Archive for February, 2017

Junior Golf: Parents This Inexpensive Rain Gear Is Your 1st Choice

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will take the parent’s perspective on rain gear. Your son’s/daughter’s take on the most important piece of rain gear may be different from Mom and Dad’s. (image offcoursegolf.com)img_0106-1

Until you’ve been there, you haven’t. Yes, unless you, Dad and Mom and your junior golfer have had the very tough experience of trying to keep dry and continue to play golf in the rain but still ending up soaking wet and barely being able to play the game, you may not understand where I’m going.

Depending on whether you have a son or daughter playing golf, their desire for the 1st piece of rain gear may be fashion-oriented. S3, again this was before he got soaked in a tournament, would lean towards the latest really cool-looking rain jackets, understandable. Your daughter might go the same route or perhaps she would prefer a beautiful umbrella. Depends on your kiddo and their personality.

Parents, I assure you that the 1st time your child gets totally soaked, reality sets in. And that is that being wet and miserable is bad enough, but he/she can still function physically, even with the discomfort and inconvenience. So play continues and yes, your child will want to gut it up and keep playing until the round is completed or play is stopped by the officials.

Ready for reality? The 1 thing that will totally shut down your junior golfer’s game is not being able to hold on to the club. It is impossible to play golf if you can’t hold on to the golf club! Things we have personally seen is the club slipping so badly at impact that the ball goes nowhere or ends up in a totally horrific spot and then, the most dangerous and scary occurrence of all, the club flying out of the player’s hands and people ducking for cover. Even with snakes and alligators on some golf courses, the scariest thing Linda, S3 and I have even seen during a tournament is a golf club sailing uncontrollably toward some fans. When a golf club strikes a human, the golf club wins, every time!

Guess what the 1st thing was that we bought the next day? Yes, the wet weather golf gloves. Back then I think only Footjoy made them but now several brands are available including but not limited to, I think, TaylorMade and Callaway. Retail pricing is around $22.00 for a pair of gloves, so they are very inexpensive. And they work!

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Phil Mickelson doesn’t hesitate to put them on in high humidity or when it’s raining. Obviously he practices with them, so he’s comfortable wearing them and plays great with them. Our whole family has a pair in our golf bags and we practice with them on the range. It’s fun, a nice change to the regular range routine.

Dad and Mom, we can’t emphasize this enough. These gloves are an essential piece of equipment and should be in your youngster’s golf bag immediately and at all times in the future. Take your kiddo to a golf store this weekend and try on some different brands and buy a pair. You’ll both be glad you did.

See you on #1 tee ready for a good grip… Sam

Junior Golf: 3 Tips For Lower Scores In Bad Weather

 

In this Wednesday Waggle we will offer 3 mental postures or tips for parents to share with your junior golfers. These will help your daughter/son have an opportunity to shoot lower scores in bad weather. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)img_0102

Few if any golfers enjoy playing in terrible conditions. It is not fun, it takes every golfer out of their normal playing/pre-shot routine and it’s more challenging to shoot a decent score. There are players who find success in nasty weather. Let’s look at how they do it.

Last weekend during the PGA Genesis event at Riviera Country Club, former World #1 David Duval was asked, “How do you mentally prepare to play in this? The weather is terrible.” The host was referring to the rain and 25 mph winds battering the course and players. To paraphrase David’s response: “There are several things you need to do mentally. 1st, understand that everybody is playing in it, so it impacts the whole field. 2nd, there are players who really dislike these conditions and they are not going to play very well. 3rd, there are players who embrace these conditions and play better during bad weather than nearly everyone else. They gain strokes on the field. This weather is an excellent opportunity to move up in the standings for players who can take a breath and embrace tough playing conditions. In fact, there are some good scores out there right now.” Yes, there were some players shooting 3,4,5-under par in ugly weather.

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Hall of Fame member and 8 time major champion Tom Watson won the British Open, now The Open Championship, 5 times. After Arnold Palmer, Tom is probably the American golfer that is most loved by the British golf fans. When asked why Tom was so successful playing in the notorious and unpredictable British summer weather, 2 main reasons were offered. His ball flight was lower and thus less affected by the elements. And he was able to totally embrace the weather. It has often been said that when it was cold, windy and rainy, you couldn’t tell it by Tom Watson’s attitude. He looked like he was enjoying a sunny 75-degree day! There ya go! Attitude, attitude, attitude…positive attitude! (Tom Watson photo sporting news)

Golf is certainly a mental game and there is always another opportunity to test your daughter’s mental strengths. Ugly weather is one of those moments. She will play tournaments in cold, wet and windy conditions and these 3 tips can help her shoot a better score.

See you on #1 tee mentally ready… Sam

 

 

Junior Golf: Five Right Choices For Success

In this Friday Flop Shot we will learn 5 right choices that will put your son on the path to success. 1 of the basic tenets we encourage in our parenting classes is to set your child up for success. As the parent, this is up to you. (image offcoursegolf.com)img_0106-1

Attempting any endeavor without proper preparation, equipment and mental attitude will likely lead to a frustrating experience.As the parents and being the parents, Mom and Dad, it is fairly easy to set your son up to be successful in junior golf.

1. Choose proper equipment. His golf clubs must fit him for his size, strength and skill level. Ill-fitting clubs give your kiddo zero chance to develop a proper swing and have a good shot. It would be like sending him out bear hunting with a BB gun!
2. Choose proper golf shoes. The most important thing is that the shoes fit properly and are comfortable for walking. Buy golf shoes. While playing golf in tennis shoes is commonly seen in beginning junior golfers, it is not a preferred option in our opinion. Shoes made for golf will provide a stable platform for the swing motion-read lateral movement, soft spikes for traction, proper height above the ground for better balance and less risk of injury and some degree of water resistance/waterproofing. Buy the absolute best golf shoes you can afford. Golf shoes are 2nd only to golf clubs in importance.
3. Choose proper clothing. Abide by proper dress codes for golf etiquette. This shows an inherent respect for this wonderful game. Buy modern fabrics. The array of moisture-wicking shirts, pants, shorts and socks is amazing. Your son can stay cooler, warmer, and more dry than either of you ever thought possible. More freedom of movement too! Proper clothes really help!
4. Choose a proper pre-game atmosphere. Start the night before a tournament by setting a positive environment. Adrenaline can kick in early once your junior golfer realizes that his tournament starts tomorrow. He doesn’t need additional things to think about or worry about. Dad and Mom this isn’t rocket science. All you need to do is let him relax and perhaps play some video games with some friends. Or go to a movie. Take his mind off of golf. Then get a good night’s sleep, a solid breakfast, a relatively quiet drive to the course and then some encouraging words as he proceeds to check-in and warm-up. (image Lyman Orchards Golf)

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5. Choose to let your child choose golf. The previous 4 choices are your responsibility. Linda, my wife and coaching partner, has shared that the love of the game and the success that follows is your child’s. If his heart is not in the game, the best equipment and best environment won’t make him successful.

See you on #1 tee ready for success… Sam

Junior Golf: Catch Her Doing This

In this Wednesday Waggle we will look at your daughter in perhaps a way that is different than normal, a bit more focused on your part, Mom and Dad. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)

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If someone could watch your interaction with your daughter inside your home, what would be their 1st impression? Wow, what a warm, loving home. Ouch, I feel like I’m watching basic training or well, this looks pretty normal.

Everyone likes praise and your young golfer is no different. Ask yourself, as a parent, “When I address my children, am I sounding more positive, negative or neutral?” I can assure you that if you are constantly harping on your daughter, nobody wants to be around that environment, as in, around you. No one wants to go to or be in a place where they are constantly verbally attacked. If you are this parent, I encourage you to change, immediately! It’s never too late!

Here’s where to start. It’s simple, but not easy until you develop the habit after 21 days of consistency. Catch her doing something right. This would be her doing a helpful thing that was not totally just prompted by you or your spouse. These may be tiny moments or sizeable moments, take advantage of them to help affirm your child’s sense of value.

For example: “Thanks for helping put away the groceries!” “ Your room looks great, good job!” “You hit some excellent chip shots!” “That’s a nice looking outfit!” And a great line to use after a larger effort gets good results such as a high test score or a very competitive round of golf, courtesy of Dr Kevin Leman, author of Have A New Kid By Friday is “Great job, all your hard work really paid off!” A lot of meaningful words in that statement. (photo pga.com)

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Some more words that are important for your daughter and all of your family to hear are, “I love you.” In our parenting classes this past weekend, all 40 of our parents agreed that a parent can never tell a child, “I love you”, too much. Yep!

Be the positive parent! Look for things where you can through positive reinforcement improve your girl’s sense of self worth and her ability to accomplish things in a worthy manner. Ditch the negativity. Yes, it can be difficult particularly if you have been prone to a negative bent your whole life. You can do this! Remember, it’s never too late!

See you on #1 tee looking for you to do things right… Sam

 

 

Junior Golf: A Special Valentine For Your Junior Golfer

In today’s Monday Mulligan we will look at a very special Valentine that you can give to your junior golfer. Tomorrow is a day that we can express our love for another. So, here we go! (image jennleforge.com)image

In yesterday’s parenting class we had several classic points that were presented that would impact our child’s sense of well-being. Please remember that our kids have a strong desire to feel loved and that they are an important part of the family. While there are a number of factors involved, today we will address just one thing.

Focused attention. What is it exactly? From the parent’s perspective it is 1 on 1 with your junior golfer. No cell phones, tv or other distractions just the 2 of you. And Dad/Mom is genuinely giving your best effort to hear what your kiddo is saying to you. For us parents, this is likely a good example of where less talking from us, equates to more listening and more learning.

The depth of this exercise is different for your young golfer than perhaps for you. So save the heavy stuff for later and have some fun right now. For example to see how well you have done, ask yourself these questions after a few conversations. And Linda will go in with this list and fill it out and then memorize it. Different but fun and your youngster will enjoy this drill. (image The Links at Riverlakes Ranch)

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Can you name your junior golfer’s best friends? Favorite golf club? Favorite golf course? Favorite school subject? Favorite food? Favorite color? And what else? Mom and Dad, these are things that are important to them, these things matter! Your familiarity and knowledge of these details shows your child that you are sincerely interested in them and that you care! Give them some focused attention and love!

So go buy them some of their favorite sweets and hand-write a one-of-a-kind Valentine’s card.

See you on #1 tee with your favorite things… Sam

Junior Golf: Wearable Technology-Is It Right For Your Daughter?

In this Friday Flop Shot let’s continue our look at wearable technology and see if there is a valid reason for your daughter to be using it. (photo offcoursegolf.com)img_0106-1

With S3, most of the time the word technology was used was with golf club design, golf ball design or with new high-tech fabrics that kept him warmer or cooler or dryer. Just about the only wearable technology was the wristband golf watches. So there wasn’t an overwhelming number of options to choose from.

So here is the beginning of our adventure into wearable tech. Hand-held range finders were everywhere, being the most utilized distance aid by boys and girls alike. We bought S3 a Bushnell Tour V2 which he still uses today. It is distance only so it is tournament compliant. Be aware that models that measure slope and altitude are not compliant. These rangefinders are not wearable technology. S3 wanted the handheld device rather than the wristband/wearable variety.

What really got his attention was a lesson from his swing coach on how heart rate/pulse and breathing/respiration can affect performance. High readings of either 1 are not helpful for playing good golf. We found a relatively inexpensive digital watch that also measured the heart rate. It worked well for a $65.00 price tag. S3 wore it for several months until he got a good idea of what situations elevated his readings. Then he learned some calming techniques. Not really being a watch guy he quit wearing this device and it sat in a drawer. He learned what he wanted and he was done. That ended this adventure in wearable tech.

What does a parent do? Almost everything is more than $100.00 and where is the benefit for your daughter? Depending on your girl’s age and skill level, a quality, legal/rules compliant distance device is 1st on the list. As your budget allows, buy her the style she prefers, wearable or handheld. Wearables may be slightly cheaper with some models on sale around $150.00. Not everyone is comfortable playing golf while wearing a watch, which is basically what this would be. Sometimes the wrist gets bruised. Talk to your daughter about this before you spend any money.

Handheld devices are prevalent in junior golf and college golf. Expect to pay from $200.00-$500.00 for a name brand. The good ones are waterproof, shockproof and offer better target acquisition and some anti-shake/image stabilization features. And they last. S3 has had his for 5 or 6 years and it still works great. The only caveat with handhelds is your daughter must be vigilant about not losing them or leaving them visibly hanging on her bag where they can be easily stolen. Use a Sharpie to put her name or unique identifying marks on her rangefinder. S3’s has somehow disappeared twice and was amazingly found and returned both times because of his identifying marks.

Of the 2 makes of wearable tech shoes coming out, the Under Armour model catches my interest as being more applicable to golfers of different skill levels. The Samsung IOFIT seems like it is a lot more technical and may work better for the more advanced players. And as far as all our pieces of clothing talking to each other, we’re really not there yet.

If it was me Mom and Dad, here’s what I’d do for my girl. Decide on a wrist or handheld distance device, include it in the budget and buy it ASAP, the best quality you can afford. The shoes, in my opinion, are a bit of a luxury item. If you have the extra bucks, the UA shoes might be fun, but not sure how helpful to playing better golf. And the IOFIT shoes would likely work best for those junior golfers who are of advanced skill levels and are seriously pursuing lower scores and perhaps a college scholarship.

See you on #1 tee with some new technology… Sam

Junior Golf: What Is Wearable Technology?

In this Wednesday Waggle we will have a look at wearable technology and what it is. These 2 words will show up more and more in clothing, accessory and footwear items and it is a good thing to have a basic understanding of these 2 words.img_0102

Wearable technology definition from Dictionary.com: a small computer or advanced electronic device that is worn or carried on the body. While there are some more specific and slightly different definitions, this 1 is perfectly adequate for our junior golfers. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)

With the rapid advances in digital technology and also the new materials and techniques being used in clothing and footwear, this amazing tech is appearing in more and more places. Perhaps the most common items we all notice are the golf watches/GPS systems that are made by a number of quality companies such as Fitbit, Apple Watch, Garmin, Suunto, Callaway and more.

The next big offering will be smart golf shoes. Under Armour’s smart golf shoes come with a built-in accelerometer that tracks your steps, calories burned and game duration. Sounds pretty neat to me! They are based on the UA Drive One shoes that Jordan Spieth has been wearing and are expected to be on the market sometime this year.

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Now let’s get really crazy! Samsung’s spinoff company, IOFIT makes a smart golf shoe that analyzes your golf swing and provides instant feedback through a mobile app to improve your game. Coming soon! Learn more at this link: IOFIT Smart Shoes.

Dad and Mom all this tech is coming to you and your junior golfer at warp speed. At some point this subject will come up. In the not so distant future all our clothes will be talking to each other. We will have the opportunity to be monitored from head to toe, 24/7, scary, actually. Oh, and there is some money involved. Currently few, if any of these items are less than $100.00. Get informed.

See you on #1 tee wearing rules compliant devices… Sam.

Junior Golf: Making Golf More Fun

In today’s Monday Mulligan let’s take a look at a couple of unique situations where the PGA Tour is helping/allowing golf to be more fun, certainly for many of the fans and for a lot of the players as well. (image jennleforge.com)image

1st we congratulate Hideki Matsuyama on his playoff victory over Webb Simpson in the Phoenix Open. This event at TPC Scottsdale is truly a one-of-a-kind situation. It has by far the largest attendance of any professional golf event in the world with this year’s crowd topping 655,000 with more than 200,000 on Saturday alone. Wow, learn to love those shuttle buses!

It takes a certain type of personality to really be comfortable in this environment. Listen to the words of fun-loving Rickie Fowler, “I love it. You know, it’s a lot of fun. You hear a lot of stuff throughout the course, and it’s louder throughout the rest of the course than other tournaments. Once you get to 16, it’s a completely different story.”

So it’s louder everywhere on the course than the pros are used to during tournament play. Not everyone is comfortable in this environment. And then there’s 16, as in the 16th hole, a short par 3 ranging from about 127 to 155 yards.

As 1 of the TV announcers so graphically described during the play on Saturday. From the player’s perspective: “You walk off of 15 green headed for the tunnel. As you enter it the anticipation of what’s ahead causes a louder more rapid thumping in your chest. And then you exit the tunnel and there it is. Hole #16 at TPC Scottsdale, known during the Phoenix Open as the Stadium Hole, because that’s exactly what it is.

Now your heart is jumping out of your chest, your palms are getting sweaty and the adrenaline is kicking in. Wow, time for some breathing exercises to calm down before it’s your turn to hit.” So when Rickie says 16 is a completely different story, but he loves it, imagine what the guys that don’t love it are going through. The ones that perform best at these type of events are the ones who find some way to embrace the chaos, either through their natural personality or with the help of some mental training. And if they can’t, they may not return next year.

The hole is completely surrounded by seats. More than 20,000 people fill the open seats, the reserved seats and the luxury boxes on this hole and it’s so popular the organizers basically expand the seating capacity every year. It’s an overwhelming sight from a spectators point of view so I can’t imagine what’s going through the mind of a player who needs to hit a good shot. They crowd consumes massive amounts of beverages and is on the rowdy side. They cheer good shots and boo bad ones and no player is immune.

Another unique aspect of this event is that players are allowed to toss souvenirs into the crowd on 16 and this may be on Saturday only since that is regarded as the craziest day. A number of the pros bring items to give away, notably Bubba Watson and Andrew Beef Johnson. It is great to watch!

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Thank you to the PGA Tour and the event organizers for allowing all this fun to take place. Hopefully we’ll see some more fun things show up at other events.

Parents, please remember that you junior golfer wants to enjoy his golf. Find ways to keep the fun factor high. Try doing some things differently. Play some music during practice. Make some noise, but please don’t be rude to other folks on the range. Put some surprises in the works. Tiger’s dad used to drop his golf bag flat on the ground in the middle of his backswing. Check out the look on your boy’s face the 1st time you do that! After the shock, laugh about it, joke about it, come on and inject some fun!

See you on #1 tee ready to handle some noise… Sam

Junior Golf: The Best Mindset For Playing In Front Of A Gallery

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will take a peek into your daughter’s mind and offer a great way to deal with the mental pressure of playing in front of people, playing in front of a gallery. (image offcoursegolf.com)img_0106

When S3 was just starting to play golf, there was always 1 more parent who said they couldn’t watch their son play golf because it made him, the son, too nervous. We continued to run into this mindset even with some high school golfers and their parents.

What constitutes a gallery? To a 6 year old junior golfer it might be anybody. Perhaps parents, her own and those of the other players in her group. Friends, relatives or coaches all can make some golfers nervous.

Playing while people are watching is an issue that Linda and I addressed early on with S3. Being kind of the standard Goldfarb family ham, basically being comfortable performing in front of people, S3 never was overly concerned about people watching him play drums, sing or play golf. When the previously mentioned situation about parents watching their kids play was making their kids nervous came up, the 3 of us had a brief discussion.

Our concept that worked wonderfully for S3 and certainly 1 that you can try with your daughter is this: Daughter/Son, be excited that even 1 person has chosen to come out and watch you play golf. If there is more than 1, be it 10 or 100 or 1,000 be even more humbled and thrilled that all these people have taken time out of their very busy lives to come watch you. This is a positive thing! Take a deep breath and inhale all that positive energy. Be grateful and thankful and humbled by these situations. Embrace the moment. Then refocus and begin your normal routine. (image Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open)

Even the pros will tell you they have their moments of just a slight bit of nervousness. Many will admit to having some cases of nerves. Yes, even Jack Nicklaus has fessed up to having some jitters on the #1 tee at tournaments. The bigger the tournament, the bigger the jitters. For most of the professional men and women all they want to do on #1 tee is hit a decent shot and get on with their round.

See you on #1 tee excited that someone has come out to see you play golf… Sam

3 Steps To Prepare For Spring Golf

In today’s Monday Mulligan we will look at 3 things to do to help your daughter be prepared from a golf equipment standpoint, for spring golf. Tournaments will be here before you know it and the last thing you want is for your daughter to be walking out the door without an essential piece of equipment and no one is aware of it! (image jennleforge.com)image

Here we go:
Gather all her golf equipment. This means clubs, bag, zip-on top for the golf bag, push cart, head covers, tees, balls, golf brush, ball marker, golf towels, golf gloves, divot repair item-tees work fine and the very important Sharpie for marking her balls and the scorecard.
Carefully inspect everything. Is the bag fully functional? Does it have any tears or holes? Do all the zippers work? Are the stand legs working? Are the non-slip bottoms still attached to the legs? Are all her clubs there? Do her grips have the kind of soft tacky feel of new ones? If not, replace them. Or at least gently scrub them with non-abrasive soap and warm water, dry them and see how they feel. Does she have everything listed above? Wash the towels. Replace worn gloves. Do the old gloves even still fit? Does the Sharpie have any ink in it or has it dried out?
Take action. Look at the calendar. When is the 1st golf event? Plan a time to take your daughter shopping to buy the items needed. Go to the biggest possible golf store in your area. They will likely have a better selection and may also have some new items that your girl might like to try. (photo Junior_Academy_3.jpg, Banners Golf)

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Dad and Mom we’ve all been there. That moment when you thought you had everything in order only to arrive at the course and an item, usually one not sold at the course pro shop, is missing. Set your daughter up for success and do this little bit of advance preparation. It will save a bunch of headaches!

See you on #1 tee with everything you need for success… Sam

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