Archive for the ‘golf tournaments’ Category

Junior Golf: Why Your Junior Must Play The Big Tournaments

In this Friday Flop Shot will we offer some reasons why it is imperative that your junior golfer play in the big, elite and yes, quite expensive events.

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Photocredit:Dubai Golf

If you child is regularly scoring 85 or below for 18 holes, it’s time to start booking high profile tournaments. If your youngster is shooting higher scores, please save this information as future reference.

Linda and I certainly understand family budgets and the effort required for many parents to find the money to cough up nearly $300.00 for each top-tier event. Family teamwork, advance planning/budgeting and sticking $20-dollar bills in a sock helped us a lot. S3 played in a minimum of 6 or 8 elite tournaments, in addition to his high school/college tournaments every year, starting in junior high school.

Here’s why our whole family decided to make this effort:
Elite tournaments draw college coaches. If you and your kiddo are serious about a college scholarship, this is a no-brainier.
Elite tournaments are almost always on legendary or very tough courses. Your child needs to learn that he/she can compete on these types of golf courses. These courses are another reason college coaches come out.
Elite tournaments get the most skilled players, some from other states or countries. Your child needs to be paired with 2 players that are better than her/him. After the 1st few holes of semi-intimidation by longer/straighter hitters who seem like they could shoot 20-under par on 18 holes, your child will likely settle down and start playing her/his game. This is a good thing.
Making a few pars or perhaps a birdie or 2 on 1 of these courses is a confidence-building experience. There’s nothing quite like having a few, or more than a few, good holes on a tough golf course to help your child’s confidence. They need to learn that they can compete in these situations.

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Photocredit:Pinterest

How about a real-life story. In S3’s freshman year in high school, his team was scheduled to play in a tournament that included the final round at Ram Rock Golf Course at Horseshoe Bay, Texas. I arrived early Saturday morning and was struck by the sheer beauty of the place. Since it was my 1st time at the Horseshoe Bay complex, they have 4 courses, I entered the pro shop and asked the attendant: “You have some beautiful golf courses here, are they always fairly crowded or is it easy to get a tee time?” He replied,”We’re not that crowded usually and pace of play is pretty good, but that course your son is playing is so tough, the members won’t play it. You can get on it any time!” That’s when I learned that Ram Rock has a super high rating, like 76 or 77 and some of the bent grass greens are only 11 yards wide. And for years it was ranked in the Top 5 toughest courses in Texas. After playing in this event all 4 years in high school S3 always finished 7th or better, individually. He loved playing Ram Rock and was not intimidated by it at all.

Set up a family meeting and make a plan.

See you on #1 tee ready to play in a big event… Sam

Junior Golf: Special Moments At Pro Events

In this Friday Flop Shot we are going to suggest some ideas for exciting trips you can plan for your junior golfer and the rest of the family too. (image offcoursegolf.com)img_0106-1

What type of trip would get everybody fired up? There are 2 major categories. 1st is to attend a pro tournament. With the choices available of the PGA Tour, the LPGA Tour and the Web.com Tour, there are quite a few options. The event locations kind of follow the nicer weather, so right now the tournaments are in more of the Southern or warmer states and as the temperature heats up, events will move northward.

See if you can find an event within your geography and budget and book a hotel and buy some tickets. Just do it! Don’t overthink it! Professional golf tournaments are a lot of fun. It really is different being there in person as compared to watching on the TV.

Couple of FYI’s. Depending on your scheduling flexibility you might consider attending during the pro-am days or on Thursday or Friday, when the crowds are smaller. Fewer people means easier parking, easier movement around the course, shorter lines for vendors and restrooms and you and your junior golfer can get closer to the players and actually hear them talk.

Perfect example. A few years ago Rory was playing in the Valero Texas Open, which was uncommon for hm. S3 wanted to see him so we noted Rory’s tee time, this was on a Saturday, was 11:15am. So we went and got to #1 tee on The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio and man were there a ton of people. So Rory and his group teed off and about 99% of the gallery went with them.

There were 2 more groups to tee off so S3 and I moved right up against the ropes about 10 feet from the tee markers. The next group was Billy Horschel, Charley Hoffman and Retief Goosen.

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Here’s a classic conversation: Charley and Billy showed each other the markings on their golf balls just like you are taught in day 1 of junior golf. Great to see this! Then Billy says to Charley, “Our balls are marked pretty similarly, don’t hit my ball.” And Charley replied, “If I do, I’ll hit it in the water!” They both laughed so hard and after they teed off, they were still chatting their way down #1 fairway. A classic moment and a teachable moment at a professional event. (Hoffman image GolfLink.com)

These special one-of-a-kind moments are happening at these big tournaments, but if you don’t go, you won’t experience them.

See you on #1 tee at a pro event… Sam

Junior Golf: Unexpected Stress

In this Friday Flop Shot we will bring up some points about some of the mental aspects of golf that your junior golfer will be dealing with for his whole golf career.image

Stress/pressure is a part of life. It’s everywhere and that includes golf and golf tournaments. There is good stress, “I’m excited about the tournament,” and there’s bad stress, “ I hope I don’t play poorly and disappoint my parents.” Both are normal and both need to be dealt with. This is a good time for me to mention that Linda and I are not sports psychologists and are merely passing along things we have learned from our son’s junior golf and college golf careers. (photo offcoursegolf.com)

As parents we are all pretty much aware that our kids are subject to stress and we are able to expect and anticipate most of the times it will show up. So here’s an example of a type of stress that hit S3 that we had never thought of: we like to play golf together whenever possible, and this means including S3 on our team in scrambles. His golf skills are a big benefit, even when he was playing from the ladies tees he could sometimes drive the green! What we did not realize was that even at a young age S3 felt like he needed to hit a bunch of great shots to carry the team of us old folks and C and D players for all 18 holes. Here’s a pic of S3 and me with some of my college buddies at a scramble in Houston, what fun!image

What did this look like? Well, he was trying so hard, read over-trying, that it took him 9 holes to calm down and contribute to the team. In fairness, his chipping and putting is always good, so it was his drives and approach shots that needed a calmer persona. Finally he would take a breath and get his adrenaline under control. This wanting to carry the team pattern continued until he got to college. Even today, I know in his heart he would like to put the whole team on his back and hit all the great shots himself. The key is controlling the excitement and it’s tough.

This is relevant folks because stress and pressure are always hanging around our youngsters and the more we are aware of it, the more we can give them a thumbs up and a warm smile.

See you on #1 tee looking stress-free… Sam

Junior Golf: Winning Is Hard

In this Friday Flop Shot we will look at winning golf tournaments and it’s hard to win golf tournaments whether it is a modified 6-hole little bitties event or a 72-hole PGA venue. (photo offcoursegolf.com)image

There are ebbs and flows of momentum in every competitive event and golf is no exception. If your son plays really poorly early in the tournament, he can take himself out of contention. If he plays good enough to stay within a few shots of the leaders he can have a legitimate chance to win or at least be top 10 or better. The goal is to be close enough during the final round or even last 9 holes to make some good scores and catch the leader.

Last Sunday the final round of the Valero Texas Open had a perfect setup. At 1 point early in the day I think around a dozen players were within a couple of shots of the Round 3 leader. Folks, this makes for fun golf to watch and this is a main reason I encourage you to record these professional golf broadcasts.

3rd round leader Ricky Barnes was in the last group and struggled all day and could not maintain his lead.Former World #1 Luke Donald started the final round as many people’s pick to win. Well, he shot 2-over on Sunday to finish way back in the pack. The next-to-last group is where a bunch of the action took place with Charley Hoffman, Patrick Reed and Billy Hoerschel playing together.

You know, there are different tournament goals for different golfers and for different levels of golf. There are times that a top-5, top-10 or even top-20 is desirable and a win would be really cool! Yes, the pros can get FedEx points, certain exemptions and a ton of money without winning a Tour event, but as Bubba Watson so beautifully put it, “Nobody out here is playing for 2nd place.” Winning brings so much more!

As the leaders faltered, Charley started moving up as did Patrick. Billy was always close but wasn’t really looking like he might make a playoff or such. Much of the TV focus was on this group. Charley was now leading and the decent birdie holes of 16, 17 and 18 were next after Patrick pulled within 1 stroke of Charley with a birdie on 15.

Reed missed birdie putts of less than 8 feet on 16 & 17 and Hoffman made pars. So we’re on 18 tee and Charley has a 1stroke lead over Patrick. This is pressure folks and a lot of golfers can’t handle it. Reed put his drive just in the left rough and hit the shot of the day to follow up, a rope hook around a tree stopping on the fringe at the right front edge of the green. Charley blew his 2nd shot on this par 5 over the back left of the green into a bunker, leaving a touchy downhill sand shot. Patrick chips to within 2 feet and Charley blasts to maybe 6-10 feet. Reed putts out for a birdie leaving the final shot to the potential winner. And Hoffman performed perfectly with the ball going right into the center of the cup for his birdie, maintaining his 1-stroke lead and winning the tournament. Congratulations!image

Ricky Barnes and Luke Donald eliminate themselves by not playing well. Patrick Reed hits a ton of great shots but misses too many short putts. And Charley Hoffman made a few birdies, kept grinding out pars kept his head in the right place and won! Winning is hard as Charley stated in his post game comments. (Patrick Reed/Charley Hoffman photo pgatour.com)

See you on #1 tee ready for a tough game… Sam

Junior Golf: There’s Always One

In today’s Wednesday Waggle we will take note that every time your daughter plays in a tournament there will always be 1 player in her group that presents a unique situation that has the potential to negatively impact your daughter’s game.img_0102

Let’s talk about golf skills and how players can manifest them. For instance on #1 tee 1 of your girl’s playing partners crushes her drive. I mean the ball sounded different off the clubface and it flew past all the other drives. This has now, depending on your daughter’s level of golf maturity, become a test for her. Yes a test to see how well she stays focused on her own game and not be thinking about how far the other girl hits the ball. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)

There is always somebody who hits the ball a mile. In S3’s college tournaments a couple of guys will hit 20-30 yards past the rest of the field. A look at their fairways hit stats at the end of the round will tell you how meaningful those bombs are.

There is sometimes a girl who hits her approaches closer than everyone else. But can she putt?
Then there’s the girl who seems to make every putt. Practicing 5-foot putts, at least 50 at a time is 1 of the best ways ever to lower a golf score. I can only remember 2 times in the last 8 years that S3 wasn’t the guy making all the putts in his group and it was because he did not practice his putting enough the week prior to the event. There are a number of putting aides for sale from about $20.00-120.00. Find 1 that fits your budget and buy it. This is 1 of the best things you can ever do to help her improve her scores.

Then we have the amazing chipper, every 1 within a foot. And the girl with the most unusual swing ever who seems to get the ball in the hole. How does she even make contact? (photo articles.baltimoresun.com)

Marathon Classic - Round Two

What does all this mean? Your daughter must stay focused on being herself, not get caught up with the other player’s games and reset herself on hitting a great next shot. This is tough but parents you can be a big help. Even the pros will tell you they get tired of seeing the other guy hit every drive in the middle of the fairway. Keeping her mind in the proper mode is 1 of the greatest challenges in all sports, not just golf. Understand and respect how tough it is. Your daughter may begin to question her ability: How can I compete with her, I can’t hit it that far, I can’t putt like that, etc. Don’t let that mindset get a hold on her. Remember your contact during most tournaments is extremely limited so this must be worked on prior to her contest.

Opportunities to be distracted during a round of golf are everywhere. From butterflies, turtles and fish for the little-bitties to somebody bombing drives and making every putt for the bigger kids, it is easy to lose focus. And that is not helpful for playing good golf.

See you on #1 tee looking focused… Sam

Junior Golf: Plan Your Summer Now

In today’s Wednesday Waggle we are saying this is the time to look ahead a few months in the life of your daughter’s golf. Plan your family’s summer calendar now.img_0102-1

Summer is one of those times that junior golfers can really spend a lot of time improving their game. Pretty much every golf facility from driving ranges, golf courses, country clubs and resorts have as least some junior golf activities going on.

So where does a parent start? 1st, what is the family doing together this summer? Is there a vacation planned? Make sure it’s around at least a couple of golf courses so your daughter can enjoy playing new venues. Part of the love and sheer enjoyment of playing golf comes from teeing off on new golf courses. It is exciting and fun! Once you have the family schedule you can book your daughter’s golf camps and tournaments around the family events.

Parents please get after this as some tournaments will fill up quickly and your girl may end up on a waiting list for a big tournament she was really looking forward to competing in. 1st up is the Starburst Junior Golf Classic in Waco, Texas, June 13-15. This is a MUST PLAY at least once for your daughter. It is the largest junior golf tournament in the world with over 1,000 entries and it’s very prestigious and a ton of fun, open to ages 7-18. You need to enter soon because even if your girl’s event is still open, you may have trouble getting a motel room. The whole Waco area is completely booked solid for this event. She plays 3 different courses in 3 days. Great fun and parents are allowed to caddy here, yea! Linda and I alternated caddying for S3, a special time. ( Jason Dufner photo golfdigest.com)

Next on the list should be your local city, county and state junior championships. While these can be slower to fill up, we always believed that entering sooner rather than later was always best. These tournaments are special because it shows your daughter where she stands relative to girls in her locale that she will be competing with even through college. She’ll make some lifelong friends in the process and frankly seeing some of her friends improve will likely inspire her to work even harder on her own game.

Now we come to junior golf tour events. Here in Texas the North Texas PGA and the South Texas PGA sponsor their own series of junior tournaments. There are a bunch of them, pretty much all over the state and they are inexpensive. Depending on your daughter’s skill level you may look at entering her in the Texas Junior Golf Tour or the Legends Junior Tour. These are events for kiddos at the medium to high skill level. Your girl should be consistently shooting in the mid-80’s to play in these tournaments. They are pricey but the atmosphere and talent level is exhilarating for participants and parents alike. If your girl likes to compete, this should fire her up!

Here’s a photo of S3 and his caddy, me, prior to teeing off in a US Amatuer Qualifier at Comanche Trace Country Club, Kerrville, Texas, summer of 2015. I’m telling all you golf parents, these are some of the best moments of your lives, take advantage of them and enjoy this quality time with your junior golfer!

imageAnd for the highest skill levels, you have the AJGA and then the national junior championships put on by the USGA. If your daughter is keeping a GHIN, then you can see if her GHIN is low enough to enter the USGA events. They are super special and pressure-packed! It is not unusual for golfers to be nervous or a bit intimidated by more prestigious events. The jitters should calm once she gets off of #1 tee.

See you on #1 tee with a full summer golf schedule… Sam

Junior Golf: Tough Golf Courses

In this Monday Mulligan we will take a look at a tough golf course. Any course can be difficult if your daughter is not playing well, but the facts are some courses are just tougher than others.img_0135

Yesterday Adam Scott won the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral in Miami, Florida. The Doral has been nicknamed the Blue Monster for years and there’s a ton of legitimate reasons for this moniker. The pros played at just over 7500 yards and that’s a lot of yards! There is water seemingly everywhere, lots of big sand traps and large undulating greens.

The field of 66 players included the Top 50 in the World Golf Rankings plus additional entrants from specific events and competitions. The point being that everyone in this championship had great rankings and credentials. 1 nice perk to playing in the event and finishing, no matter your score, is that there is no 36-hole cut and last place is guaranteed $50,000, not bad for a week’s work.

So imagine how Steven Bowditch felt after 3 rounds of 81, 80 and 80, putting him in last place. Still he had $50,000 waiting for him if he just played his final 18-holes on Sunday, which he did, carding an 84 to finish at the back of the pack. How can he play this poorly? He is the 2014 winner of the Valero Texas Open at The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio, 1 of the toughest courses on the whole PGA Tour. How is Doral eating his lunch?

It’s easy to speculate and get lost in the mental and physical issues. However let’s begin with the fact that this is a tough golf course. World #1 Jordan Spieth says he hasn’t figured this course out yet and was never really in contention. Steven Bowditch for whatever reason, let this course get to him. For a solid PGA pro to not break 80 in 4 rounds on a golf course means the course shook his confidence and when it happens on The Blue Monster these are the scores you get.image

Adam Scott on the other hand had a couple of double-bogies early in his final round and thus had 2 chances to lose his confidence but to his great credit he kept his confidence and was making some birdies by sticking iron shots close for most of the remaining holes and then made an up-and-down on the 72nd hole to beat Bubba Watson by 1-stroke. A tremendous example of mental toughness! (photo by 7-themes.com)

Facts are Mom and Dad that your daughter is going to like some courses more than others.she will play better on some courses than on others. That’s golf. This real issue here is how will your daughter react when she hits a bad shot or makes a double bogey? Be like Adam Scott. Yes it’s tough particularly for the youngsters, but the sooner she learns to regain/keep her confidence, the quicker she will advance.

See you on #1 tee, looking confident… Sam

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