Junior Golf: More Lessons From Valero

In this Wednesday Waggle we will continue to examine some additional lessons from the just completed Valero Texas Open played on the tough TPC San Antonio Oaks Course. There is so much information that it will be a challenge to cover some highlights here. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)img_0102

In this Wednesday Waggle we will continue to examine some additional lessons from the just completed Valero Texas Open played on the tough TPC San Antonio Oaks Course. There is so much information that it will be a challenge to cover some highlights here.

Let’s talk a bit more about strategy and how to use it as your daughter analyzes her approach to a golf course. If the TV announcers said it once, they said it at least 100 times during their coverage, success on this golf course starts with putting your tee shot in the fairway. The 1st cut wasn’t too bad this week, but if the ball went into the rough, on the Oaks Course it is pretty much a 1-stroke penalty. The trees and “moon” rocks as we call them here are almost impossible to hit any kind of a shot other than a punch-out, and the risk of wrist injury is high. The top finishers were putting their drives in play. Dad and Mom, 1 of the basic tenets of playing winning golf is having a high percentage of your daughter’s tee shots in the fairway, period. A tee shot in the fairway starts the process of having a good score on a particular hole.

The 2nd must do strategy on this course is to put the approach shot on the correct portion of the green to have a decent birdie putt. Yes, this is an advanced technique, but if for now, your girl focuses on just hitting her ball on the green, that’s a good thing. She can work on accuracy as her skill level advances. The guys in the top 10 had lower scores because they made more birdies and had fewer bogies than everybody else. Birdies are easier to make if the approach shot is closer to the hole. Basic stuff.

And of course, to make birdies, you must make putts. Something else you will hear time and time again is that to win any golf tournament you have to make more putts than the rest of the field, particularly those in that 8 to 15 or 20-foot range, because the make percentage for the 3 and 4 footers is pretty high for everybody. So the great separator is who makes the mid-range putts. Think about who gets hot with a putter, Jordan, Jason, Adam, Bubba and Henrik to name a few. There are tournaments where 1 of those guys seems to be making everything and if he keeps it up for 4 days, he will likely win!image

Parents ask your daughter which of her longer clubs she’s more comfortable with, if she is a beginning golfer, it may be a 5-iron or 5-wood, doesn’t matter. Then get with her swing coach and let her work on getting condiment that this 1 particular club can be her “go to” club when she wants to make sure the ball ends up in the fairway. Later, she can use this to build confidence with other clubs as well. We’ll get to the other clubs later. Here’s a photo on my “go to” driving iron.

See you on #1 tee looking to put your drive in the middle of the fairway… Sam

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