Posts Tagged ‘Freddie Jacobson’

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: Valero Texas Open-We Were There

imageIn this Friday a Flop Shot, a bit late, sorry, we will look at the great time Linda and I had yesterday at the Valero Texas Open. There was an opening in our schedules and we took advantage of it to enjoy some time at a great PGA Tour event.

Transportation was easy as the shuttle bus lot is only a couple of miles from our house. The fee is $5 per car to park and the shuttle, both ways is free. This is a great deal and TPC San Antonio is just about a 10-15 minute bus ride. This makes for a low-pressure, no hassle trip. (photo offcoursegolf.com)

We were scanned and searched at the bus lot so when we got off the bus we went straight into the Vendor’s area. There are so many good deals and discounts, but we were early for the day and wanted to check things out and decide how we wanted to watch the players, so we kept moving, leaving the vendor goodies for later.

The 1st spot you come upon where you can actually watch the tournament is #17 green, 1 of our favorite spots. #18 tee is also close by but you can’t really see much except for the swings on the tee shots. Previously you needed upgraded tickets to sit at #17 green so we were keeping an eye out for a place to upgrade but when we arrived at the green, there was open public seating, as in free. And there was a concession stand and restrooms very close by. Since no Round 2 groups had come through yet there were some empty chairs and we grabbed 2 and sat on the 1st row with a perfect view of the green, including the cup and a look all the way to the tee box. We could see the guys hit every shot on this 347 yard par 4! Perfect!

An added bonus was that we had a north wind, which means the guys are able to choose true risk/reward on this potentially driveable par 4. The choice is to lay up to a desired wedge distance or to ride the north wind and try to drive the green. Let me offer a point to ponder for your junior golfers who like to go for everything: Linda and I watched about 60 golfers play #17 and there were 4 balls that were hit as far as the green and only 1 ball was on the green. That ball belonged to Brandon Grace who made a beautiful 2-putt birdie from the front of the green to a far back left pin.image

The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio is tough, the most difficult non-major course on the PGA Tour in the 2015 season. It is no surprise that our informal percentage of birdies on this short little par 4 was less than 25%. Phil and Koooch made birdies and Freddie Jacobson’s ball lipped out and stopped 1-inch from an eagle hole-out. Lots of interesting and exciting shots! (photo flickr.com)

While we could have stayed longer, evening commitments meant we had to leave. You know what, we knew we would enjoy ourselves, but even seasoned tournament attendees like us had more fun than we anticipated. Do you and your junior golfer, heck your whole family a favor and load up the car and go to a PGA Tour event, you all will love it!

See you on #1 tee with some good memories from watching the pros… Sam.

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: