’s a perfect example of how much golf there is in Florida and how it can impact you and your son. A few years ago we were in the pro shop at The King and The Bear Golf Course at the World Golf Hall of Fame. We noticed that the beautiful logo golf shirts were considerably cheaper than similar shirts would be in Texas. I asked the manager if all shirts were on sale or just a few. She said, “That’s our everyday price. There is so much golf competition in Florida that there’s no way to charge full retail.” Yes, we bought shirts!
For now, use the tv and some web cruising to get your son, and you interested in what’s happening with Florida golf. At the minimum it will be informative and educational. Perhaps it will even inspire a trip.
See you on #1 tee thinking about all those golf courses in Florida… Sam

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Junior Golf: Change Things Up

imageIn today’s Friday Flop Shot we will start looking at changing things up in your daughter’s routine. Why should you consider this? What are the benefits?

Let’s begin by examining golf courses that are a reasonable distance from home. Sure, your girl has her favorite course. Perhaps you are members of a country club or junior golf club/team that practices and plays at the same venue most of the time. This is all good, but 1 thing that always invites excitement and anticipation is something new, like playing a golf course for the 1st time. (offcoursegolf.com)

S3’s home course until college was Olympia Hills Golf Club in a suburb northeast of San Antonio. It is a municipal course owned by Universal City and it is an excellent track that is always in wonderful shape. It has all the desirable qualities for a home course: close, affordable, challenging and fun! But there are times that a change is needed, just to get some enthusiasm back into your daughter’s game.

Our area has plenty of quality golf courses and most, if not all give junior discounts and juniors who walk, which they certainly should, can get really cheap rates. We bought memberships to our Alamo City Golf Trail, golf courses owned and managed by the city of San Antonio. There are a ton of benefits, including free rounds. With 6 courses total, this package gives us very affordable options to see some different territory.image

Perhaps 1 of the most beneficial reasons to play a different course is that it allows your daughter to enhance her creativity. Every golf shot is different and with the new course layout, new grasses for greens, fairways and roughs and perhaps a different attention to maintenance, this situation requires adaptability and creative shot-making. This helps create confidence and is essential in preparation for upcoming tournaments.

Every now and then she will play a course that is in less than perfect condition. This is a good thing because she will surely play a few tournaments on courses that are not green carpets. Some may not have been overseeded so in the winter she is playing on dead grass and dirt. Some have not had adequate water so everything is hard as a rock and there is plenty of bare dirt and hardpan to hit off of. This is OK. Please be assured, she will end up playing a tournament on a course that is in less than perfect or even poor condition. That’s golf. Her inventory of creative shots can always use 1 more.

Yes, there may be some complaining, but it’s time to make lemonade out of these lemons. Just encourage her that this is a great chance to work on her shots from these types of lies and that this will definitely help her in some future competition. Go find some of those inexpensive less-than-perfect courses and book a tee time. Make it a positive outing!

See you on #1 tee on 1 of “those” courses… Sam

Junior Golf At St George, Utah

img_0102In today’s Wednesday Waggle we will look at junior golf opportunities in a place you likely have never heard of, St George, Utah. Some golfing buddies told us about it we were impressed enough to investigate. (golfdigest.com)

Our July 2007 adventure included a number of points of interest in addition to our time related to our niece’s wedding in San Diego. We left Southern California and headed northeast aiming for Las Vegas and then continuing to St George, Utah which is in the southwest corner of the state just a few miles from the Nevada border. This part of Utah has several national parks and a ton of golf, so our days were fully booked.

We spent most of the next day at Zion National Park, a place of so much beauty. We got back to St George around 4:00pm and wanted to play golf since it was daylight until nearly 9:00pm. Linda called some of the dozen or more courses in the area and the 1st one was too far, the 2nd one wanted a fortune and the 3rd one said where are you? After giving him our intersection, he said, “Turn right at the next light and go to the end of the street and you’ll be at the clubhouse. $45.00 total, including cart for the 2 golfers and yes, your wife can ride along.”

This was perfect! S3 and I went in to pay and were told, “Play as much golf as you want, but the sprinklers come on at 8:30pm.” We took the cart to the car, got Linda and our clubs and teed off on #1. The locals kept apologizing for the heat because it was 105-degrees with no humidity. Frankly this was nothing for us since San Antonio has plenty of heat and humidity, so this was a piece of cake. Dry skin and cracked lips however needed to be addressed.

imageThe course was stunning in a number of ways and I feel most golf courses in this area have similar features. St George is in a high desert setting. This means you have lush emerald fairways and greens set in and around red rock canyons. Beautiful! And you are at 2,000 feet or so of altitude and the ball flies farther. (articles.latimes.com)

There really isn’t any rough, it’s more of a native area with spindly plants a couple of feet high and red dirt and gravel. For the most part you could play out of it. Not really any trees or vegetation taller than 2 feet. You could see for miles and this added to the overall great experience. As we drove up to our tee shots, we noticed a jackrabbit. Ok, we’ve seen plenty of those before, nothing special here. Then we saw another 1 and another 1, I mean we must have seen 1,000 jackrabbits on this course. They were every 10 feet! And we saw some quail, not sure of the variety, but they obviously were native to the area. What we didn’t see was the pack of coyotes needed to calm down this rabbit explosion.

The golf. This was 1 of the most relaxing times we have ever spent on a golf course anywhere. We were the only ones on the course. Because of the summer heat and it was the hottest time of the day, we had this wonderful course to ourselves. S3 was 13 years old and had a couple of golfing 1sts: driving his 1st par 4 and then making an eagle on a par 5 sinking a 30-foot putt. This was pure vacation golf, just having fun! Can’t remember the scores, but he played good and I hit some decent shots as well. The higher altitude got us on a couple of holes as we hit our normal clubs and blew our shots totally over the green, but those tee shots went a long way!

See you on #1 tee looking to hit that green fairway… Sam

Junior Golf At Torrey Pines

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will relive our adventure at 1 of the legendary golf courses in the US and in the World, Torrey Pines, just north of San Diego, California. This is fun, get excited!image

In late June of 2007, we packed up the car and Linda, S3 and I started heading west on I-10 ultimately to spend a few days in San Diego. Our 1st overnight stay was at a Holiday Inn in Deming, New Mexico. This is a fun side note, so please bear with me. At check-in I asked how business had been, were they pretty busy? The unexpected response was, “We’re a bit slow today and glad of it. The whole cast and crew of the new Indiana Jones movie has been here filming for the last 6 months and they just left yesterday.” Yep, Harrison Ford and everyone else. So it was fun learning where the filming locations were and we heard a bunch of interesting stories. (Offcoursegolf.com)

Next morning we blasted west again reaching our destination in the late afternoon. S3 and I had some golf planned and we had tried to make a tee time at Torrey Pines on the Internet, but it was a pain and the agent wanted another $25 each to make the reservation. No thanks.

On the morning of July 4th, 2007, we got up with nothing to do until 6:00pm so I said why don’t we drive to Torrey Pines buy some logo shirts and practice on the putting green, expecting there to be no way to get a tee time. So we are talking to the guy at checkout and it happens he is from our part of San Antonio. As we visit, he says,”When’s your tee time?” I told him about our unproductive internet experience to which he replied, “How many are playing?” I said, “2”. He said, “Sam this is a muni (municipal golf course owned by San Diego County). We work in 1’s and 2’s all day long. Go see the starter and tell him you have 2 for the South Course.”

imageS3 and I got in line, we were maybe 3rd. All the guys ahead of us professed to be locals, meaning they got a MUCH lower rate and the starter made them show about 3 photo ID’s and everything except for a blood test. They paid like $45 walking. It’s our turn and I say, “2 for the South Course.” Starter says, “2 for the South Course, #1 tee in 10 minutes. That’s $185 each, no junior discount and $50 for the cart.” We expected it to be expensive so the money didn’t matter. I asked if we could ride 3 in the cart so Linda could join us and the starter said yes. (fitnessfatale.com)

We teed off and frankly I played quite poorly and S3 played pretty well. We were grouped with 2 brothers from the local area who were nice guys. And Linda had the time of her life videoing the course and all the absolutely stunning views. Some of the holes are on top of the cliffs that run right along the edge of the Pacific and others have views of the surrounding countryside. Torrey Pines is a beautiful amazing golf course. There is a reason why a number of US Opens in addition to the annual Farmers Insurance Open are played there on the South Course, the tougher and more famous of the 2 courses.

If you are ever near San Diego, make it a priority to play the South Course at Torrey Pines. Just walk up to the starter, don’t mess with a reservation if there are 2 or less of you. Don’t worry about how you play. You will get an education in Kikuyu grass (tee boxes and fairways) and Poiana grass (on the greens). You’ll understand after a couple of holes.

See you on #1 tee on an amazing golf course… Sam

Junior Golf: Our First Tee Seminar

imageIn today’s Wednesday Waggle we will look at the seminar Linda and I along with Dr Nick Askey put on last Saturday at the First Tee of Greater San Antonio.

A large part of our community outreach involves being in front of people live and in color. The FTGSA has been very welcoming and has invited us into their fold to put on seminars to help the parents of their junior golfers. Last Saturday we held our third seminar and Nick Askey, Sports Therapy and Rehab Director of AIRROSTI Rehab Centers was able to join us. (golfdigest.com)

Our seminars are always coordinated with classes at FTGSA to help increase attendance. So Linda and I began at 1:00pm and talked about discovering your/the parent’s personality and then identifying your child’s personality. Then Linda gave the parents immediate words and phrases to use to enhance communication and dynamics in the whole family. Folks this stuff works. We have seen it time and time again in the nearly 4 years we have been doing this. Parents will contact us after attending 1 of our events and tell us, “It’s amazing, my communication with my son is better than ever!” Parents, you can enjoy the wonderful world of dramatically improved family dynamics by attending 1 of our seminars or by contacting us for more information.

In case you are wondering, improved family dynamics can mean hundreds of things from just a better attitude from your son, less or no talking back, better grades, better golf scores and just a really more pleasant situation all around. Yes, your household can enjoy these benefits.

Nick took the stage around 1:40pm to talk about flexibility, stability and the golfer. Dr Nick Askey, DC, ACP is a medical professional who is also Titleist Performance Center Certified, so he really knows what he’s talking about. Here’s my review of some of the highlights of Nick’s talk.

Core strength is critical to a good golf swing. And there are numerous exercises to increase core strength, but the limited time in the seminar meant Nick had to show some simple exercises that could be done almost anywhere. So our favorite, the good ole plank was the top choice here. Frontal plank, then right side plank, then left side plank, all with ears, butt and heels in a straight line. Tighten core and glutes. Hold as long as you can. I think maybe the PGA Tour average was around 3 minutes each, but I’m not sure. What I do know is that your son will love beating you at this! Make it a contest. Put a timer on the floor where he can see it. Planks are great for your core. Nick is not a fan of sit-ups and crunches.

Next he addressed glutes and shoulders. His quote was, “A golfer cannot have too much glutes!” And he showed us a great floor exercise which I will not try to describe. Just look up some glute exercises on your own. Then we learned about shoulders. Nick took a piece of the 3 or 4-inch wide workout resistance tape which comes in a roll, cut about a 10-foot length of it, tied it to a table leg, got on his knees in an upright position, took the tape in 1 hand and showed us all we needed for golfer shoulder strength. Then he switched hands. Sorry, this 1 is also tough to describe. Maybe we can get some videos.image

Lastly Nick reminded us that muscle bulk is not for golf. If you have a son who is in the “bulk” mode of working out, you will want to help him change his routine to benefit his golf game. Remember that muscle bulk is different from gaining weight. S3 has always been slim on the verge of skinny and he has worked really hard at getting his weight up so he has the muscle tone, strength and flexibility to compete at the college level. Thankfully his college PT has the correct mindset for his golfers and is constantly begging a couple of the guys to change their weightlifting habits. S3, at the ripe old age of 21 years old, has finally gotten to 160 pounds at a height of 5’11”. I think he’d like to get to 165 pounds and keep it there.

See you on #1 tee looking fit… Sam

Custom Clubs: A Brief Recap

imageIn this Friday Flop Shot we will do a brief recap of our custom club posts. Really every junior golfer, every golfer for that matter should have golf clubs that are in some way, specifically fitted to them. Each person’s shape, size, strength and skill level has its own criteria.

Begin the custom club process by asking your son the purpose for every club in his bag. Start with the driver or longest club and end with the putter. The goal here is for your son to get the concept of what clubs should really be in his bag and his clubs should cover the gaps between each one. If he has less than 14 total clubs, what club(s) should be added to take care of any gaps? If he has 14 clubs should any be switched out? Should the makeup of clubs in his bag be changed? Remember that S3 went from 4 wedges to 3 wedges so he could add 2-iron/driving iron to close the gap between his 3-wood and 3-hybrid and broken 4-iron. He had quit hitting his hybrid so his gap was huge, from 3-wood to 5-iron. It was obvious and we both knew it existed but didn’t do anything about it. His new custom clubs take care of that beautifully.image

Now that you know what should be in the bag, how do you begin customizing the clubs. Again, every golfer, including your son, must have clubs the proper length, weight and grip. Parents please confirm these things with your son and his swing coach. Oh, and before you go adding too many clubs to a very young junior golfer’s bag, make sure he is strong enough to carry the extra clubs for a whole round of golf. If not, you should wait before adding them.

Going from basic customizing or actually proper fitting, let’s go to truly making these clubs extra special for your son. Again, start with his driver, wedge or putter. Ask around and try to find a location or PGA pro who is known for getting their junior golfers great custom clubs. It may take more than 1 fitting or session to figure out his specific needs. That’s OK, better to be accurate than in a hurry.

The choices and options seem endless, but some advance research helps clear things up a bit. Start with the club heads. What make/model feels good and flies a decent distance? Then look at shafts like KBS, Fujikura, Aldila and True Temper. Steel or graphite? Now for grips. What feels good? Does he need an extra small or junior grip or is a regular grip OK? There is more fine tuning that can be done, but this should get you started.

See you on #1 tee having fun with those custom clubs… Sam

Custom Clubs: Let’s Buy One

imageIn this Wednesday Waggle we will look at how to get started in custom golf clubs for your daughter. A conservative approach is best when you venture into new territory so that’s how we will approach this. Let’s buy one!

If your daughter is like our son, she will be very excited when you even mention custom golf clubs. New equipment is always fun, but Mom and Dad must maintain a sense of reality. There is not any household budget that the game of golf cannot easily exceed. So to have a plan and maintain a bit of sanity we are going to begin your girl’s adventure in custom golf clubs by purchasing just one club. (golf digest.com)

How do you decide which club to get? If you adhere to the legendary Harvey Penick’s philosophy that the 3 most important clubs in the bag are the driver, wedge and putter, you now have 3 great options. Depending on the age, strength and skill level of your daughter, she may use something other than a driver on the tee.. So you can consider customizing her main club she uses to tee off with as an option.

Ask your daughter what she considers to be the strongest part of her game. Is it driving (again maybe with a 3 or 5-wood instead of a driver), approach shots, chipping or putting? Once the 2 of you have agreed on her strongest suit, go that direction. If you’re not sure or your junior golfer is at the beginner skill level, go the putting or chipping route. The fastest way to lower any golfer’s score is around the green, chipping and putting.image

Please remember that parents of beginner level golfers can customize any and all clubs just by having them the correct length, weight and grip size. This is all you need to do for now. Maybe you could put a new grip on her putter, perhaps just a more fun color or different style. This is quite inexpensive and could have a very positive effect. It may just make putting more fun, but that means she enjoys practicing more and hopefully more balls go in the cup.

Intermediate and advanced players may take a different approach. If your girl is a good putter and chipper but is having trouble off the tee, you might want to address her weakness so she can be more competitive with her driving stats. Your family golf team will need to decide which approach is best for your daughter’s current situation. Addressing strengths or weaknesses?

S3 and our whole family got completely customized putters 2 years ago and they have made a world of difference. We all make more putts than we ever had before. These putters are totally worth the expense! So for your girl to change every other club in her bag, including what clubs are in her bag at 1 time is a big bite and not for the faint of heart. If you customize everything she will play much better, but needs to accept that it takes lots of range time to get used to the new clubs, not to mention the $ investment.

Have the family meeting today. What will the golf budget allow? Is 1 club the best path for now or can your daughter handle and will the budget support more than 1 club? The cost for doing 1 club could be from $10-15 for a grip change to $200 or more for a state-of-the-art new shaft, grip, etc. Parents be aware of the costs. It can be a ton of money and you must have a commitment from your daughter before moving forward. Customizing for beginners is basically length, weight and grips while customizing for intermediate/advanced players can mean dozens of options. It’s all fun!

See you on #1 tee looking customized… Sam

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