Archive for the ‘links golf’ Category

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 : More No Pass No Play

imageIn today’s Wednesday Waggle we will take a look at some aspects of no pass no play that are not so obvious. To restate from my previous post, time management for your junior golfer is a big deal and the sooner you get your daughter on a solid time management structure or at least starting the process, the better off she will be. (photo golfdigest.com)

We are in Texas and npnp is a reality for our kids. It may not be in your state, but now is the time to find out. Just call any high school, ask almost any public school teacher or coach or athletic department. If it is not required in your state, act like it is. Putting grades first is a big deal and while playing in competition should not be promoted as a reward for decent grades, in reality it is. And npnp is in effect in all colleges, at least NCAA affiliates. This is a lifetime skill. Proper time management and prioritization are vital to your daughter’s success.

Homeschool kids in Texas have a unique situation and 1 which I am not totally clear on. Some public schools can now allow some homeschoolers within their school district geography to participate in varsity sports. I think this is great! What I am not clear on is how homeschooled kids are held accountable for making npnp grades. There must be something for it to be fair to regular public school students, who have a gpa standard to meet. The opportunity for homeschooled kids to play varsity sports at public school is wonderful and I am proud of my state for allowing this. Again check this out with a public school district before you get too excited. I just heard about this a few days ago and I think this is a very new law.

Here’s a perfect example of why grades matter. Let’s say there are 10 girls on your daughter’s high school golf team. And your daughter is consistently 1 of the top 3 players and there are really only 4 girls, including your daughter who can play competitively in tournaments. Now if 1 of the 6 girls who do not play at a high skill level ends up being scholastically ineligible, it’s sad, but not likely to impact the team’s results in a tournament.

Here’s why. In high school and in college tournaments 5 people on each team play and the low 4 scores are the ones that count. So the high score is not used. Out of 71, 73, 75, 76 and 85, the 85 does not count and the total for that round would be 295. 1 player on your daughter’s team can have a poor round. Now if your daughter or 1 of the other top girls doesn’t make her grades, her team has little chance of being competitive. One of the lesser-skilled girls would need to have a great round, which can and does happen but cannot be counted on. So if your daughter does not keep her gpa up she is letting down the team and frankly, really it is not good and can and will be interpreted by some as being a selfish act, being lazy about grades. Sure there can be a course or teacher that is just really a pain, but tutors are available and sometimes your daughter will need to spend extra effort on her gpa in addition to her golf. Yes, time management.

To keep priorities straight, in high school S3 almost always had 1 or more kids ineligible all the time, both guys and girls. Frankly these were usually kids who were lazy about golf and apparently lazy about grades too. Now in 3.5 years, 7 semesters of college golf at an NCAA Division II school, I think he has had maybe 1 guy and 1 girl scholastically ineligible for 1 grading period, total.image

To be clear S3 has always been scholastically eligible and it is a tiebreaker point when you put on your resume to college coaches that you, rather, your daughter has always been scholastically eligible throughout her high school career. Mom and Dad, colleges want daughters and sons who will make their grades, period. And my little, personal survey is a decent example. College student-athletes, for the most part are motivated and are going to have good grades. Set your daughter up to succeed and get good time management habits started today.

See you on #1 tee looking timely and organized… Sam

Junior Golf: A Links Golf Tale

imageIn today’s Friday Flop Shot, I am telling a story about a recent links golf experience our family had. It will give you some insight into the intricacies involved in links golf. (photo offcoursegolf.com)

When your son heads out to play a links course, the 1st thing you both need to pay attention to is the weather. Dry means the course will play as designed and wet means lower scores because the only defense the course has is wind, terrain and hazards when it is wet. It does not play as designed, it plays much easier.

S3’s college team has played in a tournament this year and the previous 3 years at the excellent Tribute Golf Club in The Colony, north of Dallas on the shores of Lewisville Lake. When the course is dry and hard, it plays as designed with lightening fast fairways and greens. Your son would not dare put an approach shot above the pin as his downhill putt would likely roll off the green if he didn’t make it. The Tribute is a tribute to 18 of the most legendary links holes in Scotland and each hole has a plaque telling its history and it is most interesting. Folks, this is a great golf course, a wonderful golf course and if you are in the DFW area I heartily recommend your son and you too, play it.

In Texas, we don’t complain about rain because we never know the next time we’ll get some. As fate would have it, it has rained cats and dogs every year just a few days before this event. What does that mean? It means the course is pretty much defenseless and there will be some low scores. Players can shoot right at the pin because the greens are holding and are way slower than they are supposed to be. So links golf creativity is reduced and taking dead aim at the pin is in play. Really, the guys like to make birdies, but I know they were relishing the challenge of playing on a true links course with it’s fangs bared.

So let’s look at S3’s final round last Tuesday. It’s a beautiful day with temps in the 60’s at tee time and rising to the mid-70’s, mostly sunny with light winds. And the course is still wet. So this means the guys can treat this round as a regular US-type golf course rather than a links course and shoot at the pin. Now there are some intimidating holes on this course, 1 particular stretch on the front 9 comes to mind, so there aren’t just gimme pars because it’s wet.image

S3 starts on #10 and blocks his drive into a native area. Well, he did this yesterday and made a good bogey so I expect he’s not thrilled, but thinking bogey and move on. Well, he ends up with a 3-putt triple and is not happy because his team was in 5th place not that many strokes out of the top 3. But everybody needed to play at or under par. Moving ahead in his round he hit so many great shots and after missing a bunch of short putts in his 1st 9-holes, he adjusted for less break and started making putts. Now in his 1st round he had no 3-putts and was 100% on putts 7-feet and less. So in what was 1 of his wildest rounds in a long time, S3 had a 3-over par 75 with a triple on his 1st hole. So a triple, a double and 4 3-putts and 4-birdies. 4 of the putts he missed were less than 5 feet and remember, he made all of those the day before. (photo thecolonyedc.org)

Welcome to links golf, sort of. S3 had his chances to be under par. If he had putted as he did the day before he would have been at least 1-under. Dad and Mom this is golf. This is for college golfers, junior golfers and us adults too. What worked yesterday may not work today. And some of what worked yesterday may be even better today. I mean, S3 in his round of 75 hit 11 of 14 fairways (78%) and 15 of 18 greens (83%). These are great numbers! Really the difference between this 75 and being under par is 1 poor drive, 1 poor chip, 4 3-putts and 2 additional missed short putts. Ya gotta love this sport!

See you on the links, looking Scottish…kilts anyone… Sam

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