Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Junior Golf: Custom Clubs-Yes Or No

imageIn today’s Friday Flop Shot we will begin our evaluation of everything involved in going the custom club route so that you and your junior golfer can decide if custom clubs make sense for him.

Who can benefit from custom golf clubs? Of course here, we’re primarily talking about the junior golfer(s) in your house. Who else can we consider? Our family is full of personalities that love to upgrade everything from buying the top trim level of our cars to custom golf clubs, it’s what we do. Every golfer who wants to improve his game should seriously consider custom clubs. They are truly amazing when done properly. Please remember that custom clubs require a commitment to considerable range time to get used to them. But they are worth it! (offcoursegolf.com)

Getting back to your son, you actually started down the path of customizing his golf clubs when you had them fitted to him. Usually with beginners and lower to intermediate juniors this means making sure his clubs are the correct length and weight. This is essential and needs to be done with every junior golfer no matter their age or skill level. Clubs that are the wrong length or are too heavy, make it impossible to hit consistent golf shots. Every time your son grows an inch you need to check the length and weight of his clubs. Your PGA Professional can do this.

If your son is an improving junior golfer who expects to be competitive in elite junior golf events, junior high, high school and perhaps even college golf, you must give him every advantage possible. There is plenty of tough competition and your son needs good equipment that suits his skill level, swing, strength, flexibility and body style. Giving him the best tools means more consistent shots which means lower scores. Check out custom engraving on S3’s wedges.

So yes, our family, I, Linda and S3, believe that custom clubs are very important to playing great golf. Now understand that there are plenty of kids playing with basically factory, off-the-rack golf clubs and some of them play really well. The question always is: how much better would your son play with golf clubs customized to him? Where do you start? We’ll look at that next post.

See you on #1 tee… Sam

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Junior Golf: A Tougher Answer

In this Friday Flop Shot we are going to discuss the tougher answer, the answer at the other end of the spectrum from our previous post. A response that will certainly surprise, if not stun and shock, because no parent seriously considers this as the answer they will get from their son when they ask, “Why do you play golf?” (photo offcoursegolf.com)image

“I play because you/Dad/Mom want me to.” After you swallow hard and catch your breath, what do you say to this? There are at least 100 parental responses and you can get great information from psychologists, sports psychologists and a myriad of books on this and related subjects. Linda and I are passing along our experiences with S3 and some of his golf teammates during his junior golf and college golf careers.

Dad and Mom, what is really important here? You and your son must be clear as to why he plays junior golf. If he has a passion for the game and is serious about pursuing it, his and your path takes a specific course. If he is a casual player and likes playing with family and friends now and then, his and your path is totally different from the path of the passionate pursuer of junior golf.IMG_0052

Age plays a role here too, as very young, say under 10 year-old players, may not really know why they play the game except that it’s fun. They may develop a serious passion for the game at some point. If however, your son is in junior high or high school and is a casual player, he may likely remain a casual player.

Parents, your role for the passionate junior golfer has major responsibilities which include commitments of time and money. Your role with the casual junior golfer is less structured and mostly catch-as-catch-can going to the range or playing a round or 2.

The key today Mom and Dad is ask the question! Until you know why your son plays golf you don’t know how to support him.

See you on #1 tee…looking like you’re enjoying yourself… Sam

Junior Golf: How Far Is That?

In this Monday Mulligan we will take a look at the #1 question asked during a round of golf. Yes, of all the talk that may or may not take place on the golf course, this question or 1 very similar is by far, the most asked: How far is it to the pin? How many yards to clear the hazard? What’s the distance to the fairway bunker? Distance, distance, yards and more distance makes up the context of the most asked question when your daughter is playing.image

Golf courses are measured in yards or meters. Did you ever wonder why distance is important? How far it is from point A to point B is crucial to the sport. Golf course designers used yardage in virtually every aspect of their work. Where to put or not put a design element such as a bunker, water hazard, turn in the fairway, a slope to the green or whether to leave or remove a tree.

Your daughter must know distances so she can properly plan her approach to the whole course, then her strategy for each hole and of course, plan her next shot. So how do you figure out distance on a golf course? Well, there are several ways. There’s the old fashioned way of reading sprinkler head yardage or using trees or rocks placed at specific yardages on holes or there may be yardage on the paved cart path.

In reality, this only works to a point and then your daughter is basically estimating distance. So how do you improve accuracy? You buy 1 of the many digital yardage devices. They come in many shapes and sizes from a number of reputable makers. Now Dad and Mom beware: nearly 100% of the tournaments your daughter will play in allow devices which give ONLY distance. The device you buy cannot give wind or slope readings. Every now and then you may hear that it’s ok to use a device which is capable of giving slope and wind readings, but these functions must be turned off during play. I would never risk it.

imageWhat do you buy? I had a GolfLogix GPS that that I used for years and it worked well. Our good friend Gordon has a Garmin GPS watch that he loves. Over the years however, there is 1 distance-measuring device which is far and away the one we have seen the most in junior golf and college golf tournaments. It’s your everyday golf rangefinder. Why are they so popular? They are relatively inexpensive. They have no annual fee. And like every golf shot is different, every reading on a rangefinder is different. In other words, they are infinitely able to give custom yardages on each shot, which makes them the most similar the sport where no 2 shots are the same. There are no limits to which landmark you can get a yardage to.

S3 has a Bushnell Golf Range Finder and it has been great. It’s at least 5 or 6 years old and it has always worked perfectly. Even with all the golf S3 plays, he only changes the battery about 1x per year. I mean folks, this is great. There are several brands to choose from but I think if you look around or ask your daughter’s swing coach, Bushnell is likely be the most prevalent brand. Whatever brand you buy, make sure it only reads distance. Competitive golf is hard enough without risking a penalty or disqualification for illegal equipment.

See you on #1 tee knowing how far to hit your 1st shot… Sam

Junior Golf: Mark This Gift

In today’s Monday Mulligan we are taking a look at more fun gifts. This item is 1 that all golfers, including the pros use at least 20 times or more during an 18-hole round. And there are a bunch of styles from plain to fancy to bling and all varieties in between. (Photo jennleforge.com)image

Your daughter will use her putter at least 20 times during each 18-hole round. Less than 20 putts is rare, even for the pros, and I think 26-27 putts is about average for the PGA Tour players. So what am I talking about here? It’s a ball marker. That thing you notice most when a player in your daughter’s group doesn’t have 1.

How many times have all of us seen a golfer ask somebody for a coin or mark their ball with a tee, which is awkward and ugly at best. College golfers have asked me more than once if I had a coin or ball marker, before they teed off, of course. On the tournament day checklist please put ball marker prominently on it and even twice if necessary. I mean come on.image

Your daughter’s ball should only be sitting on the green when it is her turn to putt. While I’m not a rules expert, I don’t think there is a requirement to mark the ball on the green, unless perhaps it impedes another player’s ability to execute their next shot, but it is certainly 1 of the most common forms of etiquette. And if your daughter asks a another player to mark her ball I believe she is pretty much required to do so. Check the rules if you wish. The point is your daughter should not have to look at somebody else’s ball on the green when it is your daughter’s turn to putt, and vice versa. The 1st thing your daughter should do when she gets to the green is mark her ball, then repair her own ball mark plus 1 more.

Frankly I can’t stand to see a player leave their ball unmarked when it is someone else’s turn to putt. But enough of this, let’s go to the fun. There are a plethora of ball markers out there. Today’s photos will enlighten you a bit. Please put several quarters in a baggie and put it in her golf bag and leave it. And remind your daughter that it is there.image

The most popular ball markers we have seen over the years are coins, the magnetic round markers that usually sit on a magnet clipped to the bill of your daughter’s cap and some really big commemorative medals or even poker chips. A tip: use something with 2 different sides and make 1 side the always use side. Turn it over to the other side only when she needs to move her mark. This serves as a reminder to move her mark back to its original position.

Please note that the sample we are showing here are only a tiny bit of the offerings for ball markers. School logos, names, golf course logos, butterflies, bling, animals, the variety is as big as human imagination. These essential items are very inexpensive so why not get a couple of different ones, because they are relatively easy to lose.

See you on #1 tee with a really cool ball marker… Sam

Junior Golf: Even More Gifts

In this Friday Flop Shot we are sticking with our gift mode. Yes, there are so many fun items available for junior golfers this time of year, we want to keep introducing you to some off them.image

On a recent excursion to 1 of our area’s big golf stores, Linda and I found a ton of unexpected goodies. We talked about head covers a few posts ago but we soon found out that we were totally unaware of some additional really cool ones that may only be around for a relatively brief period. In the 1st photo you see the pink unicorn and brown chipmunk. And in the 2nd pic you see a Star Wars trio of Yoda, Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper. Perhaps your family and young golfers are not Star Wars fans and that’s fine. I can tell you however, that there are a bunch of college golfers that would love a Star Wars head cover and there are some female college golfers who would be thrilled to have that unicorn on their driver. So please don’t think these are only for the very young junior golfers. They are fun, even relaxing to some. What the heck, just buy one! You can always return it.

Now when all the excitement of opening presents is starting to wind
down, here’s a gift that, depending on your and/or your son’s state of mind, will provide hours of entertainment or drive everybody crazy! It’s called the Golf Ball Water Globe. This is a clear globe, filled with fluid. A tee is mounted to the bottom and a golf ball is free-floating as well. The object is of course, to get the ball on the tee. Well, I can tell you that Linda and I and a couple of folks in the checkout line were not able to do so. It’s 1 of those things that looks so simple, but really isn’t. Perhaps once you figure out the plan, getting the ball on the tee is easier. Hey, it’s great fun and it can look good on a shelf or mantel when you’re not playing with it. Come on, let your fun flag fly!

You’re probably doing some shopping this weekend anyway, so plan a trip to your closest big golf store and see what they’ve got that is just plain different from the everyday golf nut’s and bolts. If you can’t physically go to a big golf retailer, go online. Maybe you get free shipping and maybe no sales tax. The point is do something unexpected. Your junior golfer will love it.

See you on #1 tee with a new head cover… Sam

Junior Golf: Buy A Fun Gift

In today’s Monday Mulligan we will consider buying something different for your daughter, something fun and unexpected. The nuts and bolts routine of buying white golf balls, white golf gloves and tees is just taken for granted. Well, Mom and Dad, this is the time of year to get a bit more creative with your golf purchases for your girl.image

Christmas shopping is in full speed ahead mode and stores already have plenty of discounts and sales going on. This is 1 of those times to buy an off-the-wall gift or 2 for your daughter. So what are things you could buy that would be at least half-way useful and not totally embarrass your daughter out in public? Those of you with teenage daughters know that they very well may believe that a parent’s sole goal in life is to publicly embarrass her. That being a given, let’s proceed.

Think about what she wears and uses on the range and on the golf course. Here are some easy suggestions: buy a new crazy or animal head cover for her driver. I mean if you look you can find at least a half-dozen different animal heads, plus a couple of bird heads, including roosters. There are college mascot head covers as well. And there are some head cover designs you would never have imagined in your wildest dreams. So this is just fun.

Also there are now a couple of golf glove makers who offer colors in addition to white. You know what her favorite colors are, so buy her a couple of gloves in bright colors and surprise her. Also be certain, and we have mentioned this before, to buy some of the wet or wetter is better gloves and tell her to keep them in her bag and remember that they are in there. Most major glove makers have these and most are sold in pairs, as in a right and a left hand glove, and are black. Just buy these and put them under the tree. If she already has a paired wet gloves, buy her another pair from a different maker so she can decide which brand she prefers. These gloves are absolutely essential in damp or wet weather.

Now, it’s time to really get crazy. Linda, my dear wife, just loves to play with colored golf balls. I mean if there’s a yellow, orange, hot pink or purple golf ball handy, she’s teeing it up! Frankly those purple balls are hard for me to see and I think for us that color slows down play. And of course, I can’t say to her if she would just hit it in the fairway and on the green it would be much easier to see!!! Linda and I were playing recently and I found 1 of those Callaway Truvis Chrome Soft White red and white golf balls. They are quite striking to look at. Linda immediately put it in play. I’m not sure if for me, those 2 colors make it harder for me to focus at 1 spot on the ball. And then maybe with my golf game it doesn’t really matter.image

For those of you with sons instead of daughters you can still use this information. Just consider what your son likes, or what would embarrass him in your buying decisions, just kidding, well maybe. I mean, if Tom Watson can wear beautiful and colorful golf gloves, your son can too. The point here is to break out of your normal buying habits without breaking the bank. A sleeve of colored golf balls and a colorful golf glove might be $35.00 total at most. Head covers range from inexpensive to ridiculous.

Have fun. Show your fun self to your daughter or to your son. They’ll love it!

See you on #1 tee looking colorful and fun… Sam

Junior Golf: Clubs, Clubs, Clubs

imageIn today’s Wednesday Waggle we are looking at clubs, clubs and more golf clubs. This is an amazing time of year and the sheer number of different makes and models of golf clubs that are available can be overwhelming.

Dad and Mom there are a few new golf clubs that trickle onto the scene throughout the year, but now is when the old clubs, new clubs and used clubs are all for sale. And the good news is that you and your daughter can get a great education. Learn the terminology of golf clubs. There are club heads called cavity backs, muscle backs, blades and more. Shaft stiffness from less stiff to more stiff are: ladies, senior, men’s regular, men’s stiff, men’s extra stiff and more. Golf club grips come in undersize, standard, midsize and oversize. An putter grips are another world all unto themselves. (photo golfdigest.com)

So what is a parent to do? If you already have a go-to PGA Professional, go see her and ask her to explain some of these parts of a golf club and the different designs and terminologies and how your daughter can try different clubs to see which ones are best for her skill level, which ones she likes and which ones she hits the best. In other words, there is a style of club that looks good in theory, but hitting balls with different clubs is the only real way to home in on what club design is the best fit for her.

Soon you daughter will have some time off for Christmas break. If geography is an issue and you are in an area with a limited selection of golf clubs, this is the time to plan a day or overnight trip to a city that has at least 1 or more of the big golf retailers. We’re talking about Edwin Watts Golf, Golf Galaxy, Golfsmith, and Dick’s Sporting Goods to name a few. While these stores will not have any used clubs they may very well have some of last year’s discontinued models on sale and the brand new latest and greatest clubs likely not on sale, but looking very tempting.image

Finding used clubs so that your daughter can hit them can be a challenge. When you know which city you will be visiting, do a search for used golf clubs for sale. There are usually several stores which specialize in selling used golf clubs. Have an idea of what you are looking for before you go and know that they may or may not have a hitting area or driving range. Once you have some clubs in mind, check prices online before going to the used club store. (photo 2ndswing.com)

Couple of tips: never buy golf clubs until your daughter has hit that specific make and model. Buying used anything is risky and golf clubs are not different. Only buy used from a trusted friend or a source that can be vetted. 3 Balls Golf is a great online source that always has thousands of used golf clubs for sale.

See you on #1 tee with some nice looking golf clubs that you can hit… Sam

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