Archive for May, 2016

Junior Golf: Remembrance And Respect

Today is a special day so in this Monday Mulligan we’re going to encourage Dad and Mom to spend a few minutes with your junior golfer and talk about another subject other than golf. (photo

This is Memorial Day and it is the day we, as Americans, spend time remembering those who have sacrificed their lives so that we can live in this amazing country. Please take a moment to approach and address this subject with all your children. Help them be aware that there are a ton of places in today’s world that it is all a family can do is stay alive from 1 day to the next. Or to escape persecution or to have a subsistence lifestyle where every day requires major effort to have food, clothing and a safe place to sleep.

In spite of what some people and politicians may say, the US is still the #1 country that folks want to emigrate to, the land of opportunity and the land of the free. Parents, please let your junior golfers know that everything about their lifestyle, including the ability to practice and play golf has been paid for in a number of ways, including the treasure and blood of our military.image

Enjoy your day and please give a moment of remembrance and respect to all the men and women who have selflessly sacrificed their lives so we can live in this wonderful land.

See you on #1 tee, looking respectful… Sam

Junior Golf: Goals Set And Met

In today’s Monday Mulligan we will look at part of the strategy your daughter and you, Dad and Mom, must utilize to have a successful junior golf career. Of course, success is subjective and there are different levels of it. (photo

It was always about this with S3, Linda and me regarding his junior golf goals, going to college on a golf scholarship and getting a degree. Yes, once he decided that he loved golf enough to really work at it, then Linda and I agreed to do everything we could to support him in his efforts to improve his game and pursue his dreams.

Friday, May 20, 2016, S3 walked across the stage at Texas A&M International University and was awarded his BBA, Bachelor in Business Administration degree. There are no adequate words to describe this moment from a parent’s perspective. It is the culmination of years of dreams and goals, highs and lows, and every possible emotion as we went down this path together. And now the time has come. And when his name was called and properly pronounced, thank you TAMIU, the 10 of us in attendance yelled and screamed and whooped and hollered and it was great!

As I walked up to him after the ceremony, teary-eyed, he looked at me and said, “I did it, Dad.” And I said, “Yes, you did Sammie and I could not be more proud of you! I love you very much!” Mom and Dad I cannot tell you how unbelievable this moment is! This is what being a parent is all about and you too can have this moment with your daughter or son.

It may be that your junior golfer is not even 10 years old and you’re saying, college golf, that’s like a million years from now. Well, time flies and the time to get serious about college golf will be upon you before you realize it. If your child loves golf and you are willing to support her you must work together to set some goals which can be intertwined with her dreams. Dream big and start dreaming and planning now!image

Here are S3’s college golf goals that we all came up with as he began junior high school:
To attend college on a golf scholarship
To get a college degree
To elevate the school’s men’s golf program
To improve his own golf skills

Please note that these are in order of importance. Once committing to a school, the degree always came 1st, period. Then, being a team player and finally his own golf game. S3 was recruited by TAMIU to be the foundation on which to build a solid men’s golf program and a number of excellent junior golfers have joined him at TAMIU and the men’s golf program is becoming more competitive every year. It has been an incredible 4 years that has flown by at rocket speed!

See you on #1 tee, dreaming about playing college golf… Sam

Junior Golf: Yes This Happens

In this Friday Flop Shot we want to bring up some things that do happen during golf tournaments and we encourage you to work with your son so he recognizes what he is going on and has some idea of what to do.image

Yes, we are talking about rules violations. It is amazing how quickly some young golfers grasp a few of the rules of the game. And understand that there are also rules that the pros have trouble with and a rules official may need to occasionally ask another rules guy or committee to help with a ruling. There are rules that are easier to grasp than others. (photo

For instance, putting a unique identifying mark on your golf ball. There are times during a golf tournament that your son may need to prove that a certain golf ball is his and it is not possible to do so unless he has marked his ball and shown his marked ball to his group members. Please recall the time when S3 and I saw Charley Hoffman and Billy Horschel showing each other their uniquely marked balls prior to teeing off in the Valero Texas Open. If the pros do it, every junior golfer needs to do it, period, for every event, no excuses.

Case in point. And this happened in a college event. A guy in my son’s group rope hooks his tee shot into the trees in the left rough. He declares that he is hitting a provisional and promptly hits it within a few yards of his 1st ball. Parents were allowed to help look for balls so Linda and I went looking for his balls. The young man offered that he was hitting Pro V’s (Titleist Pro V1) with a red number 1. Linda and I each found a ball matching the description, 2 balls exactly alike. I asked if there was an identifying mark on the ball and he said no. And then there’s the question of how did he know which was the 1st shot and which was the second, since both balls were identical and there was absolutely no way to decide which was the correct ball to hit. I believe that if the 1st ball is found, it must be played and the provisional ball is picked up. But, 2 BIG questions, is either of these balls his, because he has no way to prove it other than saying that it went past a certain landmark. And which is the 1st or 2nd ball? What a mess. (photo of Jordan Spieth’s golf ball courtesy of

Well, Linda and I could not comment and did not do so. S3 and the other guy in the group allowed the player to decide which ball was the 1st shot and allowed him to play it and still did not ask him to put his mark on it. Some things you see on the course are not readily explained. I am not a rules expert, but it seems the guy should have at least been penalized for not being able to identify his ball or should have gone back to the tee then hitting his 5th shot with a marked ball. Or is it a dq at some point? Does this fall under the playing the incorrect ball rule? And that rule is a 2-stroke penalty and the player returns to where he 1st played the wrong ball and plays the correct ball. Many times once the players understands he hit the wrong ball he looks a little more and finds his own ball. If your son were to tee off on the next hole without correcting his error he would be dq’d on the spot. See how quickly things can get confusing?

After the round, I asked S3 about this and I could see he knew that his response should have been different. However, being a young man who is not fond of confrontation, I understand why he went easy on the guy. This was a good lesson for our son and since then he has been much more on top of the rules.

See you on #1 tee, show me the mark on your ball… Sam

Junior Golf: Your New Best Friend


In this Wednesday Waggle we will look at increasing your junior golfer’s number of friends. This person is 1 who your daughter may not know very much about, however, in this post I will give a proper introduction. (Dufner photo

I’m talking about rules officials. Virtually all tournaments in the US are governed by the USGA’s Rules of Golf and the book is frequently updated. International tournaments may have a different ruling body, but probably 90%+ of golf rules worldwide are the same. Until your girl gets out of college, she pretty much only needs to concern herself with the USGA rules. Any local exceptions, which usually are ground under repair, or hazards vs out-of-bounds situation, or just unique local/course rules are announced before the start of the 1st round and may be handed to the players in printed material as well.

Your daughter must pay attention to these instructions and she must read and understand any material given out prior to teeing off. Over the last 17 years folks, I assure you that I have seen more kids ignore these rules than pay attention to them. Some just take the printed material and stuff it into their bag without even looking at it. That’s a mistake. S3 and I were told, a long time ago by a rules official, “You’ll win more golf tournaments if you know the rules.” It sounds so simple.

It took getting to college in our part of the world before it seemed that most of the players I was watching actually knew the rules and were interested in seeing them properly applied. S3 and his playing buddies are all pretty familiar with the several rulings you always see in tournaments, the most common of which is relief, as in your daughter taking relief from her ball being on the cart path or some other applicable obstruction. Then there is the old question is this casual water?, and everybody in the group takes a look. And of course is this hazard, native area or rough?

The best advice I have is to encourage your girl to never guess at a rule. The rules officials are on hand to help, not hurt the players. Ask someone to get a rules official, please. Yes, some have more personality than others and some are not much fun, but they should at least want the rules to be properly applied. These men and women are subject to the same integrity requirements as the entrants.

Also in almost every tournament, unless it is specifically forbidden, it is acceptable to play 2 balls. Your daughter must advise her playing partners she is doing so before playing the 2nd ball. This is a great question to ask at the players gathering before the start of the event.

With all due respect to every rules person S3 and I have ever been around, I must say that the rules officials at the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship in Port St Lucie, Florida, are especially amazing. Every 1 is a PGA professional and seems to really enjoy his duties. Of the 8 or 10 we’ve been around the past 4 years, every 1 at least gives you a head nod or returns a friendly wave of the hand. Duty comes 1st and they are always ready to quickly get to a hole where they are needed.

imageRight now I want to give a special shoutout to Brian Fahey, PGA professional, and 1 of the rules folks who was on S3’s course for every round this year and I think for the previous 3 years as well. Brian does rules at 3 tournaments this year, the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship, the Junior Ryder Cup and the PGA Senior Championship, all while being Tournament Director at Pinehurst! Way to go Brian, great stuff! He always has a smile on his face and will give you a minute or 2 for a visit, but he is listening to his headset for what hole he is going to next. Here’s Brian and me at #6 green on the Ryder Course.

Brian and the whole rules crew are another reason the college players feel like they are treated like royalty when they play in this event at the PGA Village. They are part of the team that actually does treat the tournament like a PGA event. So parents remember, rules people can save your daughter strokes and perhaps keep her from making a misstep that could lead to a dreaded dq, something that should be avoided at all costs.

See you on #1 tee, ready to find a rules official when you need 1… Sam

Junior Golf: Weekly Tips for Family Success

img_0135-1In today’s Monday Mulligan, Linda is sharing three weekly tips you and your Junior golfer can use to help attain family success off the course.

During The Players this weekend, Jordan Spieth missed the cut. When commentator and PGA tour winner, Aaron Oberholser, was asked, “Was it just Jordan’s putting that got him in trouble?” as Jordan referenced. Aaron stated that Jordan had too much “we” in his talk about his mistakes on the course and that he needed to get to back to the ownership of “I.”

As a player, you have the ultimate say as to what’s going on, you must own your club choice, your shots, and your attitude. It’s the same for us, as individuals when we own our responsibilities, there is less stress and more flow in our everyday.

As parents, you lead the pack in setting this mindset for your family. In essence, you are to “own” your choices as you create and influence your family lifestyle.  Your lifestyle at home creates a pattern your children will either embrace or run from when they’re older.

Three tips we’re looking at today to help you help you attain family success are your weekly scheduling, weekly must do’s, and weekly fun.

Weekly Scheduling – builds time management skills.

  • Color Code your individual activities to discover potential overload.
  • Using a wall calendar gives a vivid and REAL picture of where everyone is during the week and what they’re involved in. Google calendar offers you the option of color coding as well.
  • The best time-balance is found in no more than two-night activities each week per child/family member.
  • If you have five in your family, coordinate your times/days so you’re not out every night during the week as taxi service.
  • Teaching your children at a young age to monitor their time will increase their ability to manage it better as they become more independent.

Weekly (Chores) Must Do’s – establishes personal responsibility habits.

  • Checklist Sheet – Have your family members walk through the house in different areas and list all the “must do’s” they can find that will keep your home in a peaceful and pleasant, or happy condition.
    • Taking out the trash
    • Doing dishes.
    • Cleaning clothes
    • Cleaning all the rooms of the house.
    • Toilets.
    • Making dinner.

This is a great time to remind yourselves and you children, that a family is people who have a special intimacy and loyalty to one another. It’s your place of belonging, as such… it’s not one person’s job to maintain the home/family. Everyone must contribute according to their outing

Do you remember the term, Ohana used by the animated movie character, Stitch? It means family. I don’t know of anyone who heard him say that word that didn’t get choked up, because, being part of a family holds emotional importance. In the same way, it should not be a chore to coexist in a family, taking care of our home is something we choose to do because we belong to one another.

Weekly Fun – develops family bonding beyond golf. (Year round)

Use JOY Jars to bring variety into your routine

  • Meal time – everyone adds a favorite meal choice to be chosen once or twice a week, depending on your budget. Once a meal is chosen it’s removed until all are chosen then you put back in or replace with new.
  • Family time – everybody adds a favorite, “Oh, I’d like to do this, watch this, or play this!” Again, within reason and your budget. Playdates, puzzles, movies, etc.
  • Move-it time – everyone adds a favorite 30-minute physical activity to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Move your body 30 minutes a day with fun activities, clearing the yard, walking the dog. Anything that gets you off the couch. Bike riding incorporates both family and move-it time.
  • Downtime – maybe not in a jar so to speak, but select a time during the week or each day when you limit technology. Phones, iPads, iPods, TV is off. Creating a time of being still, reduces stress, allows for a mental regrouping, helps us to realize we don’t have to go go go all the time. Consider this family-massage… Play peaceful music throughout the home. Even thirty minutes a day sets a pattern your kids will look forward to over time. As soon as they get home from school, or right after homework. 15 minutes will work too.

There you go, three lifestyle tips to help you have family success off the course.

Have a blessed family week, see at the front door… Linda

Junior Golf: PGA Village

In this Friday Flop Shot we will look at 1 of the premiere golf resorts in the world. This is a fabulous place our family has become well acquainted with over the last 4 years.image

Folks, we’re talking about the PGA Village in Port St Lucie, Florida. It is on the east coast of Florida about 2 hours north of Miami International Airport and about 3 hours south of Jacksonville. This is a golf resort with so much to offer, it’s hard to do it justice in a blog. With 54 holes of championship golf, a wonderful staff, excellent restaurant, plenty of teaching pros, lessons and camps and the PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance, it is the ultimate experience for a golfer of any age. Yes, and your junior golfer has plenty to do here. (photo

Stay and play packages are available and if you haven’t filled up your summer vacation calendar, I suggest you take a look at this great facility. Frankly, I can’t say enough good things about the PGA Village. S3 has been here the last 4 years playing in the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship and he and all the young men and women and their families are treated like PGA pros. The warm welcoming atmosphere and the attention to every detail to provide an environment above and beyond anything these young adults have ever seen is amazing! Players, coaches and families will tell you that they are treated fabulously here and it is hard to imagine being treated any better.image

And the golf courses are perfect. As PGA Village Membership Director Jack Lutz told us, “This is where the PGA is able to offer regular folks the quality of golf courses that the tour pros play.” And he’s not kidding or bragging, it’s a fact. After S3 finished the event his freshman year he told me, “Dad, this (Ryder Course) is the best golf course I’ve ever played on. Every blade of grass is perfect and if you read the putts right, the ball goes in the hole.” Now keep in mind our son has played on a ton of top quality golf courses, so this was a strong statement. This year, his Aussie teammate, Adam, was at PSL and he is Einsteinian in his knowledge of golf course grasses and he said that unequivocally this was the finest Bermuda he had ever seen. Yes, there are agronomists who can provide grass at this high level for those of us not on tour!

The point here Dad and Mom is that the complete atmosphere at the PGA Village is an amazingly successful 1 that many resorts strive for but few achieve. It all starts at the top with PGA’s top executives and permeates through the whole staff from PGA Village General Manager, Jimmy Terry, to every person working in the grill, restaurant, cart barn or golf course. The PGA Golf Club is part of the PGA Village. Check them out at

See you on #1 tee, maybe at the Ryder Course at PGA Village… Sam

Junior Golf: Summer Dreams

In this Monday Mulligan we will look at 1 of the most fun times of summer, those times when your daughter can picture herself on the high school golf team or a college golf team or even playing on the LPGA Tour. Summer is a time for dreams!img_0135

Mom and Dad, what are your dreams? What dreams do you have for your junior golfer? If you are not sure, I hope you will consider dreaming again for you and your whole family. Perhaps you are of the ultra-pragmatic and practical nature and don’t put much value in dreams or think they are silly. (photo

As our dear friend Nelson, who pitched in the Houston Astros system, is a gifted athlete and excellent amateur golfer said, “If you don’t have any dreams, why do you even get out of bed?” Dreams are that extra motivation that will keep your daughter plugging away at improving her golf game even when she is not all that fired up about it. And dreaming can fluctuate depending on the number of distractions going on at any 1 time. It’s human nature.

As Tom Lehman said to David Feherty, while they were talking about the time, years ago, that Lehman had lost his privileges on the Tour and when he, Tom, started seriously working on his game to get his Tour card back, he had 3 things to keep him motivated, “I wanted to win a major championship, be #1 in the world and be the leading money winner.” Feherty replied, “Those are pretty lofty goals for someone who just lost their card.” Tom Lehman said, “You’ve got to have big dreams!” How true it is! (photo

Many of us have been laughed at and made fun of for saying our dreams out loud or stating them to the wrong people. And it can hurt. Parents, encourage your junior golfers to dream, it’s the stuff that real life is made of. Virtually every top athlete will tell you they always dreamed of being on the LPGA Tour or wanted to play in the Olympics or win a World Championship. There must be a carrot at the end of the stick.

Yes, not everyone will want to put in the effort to compete at the highest levels, but your girl can still dream about it and maybe 1 day she will really get after the hard work part. Encourage, don’t push. Maybe a short-term dream is getting a new driver or putter or a very cute new golf outfit. Those are dreams that can be realized and serve as inspiration to keep those big dreams alive. Having dreams is essential!

See you on #1 tee dreaming about playing college golf… Sam

Junior Golf: Seasons of Change

In this Wednesday Waggle, we’ll look at seasons of change. Your son will have a ton of changes happen to him throughout his life and some of the 1st and potentially most impactful will happen while he still is living at home.img_0102

Looking through his eyes, man are there a lot things happening and changing. Let’s examine some of the most dramatic/traumatic. Summer always is in itself a season of change. It marks the end of a school year and the coming of the next one. School seasons of change are basically of 2 categories, staying in the same school level and advancing to the next grade or finishing at 1 school level, say elementary school and advancing to the next school level, junior high or from junior high to high school or from high school to college. You see where we’re going here. (Dufner photo

Summer is when these transitions happen. Well, new friends, new and more difficult classes and new environments can, depending on your son’s personality type, impart stress. Parents, please remember there are 2 types of stress, the good stress-I’m excited about trying out for the school golf team and bad stress-What will happen if I try out for the school golf team and don’t make it? These thoughts and plenty more are going through your son’s mind over the summer.

How does this impact his golf? Again, depending on his personality type, he may relish all this change, work hard and be really ready for fall golf. Or he may be a bit intimidated by all this, still work hard on his summer golf, but need some time in the fall to settle into this new environment.

How can Dad and Mom help him adapt? Be realistic and positive. Explain that most of his new team members will be nice guys and some will become lifelong friends. Yes, some will play better, some will hit the ball farther and some will be really tough to beat. But you know what, they all want a teammate that can contribute! And tell him, “Son, that can be you.” (photo of S3 with a very tough 1st Place defeating a couple of future college golfers)image

Also be clear that team golf is different from individual golf in that he must earn a spot on the traveling team going to any given event. Rarely does any school, unless they are hosting their own tournament enter all their players. Golf is the ultimate performance-based sport, the better you play, the more opportunities you have. High school and college golf are very similar in this aspect: each school holds a qualifier for a specific event and the low 5 scores go and everybody else stays home.

Make an effort to understand what’s going through your junior golfer’s mind. Know that as much as he is loving his summer activities, he is also aware that they will come to an end, and in his opinion, perhaps way too soon. Parents, your input is vital to his good transition and success in the fall. Realistic and positive, great combination!

See you on #1 tee looking eager… Sam

Junior Golf: Enter Summer Events Now

In this Monday Mulligan we’re going to get some structure to your daughter’s summer. Now is the time to enter these tournaments.img_0135

A lot can be accomplished in summer golf. Your girl can make new golf buddies, play against new competitors and spend a ton of time practicing and have an improved golf game when schools starts back up. (photo

In the world of amazing, Starburst, the world’s biggest junior golf tournament, still, as of April 30, 2016, has spots open in every division. This is special! Dad and Mom please go to and take a look. This is a 1 of a kind scenario with over 1,000 total entries. 3 different courses over 3 days, free evening meals for 2 nights and an environment that is unmatched, not even close, anywhere else in the junior golf world! Your daughter is old enough, entries for girls and boys start at 7 years old. Enter and go, you’ll be glad you did!

In the less vacation-type summer tournaments, it’s time to look at all the events that are at a convenient distance. 1st is city, county or state junior championships. Next go to your state PGA site and look at their junior programs. Texas, for instance, is divided into north and south PGA zones. Central and South Texas is covered by and north Texas is There are plenty of junior opportunities through the PGA junior programs. (photo

Next on the list would be the elite tournaments for the more highly-skilled juniors. Here in Texas we have the Legends Junior Tour, the Texas Junior Golf Tour and a few American Junior Golf Tour dates. The Future Champions Tour is in California, Hurricane Junior Tour runs tournaments in 32 states and the Dixie PGA Junior Tour is in Southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. Folks, there is junior golf available almost everywhere in this country so get online and start looking. You will find more than you originally were expecting.

See you on #1 tee looking ready for summer golf… Sam

%d bloggers like this: