Archive for the ‘Attitude’ Category

Junior Golf: Control This And Empower Your Golfer

In today’s Monday Mulligan we will look at 1 of the things that we, parents actually can control or at least have some control over. This can be very beneficial to our youngsters on tournament days.

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photocredit:jennleforge.com

Really, all the prep should be done before the actual day of an event. Depending on your son’s/daughter’s personality he/she may not have gotten much quality sleep the night before the competition starts. Parents, we must be aware that there are a million things going through our young golfer’s mind as soon as he gets out of bed. What he doesn’t need is Mom or Dad adding clutter to the pre-tournament environment.

What does this look like? Control your emotions, your words and your body language. Stick to the regular morning routine. “Good morning, son, how are you? What would you like for breakfast?” Keep it simple and non-golf until you get ready to load up and go to the course. Then, before you get in the car, you just need to go over the pre-tournament checklist, again standard routine.

In the car, let him listen to his headphones or favorite music. This is relaxing to him although it may not seem like it to you. Less talk is better. Idle comments such as, “Oh, this is such a big tournament,” or “Wow, there are so many great players in this field!”, are not helpful. This is pressure and your youngster already has a ton of pressure so please don’t address the event at this point. Parents, control yourselves. Be aware of what is happening in your son’s mind right now! Be the adult! And yes, it can be very difficult!

Linda and I developed a relatively standard final few sentences for S3 as he was going up to tee off. “Remember Son, it’s just fairways and greens. You know what to do. Take a breath and have fun. Enjoy your round! We love you!” That’s pretty much it.

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Once the round starts, your contact with your child is extremely limited. Understand however, that he can hear your voices better than you ever imagined, no matter what else is going on. His hearing is tuned to Dad and Mom’s voice frequencies. Please control what you say, no matter the subject. And your boy sees and perfectly interprets your body language. A parent’s slumped shoulders or head down convey a horrible message, whether it was intended or not. Again, we must be the encouraging parents!

The bottom line is that the more we control our body language by minimizing/eliminating the throwing the hands up, shaking the head, uttering words of frustration and disappointment, the more we can lift up our child. Heads up, thumbs up, shoulders back, big smiles and “Love you Son,” all add up to positive encouragement. That’s where we as parents must strive to get to and it’s tough, but you know what, you can do it, if you will do it!

See you on #1 tee with an encouraging gallery… Sam

Junior Golf: Another Distraction

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will look at another potential distraction, 1 that exists in every group your son will ever play with. This occurrence can also be a relaxing and enjoyable thing as well.image

A couple of years ago S3 and I wanted to see Rory tee off in the Valero Texas Open. We got a spot at #1 tee on the beautiful Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio and watched Rory’s group hit. There were 3 groups left to tee off and after 95% of the gallery left to follow Rory, S3 and I moved up and were right next to the ropes, like 10 feet from the players. We heard everything they said and there was 1 hilarious exchange. Billy Horschel and Charley Hoffman were, and junior golfers you have been told at least 100 times to do these 2 things, so if the pros always do this, why can’t you? Yes, they had marked/put identifying marks on their golf balls and were showing them to each other prior to putting that ball in play. Billy said,”Wow, our balls are marked a lot alike, you better not hit my ball.” Charlie’s response was, “If I do I’ll be sure to hit it in the water!” They both laughed, hit good tee shots and chatted all the way down the fairway walking to their next shots. Great stuff! (photo offcoursegolf.com)

TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola - Final Round

The personalities and attitudes of the other juniors in your son’s group can impact his play. Your son has a mental comfort zone where he can relax and enjoy playing this sport. S3 tends to play better when he knows someone in his group or can connect with another player. Our son is the guy who likes to chat walking down the fairway and more often than not there is at least 1 guy in the group who does also.

Then there is the silent type. One of S3’s college teammates really does not like to talk or be talked to during a round of golf. His line, “Total and complete silence, just like I like it!” He’s not rude, just quiet. It is a test for a personable guy, like Sammie, when he is paired with 2 silent types. But it’s also a good thing because it is another test and competitive sports is always about unending tests. So he has to take another deep breath, try to relax and focus on hitting a great next shot.

The 3rd personality your boy will sometimes see is the kiddo with the “tude”, the attitude. He may not show much until something triggers some disappointment and then anger. Over the years we have seen putters sunk up to the hosel in a green because of a missed putt. Clubs slammed into trees. Clubs thrown. Vulgarities screamed. Parents, this is hard for us to see, imagine how tough it is on your kids! It is impossible to be immune to these outbursts, so this is where proper advice and preparation beforehand can be helpful. And remember that high school coaches, college coaches and certain tournament and rules officials have the authority to summarily DQ a player for this type of behavior. (Billy’s image cochellavalley.com)

Encourage your junior golfer to be himself on the course. If he’s the quiet type, that’s OK. If he likes to engage with the guys in his group, that’s OK too. Somebody will also want to talk with him. Let him find his interactive or not, comfort level, and let him be himself. It’s about how he handles the distractions and there will always be something trying to disrupt his game. Prepare, encourage, hit a bunch of balls and of course, chip and putt.

See you you on #1 tee, being yourself… Sam

Junior Golf: A Tough Question

As we look at today’s Wednesday Waggle we want to make certain everyone is on the same page to start the new year. One of the ways to do this is to ask questions and now we will tackle what should probably be the 1st question you ask your daughter.image

Sometimes we tend to take our kids for granted and that includes taking their responses for granted as well. What was the last time you were surprised, if not shocked by your daughter’s reply to a situation or question? (photo golfdigest.com)

As Your Golf Parent Coaches, we believe a basic foundation of your support and relationship to your daughter’s junior golf career is in understanding why she does what she does. And the 1st question you should ask is, “Why do you play golf?” Now this is a scary question for Dad and Mom because we think we already know the answer, but until your daughter gives her answer, we don’t really know. (photo m.downloadatoz.com)

The answer we all would like to have is “Because I enjoy playing golf.” Now this has a number of variations like: enjoy being with friends, like being outdoors, like the competition, hope to get a college scholarship and more. Your daughter’s enjoyment of the game enables your family team to move forward with her plans for 2016.image

The other responses may require introspective family discussions before you begin pursuing the new year’s goals. So, what if the answer is: “Because Dad/Mom wants me to play golf.” Yes, this is very different than playing for the love of the game. Please remember the Linda and I are not psychologists or medical professionals. We are passing along what we have experienced during S3’s junior golf and college golf careers. I’ll address this 2nd response in a future post.

Today let’s focus on the fact that your daughter plays golf because she enjoys it. This frees your relationship to implement her goals and game plan for 2016. It’s time to be excited, a new beginning of sorts, a fresh start. Encourage a short memory. Wipe out the negative thoughts and bad shots and start focusing on improving her game. Replay the good, never the bad! Relax and enjoy the game!

See you on #1 tee… Because you love playing golf… Sam

Junior Golf: The Gift of Giving

imageIn this Wednesday Waggle we will talk about the other side of the Christmas gift equation, giving rather than receiving. While I think most parents would expect their children to enjoy giving to those less fortunate, sometimes it is not until we see our youngster’s faces after they see the faces of the recipients of their gifts, that we genuinely understand the feelings involved.

1 of S3’s first experiences with giving was when he was 5 or 6 years old. There was a lady who each Thursday night needed volunteers to put together sack lunches to be given to the homeless in downtown San Antonio. So I, Linda and S3 headed over to help. S3, while not overjoyed at this, was at least curious and eager to see what was involved. Reality hit when the lady in charge explained the importance of what we were about to do, which was make 500 sack lunches which would probably be the only food the recipients would get for a whole day or longer. Now when a kid of any age sees 2 pieces of white bread with 1 slice of bologna, a tiny bag of chips and a can of soda go into a paper bag and that’s all someone may get to eat for 24 hours or more, they are certainly taken aback. The positive feelings of doing something truly worthwhile were evident with all who helped and it hit S3 pretty hard.image

Some members of our Parenting Awesome Kids Sunday School Class have strong ties to the Salvation Army. There were openings to be red kettle bell ringers at a local retail store and we asked if any families wanted to work 3-hour shifts. Folks volunteered and made some lifetime family memories and saved the Salvation Army from having to pay folks for those shifts.

Yes, it’s easier to just write a check and that’s a good thing. But if you really want to impact your kids and yourself and spouse as well, get face-to-face with a real-life giving experience. Ask around, call the Salvation Army or some local churches. You will be amazed at how many viable options there are. And don’t be shocked when your junior golfer gives you a strange look when you tell them what your family has signed up for. It’s the look after you are finished that will melt your heart. And this may very well be the start of a new dimension of thinking for you child.

Linda and I have watched S3 and a number of his friends grow into their own spirit of giving. Many come home from college to participate in the Feed My Starving Children Campaign which is held here every September. Once you expose your kids to these wonderful opportunities to give you will see them have an eagerness to participate in future events. They get it.

A word on charities. Not all are what they appear to be. 2 that we are very comfortable with are the Salvation Army and Feed My Starving Children. Both have extremely low administrative expenses, meaning that a huge percentage of revenue goes directly toward helping those in need. A story: we met a young lady that mentioned she had spent time in Haiti working with a Christian charity. When I said that we had worked with Feed My Starving Children, she said they had received and given out 1,000’s of FMSC packets in Haiti. Folks it is reassuring to have someone verify that they have actually given out the fruits of your and your child’s charitable efforts in a far away land.

See you on #1 tee looking charitable… Sam

Junior Golf: Get Out Of The Rut

In this Friday Flop Shot we are going to explore the possibility of playing some different golf courses, places that you and your son have never played. There are 100’s of great golf courses all over the US and in nearby vacation destinations.image

This time of year we expect to be inundated by ads for every type of gift and present imaginable. You know what, I’m getting more than a few offers from amazing golf courses and resorts. Really Dad and Mom, other than upcoming tournaments, nothing is more exciting for your son than to dream about playing a new golf course or perhaps even playing a legendary golf course. So in addition to the emails from retailers, including golf retailers, I am getting special offers from our local Alamo City Golf Trail and the First Tee of Greater San Antonio as well as offers from the TPC Network and the PGA TOUR Experiences. And there are also the constant offers from the hotel groups offering their golf vacation packages.

So the thing to do is find your local and state golf groups and get on their email lists. Then do the same with the hotel groups that are resort oriented like SPG/Starwood, Hilton and Marriott. And TPC Network and PGA TOUR Experiences mentioned above. Friends of ours have gone to Alabama to play the 9 courses on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

imageSit down with your son and start looking at courses that work for your schedule and budget. Some might be a bit of a tough day trip, maybe a 3-hour drive, 1-way, but will create memories for both your lifetimes. And others offer exotic locales and all the other big resort benefits. The point here is that there are affordable courses not that far from you that will allow your son and you to play different turf. There’s really nothing quite like playing a course for the 1st time.

Get out of the rut. We all have our regular courses. Remember that while no 2 golf shots are ever the same, playing a new golf course can stimulate your son’s creativity. So whether you’re driving a couple of hours or flying for a week’s stay at an exotic golf resort, the 1st step is to get on email lists so you know about good deals when they are available.

Where is the nearest course that has a PGA, Champion’s Tour or LPGA event? Which TPC Network resort is near you? What is the current offering of the PGA TOUR Experience? You won’t know if you don’t get on some email lists. You can ask your local PGA professional, but he will likely have local and limited input.

See you on #1 tee, on a new course… Sam

Junior Golf: Gratitude-A Winning Attitude

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and in today’s Wednesday Waggle we will look at how imagegratitude becomes a winning attitude. The pros take nothing for granted and certainly they all must in some respect be thankful, grateful, thrilled or just really glad they are able to play a sport they dearly love.

Real-life example: S3 was playing in a junior golf tournament in Kerrville, Texas,
and he was entering his freshman year in high school and 1 member of his group was a high school senior. Well, the senior was playing pretty well and hit a couple of bad shots. As the senior’s frustration was becoming more apparent-read anger, his Dad yelled out, “You don’t have any reason to be upset. You’re on a beautiful golf course playing the game you love!” Now whether or not this was coaching, I really didn’t care. It was a classic and intelligent statement that said, appreciate and be grateful for the times when you are in a great place doing something you genuinely enjoy!

Understand that competition puts a different stress level on your daughter, but remember that she with the shortest memory is the 1 who starts hitting good shots sooner rather than later. It’s hard for adults to be grateful all the time so realize that it’s just as hard or harder for your kids. Parents, 1 of our most important roles is to be encouragers for our kids. So have your daughter look around and see the beauty around her on the golf course. Enjoy the birds, fish, butterflies and in the South, even the alligators. Here in Central Texas we have deer everywhere and also plenty of wild turkeys and feral hogs. Golf is a sport that takes you into nature and some courses have more nature than others. Yes, she needs to focus on her game but she also needs to appreciate where she is and how privileged she is to be there.image

Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. Scientists have even noted that gratitude is associated with improved health.
As noted in an article on this topic published in the Harvard Mental Health Letter, “expressing thanks may be one of the simplest ways to feel better:” Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, head of biologic psychology at Duke University Medical Center once stated that: “If [thankfulness] were a drug, it would be the world’s best-selling product with a health maintenance indication for every major organ system.” So science is coming on board with gratitude/thankfulness having definite health benefits. So Parents, you know what you need to do, thankfully, of course.

See you on #1 tee, looking grateful… Happy Thanksgiving… Sam

Junior Golf: Winning Course Strategy

imageIn today’s Monday Mulligan we will take a look a winning course strategy that you and your son can use during every round of golf he plays. The pros dissect golf courses in great detail so they can have a strategic plan to effectively work their way around the course. (photo jennleforge.com)

Knowing what shot to hit and where you want it to end up is very important in order to win golf tournaments. The pros study their next tournament course in great detail and I don’t know exactly what they do or how they do it. What I do know is some elementary basic things that you and your son can start doing at virtually any skill level that can help him learn how to have a plan to attack a golf course and can help build his confidence during a round.

The ultimate goal is to shoot the lowest score possible. Part of the plan to do that is to study the course ahead of time and figure out what club to hit on every tee box and where you want the ball to end up in order to be in a good position to hit an effective next shot. Many courses have yardage books that give yardages between, from and to various points on each hole. This can include tee boxes, greens, bunkers, hazards, etc. A yardage book can be a valuable asset. Buy 1 if available, they are usually $5-$10. A practice round and range finder along with a yardage book are more than sufficient for any junior golfer to be able to “plan out” each hole.

Another benefit of having a strategy for playing a course is that it will give confidence to your son. Confidence can fluctuate during the 18 holes and every small thing to help build confidence ahead of the round is important.

Here are 2 things you can do with a junior golfer of any skill level, even a 6 or 7 year old. Look at the very first shot they will hit. If it is a progressive start-read tee times, ask if your son is starting on #1 or #10. The 2 of you decide what club he should hit based on what the 2nd shot on the hole requires. Have your son hit that 1st shot on the range before he tees off. If it is a shotgun start, find out what hole he starts on and take the same approach as above. The 2nd thing your son can do is find the 1st par 3 he will play. Determine what club he will hit and where he would like the ball to end up. Practice this shot on the range as well. Just practicing these 2 shots can do wonders for your son ‘s confidence during his round. Even the pros will tell you they are a bit nervous on #1 tee and while they would love to hit a great shot, they will be pleased with a decent shot, in play, with an OK leave for their next shot. Proper preparation is a big deal. (photo tomkitedesign.com)

imageReal-life example: S3 and I played a practice round at the beautiful Comanche Trace Golf Club in Kerrville, Texas, to prepare for a US Amateur Qualifier. There was a short par 3 that had the potential to be particularly deceptive. Prevailing winds would be helping from tee to green, but you could only tell if the wind was blowing by looking at the balconies of condos behind the green. The green itself was way downhill in a hole and was shaped running from about 11:00o’clock to 5:00 o’clock. However the back left ⅓ of the green sloped downhill into a water hazard. So the miss on this green was center to right and mercifully the pin placement was front right instead of back left. Understand how easy it could be to hit too much club, or pull a shot to the back left or have a strong wind blowing behind you that you could not feel or be aware of and suddenly you have an easy-looking tee shot over the green in a water hazard. Dad and Mom, this stuff happens to the pros and it can and will happen to your junior golfer or a member of his group. Yes, it’s golf.

See you on #1 tee looking confident… Sam

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