Posts Tagged ‘help for junior golfers’

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

Dreaming of College Golf, Catch It Here

In today’s Monday Mulligan we will specifically address how to use me and Linda to give your child the chance to catch their dream of playing college golf.

High school golfers are the focus of this post, but all parents might want to note that the sooner you and your junior golfer decide if college golf is a goal, the sooner you can start planning. We started S3’s college golf plans when he was 5 years old. It was always the long-term goal. Time flies by quickly, it’s never too early to start.

Parents of high school golfers, please hear me: even if your child is finishing their junior year, there’s still a great opportunity to successfully pursue college golf. Time is short and we need to take advantage of what time is available. Be optimistic! Contact us immediately and we can get the process moving.

This is special college golf pricing and it’s different from other coaching packages listed on our site.

A. College Golf Bundle:

6 sessions over 90 days


B. College Golf Hourly

1-hour sessions as needed

$75 per hour

What’s included:

The path to college golf is confusing and we’ll provide a structure and plan for you to properly proceed. This includes timing for when certain things need to be implemented. The who, what, when, where, how to contact/communicate with the people, places and entities involved.

You’ll end up with a clear path from right now continuing into the future when you and your kiddo are having serious talks with college golf coaches.

Parents of high school juniors, if you are going to do this, the time is now.

Scholarships for boys are widely available but you must know and implement the process to be successful.

The scholarships for girls are easier to get because there aren’t enough girls playing golf to fill them. However, parents, you must pursue the scholarship process properly.

For those parents of 5-year olds and up to high schoolers, we have considerable important input for the best way to help your junior golfer use the years remaining in his/her junior golf career.

Some of your most amazing parenting memories will be on the golf course with your youngster. Make those times more meaningful with a long-term goal of playing college golf.

See you on #1 tee wearing your college logo… Sam

Junior Golf: Unexpected Stress

In this Friday Flop Shot we will bring up some points about some of the mental aspects of golf that your junior golfer will be dealing with for his whole golf career.image

Stress/pressure is a part of life. It’s everywhere and that includes golf and golf tournaments. There is good stress, “I’m excited about the tournament,” and there’s bad stress, “ I hope I don’t play poorly and disappoint my parents.” Both are normal and both need to be dealt with. This is a good time for me to mention that Linda and I are not sports psychologists and are merely passing along things we have learned from our son’s junior golf and college golf careers. (photo

As parents we are all pretty much aware that our kids are subject to stress and we are able to expect and anticipate most of the times it will show up. So here’s an example of a type of stress that hit S3 that we had never thought of: we like to play golf together whenever possible, and this means including S3 on our team in scrambles. His golf skills are a big benefit, even when he was playing from the ladies tees he could sometimes drive the green! What we did not realize was that even at a young age S3 felt like he needed to hit a bunch of great shots to carry the team of us old folks and C and D players for all 18 holes. Here’s a pic of S3 and me with some of my college buddies at a scramble in Houston, what fun!image

What did this look like? Well, he was trying so hard, read over-trying, that it took him 9 holes to calm down and contribute to the team. In fairness, his chipping and putting is always good, so it was his drives and approach shots that needed a calmer persona. Finally he would take a breath and get his adrenaline under control. This wanting to carry the team pattern continued until he got to college. Even today, I know in his heart he would like to put the whole team on his back and hit all the great shots himself. The key is controlling the excitement and it’s tough.

This is relevant folks because stress and pressure are always hanging around our youngsters and the more we are aware of it, the more we can give them a thumbs up and a warm smile.

See you on #1 tee looking stress-free… Sam

Junior Golf: Back to Basics

imageIn today’s Monday Mulligan we are going back, back to basics. In golf as in life, the basics are where everything starts. The greatest athletes in all sports will tell you that your son must master the basics if he is going to have success.

What are the basics for golf? There are different circumstances but let’s start at the very beginning, the setup. Now the setup has a bunch of factors including grip, stance, ball position and posture. As we have mentioned previously, the setup is critical because it is the only part of the swing routine where your son has 100% control. (photo

There is 1 more part of setup and this is the 1 that gives all golfers, including the pros, a fit. Alignment, yep getting your son’s body in position to start his shot on his desired path so the ball ends up where he wants it to be. This is so very basic and critical to hitting successful shots, yet Golf Channel announcer and World Golf Hall of Fame member, Lanny Wadkins, during his coverage of the Champions Tour event here at our beautiful TPC San Antonio Canyons Course this past weekend, said that “every professional golfer struggles with alignment at some point in his career”. Wow! Does that say something about how easy it is to set up incorrectly?

Another “basic” that Lanny brought up during Sunday’s final round was in regards to keeping the head still. S3 and I have discussed many times that the #1 helpful line that could be said to every amateur a million times is “keep your head still”. And this applies to every shot. Yes, there are some player’s heads moving on some driver swings, but a great rule of thumb for all shots in golf is less head movement means better results. So Lanny was talking about Michael Allen, who fell off the winning pace when he missed a short putt on #12 because he really moved his head a lot and this seemed to change his mood to a more negative state. Not good. Well, Michael Allen ended up 3rd or such, but put himself out of the running per the missed putt. (photo

For tee shots, approach shots, chips or putts, keep that head still. Video your son with your phone, give him a visual. This approach works. It makes it real.

Yes, the pros struggle with the basics just like the rest of us. They, however, spend hours on the range getting back to good basics. Something you and your son should keep in mind. When you suggest checking parts of his setup, you may get a response such as, “it’s fine” or “I checked that the other day”. Well, ask him to please check it again right now, particularly if his shots are off. There are times our kids just don’t want to revert back to basics, they just want to swing at all those range balls. Dad and Mom remember, practice without purpose is at best just a social event or at worse, a waste of time.

See you on #1 tee, basically… Sam

Junior Golf: The President’s Cup Lesson 3

imageIn this Wednesday Waggle, we’ll look at our 3rd and final lesson from this past week’s President’s Cup. There is so much that our sons and daughters can learn from watching a mesmerizingly close team competition. Let’s get into it. (photo

We’re talking about emotion here. It comes in all forms, good, bad and ugly and all of these versions need to be seen by our junior golfers to put emotion into proper perspective. Nothing makes a stronger point than seeing someone else exhibiting emotion on the golf course. Then your junior golfer gets a mental picture of what someone else sees when they exhibit emotion.

S3 went through a period of showing some anger on the golf course and really most boys and plenty of girls, as well, readily erupt with some angry outbursts every now and then. In 1 high school tournament, in particular, S3 watched a boy from another high school miss, I don’t recall, a chip or a putt on a hole and oh man, out came a stream of screaming, disgusting expletives and he wrapped his club around a tree. The worst single violent outburst we have ever seen on a golf course. And the coaches standing around were wimps and gutlessly did not DQ him as, by rule, he should have been. S3 looked at me and while our contact is limited during tournaments, he said, “Wow, Dad, that is horrible to see. I have never been like that, have I?” I chuckled and said, “No, Son, not even close, but I guess we needed to see that to get the point.” Be assured that when your junior golfer sees that kind of display of anger, it will have an immediate impact on them and whatever anger they have been exhibiting will diminish.

So the anger shown in The President’s Cup was when Charl Schwartzel pulled an approach shot way left during the final round when he and everyone knew the tournament would be very close and every 1/2 or 1 point was critical. Well, Charl hit that poor shot and you could clearly see the rage in his face as he raised the club as if to hurl it off of the golf course. Charl did not let go of the club and somehow regained his composure to finish the round. I will, however, always remember that very ugly look of outrage that was on his face for a couple of seconds.

Sad looks were around the 18th green as the singles matches finished. The 1st sad look was from the US team when Bubba missed a short putt that would have won the match. Then the next 2 sad looks were from the International team as the US’s Chris Kirk made a 15-foot birdie putt and Anirban Lahiri missed a short birdie putt, giving the US a full point. The last sad look was also from the Internationals as in the final match, Sangmoon Bae chunked a chip shot and Bill Haas won the match 2-up. The good/happy look came from Chris Kirk and the US team when he made his birdie putt on 18. The normally unemotional Kirk gave a beautiful fist pump! (photo

Remember, the top pros keep their emotions on a pretty even keel during competition. They have emotions, but they keep them under control. This is a big deal for your junior golfer to work on. It will take time, but it can be done.

See you on #1 tee, with an even temperment… Sam.

Junior Golf: More Stretching=Better Golf

imageIn this Wednesday Waggle we’ll see how more stretching equals better golf. Yes, your daughter is as nimble and flexible as a piece of string, but she will benefit from proper stretching. The best golf is a result of many things including a body that is properly stretched out. Tight muscles just cannot get into the proper positions to execute good swings.

Even with the innate agility that comes with youth, your daughter still needs to start investigating a solid stretching, strength and conditioning program. The easiest to implement is the stretching because it requires no special equipment or clothing. 40 years ago the only guy doing anything remotely resembling these things was Gary Player. Look at him today. He looks great and can allegedly outwalk the young pros on tour! It’s no accident. His years of extra conditioning work have really paid off. (Jason Duffner photo from

Where do you start with the stretches? Our family has a series of stretches that have helped 100% of the folks we know have properly used them. These were given to me by an orthopedic surgeon 20 years ago when my lower back was knotted-up. They are designed to stretch pretty much everything on your back side from the base of your skull to your Achilles’ tendon. And with a knotted-up lower back, I was pain-free and better than normal after 16 days of doing these stretches 2x daily. Now they are an integral part of my fitness regimen. And they stretch the quads and calves too!image

Today virtually everyone on the PGA/LPGA has some sort of fitness routine. The competition demands it. Sometimes kids take more readily to new things if they are fun, so here are 2 stretching situations that you can certainly make “fun” to your daughter. It is just plain “fun” to watch Miguel Ángel Jiménez do his brief stretches on the driving range. They are quick and easy, but they may not be the only warmups he does. Find a video and go for it. (photo from

Another great video from The Golf Channel, I’m sorry I don’t remember the specific show: is one of the guest instructors showing quick stretches to do when your daughter is late getting to #1 tee and there is no time for formal routines. It is great and it takes just a minute or 2.

See you on #1 tee…and your daughter better be stretched-out and ready to play… Sam

Junior Golf: Emergency Kit

imageIn this Friday Flop Shot let’s discuss what to put in the Emergency Kit for your son to carry in his golf bag. Unexpected situations happen on the golf course and having just a few items on hand can help keep him in competition. (photo from

A quart-size zipper-style bag is a perfect size to hold some items that your son probably need during one of his tournaments. The goal here is to provide some relief for weird accidents or illnesses that can show up out on the course. Remember, once your son reaches a certain age, maybe 9 or 10 years old, you can’t give him anything once he puts his ball in play. And verbal communication usually is strictly limited, as well. And if caddies are not allowed and his coach is nowhere to be seen and he gets hurt, he’s pretty much on his own unless he needs EMS.

Things we have seen that are disruptive and inconvenient, but still can be played through by your son are: blisters, headaches, seasonal allergies, stingers, bleeding-usually scratches from bushes and trees and brief periods of just not feeling right. So, please check with your medical professional, but here is what we put in the quart bag: bandaides, gauze pads-small, athletic tape, aspirin/ibuprofen, Alleve, Claritin D, small tube of antibiotic ointment and a small tube of sunscreen. Again, with the exception of coaches and caddies, once your son gets around 10 years old, he’s on his own where minor illness and injury are concerned. So the choices are only play through the discomfort or take something from this bag to help with the discomfort or the dreaded WD-withdrawal, which no youngster really ever wants to do.

Here’s our crazy real-life example: S3 was on his final hole of a high school tournament at the Ram Rock Course at Horseshoe Bay in Central Texas, always one of the Top 5 toughest courses in the state. He was playing well, maybe 2-over through 17-holes and just had this tricky par 3 to finish the round. Linda and I were looking back at the tee box from the green and watched in shock as S3 took a practice swing and collapsed on the ground. We rushed down there to find that his left knee had dislocated, causing the collapse. And it popped right back in as he stood up. I mean nobody had ever seen anything like this on the golf course. And like every true competitor, he said, “Dad, I’m finishing this round. It’s only 1-hole.”image

Well, he wasn’t going to die from a dislocation, but I can’t imagine what was going through his mind as he hit his tee shot! Anyway, he bogied the hole, to complete a pretty good round. Please, at least with golf, don’t ever think you’ve seen everything, because our family can assure you that there is always something new and interesting waiting to show up when you are on the golf course. (photo from

The total weight of the golf bag is important, so keep the contents of the emergency bag to a minimum. Your son will appreciate, especially in hot weather during the last few holes.

See you on #1 tee… Sam

Junior Golf: The 1st Thing To Go

imageIn this Monday Mulligan we’ll take a look at the 1st thing to go when you suffer an injury. And it is the most time-consuming to get back to the previous level of proficiency.

What is it? It is what your junior golfer should be spending much of his time on, chipping and putting. The touch, feel, visualization and sheer creativity for shots around the green require a lot of practice. Golf is a sport which has many artistic requirements. And while visualization is important on every shot, the area around the green is where golf tournaments are won. (photo by

So when you son is injured, the tendency is to want to get back into playing shape as soon as possible. The problem is that most injuries don’t allow him to do any real practice. Even though chipping and putting are handsy-feely kinds of shots that use a little lower body action, your son’s whole body needs to be pain-free in order to properly set up to chip or putt.

So a sprained ankle or twisted knee obviously means no drives or approach shots will be hit for a while, but it also means discomfort when your son tries to chip or putt. This is where patience comes in and an encouraging word from Dad or Mom is very soothing. Trying to return too soon after injury is not good.image

World #1 Rory McIlroy, after the 2nd round the PGA Championship, was asked about where he thought his game was after a 2-month injury layoff. His response was that he was hitting some pretty good drives and approach shots, but his chipping and putting, his short game, just wasn’t where it needed to be. Folks, even Rory can’t snap his fingers and get his short game back. It takes work, lots of work.

You and your son can do some planning and strategizing so that once he is cleared to resume playing golf, the 2 of you have a solid plan. This gives him and you something to do to hopefully help rehab time go by more quickly.

See you on #1 tee…pain-free… Sam

Junior Golf: Stronger Hands and Wrists

imageIn today’s Friday Flop Shop we will look at why strong hands and wrists are important for golfers and recommend some exercises so your daughter can increase her strength. (photo from

Popeye’s forearms are legendary in the cartoon world. Paul Casey’s forearms are often described as Popeye-like or Popeye forearms because they are big, bigger than you see on most Tour players. But the forearms talked about more than any others in the history of professional golf are, of course, those of The King, Arnold Palmer. There was a photo of Arnold hanging in the lobby of the now defunct Pecan Valley Golf Club here in San Antonio that is certainly one of the great golfing photos of all-time. It was of Arnold hitting a shot out of a green side bunker and the cameraman caught him just after impact and you could see the size and strength of those forearms prominently in the shot. It was amazing! (Arnold Palmer art from

So why are strong forearms important? While I am not a medical professional, I can assure you that the forearms provide a bunch of support for the hands, as in grip, and the wrists, as in shock absorbers and control devices. Without strong forearms your daughter’s ability to just hit a lot of shots, much less shots from any rough, particularly deep rough are dramatically hindered. Just advancing the ball from the rough requires strong support for wrists and hands so she can hit a decent shot and continue to play without injury. A tremendous amount of strain and stress goes straight from the hands to the wrist, forearms, biceps, shoulders and more.

As Bubba Watson says, just hitting a lot more balls helps get your daughter “golf strong”, but there are a couple of simple exercises she can do at home that can quickly make her stronger.

Take a newspaper page or magazine page torn out of the periodical. Place the page in front of her. Have her place her hand flat, palm down in the middle of the page. Then draw the page into the palm of her hand by making a fist while pulling the paper into her palm, making a paper ball. Squeeze the ball as tight as possible, seeing how small she can make it. Hold the squeeze for a count of 3. I first heard of this technique from NFL players who raved about the results, as if they needed to be any stronger.image

Also you can get a wooden dowel or pvc pipe 18-24 inches long. Then get a piece of soft rope about 3 feet long. Attach an individual weight plate of 1.25, 2.5 or 5.0 pounds to one end of the rope. Attach the other end to the middle of the dowel/pvc pipe. Have her grab the dowel and hold it straight out in front of her with elbows pretty much locked and parallel to the ground. Roll the rope onto the dowel by pushing the wrists forward until the weight hits the dowel. Allow the weight to drop by slowly rolling the wrists in the opposite direction. In other words, up can be pushing the wrists forward and down can be pulling the wrists to her. Start with 2 or 3 reps of both directions. When she gets up to 10 reps, increase the weight.

OK, here are a couple of tips to increase strength and reduce risk of injury.

See you on #1 tee… Sam

Junior Golf: Protect Your Body

imageIn today’s Monday Mulligan we will look at how and why junior golfers must protect their bodies. Protection and caution particularly against non-golf injuries is where we are going here.

With the PGA Championship week here, I can’t help but wonder how defending champion Rory McIlroy will do. After tearing up his ankle in a pickup soccer game with friends, his practice and physical prep has been severely limited. The 2 conversations I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall on are:
1. the call from Nike to Rory’s agent after learning that Nike’s highest paid professional golfer was going to miss 1 major tournament, The Open Championship, and could possibly miss a 2nd major, The PGA Championship.
2. the call from Rory’s agent to Rory.

While I am not a lawyer or sports agent or manager, I do know that most professional athletes have clauses in their contracts prohibiting or at least strictly limiting any physical activity outside of that required to perform at a high level in their sport. Sports teams and sports endorsement companies, Nike here, pay big bucks for an athlete to play well and bring positive attention to their product or service and every game an athlete misses means the endorser loses money. I wonder if there was a penalty clause to Rory if he missed a major championship, which he did, because of a contract violation. Wow, interesting stuff. And frankly, how embarrassing.

How does this affect your junior golfer? Simple. Please impress upon him that if golf is the sport he intends to play, then he will need to give up some other sports in order to limit the possibility of injury. S3 incurred a couple of minor injuries playing pickup basketball and throwing a football…with his golf teammates at an away tournament. Now, he was able to play, but was a bit uncomfortable. It required constantly reminding him to tell his buddies that being healthy for his golf was more important that playing pickup games. He was disappointed at first but you know, after the first couple of strains and sprains, he got the point and quit messing around.image

So, when you are at the family reunion and that traditional flag football, basketball or volleyball game starts up, remind your kiddo that the best choice is to not play and stay healthy for all the wonderful golf activities on the fall calendar. Yes, there will be some sadness, but not nearly the amount of sadness there would be if your son missed a tournament or 2 because of an injury sustained as a result of a poor choice. As the Knight’s Templar said in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, “He choose poorly.”

Enjoy PGA Championship week! Tape the tournament and the “live from PGA” that airs on The Golf Channel. There is much excellent golf wisdom dispensed during these broadcasts!

See you on #1 tee… Sam

%d bloggers like this: