Posts Tagged ‘golf strategy’

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: Pay Attention Or Pay The Price

In this Monday Mulligan we will take a look at something that happened last weekend at the LPGA tournament. It is a hard lesson about paying attention when your daughter/son is in competition or there might be a steep price to pay.img_0509

Paying attention to her game and being aware of what’s going on in her group is an essential and required part of competition. It begins with a reasonable knowledge of the rules and etiquette and, of course, as her skill level improves, it would also include her strategy/game plan for her round.

Competition is different than playing with family or friends. Things happen, sometimes strange things happen, things you have never seen before and might never see again. Pressure is everywhere. Everybody reacts differently to pressure and pressure can increase or decrease during a round. Pressure has its own life!

So in last week’s LPGA ANA Championship, Lexi Thompson was assessed 4 penalty strokes in the middle of Sunday’s final round for actions that took place in the previous day’s round. A viewer sent in a video of Lexi marking her ball and putting it back in a different spot from where she picked it up. She moved the ball perhaps a quarter to half an inch and it was pretty obvious on the video. So she was penalized 2 strokes for violation of Rule 20-7C (playing from the wrong place). She signed her scorecard for 67 but it should have been 69, so she was next assessed a 2-stroke penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard and the 67 that became a 69 now became a 71. Wow!

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photocredit Jeff Gross

Her 2-stroke lead went away and she was suddenly 2 strokes behind the leader. To her credit, Lexi played very well after being informed of the penalty strokes and ended up in a playoff where she lost on the 1st hole. Lexi’s own words regarding the situation, “I didn’t realize I did that,” she said through tears. “I did not intentionally do that. But you know what, I fought hard coming in and I didn’t give up. But so many players played great, so congrats.”

What is the takeaway for junior golfers and their parents? While your kiddo should always be in the moment during a tournament, there are times to really focus and pay attention. Properly marking and replacing a golf ball is a simple task and yes, it’s relatively easy, but it should never be taken for granted. Watch how the pros do it. Their actions are deliberate and their hands move a little slower rather than faster. This is a situation that must be executed perfectly.

I asked S3 that in all his rounds of junior golf and college golf, did he ever see any violations such as this one. His response, “Maybe 3 or 4.” Then I said, “Did you call any penalties?” S3, “Sure did.”

So your girl may see this once in a blue moon, but she will see it. Please encourage her that when she is preparing to mark and then replace her golf ball that she should take a deep breath and focus on the proper technique. No problemo!

See you on #1 tee ready to properly mark and replace your ball… Sam

Junior Golf: More Lessons From Valero

In this Wednesday Waggle we will continue to examine some additional lessons from the just completed Valero Texas Open played on the tough TPC San Antonio Oaks Course. There is so much information that it will be a challenge to cover some highlights here. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)img_0102

In this Wednesday Waggle we will continue to examine some additional lessons from the just completed Valero Texas Open played on the tough TPC San Antonio Oaks Course. There is so much information that it will be a challenge to cover some highlights here.

Let’s talk a bit more about strategy and how to use it as your daughter analyzes her approach to a golf course. If the TV announcers said it once, they said it at least 100 times during their coverage, success on this golf course starts with putting your tee shot in the fairway. The 1st cut wasn’t too bad this week, but if the ball went into the rough, on the Oaks Course it is pretty much a 1-stroke penalty. The trees and “moon” rocks as we call them here are almost impossible to hit any kind of a shot other than a punch-out, and the risk of wrist injury is high. The top finishers were putting their drives in play. Dad and Mom, 1 of the basic tenets of playing winning golf is having a high percentage of your daughter’s tee shots in the fairway, period. A tee shot in the fairway starts the process of having a good score on a particular hole.

The 2nd must do strategy on this course is to put the approach shot on the correct portion of the green to have a decent birdie putt. Yes, this is an advanced technique, but if for now, your girl focuses on just hitting her ball on the green, that’s a good thing. She can work on accuracy as her skill level advances. The guys in the top 10 had lower scores because they made more birdies and had fewer bogies than everybody else. Birdies are easier to make if the approach shot is closer to the hole. Basic stuff.

And of course, to make birdies, you must make putts. Something else you will hear time and time again is that to win any golf tournament you have to make more putts than the rest of the field, particularly those in that 8 to 15 or 20-foot range, because the make percentage for the 3 and 4 footers is pretty high for everybody. So the great separator is who makes the mid-range putts. Think about who gets hot with a putter, Jordan, Jason, Adam, Bubba and Henrik to name a few. There are tournaments where 1 of those guys seems to be making everything and if he keeps it up for 4 days, he will likely win!image

Parents ask your daughter which of her longer clubs she’s more comfortable with, if she is a beginning golfer, it may be a 5-iron or 5-wood, doesn’t matter. Then get with her swing coach and let her work on getting condiment that this 1 particular club can be her “go to” club when she wants to make sure the ball ends up in the fairway. Later, she can use this to build confidence with other clubs as well. We’ll get to the other clubs later. Here’s a photo on my “go to” driving iron.

See you on #1 tee looking to put your drive in the middle of the fairway… Sam

Junior Golf: Links Golf

imageIn this Wednesday Waggle we are going to investigate a name which may be new to you and your daughter, links golf. Basically there are 2 types of golf courses, links and traditional, for lack of a better word.

At some point in your daughter’s junior golf career she will be introduced to a links golf course. Now the word links can be confusing because sometimes the word is used as catch-all for golf courses in general. The USGA even had the Public Links Championship which technically had nothing to do with links style golf courses, but was for golfers who played mostly on public courses rather than private courses. This event has been discontinued. (photo golfdigest.com)

So what does links golf mean to your daughter? Links golf courses are the original golf courses, formed along coastlines in Scotland where there is rolling sandy terrain and lots of wind. Links courses require creativity because when they are in proper condition, meaning dry and extremely fast fairways and greens, your daughter must use different shots and strategies to have a decent score. On most holes, the greens are so hard and fast she cannot land her ball on the green, but must roll it to the pin. This means a lot of fun, seeing the contour of the ground along the desired path and then rolling a low shot snakeing towards the hole. It is very exciting and fulfilling to watch the shot she visualized actually end up where she had hoped. So your daughter will get great experience on how to handle windy conditions.

Links courses have few trees, but are known for very difficult rough and the dreaded round “pot” bunkers, which are pretty much a 1-shot penalty when you are in 1 because it is very hard to advance the ball. It’s usually all a golfer can do to just get out of a “pot” bunker. In 1 of Tiger’s British Open wins, and they are all played on links courses, he did not hit his driver at all during the tournament. He played strategic smart golf because hitting less than driver kept his ball short of most of the bunkers and I don’t think he was in a fairway bunker at all. (photo golfdashblog.com)image

Links golf courses: rolling, undulating, fast fairways and greens. Few, if any trees. Very difficult rough. Pot bunkers. Cannot land ball on green, or at least anywhere near the pin. Lots of wind. Great fun and an opportunity to really engage and enhance your junior golfer’s creativity. Find a links course near you and take your daughter to go play it. Make sure the course is dryed out and fast. Don’t go right after a big rain. The course will not reveal its true self when wet.

Golf is more of an art than a science. Every shot is different and creativity is a big part of playing good golf. Get creative with your daughter. Book a round on a links course today.

See you on #1 tee, looking very Scottish… Sam

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