Junior Golf: A Different Kind Of Golf Story

 

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In this Monday Mulligan we will look at a different kind of golf story. I’ve not written about this before but it seems now is an appropriate time.

On September 11, 2001, I was in the men’s lounge at The Dominion Country Club, near San Antonio, Texas, eating breakfast prior to a 9:00am tee time. It was to be a glorious day enjoying a fine golf course with 2 dear friends, Ron and Jim. As we watched the events taking place on the tv, Jim, a retired Special Agent for the FBI, needed about 1 second to say: “That’s no accident, that’s on purpose. It’s probably a terrorist attack.”

Jim and I first met in the 1970’s and we spent a lot of quality time together. His exceptional talents and skills needed no additional support, so terrorism it was. And of course, he was correct.

We decided to keep our tee time and try to play. After 9 holes we decided that our hearts and minds were somewhere other than the golf course and we walked off the 9th green and headed our separate ways. For the 3 of us at least, it wasn’t a day for golf.

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Parents, the take home point today is that while there are few things better than playing golf, there are times when it is best to do something else. Life is full of highs and lows and some of the lows are so tough, so different, so once-in-a-lifetime, that it is just not possible to focus on anything, particularly our beloved sport.

 

Learning to differentiate between not feeling 100%, not being in the mood or having a runny nose and something truly devastating can be tougher than you’d expect. Playing hurt is part of sports and some athletes are better at it than others and certainly you never want to risk aggravating the injury or risking permanent damage to your child, but there are decisions to be made. To play or not to play, that is the question!

Linda and I were always wanting to give our kids the benefit of the doubt, in both directions. Frankly, in our house, if our kids could walk and breathe, they wanted to play, particularly in competition. And you know what, sometimes we let them and sometimes we didn’t. We had to make decisions and you’ll have to make some too. Please prepare!

See you on #1 tee with decisions made… Sam

 

 

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Junior Golf: What Is This?

In this Monday Mulligan please take a look at the photo below and see if you can figure out what it is. This is a beautiful visual example of a very valuable educational opportunity for your son/daughter.

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Photocredit:jennleforge.com

Perhaps you recall the great line by the Guardian of The Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, “He chose poorly.” More contemporary golf lines might be, “He went for the hero shot and didn’t make it,” or “He should have taken his bogey medicine.” Whatever line you prefer, the poor result is the same.

This is, of course, a screenshot of the path of Jason Day’s golf ball on the 18th hole during the 3rd round of the recent PGA Championship. Jason’s unfathomable choice for his 2nd shot destroyed any chance to get off the hole with a bogey, 5 and then put him in a situation where he ended up with a quadruple bogey-8, which included a crushing 3-putt.

On the 18th tee box, a par or bogey would have kept him in a decent position to make a run for the win on Sunday. Golf truths you may hear: “Sometimes you have to take your bogey medicine.” “There are times when a bogey is a good score.” “Not even the pros execute every hero shot.” Jason chose to hit right when the hole and accessible fairway were to the left. It appeared that hitting a shot back in play to the fairway on his left was not a tough shot and that choice might have given him a decent bogey chance.

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Golf is not about hitting a great shot every time. It is about believing that you can hit a great shot every time. The nitty-gritty is all about how your youngster responds to a poor shot. It’s tough. It’s frustrating. It’s maddening. It’s golf. There is always a better choice, but one must choose to take it!

See you on #1 tee ready to make good choices… Sam

Junior Golf: Do This For Back-To-School Success

In this Monday Mulligan we will show you a very important thing to do that will set

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your junior golfer up for back-to-school and athletic success.

 

What are we talking about here? Well, it’s one thing that totally crosses over and directly impacts all aspects of your youngster’s life, including academically and athletically. What is it?

Ok, we’re talking about quantity and quantity of sleep. A huge percentage of the world’s population from infants to old folks are not getting enough quality sleep. This impacts every aspect of daily performance. Grades and golf are seriously affected.

Summer sleep patterns are often very different from school-year sleep routines and now is the perfect time to implement sleep schedules and environments designed for maximum benefit in school and on the golf course. See the chart below for recommended sleeping times by age group.

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In addition to getting enough sleep, there needs to be a high quality of sleep.

Here are some things we do in our house:
Best sleep is when the temperature is below 70-degrees F.
We turn down the thermostat at night.

Down time is a must to let your kiddo’s brain unwind. S3 began his downtime 1.5 hours prior to lights out. He still does this today.
Sleep in total darkness. Heavy drapes and shades will help. The room needs to be as close to completely dark as possible.
Keep all electronic devices like radios, cell phones, alarm clocks, etc at least 6 feet from your child’s head. Their emissions are disruptive to quality sleep.
Turn off the tv and/or radio before going to sleep. For those youngsters who like to fall asleep with these items turned on, their brain locks onto the content subconsciously and impedes good sleep, not beneficial at all.

If your golfer insists on noise, get an app with babbling brook or splashing surf/calming environmental sounds. Or turn on a small fan with a noticeable hum, making sure it is at least 6 feet from the head of the bed.

No sugar or caffeine within 3 hours of bedtime.

There are a number of additional steps that you can implement, but these will get you off to a great start! There is no substitute for enough high-quality sleep!

See you on #1 tee wide awake and well-rested… Sam

 

 

Junior Golf: 5 Ways The PGA Championship Encourages Your Junior Golfer

In today’s Wednesday Waggle we will begin our look at The PGA Championship with play starting tomorrow from Quail Hollow Club in North Carolina.

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Photocredit:Golf Digest

This is the final men’s major of the year and you must be a member of the PGA to be eligible to enter. This means no amateurs are in the field. There are some valuable takeaways for all junior golfers this week. Here are some things your child can learn.

Let’s have a look:
It’s the last major of the year
. Every golfer craves to win a major and this is the last chance until the 2018 Masters next spring. There’s a sense of urgency!
It’s a major! What else needs to be said?
Almost all entrants are members of the PGA. This means that in addition to being excellent golfers, they had to work their tails off to earn the prestigious status of PGA member and it’s not easy. There’s a strong work ethic involved!
There are a number of special invitations to players and golf champions from all over the world so if you’re not an American you still have a chance to play in this event.
There is a special qualifier for PGA professionals who do not play on the PGA Tour. The 20 low scores from the PGA Professional Championship, in effect the pro at your local golf club, are eligible to play in The PGA Championship. This gives basically every PGA member an opportunity to play in a major. Great stuff!

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So here we go again. Set the TiVo. Play starts tomorrow on TNT, DirectTV Channel 245 from 12:00noon-6:00pm, central time. Same channel and time for Friday. Saturday and Sunday are a bit different with play running from 10:00am-1:00pm on TNT, then switching to CBS for coverage from 1:00pm-6:00pm. Be sure to record at least 1 extra hour from 6:00pm-7:00pm on Sunday in case of a playoff.

Many folks will be watching to see if Jordan can keep up his great play and complete his grand slam of majors. There will be plenty of big names to follow and there will also be some guys you’ve never heard of making a good challenge. It’s always encouraging!

See you on #1 tee looking encouraged… Sam

 

Junior Golf: You Got To Believe

In this Wednesday Waggle we will look at belief and how it can be used to positively impact your youngster’s golf game.

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Photocredit:Golf Digest

One definition of belief is: a trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something. Now before we got lost in all these words, let’s look at a few golf examples of belief.

In the last round of the recent Open Championship, Jordan Spieth managed to turn his final round from horrible-for him, to absolutely fabulous. How did he do this? In his words, once he and Matt Kuchar became tied, Jordan’s nerves disappeared and he was able to focus on hitting good shots and man did he! Belief!
In last week’s Canadian Open, Jhonny Vegas said, “I’ve had a horrible summer to put it the best way,” Vegas said. “But it’s golf, and you have to keep a positive mentality and always think that you’re going to play your best.” And he did that Sunday ultimately beating Charley Hoffman in a playoff.
A few years ago in the 2010 Masters, Phil Mickelson hit an incredible shot off of some pine straw, between 2 trees, over the creek and onto the green and continued on for a 3-shot Masters win. Belief!

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Finally, Zack Johnson’s recap of a conversation with his Dad
from earlier in his career. To paraphrase, Zach said,”I want to win every tournament.” His Dad replied, “What is most important is that you believe you can win every tournament!” Believe, believe, believe.

So what does this have to do with your junior golfer? Well, depending on age and skill level your child must have a belief in something positive about his/her golf game.
I believe I can hit the ball on every shot.
I believe I can hit the ball in the air.
I believe I can play better than some of my friends.
I believe
I can make the golf team.
I believe I can earn the #1 spot on the golf team.
I believe I can make birdies.
I believe I can win a golf tournament.
And so it goes.

Have a talk with your kiddo. Be an encourager! Point out a nice shot he/she hit and complement it. Help them believe that there are many more excellent golf shots coming in the future. Your kids want to have fun and enjoy this great game. Believing that the next shot will be a good shot is very important and when your son/daughter does it, you will smile from ear to ear.

See you on #1 tee believing you can hit good shots… Sam

Junior Golf: 3 Big-Time Lessons From Jordan’s Win

In this Wednesday Waggle we can look at 3 huge revelations that your junior golfer can use right now in his/her junior golf career.

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Jordan’s final round on Sunday was so full of educational moments that I hope you and your young golfer and your whole family watched it and that it is still on your TiVo so you can scan through it once more! This is 4 hours of golf greatness and golf lessons and golf memories that you may not see again for a number of years.

Here are 3 gigantic golf/life lessons that your kiddo can accept and use immediately:
Everybody hits bad shots
. Jordan’s 1st 12 and ½ holes were a mess and after his win he mentioned he had a bit of nerves at the start of the round, but when he and Matt’s scores became tied, the nerves went away and he got back to playing his game. Lesson: the sooner your boy/girl accepts that bad shots will be a part of golf, the sooner they can begin dealing with them appropriately.
Everybody has emotions. Jordan’s drive on #1 appeared to be on a perfect line, and it was, but it ended up just short of the fairway in some very long grass. This pretty much meant bogie instead of par or birdie and Jordan was ticked off. By his own admission he already had a slight case of nerves and this didn’t help and he ended up with a bogie. Some people control/hide/suppress their emotions better than others. Emotional highs and lows are readily available on the golf course and there are times when every golfer just wants to bite right through his/her lip or bang their head against a tree in frustration. This behavior however, is not helpful and it hurts! Lesson: decrease the intensity of the highs and lows. Find a spot in the middle of that emotional range, not too high and not too low and that is where the kiddos need to be/stay.

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Photocredit:Stewart Franklin/Getty Images

It is possible to turn a poor round into a better round. Yes, Jordan is exceptional and not every PGA Tour pro can turn a golf game around like he did on Sunday. It is possible though to hit a good or great shot after hitting a bad shot. Simply put, this is what Jordan did after his ugly tee shot on #13. He was able to leave the bad shots behind and refocus on hitting good shots, really amazing, mesmerizing shots to close out his win. Lesson: the sooner your son/daughter can forget about, leave behind, erase the bad shots from memory, the sooner they can focus on hitting a good next short. Having a very short memory in regards to one’s previous shots is very beneficial. Focus on hitting a good next shot, period!

Ok that’s it for now. Hope you can go back and take another look at some of those incredible highlights!

See you on #1 tee ready to be on the highlight reel… Sam

 

Junior Golf: Perseverance Changes Everything

In today’s Monday Mulligan we will take a look at how it is possible to move past bad shots and get back to hitting good ones. Perseverance is a big key.

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Photocredit:jennleforge.com

Yesterday’s final round of The Open Championship was an absolutely amazing display of many aspects of this game we love. It was a classic, in it’s own way every bit as good as last year’s epic battle between Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson. It was filled with highs and lows, patience and excitement, classy behavior and good manners. Wow! This final round was all about 2 battles: one between Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar and one between Jordan Spieth and himself. Oh, and Jordan won them both!

Mom and Dad, this is why we have TiVo! So much happened during these 18 holes, there is not nearly enough time or words to address everything. My best advice is if you have a recording of the final round, make sure you and your junior golfer watch it. This is a ton of life lesson stuff and it is filled with so many highs and lows let’s get started. Your whole family will find this video to be very inspirational, enjoy!

Jordan and Matt were in the final pairing and Jordan hit a really good-looking tee shot on #1 and Jordan was smiling and feeling good about the shot. Unknown to him, his ball ended up in some very long grass about 3 feet shy of the shorter grass. When he got to his ball, his demeanor changed. He was not happy. Jordan bogied 3 of the 1st 4 holes. He seemed to lose his confidence and missed short putts that he usually makes. Tee shots were errant and the neck-and-neck battle between these 2 guys took at turn in Matt’s favor when Jordan blew his tee shot on the 13th hole nearly 100 yards to the right of the fairway.

It took more than 20 minutes before Jordan played his 2nd shot and he managed to get off of #13 with just a bogey. Something changed during that time span. Jordan played holes 14 through 17 in 5-under par, making 70 feet of putts on 14, 15 and 16 alone. His attitude was completely different. A par on 18 gave him a 3-stroke victory over Kuchar.

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How did Jordan change his demeanor? Folks, he’s done this before. He kept his eye on the prize, persevering through those rough initial 13 holes. Somewhere on that huge sand dune on 13, he “shook”. With all due respect, that’s a term we use in our house when an attitude changes. It’s what dogs do when they change their mind, they “shake.” And whatever it was that Jordan found within himself to change from the erratic, not very confident player he was through his tee shot on 13, he became an absolute beast on those last 5 holes. It was a complete turnaround and Matt Kuchar played a decent round of golf but Jordan ran right past him starting on hole 14. Persevere, persevere and persevere some more!

Parents, encourage your kids that they can turn their game around. It is done every day, it’s life. It’s getting back up when those bad shots knock you down. How does your youngster do that? Well, there are lots of sports psychologists and golf books and self-help books that can address this in great detail. For now encourage your junior golfers that it is possible to leave those ugly shots behind and get back to hitting goods shots during a round of golf. It’s done all the time at every level, but not everybody can or will do it. Help your kiddo be a can do athlete! Find a way for him/her to “shake.”

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Congratulations to Champion Golfer Of The Year, Jordan Spieth. And congratulations also to Matt Kuchar for playing some excellent golf and showing genuine class while he waited 20 minutes for Jordan’s ruling, drop and 2nd shot on 13. A fine man!

See you on #1 tee knowing how to shake… Sam

 

 

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