Posts Tagged ‘golf budget’

Junior Golf: BMW Unbeatable

In this Monday Mulligan we will take a look at the best performance during the next to last event in the FedEx Cup playoffs, the unbeatable play of the BMW Championship winner. (photo jennleforge.com)img_0135-1

We’re talking about DJ, Dustin Johnson, of course. His 23-under par victory yesterday was an all-time record for lowest score in a playoff event. Paul Casey finished 2nd at 20-under which would usually win most tournaments on the PGA Tour.

There are times when your daughter will get beaten and there are times when she will be unbeatable. Sunday’s final round was pretty much a 2-man race as to who would win and included considerable drama about who would make the last cut of 30 to move on to the finals in 2 weeks in Atlanta.

Paul was hanging around within several shots of DJ and then he,Casey, eagled #15. Guess what, DJ put an eagle putt in on top of Paul’s putt on #15 and that meant that unless DJ had a major blowup during the last 3 holes, Casey would not be able to catch him.

Outdriving the field by 30 yards meant Dustin was hitting wedges into holes that other players would hit 7 or 8-iron into, several clubs longer. Big advantage to Johnson and big payoff for all the work he has recently put in with his wedges. He kept hitting big drives, close wedges and was #1 in putting for the event. This is called unbeatable!

BMW Championship - Final Round

How does this help your daughter? Please help her understand that there will be times when she plays well, perhaps very well and still gets beat by someone playing at an amazing level. It happens, but she will have her days where everything goes right and she is the unbeatable player. (DJ photo golfchannel.com)

There’s a reason legendary golf instructor Harvey Penick said the 3 most important clubs are the driver, wedge and putter. Ask your girl which 1 of those she would like to work on and set up a practice routine. Find some drills at Golf Channel Academy or get her some lessons. It will pay off and it’s fun!

See you on #1 tee looking unbeatable… Sam

Junior Golf: Life Lessons From Rio

It’s always a little sad in our house when the Olympics end and we realize we have to wait 2 years for the Winter Olympics and 4 long years for the next Summer Olympics. Enjoying these amazing athletes always exposes us to major life lessons, so let’s look at what Rio 2016 offered. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)img_0102

In no particular order and certainly not an all-inclusive list: 1st, virtually every athlete interviewed for more than 5 seconds mentioned that being an Olympian was a dream come true/living out their lifelong dream. As a dear friend of ours stated, “If you don’t have any dreams, why do you bother to get out of bed?” What a true statement! Please encourage your junior golfer to dream and dream big!

2nd, no athlete, well hopefully no one, was just given a spot on any country’s team. These places are earned through competition in most cases as tough as, or even tougher than the Olympic events. Competition is the fire that tempers the steel of an athlete and the tougher the competitors the better. Dad and Mom enter your young golfer in as many tournaments as budget and schedule will afford. Feel free to enter him/her up 1 level of competition. For example, enter your beginner in an intermediate level and see what happens. And put your intermediate golfer in an advanced event, perhaps not in every tournament, but once in a while to understand the higher level of competition. It’s important to get used to playing with the best! (photo Rio2016.com)image

Pressure is a fact of life. Nearly every pro golfer will tell you they sense some extra pressure on #1 tee at the start of every event and feel even more pressure at the majors. Well, by their own admission, every golfer at The Olympics felt pressure on #1 tee every round. I mean they were the 1st Olympic golfers in over 100 years and they were vying for the rarest trophy in golf! They were in the most special place they could possibly be and worst case scenario they would always be Olympians! Put together a plan to begin teaching your young one how to handle pressure. Depending on the personality, there are different approaches for each kiddo.

Parents, if your junior golfer is going to be competitive and have a passion for our wonderful game, it’s important that dreams, a serious work ethic and learning how to properly handle pressure become integral parts of daily life.

See you on #1 tee looking ahead to the next Olympics… Sam

Junior Golf: Teamwork

In this Friday Flop Shot we will take look at an aspect of all golf, certainly including junior golf that is often downplayed, overlooked or just not given enough attention. We’re talking about teamwork. (photo offcoursegolf.com)timg_0106-1

There are teams everywhere in our lives. From family dynamics, the workplace, relationships and extra-curricular activities, teamwork is in action. Sometimes it’s more obvious as in the team sports like football, soccer and the rest. Individual sports have teams as well, it’s just that those teams are mostly behind the scenes. Golf is the 1 individual sport where an aspect of the team is displayed when the event allows caddies. Caddies, good caddies, are absolutely invaluable to the player. In a tournament, the caddy is the only 1 who can give advice to the player and the best caddies give good advice. The player doesn’t have to heed the recommendation, but at least it was offered.

Jordan Spieth uses the term we more than any other PGA or LPGA player. When asked about the use of the term, Jordan says it refers to him, his caddy and his family and friends who have supported him in so many ways during his whole career from junior golf to today. Jordan does certainly understand that he, the player, is the 1 who must actually swing the club and bear the responsibility that goes with it, good shots or poor shots. (photo pgatour.com)image

Mom and Dad, please recognize that you are a junior golf team with your daughter. There is no way any professional athlete can operate without a team, often much larger than you would expect, supporting them. Your junior golfer is every bit as dependent on you for everything except for taking the shot! It is your help with finding the tournaments, getting her entries in, paying for the events and getting her prepared to play in them and then getting her to and from them. And hopefully being on the course with her as encouraging spectators or her caddy, when allowed.

Please allow me to once again briefly visit my Longhorn Legends On The Couch as they discussed their thoughts during the 2006 Rose Bowl National Championship win over USC. This is just fun for me, pardon my indulgence. Teamwork, teamwork and more teamwork was constantly referred to during the analysis of the game. Michael Huff and Aaron Ross, the 2 defensive players on the Legends Couch mentioned the confidence that the defensive squad had in each other. A player could count on his teammates to be in the correct position on every down. And the mentality of the defense was to swarm to the ball. If you get a chance to see this game, please notice how many white longhorn jerseys are involved in every tackle, they were swarming!

Kasey Studdard, Longhorn Legend offensive lineman, said the USC was running the same couple of blitzes, different defenses, when the Longhorns lined up in a certain formation. Well, the offensive line, who had played together for years and may be the best offensive line in UT history, took about 10 seconds to discuss it and figured out how to defeat it and they did so the rest of the game. Superior example of great teamwork!

Yes, team sport teamwork is similar to, but different from, individual sport teamwork. It is however, everyone being on the same page and fulfilling their duties. Parents, please get on board today with your girl’s junior golf efforts. If she’s willing to put in the effort to practice and play then you need to support her, period. If you are unsure of the best ways to support her contact us at icare4parents@gmail.com

See you on #1 tee with support… Sam

Junior Golf: Overcoming Adversity

In today’s Wednesday Waggle we will take a look at several of the unexpected challenges that can appear during a golf tournament. Your daughter will undoubtedly face some of these issues during her junior golf career and the sooner you prepare her for them, the better. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)img_0102-1

Let’s use Dustin Johnson for a great example. It is generally recognized among the PGA Tour players that Dustin is 1 of the most talented athletes, if not the most gifted athletically, among them and it was only a matter of when, not if, he won his 1st major. And Dustin did just that by winning the men’s U.S. Open Championship this past week at Oakmont Country Club, regarded by some folks as the hardest golf course in the world.

His path in majors has been very rough. In 2010 he had the 3rd round lead in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and shot a final round 82. In the 2010 PGA Championship he appeared to have tied for 1st but was assessed a 2-stroke penalty after completing his round and before the playoff, for grounding his club in a bunker, and was knocked out of contention. In the 2015 U.S. Open he 3-putted the final hole to lose to Jordan Spieth by 1 stroke. Even in his round last Sunday he was penalized after the round for causing his ball to move, but he had a big enough lead over 2nd place that this penalty did not affect his position. Additionally, Dustin took some time off from the tour in 2014 for personal reasons, to get his life back on track.

Theses are tough situations, they are part of life. DJ has showed wonderful resiliency in overcoming these situations. Great stuff! (DJ photo ftw.usatoday.com)

USP PGA: THE MASTERS - PAR 3 CONTEST S GLF USA GA

Apr 6, 2016; Augusta, GA, USA; Dustin Johnson with Paulina Gretzky on the 4th green during the Par 3 Contest prior to the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: USATSI-265174 ORIG FILE ID: 20160406_jla_mm1_216.jpg

Your daughter will have some penalty strokes, 3-putts and horrible rounds, including horrible final rounds after being in the lead. How on earth do you help prepare her for this? 1st, make sure you tell her your love for her is unconditional, it is not based on her scorecard. 2nd, help her get familiar with the rules. And encourage her to pay strict attention to the announcing of local rules/conditions at the player’s gathering before the start of a tournament. Remind her that it is, more often than not, allowable to play 2 balls when you cannot find a rules official. Tell her that there will be days when her best golf game disappears and cannot be found. It’s OK. Tell her, “I love you very much!”

Understanding how tough it is to play well all the time, avoid 3-putts and know the rules will help your girl be able to deal with the rough spots as they occur. Oh, they will still be difficult, but they are a reflection of life. And it’s her proper response that defines her, not the 3-putt. Please remember that Linda and I are not sports psychologists. We are parents passing along things we have learned from our son’s successful junior golf and college golf experiences.

See you on #1 tee looking resilient… Sam

Junior Golf: Tom Watson’s Masterpiece

img_0135In this Monday Mulligan we will spend more time discussing The Conservatory, considered Tom Watson’s finest golf course and the Jack Nicklaus-designed Ocean Course. (photo jennleforge.com)

We played both Hammock Beach Resort courses twice and as strange as it seems we lost a lot more balls on The Ocean Course than on The Conservatory. There is just pretty much water everywhere on the Ocean Course and when you are right next to the beach on those gorgeous holes, the wind is blowing about 100 miles per hour. As a Jack Nicklaus course it is a 1st class design and has a number of fade holes for a right-handed player. And there are alligators in the water so you don’t get too aggressive about searching for balls in or near the ponds.

The salt air is hard on Bermuda greens and Paspalum Platinum grass will soon be on the greens at The Ocean Course as this grass has a high tolerance for the salty coastal air. The Conservatory was changed over to PP a couple of years ago and I must say those greens are immaculate and perfect. We were advised however, that putts tend to NOT die in the hole on PP. Players are advised to use a firm stroke to get the ball in the hole and we concur. S3 teeing off on #18 on The Ocean Course, how beautiful!image

Yes, S3 played The Conservatory from the tips both times and averaged 78, which is pretty much the rating for this course (actually 78.2). I must tell you that the communication among staff at Hammock Beach is beyond that of any hotel/resort where we have ever stayed. From the PGA pros to the starter and golf cart team to the food cart girls, everybody knew our names and was so polite and accommodating. When we showed up for our 1st round, basically getting out of the car and heading to The Ocean Course, the pro shop asked if we had eaten. Our response was not really and they asked if we would like them to make some turkey wraps and have them delivered to us on the course? Wow! Yes, we would and we had them about 2 holes later and they were delicious.

Now these courses are about 15 minutes apart and we were playing the same course every other day so our clubs needed to be transferred back and forth. No problemo. At the end of each round the cart guy asked for instructions for where our bags needed to be and the transfer truck always waited until the last group was finished before shuttling clubs from 1 course to the other. Absolute 1st class! Everything was so seamless and stressless that we could just relax and enjoy our family time at this wonderful place. Below is the driveable par 4, #15, at The Conservatory.image

Both courses are very special and lots of fun. If we had to pick, The Conservatory would be our favorite because every hole is visually breathtaking. I mean how many times can you say, “Wow” in a round? And it is a blast seeing your son play from the tips on Florida’s longest and likely, toughest, golf course!

If you haven’t guessed by now, we can’t say enough great things about Hammock Beach Resort and their 2 outstanding and highly-rated golf courses. We bought the Just Golf Package that included a 3-bedroom condo and lots of golf for all 3 of us. While this is not an inexpensive package, it does render superior value for the price. Our family totally recommends HBR and can’t wait to get back and tee off on those 2 great golf courses!

See you on #1 tee, looking salty… Sam

Junior Golf: Big Achievement Big Reward

In this Friday Flop Shot we will discuss how Mom and Dad should give recognition to your junior golfer when he reaches a goal or completes something very meaningful. This can range from making an adjustment to his putting stroke, to winning a tournament, getting a golf scholarship or in our case graduating from college in 4 years on a golf scholarship.image

Once S3, Linda and I acknowledged we were all on the same page regarding college golf and college graduation as the end goals, we proceeded full-speed ahead. As it became clear S3 would get his degree, we began planning his graduation gift/recognition. A nice golf and coast-oriented vacation with Mom and Dad was requested and I went to work. (photo offcoursegolf.com)

Since we love Florida, that became our focus. A search of golf resorts came up with several including the Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast. It didn’t take long to see that this was where we needed to spend some time. It was good geographically being close enough to the World Golf Hall of Fame so we could take a day trip and still come back to Hammock Beach and play an afternoon round. And it was a decent drive from Navarre Beach where we would spend time with our dear friends Shirley and Steve.

Our first stop after a 12-hour drive was Navarre Beach and S3 and I played Tiger Point Country Club the next day. Although the course was suffering from water issues, it was easy to see how this layout could be very tough with proper course conditions. So we worked out the kinks from the previous day’s drive and played call-shot golf. Great fun really when you want to do something different on a mostly vacant golf course.

Next morning we drove to Hammock Beach Resort for a 3pm tee time on the fabulous Ocean Course. The HB Resort courses are top-rated and both are stunningly beautiful and very hard. The Ocean Course has about 6 holes right on the Atlantic beach and there is water of some sort on nearly every hole. The 2nd course, The Conservatory, is regarded as Tom Watson’s masterpiece of golf design. It is Florida’s longest course at 7777 yards tipped out. As an inland venue, The Conservatory has a million sand traps, lots of undulations, some water and has every inch of grass in perfect shape. The are no proper words to describe the exhilaration you feel when you are playing this course! It’s a must play! Below, S3 is cutting the corner on this lengthy par 4 on the back 9 at The Conservatory.image

After our 4 days at HBR we headed back to spend Memorial Day weekend at the beach with Shirley and Steve before driving back to San Antonio. S3, Linda and I enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime vacation and had so many extra-special moments. It was more than any of us had anticipated!

So parents, the point here is that your junior golfer will benefit from your acknowledgement/recognition of improvements to his game and goals he has achieved. Your response should be appropriate, in kind, to the level of your son’s achievement. Smaller for smaller and bigger for bigger.

See you on #1 tee ready to achieve something… Sam

Junior Golf: A Must Have-Waterproof Golf Shoes

imageIn today’s Wednesday Waggle we are going to look at some wet weather tips. There are always wet spots on golf courses even in the middle of the summer in a drought. There’s a creek, pond, hazard, leaky sprinkler or pipe so water is something you have to deal with in golf. Some days the moisture is just on the ground and other days it’s in the air too.

I think for the purposes of this post we’ll focus on golf shoes. There are plenty of additional wet weather tips for future posts. So, our family believes that next to properly-fitted golf clubs, quality waterproof golf shoes are a seriously important piece of gear. We have always bought name -brand waterproof golf shoes. Yes, children’s sizes can be hard to find and expensive so the thought process is: learn how to find bargains on the desired shoes and be patient as you wait for your junior golfer’s feet to get big enough for adult sizes, which makes this process easier and cheaper. (photo golfdigest.com)

Wet feet are horrible for any golfer, much less your daughter who may try to gut it out and tell you she’s fine, even when her wet socks and shoes are chewing her feet up. Yes Mom and Dad most of our kids are tougher than we give them credit for and they don’t want to disappoint us. This means there are times they just won’t fess up when they are hurting.

Here’s how to buy quality golf shoes without breaking the bank. Sign up for free emails from the big golf online stores: The Golf Warehouse, Golfsmith, Golf Galaxy, Edwin Watts Golf and more.
While you can go on eBay or Amazon, we find that dealing with the stores themselves is easier if there is an issue. Most golf shoes have a waterproof warranty as follows: No Warranty(no protection from water), 1-year Waterproof Warranty and 2-year Waterproof Warranty. S3, Linda and I have worn many pairs of Adidas, FootJoy and now TRUE Linkswear golf shoes and every pair has had some waterproof warranty. And to this point over some 16 years we have never had any pair of any of these brands leak. Folks there are some good golf shoes being made.image

If you can be patient, some store always has some golf shoes on sale. Check them out. I don’t mean to play favorites, but The Golf Warehouse seems to always have golf shoes on sale. They may be close-outs of lasts year’s styles, but so what they are still great shoes, now at a really great price. (photo tgw.com)

Parents, you can keep water from coming in from the soles, seams, fabric/material of your daughter’s golf shoes. Buy quality as recommended above. Now keeping water from coming in over the top of the shoe or from running down the clothes or leg into the shoe is a matter for another day.

See you on #1 tee, with dry feet… Sam

Junior Golf: More About Grips

imageIn today’s Wednesday Waggle we will finish this journey into the world of grips by looking at more information about them. These often overlooked and undervalued pieces of equipment are vital to playing good golf.

There are probably 10 or fewer companies that make grips in the US and several of them make only putter grips, another world of it’s own that we can discuss in a future post. Let’s continue looking at grips for everything other than putters. (Jason Duffner photo golfdigest.com)

The 3 Big Gorillas in the golf club grip world are Golf Pride, Lamkin and Winn. Each one offers a large variety of grip styles, textures and colors. Go on their websites and get some knowledge about the differences among their styles. Then find the biggest golf specialty stores in your area and grab all the styles in the grip bins and see which ones feel the best. Then see if you can find them actually on clubs. Once you have a couple that feel good, then have your son’s hand checked for proper grip size. A huge number of junior golfers and golfers in general are playing with grips that are the wrong size.

Examples: Dad, if you give your preteen-age son your old set of clubs, you are not doing him a favor unless you check out the grip size and have the grips changed to properly fit your son’s hands which are most likely smaller than yours. Linda was using grips that were way too small. She said it felt like she was holding straws in her hands when she held her clubs. Once her hands were measured, her grips were changed from regular to jumbo and now she can really hit some good shots. So Linda’s grips were 2 sizes too small. Grips that are too small can make your shots more wristy and lead to exaggerated hooking and lots of frustration. Now, S3, who has fast hands anyway, came up with the idea of trying larger-read thicker/fatter-grips in order to slow his hands down. And it worked. He went from regular to medium and now he can control and play less draw, actually aiming more directly at the target rather than playing out so far to the right to allow the ball to work back to the target. It has been great! And grips are very inexpensive. Frequently you can get grips changed out for $10 per club or less.(photo hogwire.biz)image

So once you do some research, changing out grips is quick and inexpensive. So Dad, get you son and get his hands measured. Get the correct grips for his hand size.

See you on #1 tee… Get a grip… Sam

Junior Golf: Watch the Pros

imageIn today’s Friday Flop Shot we’re talking about why your junior golfer should watch the pros. It is a major accomplishment for any young man or young woman to make the leap from the “junior” tours onto the PGA or LPGA Tours. Heck it is quite a feat just to get status on the junior tours. (photo offcoursegolf.com)

All your son needs to do and you can help, is to start looking anywhere golf data is available. This includes magazines, websites, and TV, including the very informative Golf Channel. You will find an almost overwhelming amount of tips, instruction and training aides available for your inspection. How on earth do you filter this down to what is meaningful and genuinely helpful for your son?

Start with the basics, yes, start with the “less is more” mentality. Here’s a great example: Phil Mickelson, World Golf Hall of Fame Member is someone to watch on the driving range. First thing to do is to stop watching the ball and look at the golfer, especially on the driving range. You will see many pros, Phil included, using alignment sticks. These are the metal rods sold in most golf shops and stores all over the U.S. They are very inexpensive and should really be bought 2 at a time. Depending on what is being worked on, alignment sticks can be set up in unlimited arrays, but the most commonly seen is 1 stick laid flat on the ground and the golfer aligns his toes with the stick. This is to insure that the setup is correct. Parents, it is so easy for any golfer to setup just a little bit wrong. And this should not happen because the setup is when your youngster has complete control of the situation. A correct setup is a major benefit to producing a good golf swing which hopefully ends up with the desired shot and result.

So just checking to make sure the feet are aligned in the correct direction, something so basic, is something the pros spend much more time on than you may have thought. Back to basics. Sounds boring, but it’s not. It’s where it all starts. (photo static1.1.sqspcdn.com)

As you and your son become more informed on various uses of the sticks, you will really begin to understand the beauty and functionality in their simplicity. Next time you guys are watching a golf tournament or a “live from” on the Golf Channel, pay attention to the interviews done on the driving range. You will learn a good tip or good habit to pursue. And I hope you have added the Golf Channel to your TV package…and TiVo/Recorder too! There is so much great instruction!image

For inexpensive training aides that you can just walk in and buy, alignment sticks are a #1 Top Choice in our book. They are pretty much indestructible and so versatile. Buy some today and learn how to use them. Don’t overdo it. Just start with lining up the feet.

See you on #1 tee and I want to see some alignment sticks in your bag… Sam

Junior Golf: Start the Fall with a Committment

imageIn this Friday Flop Shot we’ll look at how to start your fall golf season by developing good habits. Proper routines are essential for success. Every great athlete has specific routines they have incorporated into their daily life. (photo from offcoursegolf.com)

Mom and Dad, please be the parents. It is your persistence and attention to detail that will help your junior golfer stay on track and improve her game. Start by reviewing her schedule. Does she have team practices? Is there room for additional weekly golf activity? Discuss how much time she can commit for golf each week. Don’t overbook this. A little less activity is better until and unless the desire catches fire and your daughter wants to spend every waking minute doing something golf related. And yes, this really does happen, but do not be disturbed if it has not happened to your young golfer yet.

What can and does happen is that your daughter may love golf, but does not wish to spend all her free time on it. This is why good habits, as in practice habits are essential. After you decide how much golf time is available each week, then devise a golf practice routine with your daughter’s input. Ask her if she is good with the schedule the 2 of you have come up with. If so, then ask if she is willing to commit to it. If yes, then please consider having her sign a piece of paper committing to the weekly schedule. The actual signing of a piece of paper stating what her responsibilities are is a genuine reality check. It makes her commitment real and hopefully helps prepare her to read every word of anything she may sign in the future, including student loans, car or home loans, real estate papers, etc.image

Her agreement needs to include some details: minimum number of golf activities per week, definition of golf activities, maximum number of days without any golf and whatever else applies. You can add fun stuff like “I promise to have a positive mental attitude and always want to go to practice. I will not complain about it being too hot or too cold or too wet or too windy.” A little fun added in goes a long way.

So get some regular activities going. Regular activities give her structure and structure helps build confidence in the processes that will help her improve her golf skills. The legendary Ben Hogan said: ” I always outworked everybody. Work never bothered me like it bothers some people.” Make golf fun and make sure to have her commit to a minimum number of days of golf activity per week. This will be a great start…and that positive mental attitude!

See you on #1 tee… Sam

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