Posts Tagged ‘Charley Hoffman’

Junior Golf: Special Moments At Pro Events

In this Friday Flop Shot we are going to suggest some ideas for exciting trips you can plan for your junior golfer and the rest of the family too. (image offcoursegolf.com)img_0106-1

What type of trip would get everybody fired up? There are 2 major categories. 1st is to attend a pro tournament. With the choices available of the PGA Tour, the LPGA Tour and the Web.com Tour, there are quite a few options. The event locations kind of follow the nicer weather, so right now the tournaments are in more of the Southern or warmer states and as the temperature heats up, events will move northward.

See if you can find an event within your geography and budget and book a hotel and buy some tickets. Just do it! Don’t overthink it! Professional golf tournaments are a lot of fun. It really is different being there in person as compared to watching on the TV.

Couple of FYI’s. Depending on your scheduling flexibility you might consider attending during the pro-am days or on Thursday or Friday, when the crowds are smaller. Fewer people means easier parking, easier movement around the course, shorter lines for vendors and restrooms and you and your junior golfer can get closer to the players and actually hear them talk.

Perfect example. A few years ago Rory was playing in the Valero Texas Open, which was uncommon for hm. S3 wanted to see him so we noted Rory’s tee time, this was on a Saturday, was 11:15am. So we went and got to #1 tee on The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio and man were there a ton of people. So Rory and his group teed off and about 99% of the gallery went with them.

There were 2 more groups to tee off so S3 and I moved right up against the ropes about 10 feet from the tee markers. The next group was Billy Horschel, Charley Hoffman and Retief Goosen.

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Here’s a classic conversation: Charley and Billy showed each other the markings on their golf balls just like you are taught in day 1 of junior golf. Great to see this! Then Billy says to Charley, “Our balls are marked pretty similarly, don’t hit my ball.” And Charley replied, “If I do, I’ll hit it in the water!” They both laughed so hard and after they teed off, they were still chatting their way down #1 fairway. A classic moment and a teachable moment at a professional event. (Hoffman image GolfLink.com)

These special one-of-a-kind moments are happening at these big tournaments, but if you don’t go, you won’t experience them.

See you on #1 tee at a pro event… Sam

Junior Golf: Winning Is Hard

In this Friday Flop Shot we will look at winning golf tournaments and it’s hard to win golf tournaments whether it is a modified 6-hole little bitties event or a 72-hole PGA venue. (photo offcoursegolf.com)image

There are ebbs and flows of momentum in every competitive event and golf is no exception. If your son plays really poorly early in the tournament, he can take himself out of contention. If he plays good enough to stay within a few shots of the leaders he can have a legitimate chance to win or at least be top 10 or better. The goal is to be close enough during the final round or even last 9 holes to make some good scores and catch the leader.

Last Sunday the final round of the Valero Texas Open had a perfect setup. At 1 point early in the day I think around a dozen players were within a couple of shots of the Round 3 leader. Folks, this makes for fun golf to watch and this is a main reason I encourage you to record these professional golf broadcasts.

3rd round leader Ricky Barnes was in the last group and struggled all day and could not maintain his lead.Former World #1 Luke Donald started the final round as many people’s pick to win. Well, he shot 2-over on Sunday to finish way back in the pack. The next-to-last group is where a bunch of the action took place with Charley Hoffman, Patrick Reed and Billy Hoerschel playing together.

You know, there are different tournament goals for different golfers and for different levels of golf. There are times that a top-5, top-10 or even top-20 is desirable and a win would be really cool! Yes, the pros can get FedEx points, certain exemptions and a ton of money without winning a Tour event, but as Bubba Watson so beautifully put it, “Nobody out here is playing for 2nd place.” Winning brings so much more!

As the leaders faltered, Charley started moving up as did Patrick. Billy was always close but wasn’t really looking like he might make a playoff or such. Much of the TV focus was on this group. Charley was now leading and the decent birdie holes of 16, 17 and 18 were next after Patrick pulled within 1 stroke of Charley with a birdie on 15.

Reed missed birdie putts of less than 8 feet on 16 & 17 and Hoffman made pars. So we’re on 18 tee and Charley has a 1stroke lead over Patrick. This is pressure folks and a lot of golfers can’t handle it. Reed put his drive just in the left rough and hit the shot of the day to follow up, a rope hook around a tree stopping on the fringe at the right front edge of the green. Charley blew his 2nd shot on this par 5 over the back left of the green into a bunker, leaving a touchy downhill sand shot. Patrick chips to within 2 feet and Charley blasts to maybe 6-10 feet. Reed putts out for a birdie leaving the final shot to the potential winner. And Hoffman performed perfectly with the ball going right into the center of the cup for his birdie, maintaining his 1-stroke lead and winning the tournament. Congratulations!image

Ricky Barnes and Luke Donald eliminate themselves by not playing well. Patrick Reed hits a ton of great shots but misses too many short putts. And Charley Hoffman made a few birdies, kept grinding out pars kept his head in the right place and won! Winning is hard as Charley stated in his post game comments. (Patrick Reed/Charley Hoffman photo pgatour.com)

See you on #1 tee ready for a tough game… Sam

Junior Golf: Lessons From The Valero Texas Open

In this Monday Mulligan we’re looking at some lessons to be learned from the just completed Valero Texas Open, won by Charley Hoffman. Watching professional athletes in competition provides opportunities for all of us including your junior golfer to gain some valuable information. (photo jennleforge.com)img_0135

Last Friday Linda and I watched about 50-60 entrants play the driveable par 4, #17 at the Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio. There was a following north wind and the far left back pin was maybe 360 yards from the tee box, driveable for the longer hitters in those conditions. After watching several groups come through, 2 strategies became clear. 1st, most of the players were laying up, some hitting irons off the tee to a desired wedge distance. 2nd, about 10% were bombing their driver trying to get on the green in 1.

It became apparent that there were 3 choices for how to hit a wedge, from the layup, into the green. 1st land the ball on the back side of the ridge running left to right across the green and let it kick downhill toward the pin. This was the most popular effort and was executed beautifully by a number of players. 2nd choice was to land the approach on the left side of a ridge running middle to back and let it kick left to the hole. Freddie Jacobson’s shot of the day lipped out doing this and he had a tap-in birdie. The 3rd and toughest plan was to land on the flatter surface near the pin. The north helping wind made this difficult to judge and almost every ball landing within 10 feet of the pin from a head-on direction rolled to or off the back of the green. What we saw was that these guys, at least most of them, were aware of these options and went with the 1 they were most comfortable with. (Linda and me at our superb seats on the back right of #17 green😄😎)

imageThe bombers had a different day of it. Only 5 balls got anywhere close to the green with their driver in the groups we saw play hole #17. Brandon Grace drove the green and 2-putted for a birdie. Another player, whose name escapes me had a good lie in the 1st cut left of the middle of the green and made a nice up-and-down for a birdie. Johnny Vegas short-sided himself in the rough left of the pin and bogeyed the hole. Of the bombers, there were 2 birdies, 2 bogies and a par. True risk/reward scenario!

The lesson? Your junior golfer should have a plan for each hole. She’s not too young to start thinking about the strategic planning that is essential to playing winning golf. Start with an easy hole, perhaps a short par 3 or a par 4 with a really wide fairway. Don’t be concerned if she is not controlling where her ball goes, it’s the thought process that you’re ingraining here. Ask her where she thinks a good place would be for her ball to stop on this shot. The goal is to have the ball in a position to hit a good next shot. On a par 3 this would mean being on or near the green with her tee shot. On a par 4 it would be having her drive in the fairway. As her skills improve, you can discuss if 1side of the fairway is better than the other as it relates to being able to hit the desired next shot. Strategic planning is fun, let’s start now!

See you on #1 tee with a plan… Sam

Junior Golf: Another Distraction

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will look at another potential distraction, 1 that exists in every group your son will ever play with. This occurrence can also be a relaxing and enjoyable thing as well.image

A couple of years ago S3 and I wanted to see Rory tee off in the Valero Texas Open. We got a spot at #1 tee on the beautiful Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio and watched Rory’s group hit. There were 3 groups left to tee off and after 95% of the gallery left to follow Rory, S3 and I moved up and were right next to the ropes, like 10 feet from the players. We heard everything they said and there was 1 hilarious exchange. Billy Horschel and Charley Hoffman were, and junior golfers you have been told at least 100 times to do these 2 things, so if the pros always do this, why can’t you? Yes, they had marked/put identifying marks on their golf balls and were showing them to each other prior to putting that ball in play. Billy said,”Wow, our balls are marked a lot alike, you better not hit my ball.” Charlie’s response was, “If I do I’ll be sure to hit it in the water!” They both laughed, hit good tee shots and chatted all the way down the fairway walking to their next shots. Great stuff! (photo offcoursegolf.com)

TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola - Final Round

The personalities and attitudes of the other juniors in your son’s group can impact his play. Your son has a mental comfort zone where he can relax and enjoy playing this sport. S3 tends to play better when he knows someone in his group or can connect with another player. Our son is the guy who likes to chat walking down the fairway and more often than not there is at least 1 guy in the group who does also.

Then there is the silent type. One of S3’s college teammates really does not like to talk or be talked to during a round of golf. His line, “Total and complete silence, just like I like it!” He’s not rude, just quiet. It is a test for a personable guy, like Sammie, when he is paired with 2 silent types. But it’s also a good thing because it is another test and competitive sports is always about unending tests. So he has to take another deep breath, try to relax and focus on hitting a great next shot.

The 3rd personality your boy will sometimes see is the kiddo with the “tude”, the attitude. He may not show much until something triggers some disappointment and then anger. Over the years we have seen putters sunk up to the hosel in a green because of a missed putt. Clubs slammed into trees. Clubs thrown. Vulgarities screamed. Parents, this is hard for us to see, imagine how tough it is on your kids! It is impossible to be immune to these outbursts, so this is where proper advice and preparation beforehand can be helpful. And remember that high school coaches, college coaches and certain tournament and rules officials have the authority to summarily DQ a player for this type of behavior. (Billy’s image cochellavalley.com)

Encourage your junior golfer to be himself on the course. If he’s the quiet type, that’s OK. If he likes to engage with the guys in his group, that’s OK too. Somebody will also want to talk with him. Let him find his interactive or not, comfort level, and let him be himself. It’s about how he handles the distractions and there will always be something trying to disrupt his game. Prepare, encourage, hit a bunch of balls and of course, chip and putt.

See you you on #1 tee, being yourself… Sam

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