Archive for the ‘U. S. Open’ Category

Junior Golf: U.S. Open Takeaways

In this Monday Mulligan let’s see what we can learn from this most recent U.S. Open.

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Photocredit:jennleforge.com

Here are some takeaways:
Even a tough course can give up a lot of birdies when it is softened by rain and there is little to no wind. This was the case Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
As the course dries out and the wind picks up, everything changes. Now the course can begin to play like the designers and selection committee intended. This was the case yesterday. Erin Hills was tougher than it had been.
There will always be a winner. Sometimes there’s a playoff, but usually 1 player rises to the occasion and handles the tough conditions and serious pressure better than everyone else. Brooks Koepka did this yesterday.
Winners handle pressure better. They perform better under it. When Brooks was asked about the pressure of being in contention for a U.S. Open title, he said he couldn’t imagine being under more pressure than he was at the previous Ryder Cup. They’ll all tell you that the pressure of playing for one’s country and teammates is much greater than playing for yourself! So Brooks had already experienced, in his mind, which is what counts, more pressure than he would feel currently.
Patience on the golf course counts, particularly in tough conditions. One of the announcers mentioned that Rickie Fowler started swinging all out with his irons during yesterday’s round and this was the point where he lost his game just enough to get out of contention. Anyone remember the “swing easy when it’s breezy”?
When it’s going good, don’t change it. Brooks was in the zone, hitting fairways and greens and making putts. This is a winning combination. When all the others near the top of the leaderboard stumbled for a hole or 2, Brooks stayed confident with his game and kept on making good shots.

What does this mean for your son/daughter and their junior golf career? To begin with, the more they play tough courses in tough conditions, the more confident they will become. They will begin to understand that everybody is playing the same course in the same conditions and whoever stays calm and patient will have a chance to win.

They will realize that a winner will always be crowned, no matter the score, as long as it’s the lowest and no matter how good, bad or ugly the golf course is. Hey, a win is a win!

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Photocredit:pgatour.com

He/she will start to realize that there is always pressure. It can come from any and all directions and how your youngster handles that pressure will have a huge impact on their score. Depending on your kiddo’s personality, his/her ability to deal with pressure will manifest itself differently.

There are times that your child will play better than others. Encourage them to relax, stay confident and keep on doing what they’re doing. Enjoy it!

Hope you enjoyed watching Brooks win his 1st major. It was great viewing!

See you on #1 tee with confidence… Sam

Junior Golf: It’s U.S. Open Time

Today, in this Wednesday Waggle, we’re taking a quick look at the week. It’s the 2nd men’s major championship of 2017 and that means it’s U.S. Open time!

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Photocredit:Golf Digest

Erin Hills Golf Course, 35 miles north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin is the site, hosting the 1st ever U.S. Open to be played in the state.

Let’s skip right to a very important point if you are at all serious about junior golf and golf, in general. Please make sure your TV package includes the channels which carry golf tournaments and add any of the following that you are missing: Golf Channel, NBC, CBS, ABC, ESPN and the ESPN2’s, etc, Fox, FS1 and related channels and TNT.

This week it’s Fox’s turn to host another U.S. Open after a shaky start with clumsy announcers 2 years ago, although slightly improved last year. The players and the course make the event and solid golf broadcasters are certainly important but there will be tons of excitement no matter the quality of the announcers. So Thursday and Friday the tournament is on FS1 from 10:00am-5:00pm, central time. Saturday and Sunday it’s on regular Fox from 10:00am-7:00pm and be sure to record at least 2 hours after 7:00pm, just in case.

This playoff situation is a bit different. If 2 golfers are tied at the end of 72-holes, they return the next day for an 18-hole playoff. If 3 or more golfers are tied at the end of 72-holes, they go into a sudden-death playoff.

Why is this tournament important for a junior golfer? It’s 1 of only 4 major championships annually and it is also regarded as the Men’s National Golf Championship of the United States. Yes, the winner is the National Champion! Sounds pretty good, right?

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Photocredit:Golf-Wisconsin 

Now if you want to rev your kiddo up a bit, boy or girl, and you, your spouse and the rest of the family, record The Greatest Game Ever Played. This is based on the true story of how young Francis Ouimet overcame prejudice and huge obstacles to defeat the greatest golfers of the age and win the 1913 U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. It is a great movie and will have your whole family ready to golf play some golf. This is inspiring, truly inspiring! It airs 2x this Friday on The Golf Channel. Record it, it’s worth it!

So please make sure you have all these channels in your television package. Likely you have the Fox channels, so you can enjoy this week’s major. And get the TiVo! Most of the tv we watch is recorded, it is so convenient and saves a lot of time.

The players are already complaining about the insanely long rough, so the USGA mowed it down a bit. But 1 of the trademark characteristics of a true U.S. Open venue is long, tough rough. It would be nice to be able to find your ball, however.

OK, turn on the tv and set up your recordings. It’s U.S. Open time!

See you on #1 tee ready to stay out of that long rough… Sam

Junior Golf: How To Prioritize Tournaments For Beginner-level Junior Golfers

In the Wednesday Waggle we will look at why you should enter your daughter in some tournaments and not enter her in some others. Here are some goals which will help you in choosing from the huge selection of junior golf events that are available all over the country.

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Photocredit:golfdigest.com

As a beginner level junior golfer, your choices are simplified. Here you are:
Keep it simple. Enter local events which are convenient should be relatively inexpensive and have beginner categories. Fees should start around $35.00 and up.
How much summer golf can your budget support? Please make a habit to plan ahead and increase her/his golf budget for summer events.
Check the calendar. Summers are busy. We had to double and triple-check calendars to prevent conflicting bookings.
Another goal at this stage is to see if she likes the tournament atmosphere, does she like competition?
Pay attention to her demeanor during the event. Is she enjoying herself? Are her emotions in check, at least somewhat?
Tournaments also give you a chance to evaluate her physical conditioning. Is she able to walk, carry her bag and make a decent swing? All junior golfers need to continuously work on being in better golf shape/physical condition.

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Photocredit:Future Champions Golf

Mom and Dad, please be encouragers. Your girl/boy may be a bit nervous or hesitant about entering their 1st tournament. It can be intimidating, but frankly, your junior golfer will very likely have a good experience. Yep, you may end up creating a young golf monster who wants you to enter her in every event on earth! Well, that’s a good thing!

See you on #1 tee tournament ready… Sam

Junior Golf: Overcoming Adversity

In today’s Wednesday Waggle we will take a look at several of the unexpected challenges that can appear during a golf tournament. Your daughter will undoubtedly face some of these issues during her junior golf career and the sooner you prepare her for them, the better. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)img_0102-1

Let’s use Dustin Johnson for a great example. It is generally recognized among the PGA Tour players that Dustin is 1 of the most talented athletes, if not the most gifted athletically, among them and it was only a matter of when, not if, he won his 1st major. And Dustin did just that by winning the men’s U.S. Open Championship this past week at Oakmont Country Club, regarded by some folks as the hardest golf course in the world.

His path in majors has been very rough. In 2010 he had the 3rd round lead in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and shot a final round 82. In the 2010 PGA Championship he appeared to have tied for 1st but was assessed a 2-stroke penalty after completing his round and before the playoff, for grounding his club in a bunker, and was knocked out of contention. In the 2015 U.S. Open he 3-putted the final hole to lose to Jordan Spieth by 1 stroke. Even in his round last Sunday he was penalized after the round for causing his ball to move, but he had a big enough lead over 2nd place that this penalty did not affect his position. Additionally, Dustin took some time off from the tour in 2014 for personal reasons, to get his life back on track.

Theses are tough situations, they are part of life. DJ has showed wonderful resiliency in overcoming these situations. Great stuff! (DJ photo ftw.usatoday.com)

USP PGA: THE MASTERS - PAR 3 CONTEST S GLF USA GA

Apr 6, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Dustin Johnson with Paulina Gretzky on the 4th green during the Par 3 Contest prior to the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: USATSI-265174 ORIG FILE ID: 20160406_jla_mm1_216.jpg

Your daughter will have some penalty strokes, 3-putts and horrible rounds, including horrible final rounds after being in the lead. How on earth do you help prepare her for this? 1st, make sure you tell her your love for her is unconditional, it is not based on her scorecard. 2nd, help her get familiar with the rules. And encourage her to pay strict attention to the announcing of local rules/conditions at the player’s gathering before the start of a tournament. Remind her that it is, more often than not, allowable to play 2 balls when you cannot find a rules official. Tell her that there will be days when her best golf game disappears and cannot be found. It’s OK. Tell her, “I love you very much!”

Understanding how tough it is to play well all the time, avoid 3-putts and know the rules will help your girl be able to deal with the rough spots as they occur. Oh, they will still be difficult, but they are a reflection of life. And it’s her proper response that defines her, not the 3-putt. Please remember that Linda and I are not sports psychologists. We are parents passing along things we have learned from our son’s successful junior golf and college golf experiences.

See you on #1 tee looking resilient… Sam

Junior Golf: Patience And Safety

In this Friday Flop Shot we’re looking at 2 words that are critical to our junior golfer’s enjoyment of this wonderful game, but we don’t often hear very much about them.image

Yesterday’s 1st round of the U.S.Open provided the pros with multiple opportunities to refamiliarize themselves with these words, patience and safety. Patience is a great attribute for all aspects of life and sports is included. When does your son need to be patient? There are several scenarios common to golf tournaments. Let’s look at 1. (photo offcoursegolf.com)

S3 played some junior events on a course here in San Antonio that had a tough par 3 with heavy woods on both sides of the fairway and around the green. So what, you say? Well it was common to have 3 or 4 groups stacked up on this tee box because so many kids were searching everywhere for balls plus par 3’s are notorious for getting backed up in certain situations and this is 1 of them. So your son must find his best way to deal with long delays. We always encouraged S3 to relax, hydrate and eat a few bites while staying somewhat in the reality that he was still playing in a golf tournament. And he was to loosen up after sitting around for sometimes 30 minutes. It doesn’t take long for your youngster’s muscles to stiffen up.

Patience is tough even for the pros. Once they get in their game groove they like to keep it going, particularly if they are playing well. And your son likely feels the same way. Stretching and warming up again, after a delay, are important for your son to resume play and to play well.

So yesterday was a tough day at Oakmont as there were 3 rain delays. Dangerous storms with lightning kept forming and passing through. Even though pros are pros and they are used to these things, they are still an additional mental and physical test. Lightning is serious and golfers, spectators and staff need to quickly get to shelter. Safety is #1 and Paul Azinger and Brad Faxon strongly stressed this point a lot during the Fox TV coverage. Please make your son aware that lightning is his enemy on the golf course and instruct him on proper ways to keep himself safe. (pgatour.com)img_0369

Combining patience and safety would be when the pros got off the course, because of lightning in the area, after marking their ball and then once the storm had passed, maybe after as much as a couple of hours, they went back out to resume play. Both announcers agreed that the last shot they wanted upon resuming play was a 5-foot putt. A full swing shot was much preferred, just to release some of the pent up anxiety and get back in their groove. So you see how the anxiety level is increased or decreased by the 1st shot the pro is facing after a delay, wow!

See you on #1 tee looking patient and no storms around… Sam

Junior Golf: The U. S. Open

In today’s Wednesday Waggle we will look at the 2nd men’s major tournament of 2016 which starts tomorrow. This is often referred to as The United States National Championship. We are talking about, of course, the men’s U.S. Open Golf Championship. (photo golfdigest.com)img_0102

Oakmont Country Club Western Pennsylvania is the site and this course is regarded as the toughest course that PGA players have ever competed on. So what is an Open event? It’s pretty straightforward as the event is open to professionals and amateurs as long as they meet the requirements. Playing in a U.S. Open is a big deal, a dream for any serious golfer. Ways to qualify include various rankings in the PGA Tour, special amateur wins and certain international wins. There are also qualifiers where a GHIN (golf handicap index) of 1.4 or less enables you to submit your entry a. The good news is that this largest field in golf, 156 entries, has 80 players from sectional qualifiers. This is great stuff, but keep in mind that more than 10,000 guys enter the sectionals to go after these 80 available spots. You must play great to earn a spot in the qualifiers.

Now, if your young man makes it to the actual tournament the fun really begins. Phil Mickelson said that Oakmont is probably the toughest course the PGA has ever played. Folks, that’s an intimidating statement! The greens are faster than any the pros have seen. The fairways have a bunch of slope, so keeping a tee shot in play is very difficult. The 1st cut of the rough is moderate, read-perhaps a chance to hit the green and the 2nd cut is just brutal leaving the bat players in the world virtually no chance of getting on the green. The traps have a huge amount of new soft sand added to them, so hitting the ball from a trap is more of an advancing shot, rather than potential scoring shot. Oh, and the greens have tremendous undulations. (photo ococean.com)image

To be fair, the USGA intends for this event to be the most mentally and physically demanding golf event anywhere. And they accomplish it! It is certainly possible for them to set up the course as a fair, albeit very tough test and hopefully this is what is done. For example, have you ever heard the term, U. S. Open rough? Usually this refers to long, deep and difficult to sometimes find and play the ball out of and it’s a tradition at this tournament. Well, that’s what you’ll see if a ball gets into the 2nd cut this week at Oakmont.

TV coverage is on Fox and after their disastrous broadcasting last year, they have upped their announcing crew by adding Paul Azinger, who has a great golf IQ and is quite knowledgeable and interesting to listen to. I’m excited to hear him as Paul always gives genuine golf nuggets that should be written down or at least noted. So tomorrow’s TV runs from 9am-4pm, central time on FS1, same on Friday, then at 4pm those days it switches to regular Fox until 7pm. Saturday and Sunday it’s 10am-6pm, central time, all on your regular Fox channel. Set those Tivos because this will be great stuff! And playoffs in the U. S. Open are 18-holes played the next day following completion of the standard 72-holes, Monday.

See you on #1 tee looking ready for tough rough… Sam

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