Archive for the ‘Sportamanship’ Category

Junior Golf: Be Yourself

imageIn today’s Monday Mulligan we will look at personalities, who our kids really are, how their disposition impacts their play. All of our junior golfers are different and “being yourself” is critical to good performance on the golf course

Great show on The Golf Channel’s Morning Drive show this morning! The cast was talking about LPGA superstar Suzann Pettersen and her attitude during Friday’s round at the LPGA Lorena Ochoa Tournament. The whole crew agreed the Suzann basically played the whole round with a scowl on her face and while she had no shows of temper, she just seemed to be in a foul mood and could not or chose not to shake it. And she shot 1-under par 71 to be in 6th place after 2 rounds. A pretty good spot to be in actually. So Suzann’s poor mood enabled the crew to take the conversation in a more positive direction. (photo

Morning Drive co-host Charlie Rymer referred to advice he was given during his professional playing days by famed sports psychologist, Dr. Bob Rotella who told Charlie: “be yourself. Charlie, you’re a talker, so talk while you’re playing.” So is your son a talker, the silent type or somewhere in between? If you have never thought about, then give yourself a moment to ponder this, but you already know.

Your son will play with every type of personality imaginable and more. Some are fun, some are pleasantly tolerable and some are jerks and the silent ones are not necessarily jerks, but maybe just the quiet type. Being yourself is important in life and important in golf. Watch your son in his next few tournament rounds and at some point things will become quite clear. What you are looking for is when does your son seem to be more relaxed and playing better? Is it when he is talking to 1 of his group when they are walking down the fairway or is it when he kind of stays by himself and doesn’t have much interaction with the other players? A trend will show itself and once you have identified his comfortable scenario, have a good discussion with him and encourage him to use his comfort zone while he is playing. It works!image

Our family is a family of talkers. I think we came right into the world talking, we didn’t wait until the normal talking age, we were all talking prodigies. That said, we, at least I don’t think we are just babbling machines, it’s just that we are communicators. It is inherent to our family. And it didn’t take long to see that S3 seemed to always be more relaxed if he could connect with someone in his group. Granted the 6 and 7 year-olds are not likely to be talking, but once your son gets into junior high the socializing will start to show up. And over time he will be paired more often than expected, with someone he already knows and can be comfortable with. The reality is that every round presents an opportunity for your son to learn to maintain his focus, not be distracted by his partner’s personality or lack of personality. Sometimes finding and maintaining his comfort zone is easier and sometimes it is difficult. It’s all part of golf. (photo by

See you on #1 tee and wait until after I hit to start talking… Sam

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: The Solheim Cup Lesson 2

imageIn this Friday Flop Shot we’ll look at another lesson to be learned from the Solheim Cup. Every golf tournament is a stage and the entrants are under scrutiny. International team competition like the Solheim Cup provides the biggest stage with a gigantic microscope for seeing and commenting on each player’s every move and shot.

In match play, such as the Solheim Cup, it is common for short putts, maybe 2-feet or less to be “conceded” or to be acknowledged by the opposition to be “good”. So if your daughter’s remaining 2-foot putt was “conceded”, she would pick her ball up and the other team would finish putting or if both teams had finished the hole they would proceed to the next tee. The key here is that your daughter must never assume a putt is conceded. Ask specifically, usually something like “Is that good?” Make certain of the response before doing anything.

So last week Alison Lee of the US thought her par putt had been conceded on #17, and picked the ball up. Well, it was not conceded and she lost the hole. Big mental error. Europe could have chosen to “give” her the putt after that fact, thus negating the loss of hole, but chose not to do so. While all this is within the match play rules, golf is a game of sportsmanship, honor, integrity and good etiquette and manners. All the women involved were very distressed by this event, some being in tears. Alison Lee felt terrible because loss of the hole contributed to losing the match in a very close team competition. The Europeans had second thoughts after they were seen by some as ruthless and not playing within the sportsmanship spirit of the game. Europe’s Suzann Pettersen apologized after the match. (photo

Or, as they say, on the other hand, let’s look at the finish of the 1969 Ryder Cup hosted by England. On the 18th hole of the final match between Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklyn, Nicklaus made his par putt and Jacklyn had a knee-knocking 2-footer left for his par. In one of the great all-time examples of good sportsmanship, Jack Nicklaus walked over and picked up Tony Jacklyn’s coin, conceding the putt, halving their match and ending the 1969 Ryder Cup in a tie. US team captain Sam Snead was furious and other US team members were surprised to say the least. Over time this gesture by golf’s greatest player has overcome the initial critics and is now seen as perhaps the greatest example of good sportsmanship of all time.

20 years from now what will be said about the European Women’s decision not to concede Alison Lee’s putt after the fact? They may be put into the Nicklaus/Jacklyn conversation, but at the other end of the scale. Please instill into your daughter that she can choose her actions but she cannot choose the consequences of her actions. Encourage her to make good decisions, because she knows what they are.

See you on #1 tee…with an attitude of good sportsmanship… Sam

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