Junior Golf: 5 Essentials for Hot Weather

In this Friday Flop Shot we’ll look at some things that are critical for success when it’s hot. These are always important but hot weather is different and that makes them even more essential.

What is your definition of hot? Maybe it’s 85 degrees for some of you but really most of our bodies notice the heat as the outside temperature approaches our body temp of 98.6. And certainly more humidity makes the heat more oppressive.

Hot weather can take a toll on any athlete and our kids are more susceptible to its affects than we are.

To give your junior golfer the best chance of success, make sure he/she has these items:

1. Refillable water bottle. Drinking 3 or 4 bottles during 18 holes is probably about right. Sipping is better than gulping. Before teeing off and at the turn, ask the tournament staff to please make sure all on-course water supplies are constantly refilled. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had an afternoon round and there was no water on the course. It’s absolutely inexcusable and don’t put up with it. Down here most tournaments tolerate or even announce that it’s OK for parents to give their kids water or Gatorade, yes, during a tournament round. Kids’ safety first! Please double check with the Tournament Director to avoid a possible DQ.

2. 2 towels, a larger towel for the bag and a smaller one for face and hands.

3. Extra gloves, maybe 2 or 3. Your child is going to sweat. A wet glove is useless.

4. A hat, cap, visor or head band to keep salty sweat from running down into their eyes.

5. Sunscreen. Please don’t bathe in it. We use very little and it’s mostly on nose, ears, cheeks, etc.

Of course, there are many more items on your pre-tournament checklist like snacks, balls, tees, counting clubs and so on, but the 5 items above are particularly critical when high temperatures prevail.

See you on #1 tee ready for the heat…Sam

Junior Golf: Snacks That Beat the Heat

In today’s Wednesday Waggle we’re taking a look at how, in the middle of summer, your kiddo can have snacks that beat the heat.

All athletes must replenish calories during competition and your junior golfer is no different. So when it’s time for a healthy munchie, which for golfers is about every 3 or 4 holes, and your son/daughter reaches into the bag to pull one out and they get a handful of inedible mush, it’s not good.

First off, the calories are lost and now one hand is yucky and must be cleaned so the next shot can be hit. Hope he/she has a water bottle and towel!

Here in South Texas there’s plenty of warm/hot weather golf so we have some snacks that will definitely beat the heat. It did take a few tries so we could eliminate some things that sounded good but didn’t work out.

Snacks that hold up in the heat:

1. Jerky is a perfect source of protein, a little fat, some salt and it’s immune to the weather. 2 reasons we buy ours at Costco: most, if not all, the jerky they carry has no msg. Also Costco usually has large bags with individual serving packs inside, very convenient!

2. Trail mix which includes fruit and perhaps M&Ms, although they can get soft in high heat. This provides protein, fat, some salt and carbs through the fruit/M&Ms. Do not get trail mix with loose chocolate or chocolate chips. It will melt and make a terrible mess.

3. Granola/protein/health bars. These are convenient but be aware: we stay with organic to avoid gmo’s which are prevalent in most grains. Also we avoid chocolate because of how messy it is in the heat. Some of these bars taste much better than the others. Take your young golfer to the store and together choose several different bars to try before a tournament. The bar does no good if your child won’t eat it.

4. Cut up fruit. When in doubt, a banana or orange slices always works. Put ’em in a ziplock bag and the sticky cleanup is easy with some water or saliva. No protein or fat here, but there are some good carbs which is better than nothing.

5. PBJ, yes, a good ole peanut butter and jelly sandwich cut into 1/4’s for convenience. Fat, protein, carbs and salt all in one easy format.

Something that TV golf coverage doesn’t really show is how much the pros eat and hydrate during around. S3 and I caddied with Adam Scott’s group during the 2018 Valero Texas Open. Adam and his caddy always had water or a banana or part of a sandwich in their hands. It was the best possible example of how to take care of one’s hydration and nutrition during competition!

See you on #1 tee with a water bottle and snacks…Sam

Junior Golf: 3 Benefits of A Short Memory

In today’s Monday Mulligan we’re going to look at memory or lack of it. There are times when having a short memory is a very good thing.

Have you heard the phrase, “have a cornerback’s memory.”? What it means is that every cornerback-a defensive player on a football team, will get beaten on a pass play at some point and he’d better be able to forget about getting smoked by the receiver and get back to playing good football ASAP.

The point here Dad and Mom, is that mistakes, in golf that would be poor shots, are going to happen and your junior golfer needs to put them out of his/her mind as quickly as possible.

Here are 3 benefits of a short memory:

1. It gets a player’s focus back on track. The previous shot is history, forget it. Focus on hitting the desired next shot.

2. It gets the vital signs returning toward normal. Taking a few deep breaths can help return heart rate and stress levels to where they should be. Elevated pulse and respiration rates are not helpful for playing good golf.

3. It instills and reinforces a winner’s mindset. The elite players in every sport do not dwell/replay the negative. They stay focused on the positives and on improving their game.

Depending on your child’s age, skill level and personality type it can take a while for him/her to get these concepts down consistently. That’s OK, kids need to work through things.

Photocredit: cdnsportsmemorabilia.com

The PGA Tour player with the most all-time wins, it’s not Tiger, Sam Snead, has a bit of a footnote to his legacy of 82 PGA Tour wins and 7 majors. It’s that he really had trouble letting go of a bad shot. Sometimes he’d carry his bad attitude for several holes, which he played poorly enough to remove him from contention. Many folks feel Snead might have won several more U.S. Opens if he just could have let go of those bad shots. Wow!

See you on #1 tee with a short memory… Sam

Junior Golf: Make Three Changes For More Fun

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we’ll look at three simple changes you can make to freshen up your junior golfer’s routine.

It’s the middle of summer and the same ol same ol may be more tedious than exciting. The good news about summer is that there is all this extra time available for your daughter/son to play in tournaments and work on their golf skills.

The bad news is that doing the same routines for days and weeks on end can become drudgery for even the most dedicated students of the game, so let’s make things fun again. Let’s change things up.

Here are 3 simple ways to put a new twist on the summer golf experience:

1. Book a tee time at a course your youngster has never played. The thought of playing a new course always fires everybody up.

2. Learn a new putting drill. PGA Tour winner and The Golf Channel Academy at San Pedro Director of Instruction, David Ogrin offered this one: practice distance control by putting to the edge of the practice green from 20 to 30 feet away. Because you’re not trying to make the putt, you’re able for focus on how the greens are rolling and get a feel for distance. A great first/lag putt makes for an easier second putt. We want to avoid 3-putts at all costs. Feel free to vary the distance to the edge of the green.

Check out Coach Ogrin’s video.

3. Check how far his/her clubs are going. All this good summer work has many positive results including increased strength and better form which can certainly result in increased distance. It is imperative for your child to know how far they hit each club. To see that the 7-iron is flying 5 yards farther is exhilarating for any golfer!

See you on #1 tee excited about your golf game… Sam

Junior Golf: When A Foot Reminds You of Phil’s Wedge

In this Friday Flop Shot we’ll look at how a foot, or certain feet, may remind you of Phil Mickelson and his wedge.

In the golf world’s list of short-game masters, Phil is certainly at or near the top of the list. He loves the artistry involved in hitting those special shots that seem so easy for him.

Easy because he spends hours practicing different kinds of shots he might face on a particular golf course. The sand, the rough, the cuts around the green, the green itself, all are unique to each course. So, the shots may differ slightly from week to week.

It requires the ability to visualize the shot/shots that have the best chance for success in a specific situation. Is a putt, a chip, a pitch or a flop shot called for? An experienced golfer understands that perhaps all of these shots may be used during a round of golf. Hours of practice and hard work are the keys to being able to attempt a desirable shot.

So where does a foot/feet come in? I’m not talking distance, like feet or yards. I’m talking feet, like at the bottom of your leg, what you walk on, what you put your shoes on, a piece of your anatomy.

Yes, I’m talking soccer. What do soccer/futbol and golf have in common? Some sports fans find both difficult or boring to watch: soccer because of low scores and golf because it’s slow. Ignore that.

Let’s go to why both are exciting to watch. You and your junior golfer know about golf so I’ll offer a compelling reason to spend some time watching soccer, as in World Cup soccer.

Think of all the magical things Phil can do with his wedge, ok? Now think of the soccer teams currently playing on their biggest stage, the World Cup. Every soccer player on every team has 2 wedges, his 2 feet that can do things as magical as Phil does with his wedge.

These guys have a zillion ways to pass or shoot the ball. They use their toe, the inside of the foot, the outside of the foot, the top of the foot, the heel and the cleats. Through many hours of practice over a lot of years, these men have worked to elevate their foot skills to a world-class level. Below are 2 minutes of Brazil highlights. Neymar will blow your mind at the 1:40 mark as he passes to himself by grabbing the ball with his feet and by using more pressure with his right foot he brings the ball from behind, throwing it over his left shoulder so it lands in front of him and he can resume his attack. This is creativity and execution to the max!

All World Cup players have ridiculous abilities, but some are superstars. Messi of Argentina, Ronaldo of Portugal, Neymar of Brazil and Suarez and Cavani of Uruguay are names to pay particular attention to. If you can’t watch a whole game, skip to the goal-scoring. Some are things of beauty, some are bizarre and some are accidents. All are worth watching! The different ways these men use their feet to contact the ball are crazy and they’re doing it while running at full speed!

The point is Mom and Dad, great skills don’t come about without hours of proper effort. Phil and these World Cup players have all worked hard to get their skills to the highest level. And they keep working on improving their game!

Fox and FS1 broadcast all the World Cup games. Set the TiVo. The WC continues for a couple more weeks. Use this as an inspiration, an encouragement to practice and learn to be more creative about it!

See you on #1 tee ready to create… Sam

Junior Golf: Starburst-More Than Candy

In this Friday Flop Shot we’ll look at a great junior golf tournament that you may have never heard of.

The point is Dad and Mom, that today there are so many junior golf tournaments that you can’t possibly know about all of them. But there are some that you really need to be familiar with and among those is Starburst.

The Starburst Junior Golf Tournament is held in mid-June annually in Waco, Texas, 200 miles north of San Antonio and 100 miles south of Dallas on I-35. There are divisions ranging from age 7 up to Championship for boys and girls. There were around 400 entries in 2018 and in some years the number of players approaches 1,000.

College coaches like Starburst because it’s a major junior golf event. The sheer number of quality entries, that fact that there are kiddo’s from many countries and the fact that every division plays 3 different courses over 3 days make it a great test of golf!

This is something you want to check out. Make a note for mid-February 2019 to go to starburstgolf.com or the Starburst Golf FB page for next year’s details. You should go at least once, it’s fun!

Now a shout out to 2 of our favorite guys: Director of Instruction for the Alamo City Golf Trail and the Golf Channel Academy at San Pedro, PGA Tour winner, David Ogrin, who had some of his proteges play in Starburst and to our good friend and Director of Instruction at Laredo Country Club and at RG Golf Academy, coach Rudy Gonzalez.

Photocredit: kwtx.com

Rudy’s feeling pretty chipper these days since one of his students, Marcelo Garza of Nuevo Laredo, won the Boy’s Championship Division. Congratulations to Marcelo and coach Rudy on a job well done!

Parents, South Texas has a ton of great golf courses and we have some of the best instructors in the nation. Do something different. Plan a trip around getting some new input for your junior golfer, playing some wonderful golf courses and enjoying all the friendly sights that exemplify our area! Come see us!

See you on #1 tee Starburst ready… Sam

Junior Golf: Did Brooks’ Putting Win the U.S.Open?

In today’s Monday Mulligan we will take a look at Brooks Koepka’s historic repeat victory in the U.S. Open.

Winning one U.S. Open is a lifetime goal for any golfer, but winning a second, in a row, puts a golfer in rarified air. Brooks is only the 7th golfer to win in consecutive years since the first U.S. Open in 1895.

The U.S. Open is different. Please make this point to your junior golfer: that even though there was plenty of controversy surrounding this Open, involving some players actions, some players comments and the USGA, there was still going to be a winner on Sunday! Controversy is a distraction and avoiding distractions is a key to being competitive. Focus on your own game and be positive.

When I close my eyes and think about the U.S. Open I use this Jack Nicklaus quote: “”A difficult golf course eliminates a lot of players. The U.S. Open flag eliminates a lot of players. Some players just weren’t meant to win the U.S. Open. Quite often, a lot of them know it.” And to paraphrase another of his quotes: “When I think of the U.S.Open I see a very long golf course with high rough, fast greens and tough pins. It should be different from every other course we see during the year.” No whining please.

So what were the keys to BK’s won? There’s a long list but we’ll just cover a few things here. It starts with being in a position to win on Sunday. At one point there were about a half-dozen guys within a couple of strokes of the lead but most of them either played themselves out of contention or couldn’t make the couple of late birdies to get into a playoff.

When it was obvious Brooks had won, the Fox announcers talked about the keys to his success. Yes, he hit some stray shots. And he made a bogey or 2. But he made clutch putts! During his final 9 holes he made several 8 to 10 footers for pars! Those were serious pressure putts and he made them.

Time and time again, after every tournament you’ll hear the announcers compliment the winner on his putting. Dad and Mom, your child must be an excellent putter if he/she is to have any chance of winning a golf tournament.

Surely the winner must hit some fairways and hit some greens. But making putts is the key to victory. You have to make a putt to make an up and down. You must make a putt to have a sandy. You have to make putts, period. Sometimes you have to make a putt to have a “good” bogey. Yes, there is such a thing because it’s way better than a double bogey.

Photocredit: golfchannel.com

And your son/daughter must make some birdie putts and some par putts. And in theory, to win, they need to make just about everything from 10 feet and in. Make 100% of the 3-footers. Yep, ya gotta make putts to win.

Congratulations to Brooks Koepka!

See you on #1 tee dreaming of winning the U.S. Open… Sam

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