Posts Tagged ‘competition’

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: 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: The First Step To College Golf

In this Friday Flop Shot we will look at how to make that 1st move, that first step down the path to college golf. Every plan must have a beginning, so here we go.

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photocredit:Dubai Golf

Your son/daughter has a family team with them as they pursue their junior golf career. Sisters and brothers are also part of the team even though their responsibilities may be more subtle than Dad and Mom’s. The whole family is the team.

What is a team’s number one function: to provide support for the player! The support starts right here. The road to college golf begins right here. The team must all be on the same page!

How do you begin?
First Mom and Dad must agree that you would like/expect your junior golfer to attend college.
Then you should look at the time and money involved in supporting your junior golfer’s career in a strong enough manner to promote him/her as golf scholarship material. Expect college to cost more than you ever imagined. S3’s golf scholarship money was extremely helpful in paying for his college expenses!


Parents you must then be in agreement that college golf will be the long-term goal of your kiddo’s junior golf career.

Next it’s time to bring your junior golfer on board that he is expected to go to college and the most fun way to attend would be as a scholarship golfer and that the family will support him in every way to help him get there. He must also do his part however, because this is a 2-way street.


Now bring the siblings on board
. Please make sure they know that you will support them in their endeavors every bit as much as you will support your young golfer. Their main role is to do their own thing without disrupting other family events and functions. They don’t need to be cheerleaders, they just need to go with the flow.

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This will get you started. There will be a ton of questions. Single parents please seek wise counsel. Talk to parents who have had scholarship athletes and get their input. Parents of other junior golfers may have some decent advice. Talk to people whose advice you respect and trust. Get as much information as you can. College scholarships are a big deal and are well worth the time you spend pursuing them.

Not every kiddo needs to attend college, but those who are talented high school athletes are different. They have a chance to go to college and have some of those costs paid for by the university they will attend. This is unique and special. Please accept this as so. Having a scholarship can, for some kids, be the difference in going, or not going, to college.

And Parents, getting a college degree is a life goal and going to school on a golf scholarship is an even higher life goal! So please get your whole crew on board and let’s get started on the path to college golf.

See you on #1 tee playing for a scholarship… Sam

Junior Golf: Think You Can Play-Seriously Consider D-II

In today’s Wednesday Waggle we will enter the world of NCAA terminology and offer some solid points for your son/daughter to take a serious look at playing for an NCAA Division II school.

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photocredit: golf digest

Here’s a brief summary of the 3 NCAA divisions and how they are different in relation to scholarship offers for college golf. D-I: biggest schools. They offer partial men’s scholarships. If your junior golfer is not in the phenom category, forget it. D-II are smaller schools. They offer partial men’s scholarships which can be combined with academic scholarships. Can’t do this in D-I. S3’s college TAMIU was about 9,000 students. D-III are mostly private schools which do not offer athletic scholarships. They basically reduce the private tuition, making it close to what equivalent public tuition would be.

At some point in every junior golfer’s career they are infatuated with playing D-I college golf. Everyone wants to play against the best, right? Not so fast. In case you hadn’t noticed, there is always plenty of competition every time your boy/girl tees it up in a tournament and there is only room for very few of them in D-I. There’s a ton of D-II schools with excellent golf opportunities.

While there were a couple of D-I schools on S3’s short list, he, and it was ultimately his decision, decided that D-II was the route to go and he felt like TAMIU was where he was supposed to be. It also worked out well financially since his partial athletic scholarship could be combined with some academic money to relieve some of the financial burden.

TAMIU’s men’s golf program has improved every year starting in the 2012-2013 season. More competitive players were joining the team and higher finishes in tournaments were becoming more common. The program was moving forward, exciting!

Today is the final round of the NCAA D-II Super Regionals in Stockton, California. TAMIU is there, 1st time ever, and making a solid showing. Being 3-under par as a team after 36 holes puts TAMIU in 13-th place out of 20 teams and they are the highest ranked school from their conference, The Heartland Conference. Check out the link above to see details of the scoring.

What score is in 1-st place? Put on your seat belts Mom and Dad, it’s 29 under par by California Baptist University of Riverside, California. Say what? 29-under, that’s crazy! Yes, it is, but these young men can play!

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Any time a team or an individual shoots under par in an event, it is a solid performance. To win however, it takes a great performance. To get to great or winning efforts, one needs to grow from the solid ones. Hopefully solid will grow into great.

So parents, please give D-II a hard look. There should be a number of excellent choices for your kiddo and there’s always plenty of competition. S3’s four years at NCAA D-II, TAMIU, were great, absolutely wonderful!

See you on #1 tee, choosing D-II, ready to compete… Sam

Junior Golf: 3 Encouraging Tips After A Stinky Round

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will take a look at 3 ways you can encourage your daughter after she has a stinky round of golf.

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photocredit:Dubai Golf

Golf is an amazing game. We hit a good shot and we love it. We hit an ugly shot and we are not happy. But that is also life. Golf is full of life lessons.

There are always a few shots during a round that your daughter will not be pleased with, but this is to be expected. It is extremely rare that any golfer, yes, even the pros, hit every shot during a round the way they visualized it. So, as your girl matures in her attitude and understanding of the game she will know that these less than perfect shots will show up and she will deal with it.

The really tough situation is when more ugly shots than good shots show up in her round and she can’t get things turned around. Now, instead of shooting her normal 75, it’s going to be all she can do to stay under 85. This makes for a tough day. The good news is, it’s a serious opportunity for learning!

So after this stinky round, your daughter is not happy, feels like she has let everyone down, doesn’t understand why she didn’t play up to her capabilities, feels embarrassed and is basically just not a happy camper.

One of the things we offer to everybody, especially parents is, “Be an encourager!” Everyone needs encouraging from time to time and 1 of the main roles of every parent is to be an encourager to your kids, your spouse and yourself.

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photocredit:The Republic

3 tips for encouraging your junior golfer after a stinky round of golf:
Please remind her that this isn’t the end of her golf career. She has many more rounds of golf ahead of her. Plenty of golf to look forward to.
Find something, anything positive about the round and compliment her on that. “You hit some great drives on the back nine. We want to take advantage of those in the future.” This can help get her out of her funk.
Offer a change or addition to her pre-tournament routine. For instance, we always reminded S3 to hit 50-70 putts per day for a full 7 days before every event. And this was using his Dave Pelz putting aide, which is the best one we’ve ever seen. When he followed this routine, his putting was great. I mean he would make almost everything from 6-feet and in. S3 has always been a better than average putter, but this drill put him into the top gun category in putting! This stuff works!

Poor rounds of golf are a fact of life in our beloved sport. Please use these tips to encourage your daughter/son and put her/him back on an optimistic path. Kids are resilient. They just need our help!

See you on #1 tee looking encouraging… Sam

Junior Golf: Control This And Empower Your Golfer

In today’s Monday Mulligan we will look at 1 of the things that we, parents actually can control or at least have some control over. This can be very beneficial to our youngsters on tournament days.

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photocredit:jennleforge.com

Really, all the prep should be done before the actual day of an event. Depending on your son’s/daughter’s personality he/she may not have gotten much quality sleep the night before the competition starts. Parents, we must be aware that there are a million things going through our young golfer’s mind as soon as he gets out of bed. What he doesn’t need is Mom or Dad adding clutter to the pre-tournament environment.

What does this look like? Control your emotions, your words and your body language. Stick to the regular morning routine. “Good morning, son, how are you? What would you like for breakfast?” Keep it simple and non-golf until you get ready to load up and go to the course. Then, before you get in the car, you just need to go over the pre-tournament checklist, again standard routine.

In the car, let him listen to his headphones or favorite music. This is relaxing to him although it may not seem like it to you. Less talk is better. Idle comments such as, “Oh, this is such a big tournament,” or “Wow, there are so many great players in this field!”, are not helpful. This is pressure and your youngster already has a ton of pressure so please don’t address the event at this point. Parents, control yourselves. Be aware of what is happening in your son’s mind right now! Be the adult! And yes, it can be very difficult!

Linda and I developed a relatively standard final few sentences for S3 as he was going up to tee off. “Remember Son, it’s just fairways and greens. You know what to do. Take a breath and have fun. Enjoy your round! We love you!” That’s pretty much it.

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Once the round starts, your contact with your child is extremely limited. Understand however, that he can hear your voices better than you ever imagined, no matter what else is going on. His hearing is tuned to Dad and Mom’s voice frequencies. Please control what you say, no matter the subject. And your boy sees and perfectly interprets your body language. A parent’s slumped shoulders or head down convey a horrible message, whether it was intended or not. Again, we must be the encouraging parents!

The bottom line is that the more we control our body language by minimizing/eliminating the throwing the hands up, shaking the head, uttering words of frustration and disappointment, the more we can lift up our child. Heads up, thumbs up, shoulders back, big smiles and “Love you Son,” all add up to positive encouragement. That’s where we as parents must strive to get to and it’s tough, but you know what, you can do it, if you will do it!

See you on #1 tee with an encouraging gallery… Sam

Junior Golf: How To Win And Still Be Friends

In today’s Good Friday Flop Shot we will offer some input on how your son/daughter can win a match or tournament and still be friends with their fellow competitors.

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Dubai Golf

Our wonderful sport is about friendships, friends and family, family and friends. Time spent on the course is precious and even among the most relaxed fun-filled groups, a little bit of competitive spirit usually shows up, even if only for a hole or 2. Maybe your son and his buddy both missed the green and and your boy says,”Hey, how about a chipping contest? Closest to the pin wins!” Great fun, very little pressure and no financial risk, not playing for money, just 1 shot. No drama, no big buildup, just do it. Good old-fashioned competition, fun competition.

Trying to win a match or tournament ramps everything up a few notches. The pressure, intensity and ability to perform in these circumstances is tough. Let’s look at 3 things for your junior golfer to be aware of so that he and his competition can continue to be friends after the event.

Golf is about making friends. The 1st time your youngster joins any organized golf function, tournament, clinic or camp, he will start making friends. This will continue through college and many of these relationships will last his whole life and several of his buddies will form a genuine core group of his inner circle of friends. Very cool stuff!
Golf is a sport of honor, integrity and accountability. There is no place for bragging, mocking or finger-pointing. Respect for the game, the opponents and for himself/herself must be introduced and encouraged from your child’s initial contact with the sport. Win with grace, lose with grace. Life lessons right here, Mom and Dad!
It is possible to be pleasant and even friendly with the competition and still win. Look at Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose in the final round of last week’s Masters. These guys are Ryder Cup teammates, fellow European Tour members and good friends. How many times did they say good shot or give a thumbs up to each other? Certainly each one wanted to win with a passion. They wanted to beat their good friend but they would pursue this desire to win with respect, honor, dignity and friendship. It was special to watch!

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photocredit:GOLF.com

Your child’s mental and physical abilities will be challenged constantly during competition. Not winning occurs more often than winning. You will see the highest of highs and lowest of lows from your kiddo during some of these very trying situations. A thought that Linda and I found to be relatively effective with S3 in tough moments, was to remind him that this was not his last round of golf he would ever play. Focus on improving the process and the desired results will come. There will be more golf to play. The future is bright!

See you on #1 tee ready for a friendly round of golf, but I still want to beat you… Sam

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