Archive for the ‘Golf Instruction’ Category

Junior Golf: The President’s Cup Lesson 3

imageIn this Wednesday Waggle, we’ll look at our 3rd and final lesson from this past week’s President’s Cup. There is so much that our sons and daughters can learn from watching a mesmerizingly close team competition. Let’s get into it. (photo

We’re talking about emotion here. It comes in all forms, good, bad and ugly and all of these versions need to be seen by our junior golfers to put emotion into proper perspective. Nothing makes a stronger point than seeing someone else exhibiting emotion on the golf course. Then your junior golfer gets a mental picture of what someone else sees when they exhibit emotion.

S3 went through a period of showing some anger on the golf course and really most boys and plenty of girls, as well, readily erupt with some angry outbursts every now and then. In 1 high school tournament, in particular, S3 watched a boy from another high school miss, I don’t recall, a chip or a putt on a hole and oh man, out came a stream of screaming, disgusting expletives and he wrapped his club around a tree. The worst single violent outburst we have ever seen on a golf course. And the coaches standing around were wimps and gutlessly did not DQ him as, by rule, he should have been. S3 looked at me and while our contact is limited during tournaments, he said, “Wow, Dad, that is horrible to see. I have never been like that, have I?” I chuckled and said, “No, Son, not even close, but I guess we needed to see that to get the point.” Be assured that when your junior golfer sees that kind of display of anger, it will have an immediate impact on them and whatever anger they have been exhibiting will diminish.

So the anger shown in The President’s Cup was when Charl Schwartzel pulled an approach shot way left during the final round when he and everyone knew the tournament would be very close and every 1/2 or 1 point was critical. Well, Charl hit that poor shot and you could clearly see the rage in his face as he raised the club as if to hurl it off of the golf course. Charl did not let go of the club and somehow regained his composure to finish the round. I will, however, always remember that very ugly look of outrage that was on his face for a couple of seconds.

Sad looks were around the 18th green as the singles matches finished. The 1st sad look was from the US team when Bubba missed a short putt that would have won the match. Then the next 2 sad looks were from the International team as the US’s Chris Kirk made a 15-foot birdie putt and Anirban Lahiri missed a short birdie putt, giving the US a full point. The last sad look was also from the Internationals as in the final match, Sangmoon Bae chunked a chip shot and Bill Haas won the match 2-up. The good/happy look came from Chris Kirk and the US team when he made his birdie putt on 18. The normally unemotional Kirk gave a beautiful fist pump! (photo

Remember, the top pros keep their emotions on a pretty even keel during competition. They have emotions, but they keep them under control. This is a big deal for your junior golfer to work on. It will take time, but it can be done.

See you on #1 tee, with an even temperment… Sam.

Junior Golf: President’s Cup Lesson 1

imageIn today’s Friday Flop Shot we will take a look at lessons to be learned from the matches being played in The President’s Cup. This very prestigious event is held every 2 years and puts 12 American professional golfers against 12 World-wide professional golfers, excluding Europe. This year’s event is being held in Inchon, South Korea on a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course. (photo

The Day 1 matches started the competition Thursday-Wednesday evening in the US due to a 14-hour time difference, and the 1st matches were Foursome. Now Foursome is a confusing title because there is also Fourball Matches. Foursome is also called alternate shot, meaning 2-man teams alternate shots until the ball is holed out. It is very interesting to watch since you only see it once or twice a year in this type of international competition. The pros will tell you the pressure is extreme since the last thing they want to do is hit a bad shot and put their partner in a terrible position.

S3 and I have played in a few alternate shot tournaments and I will tell you the pressure on Dad or Mom is the most I have ever felt in a golf tournament. As much as kids don’t want to disappoint their parents, we parents also really don’t want to disappoint our kids. In our 1st event I was shaking over 3-foot putts, talk about the yips! I have played in a lot of athletic competition in my life and had never been this nervous. I can’t explain it, maybe just didn’t practice enough 3-footers before the event. In our 2nd alternate shot tournament we actually made some birdies and played pretty well. And birdies in alternate shot are a great thing!

Right now let’s talk about paying attention to what your competition is doing around the green. A pet peeve you’ll hear the announcers talking about is when a pro misses a putt on the same side of the hole that his competitor just missed on. All golfers get some education from the roll of the other guy’s ball on and around the green. Many times when 2 pros have the same line on a putt, the 2nd guy will make his whether the 1st guy made his putt or not. This is called getting an education and using it. (photo

So on hole #11 in alternate shot, Bubba Watson had a10-footer for birdie. He struck a beautiful putt that looked in all the way and lost speed and curled out of the hole to the left at the last second. Hideki Matsuyama had the same putt from the exact opposite side of the hole. So eyeing what happened to Bubba’s putt, what would you do if you were Hideki? You might hit the same line, but firmer to keep the speed up or hit it about an inch more to the left to allow for the last bit of break around the hole. Well, for whatever reason, Hideki did neither and his putt was the identical mirror image of Bubba’s, appearing to be in all the way and curling away from the hole to his right at the last second as it lost speed.

So what is the lesson here? Does the other guy’s putt teach you anything about your putt? Surely it tells you something. Use it. Pay attention. Adjust. Your son is going to misread some putts, everybody does. He is going to miss hit some putts, everyday does. But he will make more putts by learning everything he can around the green and that means paying attention to what’s happening to everybody else’s chips and putts.

See you on #1 tee and keep alert around the greens… Sam

Junior Golf: An Advanced Routine

imageIn this Friday Flop Shot we will look at an example of an advanced pre-shot routine for junior golfers of medium to high skill levels. With the men’s FedEx Cup resuming this week and the women’s Solheim Cup playing in Germany this week, there is a ton of great golf to watch. So get with your daughter and make a conscious decision to pay particular attention to the player’s pre-shot routines during these 2 high profile events. (photo

Jason Day is great for this lesson. His pre-shot routine is very well-defined, easy to see what he is doing and he does it on every shot. A great example! As you watch your favorite players, you will see that they all have a specific pre-shot routine. Some are more subtle and some like JD’s are very easy to identify.

Things to watch: each player will look down the course to where he wants the ball to land and then stop. Some will stand directly behind their ball for this and others may be slightly off to one side or the other. The point is the same. They are visualizing, seeing the shot in their own mind. Visualization is a key to many things in life and in this case it’s a key to playing winning golf. (Justin Leonard photo

Next they will address the ball, in other words, take their stance and place the club behind the ball as the golfer gets to the final stage of the pre-shot routine. Here you will see dramatically different styles. Jason Duffner does his famous waggles. Justin Leonard, among others, will take the club back a couple of feet to make sure his takeaway is the way it needs to be. Some guys will take a practice swing. Rory just usually addresses the ball and swings, no extra pre-shot movement.

The pros are repeating a routine which they have developed over the years to get them into their own unique and desired state of mind to have a pre-shot routine which puts their body and mind into the place where they have a high probability of hitting the desired golf shot. They are putting the odds of success in their favor.

Dads and Moms, sons and daughters, look at these professional golfers and try some of their routines. They work for pros and can work for junior golfers as well. Just try some things on the driving range: waggles, shortened takeaways, a shoulder shake/shrug to relax shoulders, arms and hands or create your own unique drill. Maybe just slightly pick each foot up separately to relax your feet and let them better feel the weight distribution and ground underneath.

This is great fun. Set the DVR. See you on #1 tee… Sam

Junior Golf: Start A Routine

imageIn this Wednesday Waggle we are considering starting a routine. Depending on the skill level of your junior golfer, this routine can be very simple or a little bit more sophisticated. (Jason Duffner photo

What is a routine? What is it composed of? Why is it important? Great Questions! A routine is a sequence of actions regularly followed, a fixed program. A routine can have few or many parts, depending on the situation. A routine is important because it gives structure, discipline and confidence to our endeavors. A routine is part of and also a result of our training. It helps athletes perform well during competition and is a major aide for taking the game to a winning level. It is absolutely essential. Good routines help lead toward small wins, which lead to more small wins which ultimately lead to the belief that bigger wins are possible.

Every professional golfer has routines, all-day routines, pre-shot routines, driving range routines and more. For now, let’s keep it simple.

Pre-shot routines: this is perhaps the most-used routine since it occurs every time your son swings a golf club. Higher skill levels will have a more detailed pre-shot routine than beginners. An easy to remember pre-shot routine for beginner level junior golfers might be: stand behind the ball and see/imagine/visualize where you want it to stop. If you are putting, it would be stopping in the hole, for instance. Then have your son address the ball, exhale about half of his breath, and swing. This is simple. Nothing to think about. Just let some air out and swing the club after you “see” where you want it to stop.image

You will see a fan make a noise as a pro golfer is getting ready to hit a shot or putt. The golfer, if he is not beyond the stopping point of his stroke/swing, will stop in mid-swing, walk away, reset and begin his pre-shot routine all over again, yes, from the start. That’s how important it is. (photo

Get a routine going for your son. Make sure he repeats the routine on every shot, on the range, putting green and during a round. It will lead to lower scores.

See you on #1 tee…with a great pre-shot routine… Sam

Junior Golf: Watch the Pros

imageIn today’s Friday Flop Shot we’re talking about why your junior golfer should watch the pros. It is a major accomplishment for any young man or young woman to make the leap from the “junior” tours onto the PGA or LPGA Tours. Heck it is quite a feat just to get status on the junior tours. (photo

All your son needs to do and you can help, is to start looking anywhere golf data is available. This includes magazines, websites, and TV, including the very informative Golf Channel. You will find an almost overwhelming amount of tips, instruction and training aides available for your inspection. How on earth do you filter this down to what is meaningful and genuinely helpful for your son?

Start with the basics, yes, start with the “less is more” mentality. Here’s a great example: Phil Mickelson, World Golf Hall of Fame Member is someone to watch on the driving range. First thing to do is to stop watching the ball and look at the golfer, especially on the driving range. You will see many pros, Phil included, using alignment sticks. These are the metal rods sold in most golf shops and stores all over the U.S. They are very inexpensive and should really be bought 2 at a time. Depending on what is being worked on, alignment sticks can be set up in unlimited arrays, but the most commonly seen is 1 stick laid flat on the ground and the golfer aligns his toes with the stick. This is to insure that the setup is correct. Parents, it is so easy for any golfer to setup just a little bit wrong. And this should not happen because the setup is when your youngster has complete control of the situation. A correct setup is a major benefit to producing a good golf swing which hopefully ends up with the desired shot and result.

So just checking to make sure the feet are aligned in the correct direction, something so basic, is something the pros spend much more time on than you may have thought. Back to basics. Sounds boring, but it’s not. It’s where it all starts. (photo

As you and your son become more informed on various uses of the sticks, you will really begin to understand the beauty and functionality in their simplicity. Next time you guys are watching a golf tournament or a “live from” on the Golf Channel, pay attention to the interviews done on the driving range. You will learn a good tip or good habit to pursue. And I hope you have added the Golf Channel to your TV package…and TiVo/Recorder too! There is so much great instruction!image

For inexpensive training aides that you can just walk in and buy, alignment sticks are a #1 Top Choice in our book. They are pretty much indestructible and so versatile. Buy some today and learn how to use them. Don’t overdo it. Just start with lining up the feet.

See you on #1 tee and I want to see some alignment sticks in your bag… Sam

Junior Golf: Grab the Remote

imageIn today’s Wednesday Waggle we’re taking a look at the remote, yes that remote! But when we grab the remote, it may not be for the reason you are expecting.

Ah, the much-maligned remote. The evil tool of couch potatoes. We are going to use it for good, good golf, that is. Yes, if you have not already done so, grab the remote and search for the golf channel. If it’s not on your package, I am encouraging you to add it today. Usually it is a minimal monthly add-on. If it’s too much for your budget, then please consider dropping something from your package to be able to afford it. Our experience is that if you and your junior golfer are serious about golf, the Golf Channel is the single most important channel in your whole TV package. (Jason Duffner photo

DirecTV has been our TV vendor for more than 10 years and they are a great vendor. We only lose their signal when a severe thunderstorm is between our dish and their satellite. The Golf Channel is channel 218 on DirecTV and in our home, it is the most watched channel by far. They broadcast professional tournaments from: the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Tour, European PGA Tour and top amateur events. Many of these are rerun at least one time, so there is a huge amount of great inspirational golf to excite your daughter about her future in the game she loves.image

And the insight, golf tips, golf strategy, conditioning and all-around constant valuable influx of golf information is wonderful! The Golf Channel is never stale. Teaching/learning shows include: Champions Tour Learning Centers, The Golf Fix, Golf Channel Academy, School of Golf and Playing Lessons From the Pros and more. Plus the “Live from the (insert current tournament name)” and Morning Drive have amazing interviews and information. And of course, Feherty has interviews with high profile golfers and golf-lovers that are in-depth and very entertaining.

The point is: the Golf Channel is loaded with great stuff that you are hard-pressed to get anywhere else. And it’s clean wholesome TV! Now that’s a real deal!

See you on #1 tee… and you better have a recent Golf Channel quote… Sam

Junior Golf: Get the App

imageIn today’s Monday Mulligan we’re going to look at the reasons to “Get the App”. While I am not as digitally proficient as the youngsters, my digital skills have improved over the years. Apps are wonderful things and some are helpful beyond all expectations. Let’s look at one. (photo

The App we are talking about today is The Golf Academy App. In our house we call it The Golf Channel Academy App even though that is not technically the correct name. Go to The App Store and search for it specifically or just search Golf Apps and it will come up. It’s free, but for you and your daughter it can be worth $1,000.00’s of dollars. Load it onto your smart device and open it. One of the first items to come up is “Find An Instructor Near You”. How helpful is that, really great, right? Always be on the lookout for good instructors near you. You may change instructors several times before you find one your daughter likes and actually helps her improve her game. As her skill level becomes more advanced you may need a different instructor who is competent with low handicap golfers.

There are so many golf tips and instruction on this site it will blow your mind. And the teachers include Golf Channel’s Martin Hall and Michael Breed, undoubtably 2 of the best, most creative and most fun instructors anywhere. Decide the areas your daughter needs to focus on for improvement and search the site for them: tee shots, putting, sand shots, chipping and more topics than you can think of, it’s wonderful!image

The best approach is to cruise the site to get familiar with what’s on it, then pick an area to start with. The temptation to do too much too fast is real and you want to slow down and take 1 step/topic at a time. Let your junior golfer show solid progress in 1 area before moving on to the next. (Martin Hall photo

Now, we’re not talking about The Golf Channel App here, that’s for another time. Go, get this App and look it over enough to be comfortable with it, then get your daughter and look at the App together. Have fun with it! Now get after it!

See you on #1 tee… Sam

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