Posts Tagged ‘Fun’

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: How To Choose A Summer Golf Camp

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will explore 3 things that are critical in making your choice for which summer golf camp is the most appropriate for your son/daughter.

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Photocredit:Dubai Golf

Golf camp during the summer break is a tradition in most golf families and everybody should be excited about it. If your child is new to golf, this is a great way to introduce them to the game. If your kiddo is at the intermediate to advanced skill level, this is a perfect chance to review basics and increase fundamental skills. Summer golf camp is fun and worth the effort and funds involved!

Even if you have only 1 summer golf camp option in your area, these points may help you decide whether to sign your junior golfer or not. If you have multiple options, this input can be helpful for you to determine which camp to select.

Can you afford it? Weeklong camps will run from $150.00-$300.00. As simple as this question is, it is not worth causing stress in the family if it is just going to blow up the household budget by investing in summer golf camp. If you just can’t afford it this year, start sticking $20 bills in a sock to save up for next year.
Is the travel time and distance comfortable? If you have to fight horrific traffic or long distances, this effort quickly becomes a chore, because you’ll be doing it 5 days in a row. If this location is your only choice, you may want to consider staying on site and watching, if it’s a half-day camp.
How good is the lead instructor? This should be a PGA professional man or woman. Please remember that being a PGA pro is a great thing and requires considerable effort. Some teachers are better than others. That’s a fact. If your kiddo is at the beginner level, then the most important thing is that the instructor shows patience, speaks in pleasant tones (not yelling all the time) and talks less rather than more. All the PGA teaching pros know the basics, but some are better communicators than others.
Have the lead instructor’s previous students accomplished significant golf goals? Are they competitive in local events? Did they make the high school golf team? Did any of them get a college golf scholarship? If the answer is yes, good. If it’s no, be sure to find a new instructor as your kiddo gets to the intermediate skill level and beyond.

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Photocredit:Mark Minion

So, here you go. A few quick points to help you select the best summer golf camp for your youngster. Get after it! Book a camp early in the summer so if time, budget and tournament schedule allows, you can consider booking a second session before school starts back up.

See you on #1 tee playing well after a week of golf camp… Sam

Junior Golf: Short Game Practice Pays Off Big Time

In today’s Wednesday Waggle we will look at how focus in one particular area of your daughter’s/son’s golf game can really pay off.

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Photocredit:GolfDigest

Time and time again as you listen to the PGA and LPGA tournament broadcasts you will hear the announcers repeat things that must happen if a player is to have a chance to win any golf tournament.

Some of those golden nuggets are:
You must putt well to win
You must make a couple of 20 to 30-foot putts to win
You have to make up-and-downs to win
You need a good greenside sand/bunker game to win

What do these items have in common? They are all part of golf’s short game. Every golf instructor worth her/his salt will tell you that the fastest way to lower your junior golfer’s score is to improve their short game. This includes chipping, putting and greenside sand/bunker shots.

Here’s a perfect example from last weekend Player’s Championship. Si Woo Kim became the youngest player in history to win the prestigious Player’s Championship at just 21 years of age. His final round stats provide a different picture than you might expect. Kim missed 10 greens and made par every time. That’s a 100% rate folks, short game perfection. The shot repertory included an amazing hybrid from just off the green, pitch shots, chip shots and beautiful greenside bunker shots. And he made every 1 of the 10 putts that followed resulting in a 3-shot winning margin!

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Photocredit:DailyMail

Periodically you’ll hear of a pro that’s in contention on Sunday that’s made everything all week from 3 feet and in or from 5 feet and in or even from 10 feet and in. Next you might hear that he/she is leading the field in par saves, up-and-downs or sand saves. Mom and Dad, these are not accidents. The great players have the great short games that are necessary for a victory.

Chipping, putting, sand shots around the green are fun and easy to do and the chipping and putting can be practiced at home. Golf Channel Academy has a ton of input and instruction in this area as does almost every show on GC. Take advantage of them. Download the app. Go online to the big golf sites and see what’s on sale. Take some action. You can practice your short game too! Make it a family affair!

See you on #1 tee ready to see your good short game… 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: 4 Unique Benefits To Team Golf

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will look at some unique benefits of playing golf with a partner, one partner as in last week’s PGA Tour event.

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photocredit:Dubai Golf

The 2-man team tournament at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans was fun to watch and seemed to be fun to play. Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt won in a Monday morning playoff in a format consisting of days 1 and 3-alternate shot and days 2 and 4-better ball.

Being part of a golf team, as in a club team, high school team or college team is different from playing team golf. I’m not certain if S3 ever played with anyone his age as part of a golf team as we saw last week. He and I, however, played numerous times in parent/junior events.

Usually they were 18 holes and were either better ball, 2-man scramble, modified 2-man scramble or alternate shot. Let’s do some terminology. Better ball: you and your kiddo play your own ball through the green-until each of you putts out on each hole and the lower score of the 2 of you is recorded for each hole. 2-man scramble: you each hit and then you both play from the better shot. Modified 2-man scramble: same as scramble except for driving. There will be some provision that a minimum of perhaps 2 drives from each player must be used. This is to prevent, usually a dominating driver of the golf ball from completely carrying his/her team off of the tee box. Alternate shot: simple. You hit first on the odd-numbered holes and your junior golfer hits first on the even-numbered holes or vice/versa and the 2 of you then alternate shots until the ball is in the hole.

Here are 4 positive benefits of playing in a team golf tournament:
It’s we not me. Your son/daughter is part of a team. There is now a 2nd person who can materially contribute toward winning the event.
It expands creativity. Now your youngster can learn what another competitor visualizes/sees/thinks when they analyze the next shot. Golf is a sport with an enormous amount of creativity required to shoot a competitive score. Understanding how another golfer may look at a shot expands your kiddo’s data base.
It can help your junior golfer’s patience. Knowing that he/she won’t hit the next shot or won’t hit 1st from the tee box can help slow down an antsy player. The partner will get credit for some of the better shots. Patience on the golf course is a major virtue and this is an excellent way to increase it.
It can help with confidence. In a single’s event, without a caddy, your young golfer has to be his/her own encourager when they hit a stinky shot. In a team pairing, the partner becomes the encourager and over 18 holes your kiddo can begin to have a new understanding of their skill level and end up being a more confident and mature junior golfer.

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Dad and Mom, be on the lookout for team tournaments. It may be that parent/junior events are all that are available. Linda and I encourage you to enter every one you can because they are special for a number of reasons including those mentioned above. FYI playing alternate shot with your child is the toughest thing ever. I just so did not want to let my son down by hitting a bad shot. Be forewarned! You may end up needing encouragement from your junior golfer!

See you on #1 tee ready to shoot a low team score… Sam

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