Archive for the ‘Jordan Spieth’ Category

Junior Golf: How To Give Good Advice-Like A Good Caddy

In this Monday Mulligan we will take a quick look at what happens when the proper kind of advice and support is furnished at the right time during competition.

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Photocredit:jennleforge.com

As parents, we have unending opportunities to offer input to our kids. How effective is that information, that is the real question here? It’s important to understand both your and your junior golfer’s personalities so that your words are offered in the manner which will be most effective for your kiddo’s personality type.

Our young athletes have plenty of pressure and Mom and Dad we are in a position to help them effectively deal with that stress. Whether it’s a tough homework assignment, an upcoming test, a golf tournament or just a part of dealing with everyday life and relationships, our children don’t have the answers. They need our help, proper help.

Today’s example deals with the relationship between professional golfers and their caddies. While we tend to think of our golf pros as stand-alone individuals, they really do have a teammate, in their caddy. This is the only person available to give advice and input during competition. The old school take on caddies was something like, “show up, shut up, keep up.” This attitude is not the most effective. Sometimes you will see the winners of tournaments give praise to their caddies for offering timely and effective input during a round.

The most recent example is Jordan Spieth praising his caddy, Michael Greller. Jordan is known to be an approachable, respectful and polite young man who values all his team members. So it was no surprise when, during his brief post-game interview with Peter Kostis after winning the Travelers event with a holeout from a greenside bunker to defeat Daniel Berger on the 1st playoff hole, Jordan offered great praise about how Michael had helped him, “step back, get my breathing under control and reset during a very tough day on the golf course (paraphrased).”

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Photocredit:golf digest

Talk about proper and effective input at the right time! The result was winning the tournament. Dad and Mom that’s the kind of results we want when we caddy for our kids. Wow, big-time!

All of us, parents and kiddos, need to get better at this. And you know what folks, the better we adults get at doing these 3 things, the better we’ll be at helping our kids.

See you on #1 tee under control… Sam

Junior Golf: Planning Ahead-Attitude

image In this Friday Flop Shot, we will look at your son’s attitude and how it affects his play in a tournament. Professional golfers have an approach to all aspects of their game, especially tournament play, that becomes a regular, repeatable routine which helps them with their attitudes too.

Ah yes, our son’s attitude, the attitude of our son, it doesn’t sound so complicated, does it, really? Until you become a parent, a child’s attitude is just a phrase you hear once in a while. As a loving, caring parent a child’s attitude can be a wonderful fun thing or a stressful, difficult and very trying time. (photo offcoursegolf.com)

Every successful athlete has a positive mental outlook and attitude. This is displayed differently in each sport. Golf is a sport where adrenaline and attitude must be managed. Sure, when a pro golfer hits a bad shot he is unhappy and some show their displeasure more strongly than others. Matt Kuchar says, “Oh Mattie”, when he hits a bad shot. Jordan Spieth says “Oh Jordan” or “No Jordan”.

The key here is that most people need to vent after a poor shot. And they need to get beyond the bad shot as quickly as possible. When caddying for S3, Nelson Blanchard, our good friend and excellent golfer, will say, “Sammie, you have until you walk by that tree over there to get over that shot and start focusing on hitting a good next shot.” Well, that tree is very close at hand, maybe 10 yards down the fairway, so S3 is allowed to vent in a quick and timely manner and reset his mind to a positive state for the next shot.

So how does a parent help the son to prepare to have a proper attitude in competition? Please remember that attitude is 1 part of the huge arena called “mental game”. Millions of words have been written on this and we are giving you some tips/cliff notes to get things started.

 You must have a conversation the week before the event. Better yet go to the range or play a few holes and make every effort to keep things on a positive note. (Matt Kuchar photo Jacksonville.com)

Attitude prep during your conversation should include: helping your son realize that he will be doing something he enjoys, he will have fun. He belongs with the other entrants and he will appreciate the tournament environment. He is going to hit a bad shot and the key is to have a very short memory and focus on hitting a good next shot. Everybody him the tournament is going to hit a bad shot. It’s how you hit the next shot that counts.

Basically, Dad and Mom, you are encouragers for your son. Lift him up. Help him believe he can recover from a bad shot. Frankly, sometimes it is tough. There will be times when your son hits a great drive, just misses the green with his approach shot, chunks a chip and 3-putts for a double bogey. All that after hitting a great drive. This is hard on adults and can be really hard on kids. All the discussions before a tournament don’t guarantee anything. They do however, plant seeds in your son’s mind that will grow fruit now and then.

Have 1 5-minute discussion several days before the event and on subsequent days give him a thumbs up and say the word, Positive or Positive Mental Attitude or just PMA. You may have 50 opportunities before he tees off. Repetition, it works!

See you on #1 tee, positively… Sam

Junior Golf: Lesson 2 From The Tour Championship

imageIn our Friday Flop Shot we’ll take a look at the 2nd lesson to be learned from The Tour Championship. Every time you watch a professional golf tournament, there are many things to be learned, both good and bad. (photo from offcoursegolf.com)

So our 2nd and final lesson we will take from last week’s Tour Championship is: nobody plays great all the time. Yes, the greatest names in the history of the game had their streaks when they won multiple golf tournaments. And Byron Nelson won 11 events in 1 year in the 1940’s, but as great an achievement as that was, he didn’t win everything. Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Johnny Miller, Tom Watson, Tiger Woods and more guys have won a lot of golf tournaments in 1 season. But they all had times that they weren’t playing good enough to win. Yes, none of them liked it, but it’s called being human.

LPGA Hall of Famer Judy Rankin was talking on the golf channel about how many tournaments in a row the pros play, and for most it’s 2 or 3 in a row because it is so demanding. However, Judy made the point that if you are playing great, you want to keep playing because you know it won’t last forever. This is reality in professional golf.

Jason Day was hot as a firecracker the last few months on the PGA Tour and he was a favorite to win it all. In Atlanta however, Jason’s magical play had faded and while he was playing pretty well, after 2 days it appeared that he would really need to finish super strong to get back in it. In the meantime Henrick Stenson was on fire in the 1st round and looked like he was going to shoot about 30-under par if he could keep it up as he did at this same venue in 2013, winning it all. Ricky Fowler looked like he was always just about to get a bunch of birdies going but he never caught fire.image

Then there’s Jordan Spieth who had everybody, except him and his caddy, shaking their heads after he missed the cut in 2 of the playoff events. As the other guys on the PGA Tour know, Jordan is a competitor to take very seriously when the stakes are high. Stenson could not maintain his torrid birdie streaks and Jordan patiently caught up with and ultimately passed him. No one else was really a threat on Sunday as 2 days of rain had made a mess of everyone’s scores, except for Jordan’s. Congratulations to him! (Byron Nelson photo from media.nj.com)

Mom and Dad, you junior golfer is not going to win every golf tournament they play in. Winning just 1 is a big deal. Any golf tournament is hard to win so don’t beat your junior golfer up when he doesn’t play well or is not competitive. It happens. It’s part of golf. Players at every skill level are looking for consistency and guess what, sometimes your golfer is more consistent and sometimes they are not very consistent at all. Accept the fact that designing a plan to work toward better consistency is the way to go. This isn’t accepting failure. This is about accepting that golf is hard and being an elite athlete in any sport is hard and all athletes in all sports at all levels want to be more consistent in playing at a higher level.

So love your son. Take him to #1 tee and I’ll be looking for him… Sam

Junior Golf: Lessons From The Tour Championship

imageIn this Wednesday Waggle we will look at a lesson to be learned from last week’s Tour Championship. The top 30 golfers on the PGA Tour gathered in Atlanta to play in the final event of the PGA Season. (Jason Duffner photo golfdigest.com)

This 1st lesson is very simple and very obvious: weather affects everybody. As plain as it sounds, yes, the weather impacts every golfer, even the best 30 pros on the PGA Tour. When it is sunny and pleasant, everyone is in a pretty decent mood. The greens and fairways and bunkers are impacting the ball as anticipated, so really the guys just have to execute their normal shots. No big deal, you’re either hitting good shots or you’re not, but you are in a comfort zone at least as far as course conditions are concerned.

Now let’s throw in an overcast, rainy and chilly Friday and Saturday with 36 holes to be played and see who’s in a comfort zone. Maybe the guys from the British Isles who grew up playing in worse weather than this, but heck, even they don’t play in it as much as they used to. So out of the field of 30 perhaps a handful were in some sort of comfort zone. Probably a better way to look at it is who has the patience to deal with the soggy conditions. How many times did you see umbrellas opened and closed, rain gear put on and taken off, grips wiped, club faces wiped, hands wiped and gloves changed out? This weather wears on everybody and it is tedious to deal with. And they were playing the ball down, meaning you played the ball as is, no lift, clean and place. If your ball had a glob of mud on it, you got to hit it mud and all, until the ball got on the green where it could be cleaned. Just a good mental test. (photo static01.nyt.com)

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The scores reflected the conditions as most players were just trying to hang on to a decent position to be able to make a Sunday run. And Jordan took the lead Saturday as he dealt with 48 hours of unpleasant conditions better than everyone else. And at the ripe old age of 22 years old. You know the ending. Jordan played a solid final round and won The Tour Championship and also The FedEx Cup. Several of the guys had lower final rounds than Jordan, but it was his Friday and Saturday play that put him in a strong position for the final 18 holes. No one shot super low Sunday to come close to catching him. Congratulations to Jordan Spieth!

Your junior golfer will play in weather like this or worse. Much of the preparation is having proper wet weather gear. We’ll address that another time. The often overlooked prep however, is mental. The pros talk all the time about being patient on the golf course, so patience is super important. In inclimate weather, the patience factor goes up by 3 or 4 times. Everything is different. So start working on patience now because your junior golfer is going to need more of it than you ever imagined.

See you on #1 tee, patiently… Sam

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