Archive for July, 2016

Junior Golf: Unexpected Results

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will look at unexpected results, what happens when your son’s round of golf doesn’t look anything like you thought it would or should, or what we, his team, were expecting.img_0106

A perfect example is yesterday’s 1st round results at the PGA Championship. 2 of the biggest favorites will need to have a great round today or miss the cut. Rory McIlroy had a 4-over par 74, with 35 putts. Please note that most tour pros would love to average 27-28 putts per round, or less, so 35 is horrible. Now Dustin Johnson, winner or 2 events in a row not that long ago blew up to a 77, what’s up with that? (photo

Along with Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Bubba Watson, Ricky Fowler, these were most of the top names being picked to win the 4th major of 2016. Let’s see, Jimmy Walker and Martin Kaymer, who are they again? Well, Martin has won 2 majors and Jimmy has won 5 times in the previous 2 years, but neither has had a lot going on this year. How is Jimmy leading and how is Martin tied for 4th with Henrik among others, after 1 round?

Jimmy said he grew up playing a Tillighast course, I think referring to our wonderful Brackenridge Park Golf Course, Old Brack, here in San Antonio. The big greens, generous fairways and bunker placements were familiar to him. Folks, the pros favor some courses over others and pleasing to the eye, familiarity, acceptability of their preferred shot shape, etc are big deals. It’s a bonus to Jimmy that a course in a major feels comfortable to him. (Jimmy Walker photo

PGA: PGA Championship - First Round

Jul 28, 2016; Springfield, NJ, USA; Jimmy Walker reacts to the crowd after making a putt on 17th hole during the first round of the 2016 PGA Championship golf tournament at Baltusrol GC – Lower Course. Mandatory Credit: Eric Sucar-USA TODAY Sports

And Martin Kaymer, in majors he’s either really on or really off and if it’s an on week for him, look out. He can get in a serious zone. Let’s not forget Henrik Stensen, winner of The Open Championship 2 weeks ago, he’s and Martin are only 2 shots back. No disrespect to the other players in the top 10 after round 1, but you can look up the complete leaderboard online.

What does this mean to you and your junior golfer? Competitive sports is tough, it’s like life, things happen! Good things and bad things happen and many cannot be readily explained. It’s getting back up to hit another shot that counts. Believing that the next shot will be a good shot counts even more! I can assure you that there were times S3 looked like he was ready to cry, faint or throw up after hitting a bad shot or having a bad hole. Sometimes he got over it on the next tee box and sometimes it took a few holes, but he got over it during the round, usually finishing with a strong final 3 holes, at least.

Being an encourager is 1 of the most important roles for a parent. Remember that just because your son has been playing great recently does not mean he will play great in his next event. The encouragement must be that nobody plays great all the time, but he, your son, must believe he can hit a good shot after hitting a poor 1. Positive, positive, positive! If you get knocked down, you get back up. Forget the bad, focus on the good.

Let’s enjoy this great golf weekend! The Women’s Open Championship is in progress and of course we have the rest of the Men’s PGA Championship. Get the TiVo going!

See you on #1 tee expecting good shots… Sam

Junior Golf: The PGA Championship

In this Wednesday Waggle we’ll look at another special event, the men’s PGA Championship. This is a very exciting time in the golf year with big-time tournaments almost every week. (Dufner photo

Baltusrol Golf Club just west of New York City, in Springfield, New Jersey, is hosting the 98th PGA Championship. This is the 9th major and 2nd PGA Championship the club has hosted. The guys are playing the Baltusrol Lower Course, a spicey 7462 yard, par 70 layout. Wow, plenty of long holes and only 2 par-5’s, on #17 and #18. Should make for some very interesting finishes with plenty of risk/reward opportunities at the end of the rounds!

No amateurs in this place, pros only. There are a zillion ways to get into the 156-man field, but 1 of the greatest attributes of this tournament is that the top 20 finishers in the PGA Professional Tournament, read club pros event, are automatically qualified. Great stuff! (PGA photo

Jason Day won last year and Rory won in 2014 and all the top pros will be in New Jersey for this major! TV coverage is different. TNT has the majority of coverage, starting Thursday and they share broadcast time with CBS over the weekend. You know what I’m going to say! Set your TiVo for these 2 channels and also record Live From The PGA on The Golf Channel. So much great conversation and insight. This is like free golf and mental game mini-lessons.image

Sometimes it’s tough to get our young golfers to sit down and watch a golf tournament, much less look at some folks talking about golf. It may be that you, Mom and Dad, watch the shows and mark the great shots and amazing advice and replay these brief segments for your kiddos. This works and some of it will actually sink in.

If you get excited, your kids will get excited, so let’s all get excited about the great golf coming up starting tomorrow at the PGA Championship from legendary Baltusrol Golf Club!

See you on #1 tee looking excited… Sam.

Junior Golf: US Wins IC

In this Monday Mulligan we will enjoy looking at the great come from behind win the US LPGA stars pulled off this past weekend! (photo

The International Crown event was created in order to give the excellent Asian women’s golfers an international team event where they could play and represent their country. This is an 8-team event where eligibility is determined by the combined Rolex World Rankings of the 4 top players from each country. The 8 countries with the lowest totals get to play.

Countries are then seeded and placed into 2 4-team brackets and play 3 days of 4-ball, which is usually called best ball or better ball in the US. For example: 2 players from 2 teams play in a 4-some. Each player plays her own ball through the hole and the lowest score of the team’s 2 players is used. The 2 teams with the most points after 3 days of best ball, from each bracket, advance along with a 5th-place, wildcard team, to Sunday’s singles matches.

Sunday, yesterday, was singles matches where for instance, the 4 US ladies played 1×1 vs South Korea, England, Taiwan and wildcard entry, Japan. 2 points for a win, 1 for a tie and 0 for a loss.

To put things in perspective, the US played poorly on day 1, Thursday and got no points. Yes, that’s zero, nada, the big 0, whatever you choose to call it. So our girls were in a not so good spot, but still had a chance to win with strong play and that’s what happened.

Friday we got 3 points with a halve and a win and Saturday was a 4-point day for our ladies with 2 victories. So entering Sunday’s singles matches we were in 2nd place with 7 points, 1 point out of 1st place. Not bad, still having a chance to win.image

Singles matches meant money-time for the US as our players went on a tear! Stacy Lewis beat Japan’s Mika Miyazato 3 and 2. Gerina Gillar smoked Taiwan’s former World #1 Yani Tseng, 4 and 3. And Christie Kerr dominated England’s tough Mel Reid, 3 and 2. Lexi Thompson and her putter had an inconsistent day and she lost 2 and 1 to South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu. But, the US got 6 points for a total of 13 points and none of the other teams had a chance to catch up. US ladies win, congratulations! (photo

What this means to parents of junior golfers is that you should be encouraging your daughters to have the confidence that they can hit good shots and can get low scores. Everybody has some bad shots, bad holes and a bad round. It’s coming back from those poor situations and hitting good shots is what it’s all about. It’s what life is all about. It’s what enabled our ladies to win the IC! Be an encourager!

See you on #1 tee looking encouraged… Sam

Junior Golf: The International Crown

In this Friday Flop Shot we will look at the ladies’ event taking place right now at The Merit Club near Chicago. The LPGA has a lot of great golfers and this event has a true worldwide and international flavor.img_0106-1

We’re talking about the 2nd incarnation of The International Crown, won by the Spanish ladies in 2014’s inaugural event. The IC features 8 teams of 4 players each, representing their country. Players and thus the teams must qualify based on the cumulative team score of the 4 players’ Rolex World Rankings. Teams are seeded 1-8 and put into 2 4-team pool brackets where each team plays the other 3 teams in their bracket in a series of 4-ball matches. The top 2 point-earning teams from each pool plus 1 wild card team will advance to Sunday’s singles matches. The winning country is determined by the highest number of cumulative points from Thursday through Sunday’s matches. (photo

The Spaniards, 2014 winners, did not qualify for 2016 and neither did the runner up, the Swedes. This year’s IC teams include the United States, South Korea, China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Australia and England. Lots of great lady golfers represented here.

All but 2 hours of Sunday NBC coverage is on The Golf Channel and you know what I’m gonna say now…set your TiVo and record this tournament. I watched most of the 2014 play and it was great! This ladies are playing for their countries and it means a lot to them. Emotions and passions run high and these gals can play!image

Please don’t confuse the ladies’ tees at your home course with LPGA tees. This course is set up for 6668 yards, par 72. That’s in line with a low to medium length for men’s regular tees at most courses. So for most of the Dads out there, these women are basically playing from your tee box! Can you hit your drives as far as they do? Probably not! Great stuff! Well coverage has started and I’m watching it! (photo Jose Maria Saiz V.)

See you on #1 tee looking for that International Crown… Sam

Junior Golf: Olympic Golf

In today’s Wednesday Waggle let’s go somewhere we’ve never been before or at least since 1904, let’s visit Olympic Golf. (

This is a very busy and exciting time for golf fans. The Open Championship just ended and the Olympics and men’s PGA Championship are coming up soon. So let’s talk some Olympic Golf.

What could be better than playing the sport you love while representing your country! Yes, golfers have multiple international men’s and women’s cups that are amazing spectacles for players and fans alike. But The Olympics is different, I mean it’s THE Olympics for goodness sakes!

An Olympic Gold Medal is in a level of prestige all by itself. It is a world championship of the highest order! So why are so many of the top men golfers dropping out of the Olympics? Many have mentioned health concerns about the zika virus as their reason. Others who are playing have said they are not worried about a few mosquitos. There are some rumblings about schedule problems with PGA Tour events conflicting with the Olympics. And there is no prize money. And the men’s tour doesn’t need the exposure as much as the women’s tour does, and on and on and on.

I am not judging here. Any and all worries have some degree of validity and I respect them. The fact remains that when the competition is over, a men’s and a women’s 2016 Olympic Champion Golfer will be crowned along with 2nd and 3rd place. If you are qualified to go but choose not to go, that’s fine. That’s your choice, but please don’t knock someone else who is going. Guess what, if you’re not going to Rio, you’re guaranteed not to be the Olympic Champion, but someone will be!


1of your competitors took advantage of your absence and scarfed up the gold medal. He/she is the 1 who will be remembered as being a pioneering champion who helped bring back prestige and glamour to Olympic Golf! (Rio photo

What does this mean to your junior golfer? In the short-term, record the men’s and women’s golf and watch all of it. Your youngster will get excited just soaking up the Olympic atmosphere. In the long-term, it means enter all the tournaments that budget and schedule can allow. Don’t worry about how many entrants there are or who’s playing. When the event is over there will be a champion and nobody will remember if there were only 3 people or 300 people in your child’s division. Go play!

See you on #1 tee ready for The Olympics… Sam

Junior Golf: Amazing Golf

In today’s Monday Mulligan we will look at yesterday’s final round in The Open Championship where 1 of the most exciting 2-man duels of all time captivated viewers and lovers of golf worldwide. (photo

After Saturday’s 3rd round Henrik Stenson was 12-under par and Phil Mickelson was 1 shot back. Everyone else was well behind these 2 so barring a collapse by both Henrik and Phil combined with a phenomenal round by someone else, it was basically a 2-man race for The Champion Golfer Of The Year.

The weather was cold and windy to start the day but it didn’t matter to these guys in the final group. Phil birdied #1 and Henrik 3-putted so they switched scores and places on the leaderboard. Stenson righted his ship and started making birdies and Phil was making birdies and an eagle. They both finished the front 9 with 4-under par 32’s, meaning Henrik maintained the 1-stroke lead he had to start the day.

Phil caught Henrik on #11 and they stayed tied for the next 2 holes. Then Stenson continued his amazing round of golf by hitting more fabulous shots and making long putts. He birdied 3 of the last 5 holes to shoot a 63, with 2 3-putts. I believe that if you asked Phil before this final round if he, Phil, thought a 65 on the last round would win The Open Championship, he would have certainly said, “Yes, I’ll take that score in every final round!”image

Well folks, guess what? Phil shot a 6-under par final round, bogey-free 65 and took 2nd place all by himself, 11 shots ahead of 3rd place but 3 shots behind Henrik. Wow, it’s unbelievable, but true. Phil played great golf and did nothing wrong. Henrik, however, was on another planet, hitting great shot after great shot and making putts, long putts. Henrik just plain ole beat Phil. (photo

Dad and Mom, this is why I encourage you to record these events! It may be 10 years before you see another amazing display of championship golf like this. I mean, this was an all-time classic!

See you on #1 tee ready to hit some amazing shots… Sam

Junior Golf: Copy Phil’s Attitude

In this Friday Flop Shot we will look at how your son’s attitude impacts his score. There are numerous examples, both good and bad every weekend on the PGA and LPGA Tours. (photo

He’s not called today’s Arnold Palmer, for no reason. Phil Mickelson is likely the most beloved professional golfer playing currently. Why, you ask? Arnold Palmer, the King, brought athleticism, strength, energy, big smiles, an obvious love of the moment and a genuine love of the fans with him to every event. Oh and he brought great skill, too, attempting shots that others wouldn’t and often getting great results! And he was legendary for staying long after his rounds to sign every autograph. Arnold was once jokingly accused of carrying binoculars with him so he could see if anyone else wanted an autograph before he left. Great stuff, things that fans everywhere dearly love!

Now Phil is not Arnold Palmer, but he carries a bunch of Arnie’s qualities. Phil signs, smilingly, tons of autographs, he brings an exciting game, trying shots that others might not, and he certainly enjoys the fans. Also he has a consistently positive attitude. When you listen to the greats like Arnold, Jack Nicklaus and yes, Phil, you will notice that they always say positive things. Interviewers try to get them to say something negative and they just won’t do it! Part of this is their can do personality and part of it is their understanding how the brain works and they want only positive thoughts filling their minds.image

Parents please get this, eliminate the negative and fill your conversations and your kiddos mind with positive thoughts and words. Competitive sports is tough and staying positive is a major attribute and it takes practice. (photo

So yesterday Phil shot an 8-under par 63, to take the 1st round lead in The Open Championship. How did he do it, well his positive attitude about his game and his shot-making helped a ton, as did hitting 16 of 18 greens. Once negative thoughts show up, the game is lost. Let’s see how Phil does today.

See you on #1 tee with a positive attitude… Sam

Junior Golf: Wisdom From Monty

In today’s Wednesday Waggle we will enjoy some words of wisdom from 1 of the all-time great British golfers. Born in Glasgow, Scotland, just a few houses down the street from Royal Troon Golf Club, he is returning home for this week’s Open Championship and has some amazing insights to share.img_0102-1

We’re talking, of course, about Colin Montgomery, affectionately known around the world, as Monty. He is intelligent and articulate and has tremendous golf credentials including 46 wins worldwide with several major championships and an amazing streak of being unbeaten in 8 Ryder Cup singles matches! So when Monty talks, 1 is well-advised to listen. (Dufner photo

Monday on Live From The Open, on the Golf Channel, Monty was being interviewed and the questions turned to Royal Troon’s famous hole #8, The Postage Stamp. If you miss the green here, you are in trouble so most players are quite pleased to hit the green and hopefully get a par or perhaps a birdie and move on.

Let me paraphrase Monty in 2 segments. 1st when initially asked about #8, Monty replied, “When you are expected to win or to perform something, it makes it more difficult. There is more pressure.” Mom and Dad expectations are part of life and come with the territory in junior golf. As you grasp that higher expectations equal more pressure, it would be good to re-evaluate the balance between the 2. There are only a few kiddos that thrive in high-pressure situations and your child may not be 1 of them. (Monty photo

imageNow back to Monty. Paraphrasing him again talking about hole #8, “It’s only 123 yards long. It’s a very short hole. At this distance every 1 of the players expects to hit the green, the caddies expect them to hit the green and everyone in the grandstands expects them to hit the green. So this short little hole provides great expectations and great pressure. If you hit the green, that’s good. If you miss the green, game on! It’s a gem!”

I do hope you are recording these many hours of Live From The Open on The Golf Channel and also The Open Championship, when it begins very early Thursday morning on The Golf Channel and NBC. There is so much invaluable insight and wisdom!

See you on #1 tee expecting you to perform well under pressure… Sam.

Junior Golf: The Open Championship

In this Monday Mulligan we will take our 1st look at the 3rd of the 2016 men’s Major Championships, The Open Championship, previously called The British Open. (photo

This is a favorite week every year for our family as we get to see such different golf courses, player strategies and bizarre weather, not to mention the stunning scenery and uniqueness of golf in the British Isles, the birthplace of golf.

2016 is the 145th playing of The Open Championship, yes, really! Royal Troon Golf Club is on the west coast of Scotland, just south of Glasgow and this will be the 9th time it has hosted The OC. Ladies golf has flourished at Royal Troon as they held their 1st Championship, The Ladies Championship, in 1904. How cool is that! 38 Championships in total have been held at RTGC over the years.

Parents, this week is a perfect opportunity to ramp up and reinvigorate your junior’s and the whole family’s love of golf. Our great game is a sport that has a lot of art in it. The creativity required in links golf, which is what you’ll see this week, is beyond what is typically demanded on US-type courses. The art comes from the player being able to see how to roll his shot through the myriad of undulations to get it to stop in a good position for the next shot. Hitting high shots that stop quick is the exception rather than the rule in Open Championships.

Links golf features very hard fairways and greens, bunkers than are truly penalizing and rough that is semi-impossible to play out of. It is different, it is exciting and it is unpredictable! NBC and The Golf Channel have the coverage, which begins at 1:30am Eastern time,12:30am Central time, this Thursday morning on The Golf Channel. Remember coverages switches to NBC for Saturday and Sunday. However, Live From The Open is on The Golf Channel is on right now and has a ton of hours of superior coverage and commentary throughout the whole week.

Set your DVRs. If you don’t have The Golf Channel, now is the time to add it to your TV package! When you are wondering how you can have all these TV channels and there is nothing worth watching, well The Open Championship fixes that problem, at least for a week. (photo

Couple of quotes to leave you with: TV commentator Mark Rolfing,
“With this new technology, the players have learned how to control the flight of the ball in the air. Links golf is about controlling the roll of the ball when it is on the ground!” PGA professional Davis Love III, when asked what was the most layers of clothes he had ever worn in a golf tournament, “That’s easy, I wore 5 layers in the 198x, British Open.”

Oh, did I neglect the weather? Open Championships usually have at least a day or 2 of chilly temperatures combined with wind and rain. Remember, you can be uncomfortable on a 60-degree sunny day in high winds with inadequate clothing, so imagine the sheer fortitude necessary to play well on a 55-degree cloudy day with high winds and rain, miserable. But though weather is part of what The Open Championship is known for.

See you on #1 tee on a links course… Sam

Junior Golf: Thoughts From Sir Nick

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will enjoy some thoughts from 1 of the all time great golfers, Sir Nick Faldo, winner of 6 major championships. There are some men and women in our wonderful world of golf whose thoughts and words offer great insight and advice and Sir Nick is certainly 1 of them. (photo

Now before we get too far along here, David Feherty asked Sir Nick about the formality, almost haughty use of the “Sir Nick” term, to which Faldo replied, well, “It’s actually a request of the Royalty that the term Sir be used to compliment and reinforce the title and tradition.” I mean this is a very big deal in Britain.

Ok, on to golf. Sir Nick is 1 of the rare announcers who offers really useful insights into what a player sees and feels and needs to do to compete at golf’s highest level. When Jason Day blew his drive left into the trees on #16 last Sunday, leading to a double-bogey which took him out of the lead, Faldo said, “Think how good he’ll be when he gets a fade. In order to be the absolute complete golfer, you must be able to fade and draw your driver.” Jason Day needed to hit a fade on #16, but didn’t/couldn’t and it cost him.

Dad and Mom you may be thinking that right now you will be pleased if your daughter just hits her tee shot in play. Yes, being able to draw and fade any club is an advanced technique, but put it on the list. Have big goals and big dreams!image

Another great insight from Sir Nick came during his appearance on Feherty. Sir Nick mentioned that he made a terribly costly mistake when he decided to tweak his swing. He went to legendary coach David Leadbetter for help. According to Sir Nick it took 2 years for the new swing to kick in. He was on the European Ryder Cup Team, who won, but he didn’t really contribute. He hit 5 buckets of balls a day, not the normal buckets, but the 300 ball buckets, you got it, 1500 balls a day for 2 years to get the new swing down. So when your girl hits 1 large bucket of 120 balls at the range, well, let’s put it in perspective, hit more balls! (photo

Faldo basically lost 2 prime years of opportunity in professional golf to make a swing change. When your girl is unhappy when, after a week, she is not perfectly executing the points from her last lesson, perhaps mention Sir Nick’s 2-year odyssey. Patience and hit more balls, my dear!

See you on #1 tee, using Sir Nick’s tips… Sam

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