Posts Tagged ‘Golf course’

Junior Golf: 6 Reasons to Watch The Open

In this Monday Mulligan we’ll look at 5 reasons your junior golfer will benefit by watching this week’s Open Championship, previously called The British Open.

Carnoustie Championship Course is the venue for the 3rd of this year’s men’s majors and it’s got its own set of unique qualities.

Reasons to watch:

1. The history. Britain is the home of golf. It’s where golf began and golf has been played at this course since the early 16th century. This is a chance to learn things about our great sport that you won’t hear at any other event.

2. The courses. Most golf courses in Britain are serious links designs, the likes of which are few and far between in the U.S. It takes a different mindset and genuine creativity to have a good round on these courses. You will be fascinated by the unique designs.

3. This course, Carnoustie, a long and narrow golf course at more than 7400 yards, is a brute. As Sir Michael Bonallack put it, “When the wind is blowing, it is the toughest golf course in Britain. And when it’s not blowing, it’s still probably the toughest.”

4. The players and their strategy for links golf. All the world’s top players will be here, including your favorites. You will see types of shots attempted here that are not seen on the typical PGA Tour venues. If the course is dry and fast, you will see some fabulous low rolling shots. The pros hit these because links greens are notorious for not holding when they are hot and dry. The only way to get close is to roll the ball.

5. The weather. PGA Tour player Davis Love III, was asked what was the most layers of clothes he had worn in a golf tournament. He said, “That’s easy. It was 5 layers in the 198x British Open.” Summer weather in Britain is unpredictable. Calm and 70-degrees one day and windy, wet and 50-degrees the next. It’s usually a decent opportunity to see who makes the best rain gear.

6. The dreams. Dreams and creativity go hand in hand in this wonderful game. No venue offers more of either of these than The Open Championship. As my dear friend and excellent golfer, Nelson said, “If you don’t have any dreams, why do you even get out of bed in the morning?” Give your son/daughter a chance to dream.

Now it’s dvr time. The Golf Channel has Live From The Open on from 5:00a-11:00a through Wednesday, then scattered throughout the day from Thursday-Sunday. Tournament schedule is Thursday and Friday, 8:30a-3:00p on the Golf Channel and on NBC, Saturday, 6:00a-2:00p, and Sunday, 6:00a-1:30p. We always record 2 hours after the event in case of a playoff.

Junior Golf: Make Three Changes For More Fun

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we’ll look at three simple changes you can make to freshen up your junior golfer’s routine.

It’s the middle of summer and the same ol same ol may be more tedious than exciting. The good news about summer is that there is all this extra time available for your daughter/son to play in tournaments and work on their golf skills.

The bad news is that doing the same routines for days and weeks on end can become drudgery for even the most dedicated students of the game, so let’s make things fun again. Let’s change things up.

Here are 3 simple ways to put a new twist on the summer golf experience:

1. Book a tee time at a course your youngster has never played. The thought of playing a new course always fires everybody up.

2. Learn a new putting drill. PGA Tour winner and The Golf Channel Academy at San Pedro Director of Instruction, David Ogrin offered this one: practice distance control by putting to the edge of the practice green from 20 to 30 feet away. Because you’re not trying to make the putt, you’re able for focus on how the greens are rolling and get a feel for distance. A great first/lag putt makes for an easier second putt. We want to avoid 3-putts at all costs. Feel free to vary the distance to the edge of the green.

Check out Coach Ogrin’s video.

3. Check how far his/her clubs are going. All this good summer work has many positive results including increased strength and better form which can certainly result in increased distance. It is imperative for your child to know how far they hit each club. To see that the 7-iron is flying 5 yards farther is exhilarating for any golfer!

See you on #1 tee excited about your golf game… Sam

Junior Golf: When A Foot Reminds You of Phil’s Wedge

In this Friday Flop Shot we’ll look at how a foot, or certain feet, may remind you of Phil Mickelson and his wedge.

In the golf world’s list of short-game masters, Phil is certainly at or near the top of the list. He loves the artistry involved in hitting those special shots that seem so easy for him.

Easy because he spends hours practicing different kinds of shots he might face on a particular golf course. The sand, the rough, the cuts around the green, the green itself, all are unique to each course. So, the shots may differ slightly from week to week.

It requires the ability to visualize the shot/shots that have the best chance for success in a specific situation. Is a putt, a chip, a pitch or a flop shot called for? An experienced golfer understands that perhaps all of these shots may be used during a round of golf. Hours of practice and hard work are the keys to being able to attempt a desirable shot.

So where does a foot/feet come in? I’m not talking distance, like feet or yards. I’m talking feet, like at the bottom of your leg, what you walk on, what you put your shoes on, a piece of your anatomy.

Yes, I’m talking soccer. What do soccer/futbol and golf have in common? Some sports fans find both difficult or boring to watch: soccer because of low scores and golf because it’s slow. Ignore that.

Let’s go to why both are exciting to watch. You and your junior golfer know about golf so I’ll offer a compelling reason to spend some time watching soccer, as in World Cup soccer.

Think of all the magical things Phil can do with his wedge, ok? Now think of the soccer teams currently playing on their biggest stage, the World Cup. Every soccer player on every team has 2 wedges, his 2 feet that can do things as magical as Phil does with his wedge.

These guys have a zillion ways to pass or shoot the ball. They use their toe, the inside of the foot, the outside of the foot, the top of the foot, the heel and the cleats. Through many hours of practice over a lot of years, these men have worked to elevate their foot skills to a world-class level. Below are 2 minutes of Brazil highlights. Neymar will blow your mind at the 1:40 mark as he passes to himself by grabbing the ball with his feet and by using more pressure with his right foot he brings the ball from behind, throwing it over his left shoulder so it lands in front of him and he can resume his attack. This is creativity and execution to the max!

All World Cup players have ridiculous abilities, but some are superstars. Messi of Argentina, Ronaldo of Portugal, Neymar of Brazil and Suarez and Cavani of Uruguay are names to pay particular attention to. If you can’t watch a whole game, skip to the goal-scoring. Some are things of beauty, some are bizarre and some are accidents. All are worth watching! The different ways these men use their feet to contact the ball are crazy and they’re doing it while running at full speed!

The point is Mom and Dad, great skills don’t come about without hours of proper effort. Phil and these World Cup players have all worked hard to get their skills to the highest level. And they keep working on improving their game!

Fox and FS1 broadcast all the World Cup games. Set the TiVo. The WC continues for a couple more weeks. Use this as an inspiration, an encouragement to practice and learn to be more creative about it!

See you on #1 tee ready to create… Sam

Junior Golf: Starburst-More Than Candy

In this Friday Flop Shot we’ll look at a great junior golf tournament that you may have never heard of.

The point is Dad and Mom, that today there are so many junior golf tournaments that you can’t possibly know about all of them. But there are some that you really need to be familiar with and among those is Starburst.

The Starburst Junior Golf Tournament is held in mid-June annually in Waco, Texas, 200 miles north of San Antonio and 100 miles south of Dallas on I-35. There are divisions ranging from age 7 up to Championship for boys and girls. There were around 400 entries in 2018 and in some years the number of players approaches 1,000.

College coaches like Starburst because it’s a major junior golf event. The sheer number of quality entries, that fact that there are kiddo’s from many countries and the fact that every division plays 3 different courses over 3 days make it a great test of golf!

This is something you want to check out. Make a note for mid-February 2019 to go to starburstgolf.com or the Starburst Golf FB page for next year’s details. You should go at least once, it’s fun!

Now a shout out to 2 of our favorite guys: Director of Instruction for the Alamo City Golf Trail and the Golf Channel Academy at San Pedro, PGA Tour winner, David Ogrin, who had some of his proteges play in Starburst and to our good friend and Director of Instruction at Laredo Country Club and at RG Golf Academy, coach Rudy Gonzalez.

Photocredit: kwtx.com

Rudy’s feeling pretty chipper these days since one of his students, Marcelo Garza of Nuevo Laredo, won the Boy’s Championship Division. Congratulations to Marcelo and coach Rudy on a job well done!

Parents, South Texas has a ton of great golf courses and we have some of the best instructors in the nation. Do something different. Plan a trip around getting some new input for your junior golfer, playing some wonderful golf courses and enjoying all the friendly sights that exemplify our area! Come see us!

See you on #1 tee Starburst ready… Sam

Junior Golf: Plan to Win

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we’ll look at the significance of having a strategy, a plan, a game plan for every event.

One of the things that many junior golfers and their parents aren’t aware of is that in addition to the other pre-tournament preparation, their son/daughter needs to have some idea of the best way to play that specific golf course.

Let’s begin with a very basic and simple plan that all youngsters can understand. Every golf shot should be hit at a target so pick a spot where the tee shot should land. On par 4’s and par-5’s this would be a zone safe from water, traps, trees and other hazards, allowing a good look and chance to hit the desired next shot. When hitting to the greens, including par-3’s, simply aiming for the middle of the green is an acceptable choice.

The plan is greatly enhanced by playing a practice round prior to the event. Most courses offer discounted pre-tournament pricing for entrants. Subtleties of the layout are revealed and a practice round will greatly add to your kiddo’s knowledge of the course and improve the game day strategy.

So let’s watch as a game day strategy is executed to perfection. Quoting the greatest Olympic broadcaster of all time, Jim McKay, “He came out of nowhere at the Olympic trials. He got married and some said that would ruin his chances for a medal. He has two bad knees and couldn’t train for weeks. A year ago he wasn’t in the World Rankings at all. He seemed to come from heaven knows where.”

Watch as “the golf cap” obviously knows his game and how to use it to design a winning game plan and then beautifully perform it.

The takeaway here Mom and Dad is that having a game day plan gives your girl/boy a chance to be competitive at the end of the day. And having the patience to stay with the plan after hitting a bad shot or two is essential. Make a plan and stick with it!

See you on #1 tee with a plan… Sam

Junior Golf: Memories Of Arnold


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In today’s Wednesday Waggle I’ll share a few family memories of times we were around Arnold Palmer.

He is everything and more than was said about him. Tom Watson mentioned that professional golfers should send Arnold Palmer a commission on every dollar that they earned. There are thousands of tribute articles available where you can get a comprehensive discussion of how Arnold changed almost everything about professional golf…the excitement, bringing the game to the masses with Arnie’s Army, increasing the endorsement money, revitalizing the British Open, bringing attention to the importance of golf as a world-wide sport, loving his fans, increasing purses and of course his amazing charity work. The list is endless and professional golf will be eternally grateful! (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)

My Dad was very involved in running The Texas Open for many years including 1960-62 when Arnold won it all 3 years. Dad got to know Arnold at Fort Sam Houston in 1960. The 1st time I actually met him was in 1961 when, after finishing a round at Oak Hills, Arnold was talking to my parents as I walked up. Dad introduced me and Arnold said, “Hi Sammie, nice to meet you,” and we visited a few minutes and he moved on. Different times back then, no giant structures, pretty much the only grandstands that were around #9 and #18, both of them par 3’s. You had open access to all the pros and while some weren’t very talkative, many were.

Sitting at #17 green was my friends and my favorite spot because once the guys putted out you could watch them hit to #18. The tee box was right next to the 17th green. So 17 is a hard dogleg left with a forest in the middle of the way. Arnold was long enough to cut the corner but when we heard a ball crash into the middle of the trees. This was my hero’s group coming up and my heart sank as I watched Arnold go to the ball on the bare dirt with about 30 trees between it and the green. Well, don’t ya know, he hit a low roller out of there up to about 3 feet from the pin and made a birdie. Major excitement!

Arnold won The Texas Open again in 1962 and I know he came back to play in the 1968 PGA Championship at Pecan Valley. He and Dad got to say “Hi” again and I so wanted Arnold to win this event. You may recall he rope-hooked his drive into the woods on the 72nd hole but managed to hit a miraculous 3-wood close enough for a decent birdie look which would have tied him with Julius Boros. The putt didn’t drop and Arnold finished 2nd.

imageThe last time I saw Arnold in-person was at a Senior Tour event at Oak Hills in 2004. One of my life goals was to get a photo of S3 with The King and I had no idea how I was going to do it. When I read that Arnold said he always liked Oak Hills, where he won 2 Texas Opens, and wanted to play it 1 more time, I couldn’t believe it! We went on Pro-Am day because there are light crowds and access to players is good. There was a slight backup on #11 tee and The King was gracious enough to let S3, then 10 years old, sit in his lap. It’s a lifetime event photo, a true treasure! Thank you, Arnold! The King is gone but he has given our family a lifetime of memories.

See you on #1 tee honoring The King… Sam

 

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Junior Golf: Amazing Finish But I ‘m Also Sad

In this Monday Mulligan we’ll look at the amazing finish to The Tour Championship and FedEx Cup. And as great as that was I’m also sad that my #1 sports hero of all-time, Arnold Palmer, passed away. I’ll share some of our family’s personal memories with The King on Wednesday. Today let’s look at what happened in Atlanta!image

Sunday began with most of the golf pundits just about ready to concede both events to DJ, Dustin Johnson. Why not, he was playing well, had a great year and just needed a good final round and he would be very hard to beat. Well, guess what, golf happened! (photo jennleforge.com)

He played poorly, in fact, the worst round of the day for the 30-man field, a 73 and with 6 holes to play there was no way for him to win the TC. There were 3 guys who were fighting it out and it was great golf and exciting TV.

Kevin Chappell, was leading but a poor drive on #17 left him with a bogey. Being in the last pairing right behind Rory McIlroy and Ryan Moore, Kevin had some idea of what was happening ahead.

Let’s back up. Ryan was slowly catching Kevin all day long. DJ played poorly and was out of contention. Rory was a few shots back and was not a threat, yet. Well, Rory holed out for an eagle on #16 to seriously get back in it. He parred #17 and birdied #18 to finish -12. His playing partner Ryan finished 4, 3, 5 to also be -12. So Kevin went 3, 5, 5 to make it a 3-way tie at 12-under. Let the playoff begin.

Who could have won outright? The rough was notoriously tough and Chappell’s poor drive on #17 cost him a bogey. A par would have meant a win. An expensive shot. Ryan had maybe an 8-footer for a birdie on his 72nd hole that would have put him at 13-under par and an outright winner. He missed it and I think that was the only putt under 10-feet he missed all day! Wow!

Playoff holes were 18, 18, 15, 16, 17 and 18, sudden death! Rory hit a 360-yard drive on the 1st playoff hole leaving only 213 yards to the pin. He promptly hit his 2nd shot to 6 & 1/2 feet and it seemed like it was over. Kevin hit a poor approach and missed his birdie putt and he knew he was done. Ryan had almost the exact same putt he had missed just moments earlier and he stroked it right into the middle of the cup for a birdie, forcing Rory to make his eagle putt to win.

The announcers mentioned that Rory really wasn’t taking any time with the putt and he was just stepping up and hitting it. Perhaps he should have taken more time because he missed it. So he and Ryan played 18 again, then 15 and then the par 4 16th. After an awkward chip, Ryan made a 20-footer for a par. Rory had 14 & ½ feet for his birdie and he made it! Had Kevin or Ryan won the tournament, DJ would have won the FedEx Cup. Rory, by winning the last event of the year also won the FEC, congratulations, Rory! (photo pga.com)

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It was amazing to watch. I mean Kevin Chappell went 66, 68, 68, 66 and finished 3rd. That’s great golf on a tough course! Ryan Moore kept making shots and would not make a bogey. And he made a ton of putts. Fabulous grit and determination! And Rory, who at some point must have known that he would have to win it because Ryan was not going to hand the victory to him, hit 1 more great shot than Ryan to claim his win on the 4th playoff hole!

What does this mean to your junior golfer? Every shot counts. Never give up. Give your best effort on every shot every time. Take a breath. Enjoy the thrill of the moment because these moments are rare.

See you on #1 tee ready to give your best effort on every shot… Sam

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