Posts Tagged ‘golf budget’

Junior Golf: 5 Winning Back-To-School Strategies

In today’s Wednesday Waggle we’re going to look at 5 ways parents can help their junior golfers get off to a good start in the new school year.

Pretty much everybody’s back in school by now so most of the anticipation and confusion of the beginning of a new school year is wearing off and the new routines are forming. There’s always some emotion with new things so right now I’m going to share some ways to ease the transition.

Mom and Dad please: 1. Stay calm, keep the drama to an absolute minimum. Your son/daughter needs a soothing demeanor from their parents. There’s plenty of anxiety whirling around without the family adding to it. 2. Be reassuring when insecurities pop up. For example: “I don’t like my new teacher.” “This coach is different from my old one.” “These new kids are really good golfers, I may never qualify for a tournament.” These thoughts are real and kiddo’s are impacted differently depending on their personalities and levels of confidence. Sometimes you must ask inquiring questions to find out these kinds of things. Please make it a habit to have meaningful conversations with your student athlete. 3. Be even more available than normal during the first month of school. Classroom schedules usually fall in place quicker and easier than athletic schedules. Volunteer to be a team parent. Tell the coach that you are ready to help any way you can. 4. Get a weekly golf schedule locked in ASAP. Make sure it includes after school and weekend play and practice. Double-check with all family members that the schedule works for them.

5. Start preparing for the first fall event. If your youngster is not on a golf team, find the upcoming tournaments in your area and enter your kiddo. Get a September event if available, sooner is better. If there is a team involved, know that the first tournament is going to be in September and it’s usually earlier in the month than you expected. Be prepared.

See you on #1 tee settled into your new school year… Sam

Junior Golf: Go Shopping: Many State Sales Tax Holidays Start Today

This Friday Flop Shot will be quick so you can get out the door. Seventeen states have some form of sales tax holiday and many start now.

We’re always looking for ways to save money and this weekend is special. Texas started its sales tax holiday many years ago and our family has always marked the date. Because of the aspect of statewide competition many stores will have special pricing during the sales tax holidays.

So you can save money 2 ways: no or reduced state sales tax and lower prices from the retailer. Each state has different rules so be sure to be aware of the details before you head out the door.

Sorry Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, your tax relief has passed. It was in July. Here are the remaining states:

Arkansas: August 4-5

Connecticut: August 19-25

Florida: August 3-5

Iowa: August 3-4

Louisiana: August 3-4

Louisiana: September 7-9, mostly hunting items

Maryland: August 12-18

Mississippi: August 31-September 2, mostly hunting items

Missouri: August 3-5

New Mexico: August 3-5

Ohio: August 3-5

Oklahoma: August 3-5

South Carolina: August 3-5

Texas: August 10-12

Virginia: August 3-5

Wisconsin: August 1-5

I don’t believe it’s necessary to be a state’s resident to enjoy the savings. If you’re close to one of the states, look up the benefits and take a day trip and go shopping.

Generally clothing items less than $100 each are included. This is a great opportunity to get some new golf clothes for the fall. Some states, with qualifiers, include computers, shoes and even appliances. Be aware of the details.

And Amazon is supposedly honoring these dates. Shop from home!

See you on #1 tee looking sharp… Sam

Junior Golf: 3 Tips For Summer Golf Success

In this Friday Flop Shot we’ll look at 3 simple ways for your junior golfer to have a successful summer of golf.

Ok, school is out for just about everybody so let’s get after some fun summer golf planning!

1. Start with getting the whole family together to go over summer calendars. Prep for this by having dates of tournaments and golf camps on hand. If you’re planning a major vacation for the family, be sure to include the golf clubs.

2. Mom and Dad, review the summer budget. Then decide how much discretionary money can go towards golf. Know costs of tournaments, golf camps, clubs and lessons. Remember that summer is a time when major advances in skill levels can occur.

3. Be aware that your non-golfing kids need attention too. Balance your time and money as best it’s possible, among the youngsters.

There you go, quick and easy. If college golf is a goal, I encourage you to spend as much time and money as you can, in a prudent way, to immerse your kiddo in summer golf. Amazing things happen with immersion!

S3 took this photo of my shot on this par 3 at the beautiful Nicklaus Ocean Course at the Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast, Florida. This was during his college graduation trip in 2016.

The summer between his junior and senior years of high school, S3 had 23 days of tournaments. Yes, this is a lot of golf but we had budgeted for it and he played some of the best golf of his life. It was fun!

See you on #1 tee with a better game… Sam

Junior Golf: Please Get Your 7-iron

In this Wednesday Waggle we’re going to use your child’s 7-iron to put us on an informative and educational path.

Today’s point is that our clubs, for this post, our irons, may not always be what they seem. If you’re asking yourself, “Where on earth is he going?”, fear not, clarity is on the way.

You may recall my post of May 25, “Use Demo Days to Lower Your Scores”, where I described the excellent club fitting I received from a Wilson Staff rep. I filed his suggestions for future use as I decided to continue to explore more options rather than buying a new set of irons, although it was very tempting.

Upon returning to San Antonio I went to see Ben, a highly recommended club fitter. I told him my 7-iron didn’t go anywhere. It was at least 15 yards shorter than it’s predecessor and I really didn’t have confidence in any of my irons, even though this set was made for me by a good friend.

As he put it on the loft/lie machine, Ben found my 7-iron to have a loft of 37-degrees, basically an 8-iron’s loft. That’s why it didn’t go anywhere. Once corrected to the typical 34-degree loft and along with a lie adjustment of 1-degree upright, I went to the adjacent range to hit. My “new” 7-iron was wonderful, the ball flew beautifully and carried much farther than before.

Photocredit: bettershotgolf.com

For the record, all my irons were off and Ben put them back to typical specs and a 1-degree upright lie. Then I thought about my driving iron I’d never been comfortable with. It was too flat/strong and he fixed that. On my first swing I hit that driving iron better than ever!

So this is a bit embarrassing that I hadn’t done this before but at least it’s done now. Out of the 10 irons in my bag, only my 2 Cleveland wedges were the correct loft, requiring just the lie adjustment. My driving iron and 4-p all needed a loft correction plus the 1-degree upright adjustment. No wonder I couldn’t get any confidence with those clubs!

My investigation into what to do with my irons has taken a fun turn. Instead of spending big money on new irons, I’m hitting these for a few weeks to see how I like distance, ball flight and feel. Then Ben and I will discuss whether a change of shafts or heads might be beneficial.

Parents, please ask around about recommendations for club fitters in your area. Then take your kiddo’s irons in for a loft and lie checkup. You may be surprised at what you learn. You and your son/daughter will at the least leave with confidence that those irons are now the correct loft and lie. Go hit ’em!

See you on #1 tee with proper lofts… Sam

Junior Golf: Use Demo Days To Lower Your Scores

In this Friday Flop Shot we’ll look at the benefits of Demo Days and how you and your junior golfer can use them to shoot lower scores.

Demo Days are regularly scheduled at nearly every golf course and at some golf academies and learning centers. All the major manufacturers have representatives who put on Demo Days. Please check with the golf facilities in your area for dates of upcoming Demo Days and plan to attend.

Don’t be concerned if you’re not familiar with a certain club manufacturer. Go anyway. It’s great fun! There’s always something to be learned. It will pay off. It’s a free education!

Before you go, you and your kiddo briefly discuss any specific clubs you may want to evaluate. Whether it’s the driver, irons or wedges, have some thoughts ready ahead of time.

Put his/her full set of clubs in the car with you and then take the club you are most interested in with you when you walk up to the rep. If it’s irons, take the 7-iron.

Most reps today have numerous different weight/length/flex shafts that they can immediately screw on to any head. They do it right there and it only takes a few seconds. Let the Demo Day rep look at the current 7-iron and ask for suggestions of what shaft/head combo he has that might improve distance and accuracy.

Recently I was with Wilson Staff master fitter, Jeff Pittillo, at River Falls Plantation in South Carolina. I showed him my current 7-iron and mentioned I wasn’t happy with it because the ball didn’t go anywhere. I’ve lost a bunch of distance. His analysis: the shaft is too heavy. It’s stiff flex and I need regular. And the heads are almost blades and I need a more forgiving cavity-back style club. Wow!

Here’s what we did. We tried a couple of different weight shafts, all regular flex and ultimately Jeff recommended the KBS 90 gram regular flex shaft for more speed. We put it on the new Wilson Staff C300 Forged heads and the C300 Cast heads. The C300 Cast went further, felt better and had a beautiful ball flight. And the Cast is cheaper than the Forged. They’re great!

You can duplicate this scenario with your youngster at every Demo Day. Attend as many DD’s as possible so your son/daughter can get opinions from several club fitters and get a feel for different makes of clubs. At some point, you will hear, “Dad, those xxxxxx’s really felt good and they increased my distance!”

Now it’s up to the golf budget guru to see what can be done. Remember, the PGA publishes golf club trade-in values so you may get some bucks from the current clubs. A few times each year most facilities offer extra value on your trade-ins. Ask and they should be able to tell you when the next extra value trade-in period is and plan accordingly.

In order for your junior to be competitive, it is critical that Dad and Mom plan and commit to provide golf clubs that are correct for your child’s size, strength, athletic ability and skill level. This is a great way to get quality input from multiple sources!

See you on #1 tee with the right clubs… Sam

Junior Golf: 3 PreSummer Checks For Irons That Fit

In today’s Monday Mulligan we’ll look at 3 aspects of your junior golfer’s irons so you can be sure he/she has the correct equipment for maximum summer golf benefits.

Your youngster is growing, needing bigger shoes, new pants, shirts, tops and bottoms. Remember Mom and Dad, that getting taller, faster and stronger likely means different golf clubs.

Irons and all golf clubs that are mismatched to any golfer are a handicap. Your kiddo’s chance of success is poor if he/she is using improper equipment.

Start by asking for the name of the best club-fitter in your area. It’s best to ask the really good adult golfers, the ones who seriously compete and win in amateur events in your area. They know! Not being judgemental, but if you ask your swing coach, he/she will say they can do it. Now, this may be true or not. Perhaps they are the best swing coach around and are capable of doing a club fitting, but are they the best club-fitter, I don’t know. If you ask a junior or their parents, they may say they use their swing coach.

The swing coach will recommend that your child needs this, that and the other in the next set of irons, which should be soon. The club-fitter makes that happen with their own unique set of skills. And the best club fitter is a very talented and well-respected person!

Here’s what should be evaluated and acted upon now, with the current set of irons, to make the best use of your summer golf investment:

1. Iron shafts: are they the correct length, weight and flex? For example: “x” inches long, 100 grams and regular flex.

2. Iron heads: are they matched to the skill level. For example: lighter or heavier weight, cast or forged construction and best for beginner, intermediate or advanced skill level junior golfers.

3. Iron grips: are they correct for your young golfer’s hand size and “feel” preference? For example: too small/skinny, too big/fat, just right/perfect and do they “feel” hard/slick, rough/coarse or pleasant, meaning slightly tacky/grabby.

There will be more than one club fitter in your town. The reality is that most are ok, but one or two are genuinely talented. Those are the folks you want to find.

A simple equation is that as your child’s skill level advances, they require more highly-skilled professionals, including swing coaches and club-fitters. Find out who the best are so you can go to them when you need them. You will need them!

See you on #1 tee with a proper set of irons… Sam

6 Reasons To Make College Golf The Goal

In this Monday Mulligan we’ll look at college golf and why parents of junior golfers should seriously consider it as the long-term goal.

S3 started playing golf at age 5 and once we understood that he enjoyed golf and was developing a passion for it, we had a family meeting to make some short-term and long-term goals with the ultimate goal being a college golf scholarship. Everything we did was in harmony with all of S3’s goals.

If you have not considered college golf, here’s why you should:

1. Make college golf a goal, a dream. Life is about goals and dreams. Without them why are you doing anything?

2. This gives your youngster and the whole family a sense of purpose. It’s the major reason the smaller goals exist.

3. Not every kiddo needs to go to college to be successful. We have $70,000 tech jobs here in San Antonio that can’t be filled, but if your son/daughter is competitive in high school golf, they have a chance to attend college on a golf scholarship. It’s a blessing, accept it and pursue it.

4. A golf scholarship helps pay part of the cost of going to college. Men’s scholarships are partial, commonly paying perhaps 20-30% of the costs. Women have more scholarships available than the guys so they can usually get a higher percentage of their costs covered.

5. S3’s college golf experience was amazing, something no amount of money could buy! He saw parts of the country he’d never seen, played on fabulous golf courses and made lifelong friends from Australia, Zimbabwe, Spain and Mexico. Our family believes the absolute best way to attend college is as a college golfer. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience!

6. Now to the real world. Most college golfers will not play golf professionally. Here’s the big bonus of college golf: when your graduate’s resume hits the HR desk at a prospective employer, the first thing they’ll notice is that your child was a scholarship athlete who got a degree on time. The resume should go way up the list because a sharp HR person will understand that doing both of those things well requires excellent time-management skills. A great bonus!

Mom and Dad, please consider putting college golf on your kiddo’s radar. It is an achievable goal for both young men and young women.

See you on #1 tee wearing those college colors… Sam

Junior Golf: 3 Easy Ways To Find More Money For Golf

In this Wednesday Waggle we’re tackling the sticky subject of money, golf funds specifically, and how to find more of it.

Money is one of the realities of life, isn’t it? You must have a certain amount of it just to exist and at times we don’t have as much as we’d like. So without taking on a second or third job, how can the family find more money to put into golf, not just your junior golfer’s endeavors but the whole family’s.

If your kiddo is the only golfer in your house, then allocate some of this money to everyone else’s causes, perhaps the family vacation.

Let’s get started:

1. Go through your last 12 months of bills, bank statements, checkbook and credit card statements in painstaking detail, examining every line item. Parents, do this together because Dad may not know what some of Mom’s line items are for and vice versa. This is where Linda and I found about a half-dozen recurring monthly charges for items we forgot or weren’t using. After we cancelled all of them, we had a very nice increase in available monthly cash!

2. Get on the free email lists of the online golf sites. They have sales every day. Be prepared and be patient and you can save money. Tgw.com and Golfballs.com are a good start.

3. Approach your golfer’s teachers including swing coach and/or trainer and ask them if they would give you a package price. They get a commitment from you for multiple lessons and you get a reduced price per each lesson. Expect them to say “yes” as this is widely accepted in the golf industry. Here’s Mike Romatowski’s current price structure. Note monthly unlimited is a great rate (package rate). And couples only add $10 instead of an additional $25. Linda and I, well, S3 and I also attend class for $35 for the two of us rather than $50 ($25 x 2), excellent marketing by Mike!

#1 above is where we ended up with considerable “found” monthly money. With both parents present this should only take an hour or so and the benefits can be huge. Please do this. You may be shocked at some of the things you’re being charged for each month!

See you on #1 tee with more money in your pocket… Sam

Junior Golf: Wearable Technology-Is It Right For Your Daughter?

In this Friday Flop Shot let’s continue our look at wearable technology and see if there is a valid reason for your daughter to be using it. (photo offcoursegolf.com)img_0106-1

With S3, most of the time the word technology was used was with golf club design, golf ball design or with new high-tech fabrics that kept him warmer or cooler or dryer. Just about the only wearable technology was the wristband golf watches. So there wasn’t an overwhelming number of options to choose from.

So here is the beginning of our adventure into wearable tech. Hand-held range finders were everywhere, being the most utilized distance aid by boys and girls alike. We bought S3 a Bushnell Tour V2 which he still uses today. It is distance only so it is tournament compliant. Be aware that models that measure slope and altitude are not compliant. These rangefinders are not wearable technology. S3 wanted the handheld device rather than the wristband/wearable variety.

What really got his attention was a lesson from his swing coach on how heart rate/pulse and breathing/respiration can affect performance. High readings of either 1 are not helpful for playing good golf. We found a relatively inexpensive digital watch that also measured the heart rate. It worked well for a $65.00 price tag. S3 wore it for several months until he got a good idea of what situations elevated his readings. Then he learned some calming techniques. Not really being a watch guy he quit wearing this device and it sat in a drawer. He learned what he wanted and he was done. That ended this adventure in wearable tech.

What does a parent do? Almost everything is more than $100.00 and where is the benefit for your daughter? Depending on your girl’s age and skill level, a quality, legal/rules compliant distance device is 1st on the list. As your budget allows, buy her the style she prefers, wearable or handheld. Wearables may be slightly cheaper with some models on sale around $150.00. Not everyone is comfortable playing golf while wearing a watch, which is basically what this would be. Sometimes the wrist gets bruised. Talk to your daughter about this before you spend any money.

Handheld devices are prevalent in junior golf and college golf. Expect to pay from $200.00-$500.00 for a name brand. The good ones are waterproof, shockproof and offer better target acquisition and some anti-shake/image stabilization features. And they last. S3 has had his for 5 or 6 years and it still works great. The only caveat with handhelds is your daughter must be vigilant about not losing them or leaving them visibly hanging on her bag where they can be easily stolen. Use a Sharpie to put her name or unique identifying marks on her rangefinder. S3’s has somehow disappeared twice and was amazingly found and returned both times because of his identifying marks.

Of the 2 makes of wearable tech shoes coming out, the Under Armour model catches my interest as being more applicable to golfers of different skill levels. The Samsung IOFIT seems like it is a lot more technical and may work better for the more advanced players. And as far as all our pieces of clothing talking to each other, we’re really not there yet.

If it was me Mom and Dad, here’s what I’d do for my girl. Decide on a wrist or handheld distance device, include it in the budget and buy it ASAP, the best quality you can afford. The shoes, in my opinion, are a bit of a luxury item. If you have the extra bucks, the UA shoes might be fun, but not sure how helpful to playing better golf. And the IOFIT shoes would likely work best for those junior golfers who are of advanced skill levels and are seriously pursuing lower scores and perhaps a college scholarship.

See you on #1 tee with some new technology… Sam

Junior Golf: 3 Steps To Plan 2017

In this Friday Flop Shot we are going to help you get your junior golfer’s new year off to a good start by using 3 easy steps to plan 2017. (photo offcoursegolf.com)img_0106-1

It is essential to have a plan so you can set goals. Without a plan you are operating on the whim, off the cuff and this is not desirable. All kids need boundaries, in this case it’s structure for the new year in regards to junior golf.

Step 1: have a family meeting. Include everybody. While we are focusing on your junior golfer, the other family members have scheduling needs too and this includes the other at-home kids, if any, and yes Dad and Mom. All these schedules must be coordinated. Ask everyone to bring up the obligations they are currently aware of and write them down in calendar order starting with January 2017. This would include school, extra-curricular events, tournaments, spring break, Holidays, church and anything else whether it occurs once or every week. You are making a Master Calendar.

Step 2: prioritize the events. In our house, grades always came first so school and homework would be high priorities, followed by tournaments. S3 was immersed in golf, aiming for a college scholarship, so he entered every tournament our budget would allow. 1 summer, I think he played in 23 days of tournaments from the end of May until the middle of August. It was fun, but we had to budget well in advance for it. How you prioritize is specific to your family, but you must do it because some of the lower priority items will be cut from the calendar. Your family can’t do everything, but you can do more than you previously thought with good planning. image

Step3: set up a budget and a golf budget would be a sub-category. Frankly once you really get into the junior golf program you will likely find that there are more tournaments, clinics, summer golf camps, golf this, golf that, and there’s just no way to do them all because pretty much no one has both the time and the money to pull all these functions off. We always left some room in our budget. In other words we didn’t budget every dime, we held some money back for special circumstances. Maybe you learn about a new amazing tournament that wasn’t in your plans. Now you have some extra money to take a look at it. Always try to have some funds in reserve. You don’t have to spend it, but it’s there if you need it. And I’m talking about the junior golf category within your total family budget. (image 24-7Calendars.com)

See you on #1 tee looking organized… Sam

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