Posts Tagged ‘Instruction’

Junior Golf: Use Demo Days To Lower Your Scores

In this Friday Flop Shot we’ll look at the benefits of Demo Days and how you and your junior golfer can use them to shoot lower scores.

Demo Days are regularly scheduled at nearly every golf course and at some golf academies and learning centers. All the major manufacturers have representatives who put on Demo Days. Please check with the golf facilities in your area for dates of upcoming Demo Days and plan to attend.

Don’t be concerned if you’re not familiar with a certain club manufacturer. Go anyway. It’s great fun! There’s always something to be learned. It will pay off. It’s a free education!

Before you go, you and your kiddo briefly discuss any specific clubs you may want to evaluate. Whether it’s the driver, irons or wedges, have some thoughts ready ahead of time.

Put his/her full set of clubs in the car with you and then take the club you are most interested in with you when you walk up to the rep. If it’s irons, take the 7-iron.

Most reps today have numerous different weight/length/flex shafts that they can immediately screw on to any head. They do it right there and it only takes a few seconds. Let the Demo Day rep look at the current 7-iron and ask for suggestions of what shaft/head combo he has that might improve distance and accuracy.

Recently I was with Wilson Staff master fitter, Jeff Pittillo, at River Falls Plantation in South Carolina. I showed him my current 7-iron and mentioned I wasn’t happy with it because the ball didn’t go anywhere. I’ve lost a bunch of distance. His analysis: the shaft is too heavy. It’s stiff flex and I need regular. And the heads are almost blades and I need a more forgiving cavity-back style club. Wow!

Here’s what we did. We tried a couple of different weight shafts, all regular flex and ultimately Jeff recommended the KBS 90 gram regular flex shaft for more speed. We put it on the new Wilson Staff C300 Forged heads and the C300 Cast heads. The C300 Cast went further, felt better and had a beautiful ball flight. And the Cast is cheaper than the Forged. They’re great!

You can duplicate this scenario with your youngster at every Demo Day. Attend as many DD’s as possible so your son/daughter can get opinions from several club fitters and get a feel for different makes of clubs. At some point, you will hear, “Dad, those xxxxxx’s really felt good and they increased my distance!”

Now it’s up to the golf budget guru to see what can be done. Remember, the PGA publishes golf club trade-in values so you may get some bucks from the current clubs. A few times each year most facilities offer extra value on your trade-ins. Ask and they should be able to tell you when the next extra value trade-in period is and plan accordingly.

In order for your junior to be competitive, it is critical that Dad and Mom plan and commit to provide golf clubs that are correct for your child’s size, strength, athletic ability and skill level. This is a great way to get quality input from multiple sources!

See you on #1 tee with the right clubs… Sam

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Junior Golf: 3 Major Benefits of Speed Training

In this Monday Mulligan we are continuing our foray into golf swing speed training.

Parents, perhaps you’re wondering where we’re going with this. Well here you go. In all our years of being a golfing family, we have heard swing speed and the importance of it mentioned countless times. However, we never pursued the topic because we didn’t know where to go for proper instruction on how to increase it.

Let’s turn this party around for you, enter Michael Romatowski. What’s different about his methods? He focuses on exercises and training to increase speed, pure and simple and it works. In the classes I’ve attended I have seen women, men, young, old, novice golfer, pro golfer all increase their swing speeds.

Most folks can expect a 5-10% increase and some gain even more speed. The time required to achieve gains is unique to the individual. My swing speed is up 2.5% after 4 sessions as I pursue that 10% goal!

The benefits for your junior golfer are: 1. It works. For every 1mph increase in driver speed, add 2.5 yards. The pros get excited about getting an extra 3 yards from a new driver. Every yard is important!

2. Your child will have a more efficient swing. After 1 class, a top local golfer said he felt like he was using more of his core and he had better balance.

3. It improves confidence. As your kiddo sees that he/she can increase swing speed and actually get more yards out of their driver, they know they are increasing their level of competitiveness. They like it!

What’s the next step? Contact Michael at MichaelRomatowski.com and ask him the best way to follow up. Ideally a family golf trip to San Antonio that would include going to a couple of Mike’s classes would be great fun! If that’s not doable I’m sure he’ll have some ideas for you.

See you on #1 tee hitting that driver a bit farther.., Sam

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

Junior Golf: Unforced Errors

In today’s Monday Mulligan we’ll take a look at something that happens in every sport, it just tends to happen less among the players and teams who are properly prepared mentally. (photo jennleforge.com)img_0135

Unforced errors are our topic today. What are they? Simply put, it’s making a mistake when you should not have. In golf, it’s hitting a poor shot when your ball was in a decent position for you to have hit the proper shot, a good result. You had no extraordinary degree of difficulty or challenges required to hit the good shot. Missing short putts or hitting poor chip shots from a good lie are also valid examples.

In volleyball, service errors are 1 example of unforced errors. If the serve is merely in play, it forces the receiving team to make a play. If the serve is not in play the receiving team gets a free point. The #1-ranked US Women’s Volleyball team entered their semifinal match against Serbia as the Gold Medal favorite. 18 US service errors later-read 18 points for Serbia-our ladies lost 15-13 in the 5th set. In fact 2 of Serbia’s last 4 points to win the match were US service errors. The final point was a block going off of 1 of our girls and ending up out of play, Serbia wins 15-13. Serbia played great, in fact they peaked in this game because China blew them out 3-1 in the Gold Medal match.

How on earth does our team of this caliber commit 18 service errors in 1 match? I mean that’s 18 points and Serbia only beat us by a total of 11 points in the 3 sets that they won! Is it lack of practice/preparation, poor coaching, lack of focus during the game, folding to the pressure of The Olympics or just having a bad night? I don’t know the answer, only the result. Unforced errors took our team out of the Gold Medal Match. To the ladies’ credit they did bring home the Bronze Medal and had a lot fewer service errors! (photo 14-05-1994.blogspot.com)image

Golf’s latest example of unforced errors was yesterday when Rickie Fowler took himself out of contention shooting 5 strokes over par on his last 8 holes, after going 55 holes without a bogey. With a final round 74, Rickie’s fluid swing from earlier in the week disappeared and he could not maintain his great scoring. So he ended up T-7 in The Barclay’s. He needed to be T-3 or better for an automatic Ryder Cup spot. Surely he is still in the running for a Captain’s pick.

Errant tee shots-read unforced errors-led to more difficult following shots, which made pars very challenging on this very tough golf course.

What happened? No telling. Was it really old-fashioned pressure of too many high-value goals dependent on the last few holes? Sure, the pros feel pressure just like the rest of us, but they’re usually better than we are at dealing with it.

Minimizing unforced errors is critical for your daughter. Depending on her age and skill level, confidence is a good place to start eliminating mistakes. Get her off the range and onto the course. Encourage her to remember how it felt to hit that good shot, chip or putt. Ask her how she can feel her muscles soaking up the memory of a great shot. Put these positives in her mind. Pressure is coming and proper preparation and a solid level of confidence are important foundations to be able to handle it.

See you on #1 tee, properly prepared… Sam

Junior Golf: Ladies Begin Play

In this Wednesday Waggle we will take a look at the Ladies Golf at the Rio Olympics. Play begins today and ends Saturday. The format is 72-hole stroke play, same as the men’s event won by Justin Rose of Great Britain. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)img_0102-1

The women have pretty much all of their top stars on hand so the competition should be excellent. Our Team USA includes Stacy Lewis, Lexi Thompson and Gerina Pillar and it will be most interesting to hear from them about all the ramifications of being an Olympian and being the 1st women Olympic golfers since 1900.

1 of the things not mentioned often enough is that Olympic medals are the rarest of them all, being up for competition only once every 4 years. I’ll leave it up to you math wizards out there to compute the odds, but the factors involved in winning an Olympic gold medal vs a major would be: a golfer has 16x the chances to play in a major based on frequency of occurrence, every year for majors and every 4 years for The Olympics. Then majors likely have about 156 entries each and there are many different ways to be eligible to enter each major, oh and there are 4 majors each year all of which have extremely high levels of prestige, although different. Olympic golf has a maximum of 4 entries per country, based on rankings. So math folks, go crazy here and give me a number of how rare an Olympic golf medal is compared to winning a major, please!

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The point I’m trying to make is that Olympic medals in golf are very rare birds. In fact, golf’s future after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where golf is included, will be determined at a meeting in 2017. So it is possible that golf could again be eliminated at the 2017 meeting and starting at the 2024 Olympics, it would be gone. Who knows for how long? Maybe medals from Rio and Tokyo would be the ONLY Olympic golf medals for another 100 years, Wow! So after Tokyo you would have a maximum of 6 different men and 6 different women who would have Olympic golf medals and all the other great players would be looking at that vacant spot in their trophy case never knowing if there would ever be another chance for them to win an Olympic medal to fill in that spot. (photo golfnewsnet.com)

The coverage begins at 5:30am today on The Golf Channel. All rounds are replayed several times throughout the day. Please, set your TiVo. This is golf history and it will excite your daughter and give her some opportunities to dream big! Can’t wait!

See you on #1 tee looking like an Olympian… Sam

JuniorGolf: The Olympics

In this Friday Flop Shot we will look at an amazing 17-day stretch where you and your son can watch the world’s greatest athletes compete on the biggest stage of all! (photo offcoursegolf.com)img_0106-1

Yes, it’s Olympics time. The opening ceremony is tonight and knowing Brazil’s flair for extravagant celebrations, I think we should expect a very colorful and entertaining evening. Some of the events have already started due to necessary timing between contests. Women’s soccer started Wednesday and the well-deserved #1 seed US Women’s Soccer Team took care of New Zealand 2-0 and have their next game against France at 3:00pm, central time, tomorrow, on DirecTv, channel 220. The men’s soccer started yesterday however the lackluster US Men’s Soccer Team didn’t even qualify for the top 16 teams to make the Olympic competition.

There are so many reasons for you and your son and your whole family to watch this competition that I can’t begin to list them in today’s post. For now let me try to get you revved up a bit. (photo krcrtv.com)image

You absolutely must watch Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympic athlete of ALL-TIME! This is his 4th Olympics and even though is is like 1,000 years-old in swimmer’s years, he will certainly be the man to beat in every race he is in. I’m encouraging you that this man has one of the fiercest wills to win of anyone you will ever see. This is a must watch, yes, even more so than golf. These are Michael Phelps’ last competitive races ever against the best swimmers in the world and so expect an amazing result!

In a different vein, women’s gymnastics is regarded as the most highly-rated, in TV viewership, of all the sports and the US brings a strong contingent. This is always beautiful and amazing to watch. Here’s a 5-minute video of 1 of the great Olympic moments of all-time. If you don’t know who Kerri Strug is, you will after watching this. Get fired up!

Olympic golf starts with the men on August 11, followed by the women on August 17th, all on The Golf Channel. More on that as we get closer. In the meantime, get that TiVo going. NBC has coverage on NBC, The Golf Channel, Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC, NBCSN, USA Network and specialty channels for basketball and soccer and is streaming EVERY event live on the web on NBCOlympics.com and on the NBC Sports app. NBC has exclusive rights so find out where these channels are on your provider and get prepared!

See you on #1 tee looking ready for The Olympics… Sam

Junior Golf: Unexpected Results

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will look at unexpected results, what happens when your son’s round of golf doesn’t look anything like you thought it would or should, or what we, his team, were expecting.img_0106

A perfect example is yesterday’s 1st round results at the PGA Championship. 2 of the biggest favorites will need to have a great round today or miss the cut. Rory McIlroy had a 4-over par 74, with 35 putts. Please note that most tour pros would love to average 27-28 putts per round, or less, so 35 is horrible. Now Dustin Johnson, winner or 2 events in a row not that long ago blew up to a 77, what’s up with that? (photo offcoursegolf.com)

Along with Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Bubba Watson, Ricky Fowler, these were most of the top names being picked to win the 4th major of 2016. Let’s see, Jimmy Walker and Martin Kaymer, who are they again? Well, Martin has won 2 majors and Jimmy has won 5 times in the previous 2 years, but neither has had a lot going on this year. How is Jimmy leading and how is Martin tied for 4th with Henrik among others, after 1 round?

Jimmy said he grew up playing a Tillighast course, I think referring to our wonderful Brackenridge Park Golf Course, Old Brack, here in San Antonio. The big greens, generous fairways and bunker placements were familiar to him. Folks, the pros favor some courses over others and pleasing to the eye, familiarity, acceptability of their preferred shot shape, etc are big deals. It’s a bonus to Jimmy that a course in a major feels comfortable to him. (Jimmy Walker photo pga.com)

PGA: PGA Championship - First Round

Jul 28, 2016; Springfield, NJ, USA; Jimmy Walker reacts to the crowd after making a putt on 17th hole during the first round of the 2016 PGA Championship golf tournament at Baltusrol GC – Lower Course. Mandatory Credit: Eric Sucar-USA TODAY Sports

And Martin Kaymer, in majors he’s either really on or really off and if it’s an on week for him, look out. He can get in a serious zone. Let’s not forget Henrik Stensen, winner of The Open Championship 2 weeks ago, he’s and Martin are only 2 shots back. No disrespect to the other players in the top 10 after round 1, but you can look up the complete leaderboard online.

What does this mean to you and your junior golfer? Competitive sports is tough, it’s like life, things happen! Good things and bad things happen and many cannot be readily explained. It’s getting back up to hit another shot that counts. Believing that the next shot will be a good shot counts even more! I can assure you that there were times S3 looked like he was ready to cry, faint or throw up after hitting a bad shot or having a bad hole. Sometimes he got over it on the next tee box and sometimes it took a few holes, but he got over it during the round, usually finishing with a strong final 3 holes, at least.

Being an encourager is 1 of the most important roles for a parent. Remember that just because your son has been playing great recently does not mean he will play great in his next event. The encouragement must be that nobody plays great all the time, but he, your son, must believe he can hit a good shot after hitting a poor 1. Positive, positive, positive! If you get knocked down, you get back up. Forget the bad, focus on the good.

Let’s enjoy this great golf weekend! The Women’s Open Championship is in progress and of course we have the rest of the Men’s PGA Championship. Get the TiVo going!

See you on #1 tee expecting good shots… Sam

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