Posts Tagged ‘golf practice’

Junior Golf: Have More Fun, Change Something

As we get the new year off and running, let’s use this Wednesday Waggle to have more fun and change something. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)img_0102

Rock singer Cindy Lauper’s song, Girls Just Want To Have Fun, really applies to all of us. Most of the time our junior golfers are eager to get out on the course and play a few holes, have some fun. But there’s the drills that need to be done to develop new and proper habits and techniques so your son’s time on the golf course actually has an opportunity to be fun.

Some drills/practice regimens are more fun than others and all of them can get monotonous at some point. Chipping and putting are easy places to start. There are a ton of very short videos on the Golf Channel Academy App (free), the golf magazine sites, many manufacturer’s sites and on Utube.

Where to start? Simple, ask your son if he would prefer to improve his chipping or his putting. If he says putting, but you feel like his chipping is not as good as his putting and you, in your wisdom, would prefer he work on chipping, get his attention by saying this, “Good chipping really improves your putting!” He says, “How’s that, Dad?” Your response, “Good chipping leaves the ball closer to the hole, so you have shorter putts. And you’re good at making those!” (image DWQuailGolf.com)image

There’s so much information. Look for something that is practical and addresses an area that can be improved in your sons golf game. If you’re in a cold climate, perhaps an indoor putting drill would work. Or chipping whiffle balls off a matt in the garage into a bucket. Get creative, do something, something new and different.

See you on #1 tee using those new skills… Sam

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Junior Golf: Clean Water-Better Health

In this Friday Flop Shop we will talk about water and how it is getting more difficult to find clean uncontaminated water for everyday use. (photo offcoursegolf.com)img_0106

Water is a high-demand item. Small wars have been fought over it and larger ones may follow. Without water we can’t exist. It’s tougher and tougher to find clean water for personal use. Most municipalities add chlorine as a disinfectant and floride on the false premise that it promotes dental health. Our family philosophy is to avoid these chemicals. They have no known useful metabolic function in our bodies so why ingest them? Other contaminants frequently found are lead, residue from the dumping of prescription medications into water systems/toilets and industrial chemicals. The list keeps growing!

If you and your family have chosen to begin the process of taking control of your health, cleaning up your water at home needs to be addressed. Drinking contaminated water is bad enough, but your skin is your biggest organ and bathing/showering with bad water is likely worse than drinking it.

What to do? Some action is better than no action. Depending on your budget the choices are a portable system or a whole house system. Berkey Filters is a company we have personal experience with. They make excellent products and their filters remove all the bad stuff, including floride, if you buy the floride additional filter, and leave all the good minerals. They only make portable systems, meaning countertop, under counter and even hiking/backpacking/emergency items. (photo berkeyfilters.com)

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Whole house systems are another world. Floride removal is big business and careful research and evaluation is required to wisely spend your money on a system for all the house. These can range from $1,500 up to many thousands of dollars. Be a wise shopper and don’t get ripped off.

Get your water tested. Home test kits may be available from your local water authority or online. If you are on a municipal water system only buy test kits that can measure chlorine and floride in addition to as many additional items as possible. There’s no telling what may be in your water and you should know. If you are on a well, the chlorine and floride tests are probably not necessary but you certainly want to check for everything else.

So here are your action steps. Test your water. Then proceed to your due diligence to find an appropriate water purification system that fits your budget and needs. Clean water is imperative. Every time your junior golfer drinks or bathes with dirty water it just adds more toxins into their bodies, same goes for Dad and Mom. Clean water-better health. Better health-better golf!

See you on #1 tee looking healthy… 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

Tour Championship Begins

And they’re off! The best 30 players on the PGA Tour have day 1 of The Tour Championship under their belt. And there were some surprises. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)img_0102

Hideki Matsuyama shot a 66 to tie for the lead with Kevin Chappell and pre-event favorite Dustin Johnson. The low 11 scores feature plenty of high-powered players including Jason Day 1 shot back, then Jordan Spieth, Paul Casey and Rory McIlroy 2 shots back and finally Adam Scott and Matt Kuchar 3 shots back.

Notables who were in the back of the 30-man field were Bubba Watson at 2-over par, Patrick Reed at 3-over par and Phil Mickelson and Jimmy Walker, 4-over par. There are still 54 holes of golf to play, no 36-hole cut. The time to start shooting better scores would be now.

1 of the strategic truths of golf tournaments is that you can’t win an event during the 1st round but you can lose it. This means that if you shoot a terribly high score, putting too many strokes between you and the leaders, you have given yourself a slim to no chance to catch up and possibly take the lead.

This is an interesting field. Maybe ⅓ have won Majors/been on Ryder Cup teams/have won multiple events, about ⅓ have won maybe 1 event/no Majors or Ryder Cup but have been relatively successful and perhaps ⅓ who are young and very talented trying to elevate their success and status.

While statistically almost anyone in the field could win, the history is different. Look at the previous winners. Big names! Dominant players either historically or for the year they won. Billy Horschel is perhaps the only up-and-coming player to win and he put together a smoking hot final month of play culminating with winning The Tour Championship and FedEx Cup. He just wasn’t going to be stopped!

 

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If we can skip ahead to Sunday and look at the leaderboard before the final round begins, keep in mind what the great Jack Nicklaus said about competition during final rounds of big events. To paraphrase Jack, “I’d look at the leaderboard to see who had a chance to win. The guys who had never won a Major or big event I didn’t pay much attention to them because the pressure was too great. It was the guys who had won Majors or multiple Majors that I had to keep an eye on. They’d already done it. They’d been there.” (photo bmw-golfsport.com)

Encourage your junior golfer to stay calm and keep big numbers off the scorecard during Round 1. A bogey here and there is just fine, but the doubles, triples and quads are round killers, if not even tournament killers. There’s a time for high risk shots but remember that there are only a few pros who go for everything all the time. Safe shots are a good thing!

Set the TiVo. This should be good!

See you on #1 tee looking for the safe zone… Sam

Junior Golf: Final Exam

In this Wednesday Waggle we look at the end of the semester, actually a year-long semester for The PGA Tour. The Finals are here for the FedEx Cup and play starts tomorrow. (photo golfdigest.com)img_0102

Only the top 30 players based on FedEx Cup points have qualified to play in the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. The purse is $8,500,000 with $1,530,000 and 2,000 FedEx Cup points going to the winner. It is possible to win the 4-day tournament and also end up with enough points to be FedEx Cup Champion, meaning the best player over the year-long PGA Tour schedule. That’s a paycheck of $11,530,000.

Usually, the Top 5 players, on a points basis, if 1 of them wins the 72-hole event has an excellent chance of winning both events, because of the 2,000 points earned by the Coca Cola Championship winner. It can be a bit confusing but the tv announcers will keep us endlessly up-to-date with scores and rankings so we won’t have to track it on our own.

Golf is the ultimate performance-based sport since scores are objective and the only subjective possibility might be a rule interpretation which may happen once per round, if that. So the score’s the score. You shoot low, you advance, if you shoot high, you’re out. Very simple.

These pros have had to meet specific points goals for 3 weeks in a row and make the Top 30 in order to get a week off before tomorrow’s 4-day final exam. It’s not like there’s a lack of pressure on the PGA Tour, but not all pros enjoy playing 3 weeks in a row, so this took some of them out of their comfort zone, but it was time to perform or go home.

The Top 5 are Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Adam Scott, Jason Day and Paul Casey. And right behind them are Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth. There are plenty of other big names in the Top 30 and the point is there should be some some great golf from these guys. Every now and then someone runs away with it but hopefully we’ll have some amazing golf and mesmerizing drama! There is not a cut and tv time will be fewer hours than normal because there is less than half of a regular weekend field.

To make the Playoffs a golfer must be in the Top 125 to enter The Barclay’s. The Top 100 then advance the next week to the Deutsche Bank event. And the Top 70 advance to The BMW Championship where the Top 30 are reseeded and move to the Tour Championship in Atlanta 2 weeks later, which is where we are now. (golf week.com)

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Your son has his own junior golf version of this and it’s called PBE or performance-based entry. It means that his ability to be qualified to enter certain events is based on his prior performance. Shoot low scores and he can enter, shoot high scores and he will need to be working on his game.

Much of life is performance-based. Our family is used to it and we encourage all our kids to give their best effort at everything. School, sports, music, and now since they are grown we include work, always give 110%, period. Giving one’s best effort is a very desirable trait and 1 that is certainly noticed and respected.

See you on #1 tee ready to give maximum effort… Sam

Junior Golf: Giving Back

In this Monday Mulligan we will look at 2 words commonly used by successful athletes and business men and women. They are an expression of gratitude and show a desire to help communities, charities and even individuals, usually in geographical areas where they have some affiliation, perhaps where they grew up or where they do business. (photo jennleforge.com)image

I’m referring to the phrase giving back and the golf community is a leader in actions and dollar volume donated to organizations across the US. The name sponsors of tour events are interviewed on the air and they always talk about how much they love sponsoring the tournament. It’s great exposure and name recognition and then they will mention the dollars that have been raised for local charities during the current year and over their time of involvement. Mom and Dad, it’s tens of millions of dollars!

PGA Tour golf is big business and everybody wins. The players are paid lavishly. The sponsors benefit greatly. And the local foundations and charities receive huge amounts of money! Win, win, win!

Our own Valero Texas Open has raised $101 million dollars since 2002, becoming only the 4th PGA Tour event to break the 100 million dollar mark. So it’s no wonder local charities are excited when VTO time comes around!

What does this mean to your junior golfer? He/she can be proud to be part of a sport that really gives back to the communities. Technically giving back sounds like returning part of what was earned. It can be in your junior golfer’s case, just giving, since really they aren’t earning a living playing golf yet.

Ways to give: make/distribute food to those less fortunate, volunteer the whole family to serve food at charitable events over the holidays, spend time at senior’s facilities reading or playing games, volunteer at golf or civic functions, get a group to pick up trash at a city park, there’s a ton of options depending on your junior’s age and abilities. (photo arnoldpalmercharities.com)

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Parents, if you have been involved in giving then you know of what I speak. Kids love giving! And parents will too! We have had 2 aha occurrences along these lines in our family. The 1st was when S3 was about 10 years old and we went on a Thursday night to make sack lunches for the people under the bridge. This referred to an area of downtown under some overpasses where homeless folks hung out.

Linda, S3 and I were part of about 20 folks assembling these bags. Food items were 2 pieces of bread with a slice of baloney in-between, a bag of chips and a can of generic soda all in a brown lunch sack. When it was mentioned that this might be all a homeless person may have to eat for a couple of days, S3 was sad that we couldn’t do more. He did accept that doing something was better than doing nothing.

The other time(s) were at Feed My Starving Children where over the last 6 years our church and affiliates and have made millions of nutritious meals delivered to kids in 70 countries. Our family loves doing this! It feels like you have actually done something very worthwhile! This year over 3 days we made 544,320 meals, enough to feed 1492 children for 1 year, amazing!

Sometimes it seems like getting is emphasized over giving. I’d like to encourage you to turn that around and emphasize giving over getting. It’s very possible you might notice a subtle change in your junior golfer’s mindset. Kids love to give, but guess what Parents, it all starts with you.

See you on #1 tee with a giving attitude… Sam

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