Archive for the ‘Major Championships’ Category

Junior Golf: Why The Masters Is Important For Your Junior Golfer

In today’s Wednesday Waggle we will take a look at this week’s PGA tournament and offer some input as to why The Masters is very important for your son/daughter.

photocredit:golfdigest.com


There are more reasons than this space allows as to the importance of The Masters to your son and the rest of your family, in fact to all sports fans everywhere. Let’s hit some highlights.
1st, it’s the first men’s major championship of each year and the field will include many of the best players in the world. That alone should make it very important.

2nd, Augusta National Golf Club, the permanent Masters venue in Augusta, Georgia, is one of the most beautiful places anywhere. Amazingly gorgeous flowers are blooming all over the course and the fairways, greens, traps, hazards, paths, every square inch seems to be perfectly manicured. We look forward to every minute of TV coverage so we can enjoy this visual feast.

3rd, The Masters is loaded with great traditions. From the ceremonial opening tee shots, done for years by the legendary Big Three of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. With Arnold’s passing last September, Jack and Gary will do this year’s shots. And then there’s the awarding of the renowned green jacket to the winner on Sunday afternoon and any number of traditions occurring in between.

4th, the golf is great! The players will tell you that this is one of the toughest courses they play. The greens are lightning fast. The undulating and rolling fairways, much more so than the TV cameras show, almost never leave a flat lie and stance for the next shot. Water and traps are just begging for golf balls to enter them. And even with all this there are players shooting under par. Wow!

5th, tickets to this event are widely known as possibly the toughest ticket in all of sports. Just having an opportunity to be a patron, as the fans at ANGC are referred to, is a rare situation. Go for it!

photocredit:pinterest

So what does this mean to your youngster? Hopefully he’ll dream more and bigger dreams. I mean every pro playing in this event dreamed about it as a kid and probably as a pro too until getting his 1st invitation to play in The Masters! Heck, I’ve dreamed about being a patron and that’s tough enough!The sheer beauty, pageantry, traditions and excellent golf should end up being more than enough to get your kiddo revved up.
So Parents, your action is to make sure you TiVo the tournament. Thursday and Friday are on ESPN and Saturday and Sunday are on CBS. We always record 2.5 hours beyond the scheduled Sunday end time to allow for possible playoffs.
See you on #1 tee excited about The Masters… Sam

Junior Golf: Your Junior Golfer Is Not Immune

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will address the fact that your junior golfer is not immune to her environment, friends, family and life in general. There was a big shakeup at The Masters this week because no one is immune, no one is bulletproof.

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Dubai Golf

Things happen in life. They happen to all of us and your daughter is no exception. Good things, bad things, beneficial things, inconvenient things, there are a ton of things that can occur in one’s life.

Surely as Dustin Johnson was going down the wooden stairs in his stocking feet, it never crossed his mind that he might slip and fall and have to WD, withdraw, from the 1st men’s major of the year, The Masters. As you likely have heard, he did fall on his elbow and on the left side of his back. Yesterday just before his tee time, he decided he could not compete and withdrew. The physical pain is nothing compared to his mental anguish of the whole situation.

DJ, currently ranked men’s World #1, is generally regarded as being the most athletic guy on the PGA Tour and is in amazing shape, physically. So how does this happen to a DJ? Simply this walking down the stairs was such a nothing kind of everyday event that it seems DJ was on auto-pilot just going down a set of stairs. Boom, a slip and he’s out of the tournament. Wow!

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photocredit:theguardian

So what impact does this have on the field? Well, their 1st reaction was probably something like, “He’s in such great shape, how did that happen to him?” Next thought, “Now I have a better chance to win because I don’t have to beat the World#1.” And final dose of reality, “Man, I need to be careful. That can happen to anyone at any time.”

What is the lesson for your daughter and your household? Please make her aware that she is not immune to injury. Things happen around the house. She could slip on a wet sidewalk. Awareness helps. With S3 we also asked him to limit, as in not play at all, in pickup team sports games like basketball and soccer. All it takes is 1 injury to a finger, hand, wrist, knee, ankle or foot and the junior golf schedule is put on hold. Depending on the severity of the injury, your girl might never recover well enough to play competitive golf again.

True story. S3 was playing in a college golf tournament and 1 of his group members dads was at the event. As we dads visited during the round he told me how his son had won just about every event in their home state the previous year. His boy was on fire! However his son also dearly loved wakeboarding and refused to give it up. Yes, that’s right, the son had a horrific fall, injured his back and his golf game never recovered. So instead of winning golf tournaments, it was all he could do to break 80. A tough life lesson!

Your girl does need time away from golf. As much as she may love the game, both practicing and playing, she needs a break. Balance in life is important. As you are helping her just be a kid, encourage her in directions that give her an opportunity to have fun, fun with reduced risks.

See you on #1 tee injury-free… Sam

Junior Golf: Why The Masters Is Important For Your Junior Golfer

In today’s Wednesday Waggle we will take a look at this week’s PGA tournament and offer some input as to why The Masters is very important for your son/daughter.

img_0102-1

photocredit:golfdigest.com

There are more reasons than this space allows as to the importance of The Masters to your son and the rest of your family, in fact to all sports fans everywhere. Let’s hit some highlights.

1st, it’s the first men’s major championship of each year and the field will include many of the best players in the world. That alone should make it very important.
2nd, Augusta National Golf Club, the permanent Masters venue in Augusta, Georgia, is one of the most beautiful places anywhere. Amazingly gorgeous flowers are blooming all over the course and the fairways, greens, traps, hazards, paths, every square inch seems to be perfectly manicured. We look forward to every minute of TV coverage so we can enjoy this visual feast.
3rd, The Masters is loaded with great traditions. From the ceremonial opening tee shots, done for years by the legendary Big Three of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. With Arnold’s passing last September, Jack and Gary will do this year’s shots. And then there’s the awarding of the renowned green jacket to the winner on Sunday afternoon and any number of traditions occurring in between.
4th, the golf is great! The players will tell you that this is one of the toughest courses they play. The greens are lightning fast. The undulating and rolling fairways, much more so than the TV cameras show, almost never leave a flat lie and stance for the next shot. Water and traps are just begging for golf balls to enter them. And even with all this there are players shooting under par. Wow!
5th, tickets to this event are widely known as possibly the toughest ticket in all of sports. Just having an opportunity to be a patron, as the fans at ANGC are referred to, is a rare situation. Go for it!

img_0561

photocredit:pinterest

So what does this mean to your youngster? Hopefully he’ll dream more and bigger dreams. I mean every pro playing in this event dreamed about it as a kid and probably as a pro too until getting his 1st invitation to play in The Masters! Heck, I’ve dreamed about being a patron and that’s tough enough!The sheer beauty, pageantry, traditions and excellent golf should end up being more than enough to get your kiddo revved up.

So Parents, your action is to make sure you TiVo the tournament. Thursday and Friday are on ESPN and Saturday and Sunday are on CBS. We always record 2.5 hours beyond the scheduled Sunday end time to allow for possible playoffs.

See you on #1 tee excited about The Masters… Sam

Junior Golf: 3-Foot Putts

In this Wednesday Waggle we will look at something that occurs in every round of golf and sometimes they show up in numbers. To have any chance of winning a golf tournament your daughter must conquer these. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)img_0102

What am I talking about, 3-foot putts of course! There’s a reason these are called knee-knockers or testers. This is a perfect in-between length where any player could casually walk up and take a swipe at the ball and likely miss. It is not a 6-inch tap-in and it’s not a 10-footer either. Watch how seriously every pro approaches these short putts. They go through their deliberate routine just as if it was a 30-footer.

Having a repeatable putting routine is critical and is an absolute necessity. The pros know the numbers and guess what, the winners of most pro events, both men and women, will be pretty much 100% makes on putts of 3-feet and less. Yep, that’s 1 of the stats that’s key to winning at any level of golf. (Doug Sanders photo utube.com)

Here’s how important it is to make these little putts. In 1970 Doug Sanders missed a 30-inch putt on the 72nd hole at St Andrews to win the British Open. He then lost an 18-hole playoff to Jack Nicklaus the next day. What happened in Sander’s own words, “I didn’t get set. I was thinking about which side (of the stands containing the British Royalty) to bow to. I saw my good friend Ben Hogan swat a bug away from his face, but later he told me he was trying to get me to walk away and reset.” Doug lost his focus, casually took the short putt for granted and missed. He said it likely cost him $200 million dollars plus the winning of a major and that was in 1970!image

Let’s look at the other side of 3-foot putts from last Sunday. Jimmy Walker had the same situation as Doug Sanders did in 1970, a 3-foot putt to win a major. And Jimmy went through his putting routine and stroked his ball into the middle of the cup. He stayed in the moment and got his 1st major.

Your daughter can get close to 100% makes on 3-footers, too. When S3 has been practicing on our favorite Dave Pelz putting aide, he makes just about everything. It’s quite clear, when he makes putts, he has practiced properly and when he misses those same putts, he has not, simple. Find a practice routine for short putts that keeps your daughter’s attention and get after it. It will pay off!

See you on #1 tee ready to make some putts… Sam

Junior Golf: Congratulations Jimmy!

In this Monday Mulligan we will revisit the great action at the men’s PGA Championship. This tournament provided as much excitement and interest as anyone could want, filled with everything you could imagine except for lead changes, hard fairways and fast greens. (photo jennleforge.com)img_0135

In the leadup to this event most pundits had Jason, Rory, DJ, Jordan, Henrik, Bubba and Ricky in their top 5 favorites to win. There were a few other names in the mix with some writers offering 10-15 of their most likely-to-win names. The thing is that Jimmy Walker’s name was not on many, probably not any, lists.

Some of you may not be familiar with Jimmy. He’s a local guy for us, playing high school golf at Canyon High School in New Braunfels on the northeast fringe of San Antonio, college golf at Baylor, just up I-35 in Waco and now lives in Boerne on the north edge of our city.

Until his win yesterday Jimmy’s most recent victory was at our own 2015 Valero Texas Open on the Oaks Course here at TPC San Antonio. And he is a strong supporter of The First Tee of Greater San Antonio, where Linda, Dr. Nick Askey and I put on regular parenting seminars. So I think it’s fair to say that San Antonio golf fans were thrilled with Jimmy’s 1st major win!

Parents, this tournament is 1 of those BIG reasons I recommend you TiVo pretty much every pro tournament. Day 1 provided plenty of surprises with Jimmy unexpectedly leading and Rory and DJ not playing well at all and a lot of other top players looking pretty good.

Friday saw Rory and DJ go home, as in not making the cut, what’s up with that? Some other big names moved up the leaderboard and couple of new guys, like Robert Streb were playing well. Jason and Henrik, among other were staying in contention and looked like they were going to fight all the way to the 72nd hole.

Saturday morning saw a few people get 18 holes in but play was stopped before the leaders teed off. So 36 holes was on tap for the leaders on Sunday, a test of endurance and patience.

Lift, clean and place was in effect Sunday as about half the tee shots plugged or got virtually no roll. So the course played longer, even though the soft greens meant the guys could shoot right at the pin. As the day went on, it seems that someone tied Jimmy for a hole or 2, but Jimmy didn’t falter, but everyone else did, except for Jason Day. The guys trying to catch up, were for the most part too far behind and Jimmy was playing very solid golf.

Henrik was in it with Jimmy and Jason until he blew a ¾ 9-iron over the green for a double-bogey on #15 and never really regained his game afterwards. So we had a 2-man race with Jason trying to catch Jimmy and Jimmy not making any mistakes. On #18 tee Jason was thinking he is 2 shots behind and needs to eagle the par 5 18th to have a chance to get in a playoff. As he walks up the fairway he sees the leaderboard showing that Jimmy had just birdied #17 and now he, Jason was 3 shots back. It had to be an eagle and Jason hit his 2nd shot to 10 feet or so and made the putt for the eagle. Now Jimmy knew he needed a par 5 to win. (photo pga.com)

PGA Championship - Final RoundGoing for the green in 2, he blew his 2nd shot over the green into some fluff. A lot of folks questioned why Jimmy chose to go for it rather than laying up, but Jimmy,and his caddy knew his stats and would hit the same shot again. So Jimmy hit a flop shot to about 30 feet and put his lag putt to about 3 feet. Folks if you want pressure, try standing over a 3-footer on the 72nd hole to win your 1st major! No problemo for Jimmy! He stroked that little putt into the center of the cup like he had been doing all day long, what performance under pressure! Congratulations Jimmy Walker!

See you on #1 tee looking like a major champion… Sam

Junior Golf: Unexpected Results

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will look at unexpected results, what happens when your son’s round of golf doesn’t look anything like you thought it would or should, or what we, his team, were expecting.img_0106

A perfect example is yesterday’s 1st round results at the PGA Championship. 2 of the biggest favorites will need to have a great round today or miss the cut. Rory McIlroy had a 4-over par 74, with 35 putts. Please note that most tour pros would love to average 27-28 putts per round, or less, so 35 is horrible. Now Dustin Johnson, winner or 2 events in a row not that long ago blew up to a 77, what’s up with that? (photo offcoursegolf.com)

Along with Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Bubba Watson, Ricky Fowler, these were most of the top names being picked to win the 4th major of 2016. Let’s see, Jimmy Walker and Martin Kaymer, who are they again? Well, Martin has won 2 majors and Jimmy has won 5 times in the previous 2 years, but neither has had a lot going on this year. How is Jimmy leading and how is Martin tied for 4th with Henrik among others, after 1 round?

Jimmy said he grew up playing a Tillighast course, I think referring to our wonderful Brackenridge Park Golf Course, Old Brack, here in San Antonio. The big greens, generous fairways and bunker placements were familiar to him. Folks, the pros favor some courses over others and pleasing to the eye, familiarity, acceptability of their preferred shot shape, etc are big deals. It’s a bonus to Jimmy that a course in a major feels comfortable to him. (Jimmy Walker photo pga.com)

PGA: PGA Championship - First Round

Jul 28, 2016; Springfield, NJ, USA; Jimmy Walker reacts to the crowd after making a putt on 17th hole during the first round of the 2016 PGA Championship golf tournament at Baltusrol GC – Lower Course. Mandatory Credit: Eric Sucar-USA TODAY Sports

And Martin Kaymer, in majors he’s either really on or really off and if it’s an on week for him, look out. He can get in a serious zone. Let’s not forget Henrik Stensen, winner of The Open Championship 2 weeks ago, he’s and Martin are only 2 shots back. No disrespect to the other players in the top 10 after round 1, but you can look up the complete leaderboard online.

What does this mean to you and your junior golfer? Competitive sports is tough, it’s like life, things happen! Good things and bad things happen and many cannot be readily explained. It’s getting back up to hit another shot that counts. Believing that the next shot will be a good shot counts even more! I can assure you that there were times S3 looked like he was ready to cry, faint or throw up after hitting a bad shot or having a bad hole. Sometimes he got over it on the next tee box and sometimes it took a few holes, but he got over it during the round, usually finishing with a strong final 3 holes, at least.

Being an encourager is 1 of the most important roles for a parent. Remember that just because your son has been playing great recently does not mean he will play great in his next event. The encouragement must be that nobody plays great all the time, but he, your son, must believe he can hit a good shot after hitting a poor 1. Positive, positive, positive! If you get knocked down, you get back up. Forget the bad, focus on the good.

Let’s enjoy this great golf weekend! The Women’s Open Championship is in progress and of course we have the rest of the Men’s PGA Championship. Get the TiVo going!

See you on #1 tee expecting good shots… Sam

Junior Golf: The PGA Championship

In this Wednesday Waggle we’ll look at another special event, the men’s PGA Championship. This is a very exciting time in the golf year with big-time tournaments almost every week. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)img_0102-1

Baltusrol Golf Club just west of New York City, in Springfield, New Jersey, is hosting the 98th PGA Championship. This is the 9th major and 2nd PGA Championship the club has hosted. The guys are playing the Baltusrol Lower Course, a spicey 7462 yard, par 70 layout. Wow, plenty of long holes and only 2 par-5’s, on #17 and #18. Should make for some very interesting finishes with plenty of risk/reward opportunities at the end of the rounds!

No amateurs in this place, pros only. There are a zillion ways to get into the 156-man field, but 1 of the greatest attributes of this tournament is that the top 20 finishers in the PGA Professional Tournament, read club pros event, are automatically qualified. Great stuff! (PGA photo justklip.com)

Jason Day won last year and Rory won in 2014 and all the top pros will be in New Jersey for this major! TV coverage is different. TNT has the majority of coverage, starting Thursday and they share broadcast time with CBS over the weekend. You know what I’m going to say! Set your TiVo for these 2 channels and also record Live From The PGA on The Golf Channel. So much great conversation and insight. This is like free golf and mental game mini-lessons.image

Sometimes it’s tough to get our young golfers to sit down and watch a golf tournament, much less look at some folks talking about golf. It may be that you, Mom and Dad, watch the shows and mark the great shots and amazing advice and replay these brief segments for your kiddos. This works and some of it will actually sink in.

If you get excited, your kids will get excited, so let’s all get excited about the great golf coming up starting tomorrow at the PGA Championship from legendary Baltusrol Golf Club!

See you on #1 tee looking excited… Sam.

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