Posts Tagged ‘junior golfer’

Junior Golf: US Wins IC

In this Monday Mulligan we will enjoy looking at the great come from behind win the US LPGA stars pulled off this past weekend! (photo jennleforge.com)img_0135

The International Crown event was created in order to give the excellent Asian women’s golfers an international team event where they could play and represent their country. This is an 8-team event where eligibility is determined by the combined Rolex World Rankings of the 4 top players from each country. The 8 countries with the lowest totals get to play.

Countries are then seeded and placed into 2 4-team brackets and play 3 days of 4-ball, which is usually called best ball or better ball in the US. For example: 2 players from 2 teams play in a 4-some. Each player plays her own ball through the hole and the lowest score of the team’s 2 players is used. The 2 teams with the most points after 3 days of best ball, from each bracket, advance along with a 5th-place, wildcard team, to Sunday’s singles matches.

Sunday, yesterday, was singles matches where for instance, the 4 US ladies played 1×1 vs South Korea, England, Taiwan and wildcard entry, Japan. 2 points for a win, 1 for a tie and 0 for a loss.

To put things in perspective, the US played poorly on day 1, Thursday and got no points. Yes, that’s zero, nada, the big 0, whatever you choose to call it. So our girls were in a not so good spot, but still had a chance to win with strong play and that’s what happened.

Friday we got 3 points with a halve and a win and Saturday was a 4-point day for our ladies with 2 victories. So entering Sunday’s singles matches we were in 2nd place with 7 points, 1 point out of 1st place. Not bad, still having a chance to win.image

Singles matches meant money-time for the US as our players went on a tear! Stacy Lewis beat Japan’s Mika Miyazato 3 and 2. Gerina Gillar smoked Taiwan’s former World #1 Yani Tseng, 4 and 3. And Christie Kerr dominated England’s tough Mel Reid, 3 and 2. Lexi Thompson and her putter had an inconsistent day and she lost 2 and 1 to South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu. But, the US got 6 points for a total of 13 points and none of the other teams had a chance to catch up. US ladies win, congratulations! (photo gabrielroux.com.mx)

What this means to parents of junior golfers is that you should be encouraging your daughters to have the confidence that they can hit good shots and can get low scores. Everybody has some bad shots, bad holes and a bad round. It’s coming back from those poor situations and hitting good shots is what it’s all about. It’s what life is all about. It’s what enabled our ladies to win the IC! Be an encourager!

See you on #1 tee looking encouraged… Sam

Junior Golf: Copy Phil’s Attitude

In this Friday Flop Shot we will look at how your son’s attitude impacts his score. There are numerous examples, both good and bad every weekend on the PGA and LPGA Tours. (photo offcoursegolf.com)img_0106

He’s not called today’s Arnold Palmer, for no reason. Phil Mickelson is likely the most beloved professional golfer playing currently. Why, you ask? Arnold Palmer, the King, brought athleticism, strength, energy, big smiles, an obvious love of the moment and a genuine love of the fans with him to every event. Oh and he brought great skill, too, attempting shots that others wouldn’t and often getting great results! And he was legendary for staying long after his rounds to sign every autograph. Arnold was once jokingly accused of carrying binoculars with him so he could see if anyone else wanted an autograph before he left. Great stuff, things that fans everywhere dearly love!

Now Phil is not Arnold Palmer, but he carries a bunch of Arnie’s qualities. Phil signs, smilingly, tons of autographs, he brings an exciting game, trying shots that others might not, and he certainly enjoys the fans. Also he has a consistently positive attitude. When you listen to the greats like Arnold, Jack Nicklaus and yes, Phil, you will notice that they always say positive things. Interviewers try to get them to say something negative and they just won’t do it! Part of this is their can do personality and part of it is their understanding how the brain works and they want only positive thoughts filling their minds.image

Parents please get this, eliminate the negative and fill your conversations and your kiddos mind with positive thoughts and words. Competitive sports is tough and staying positive is a major attribute and it takes practice. (photo golf.swingbyswing.com)

So yesterday Phil shot an 8-under par 63, to take the 1st round lead in The Open Championship. How did he do it, well his positive attitude about his game and his shot-making helped a ton, as did hitting 16 of 18 greens. Once negative thoughts show up, the game is lost. Let’s see how Phil does today.

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

Junior Golf: The Open Championship

In this Monday Mulligan we will take our 1st look at the 3rd of the 2016 men’s Major Championships, The Open Championship, previously called The British Open. (photo jennleforge.com)img_0135

This is a favorite week every year for our family as we get to see such different golf courses, player strategies and bizarre weather, not to mention the stunning scenery and uniqueness of golf in the British Isles, the birthplace of golf.

2016 is the 145th playing of The Open Championship, yes, really! Royal Troon Golf Club is on the west coast of Scotland, just south of Glasgow and this will be the 9th time it has hosted The OC. Ladies golf has flourished at Royal Troon as they held their 1st Championship, The Ladies Championship, in 1904. How cool is that! 38 Championships in total have been held at RTGC over the years.

Parents, this week is a perfect opportunity to ramp up and reinvigorate your junior’s and the whole family’s love of golf. Our great game is a sport that has a lot of art in it. The creativity required in links golf, which is what you’ll see this week, is beyond what is typically demanded on US-type courses. The art comes from the player being able to see how to roll his shot through the myriad of undulations to get it to stop in a good position for the next shot. Hitting high shots that stop quick is the exception rather than the rule in Open Championships.

Links golf features very hard fairways and greens, bunkers than are truly penalizing and rough that is semi-impossible to play out of. It is different, it is exciting and it is unpredictable! NBC and The Golf Channel have the coverage, which begins at 1:30am Eastern time,12:30am Central time, this Thursday morning on The Golf Channel. Remember coverages switches to NBC for Saturday and Sunday. However, Live From The Open is on The Golf Channel is on right now and has a ton of hours of superior coverage and commentary throughout the whole week.

Set your DVRs. If you don’t have The Golf Channel, now is the time to add it to your TV package! When you are wondering how you can have all these TV channels and there is nothing worth watching, well The Open Championship fixes that problem, at least for a week. (photo golfscotland.com)image

Couple of quotes to leave you with: TV commentator Mark Rolfing,
“With this new technology, the players have learned how to control the flight of the ball in the air. Links golf is about controlling the roll of the ball when it is on the ground!” PGA professional Davis Love III, when asked what was the most layers of clothes he had ever worn in a golf tournament, “That’s easy, I wore 5 layers in the 198x, British Open.”

Oh, did I neglect the weather? Open Championships usually have at least a day or 2 of chilly temperatures combined with wind and rain. Remember, you can be uncomfortable on a 60-degree sunny day in high winds with inadequate clothing, so imagine the sheer fortitude necessary to play well on a 55-degree cloudy day with high winds and rain, miserable. But though weather is part of what The Open Championship is known for.

See you on #1 tee on a links course… Sam

Junior Golf: Thoughts From Sir Nick

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will enjoy some thoughts from 1 of the all time great golfers, Sir Nick Faldo, winner of 6 major championships. There are some men and women in our wonderful world of golf whose thoughts and words offer great insight and advice and Sir Nick is certainly 1 of them. (photo offcoursegolf.com)img_0106

Now before we get too far along here, David Feherty asked Sir Nick about the formality, almost haughty use of the “Sir Nick” term, to which Faldo replied, well, “It’s actually a request of the Royalty that the term Sir be used to compliment and reinforce the title and tradition.” I mean this is a very big deal in Britain.

Ok, on to golf. Sir Nick is 1 of the rare announcers who offers really useful insights into what a player sees and feels and needs to do to compete at golf’s highest level. When Jason Day blew his drive left into the trees on #16 last Sunday, leading to a double-bogey which took him out of the lead, Faldo said, “Think how good he’ll be when he gets a fade. In order to be the absolute complete golfer, you must be able to fade and draw your driver.” Jason Day needed to hit a fade on #16, but didn’t/couldn’t and it cost him.

Dad and Mom you may be thinking that right now you will be pleased if your daughter just hits her tee shot in play. Yes, being able to draw and fade any club is an advanced technique, but put it on the list. Have big goals and big dreams!image

Another great insight from Sir Nick came during his appearance on Feherty. Sir Nick mentioned that he made a terribly costly mistake when he decided to tweak his swing. He went to legendary coach David Leadbetter for help. According to Sir Nick it took 2 years for the new swing to kick in. He was on the European Ryder Cup Team, who won, but he didn’t really contribute. He hit 5 buckets of balls a day, not the normal buckets, but the 300 ball buckets, you got it, 1500 balls a day for 2 years to get the new swing down. So when your girl hits 1 large bucket of 120 balls at the range, well, let’s put it in perspective, hit more balls! (photo sports.yahoo.com)

Faldo basically lost 2 prime years of opportunity in professional golf to make a swing change. When your girl is unhappy when, after a week, she is not perfectly executing the points from her last lesson, perhaps mention Sir Nick’s 2-year odyssey. Patience and hit more balls, my dear!

See you on #1 tee, using Sir Nick’s tips… Sam

Junior Golf: The Good Ole USA

In this Monday Mulligan we just ask Mom and Dad that you and your junior golfer take a minute to understand and appreciate the great country that is The United States of America. (photo jennleforge.com)img_0135-1

There’s a reason people from all over the world want to come here. Even with all our problems we are still the land of opportunity, a place where dreams can come true. This applies to golf as well.

Golf is truly becoming a worldwide sport, but the best players, tours and junior golf programs are right here in the USA. So please explain to your young golfer that the wonderful opportunity that they have in this country is unique and hopefully they will get your point and have a different perspective on this great game.

imageSo marinate the meat and fire up the grill and get ready to watch some fireworks.

See you on #1 tee loving your opportunity… Sam

Junior Golf: Teamwork

In this Friday Flop Shot we will take look at an aspect of all golf, certainly including junior golf that is often downplayed, overlooked or just not given enough attention. We’re talking about teamwork. (photo offcoursegolf.com)timg_0106-1

There are teams everywhere in our lives. From family dynamics, the workplace, relationships and extra-curricular activities, teamwork is in action. Sometimes it’s more obvious as in the team sports like football, soccer and the rest. Individual sports have teams as well, it’s just that those teams are mostly behind the scenes. Golf is the 1 individual sport where an aspect of the team is displayed when the event allows caddies. Caddies, good caddies, are absolutely invaluable to the player. In a tournament, the caddy is the only 1 who can give advice to the player and the best caddies give good advice. The player doesn’t have to heed the recommendation, but at least it was offered.

Jordan Spieth uses the term we more than any other PGA or LPGA player. When asked about the use of the term, Jordan says it refers to him, his caddy and his family and friends who have supported him in so many ways during his whole career from junior golf to today. Jordan does certainly understand that he, the player, is the 1 who must actually swing the club and bear the responsibility that goes with it, good shots or poor shots. (photo pgatour.com)image

Mom and Dad, please recognize that you are a junior golf team with your daughter. There is no way any professional athlete can operate without a team, often much larger than you would expect, supporting them. Your junior golfer is every bit as dependent on you for everything except for taking the shot! It is your help with finding the tournaments, getting her entries in, paying for the events and getting her prepared to play in them and then getting her to and from them. And hopefully being on the course with her as encouraging spectators or her caddy, when allowed.

Please allow me to once again briefly visit my Longhorn Legends On The Couch as they discussed their thoughts during the 2006 Rose Bowl National Championship win over USC. This is just fun for me, pardon my indulgence. Teamwork, teamwork and more teamwork was constantly referred to during the analysis of the game. Michael Huff and Aaron Ross, the 2 defensive players on the Legends Couch mentioned the confidence that the defensive squad had in each other. A player could count on his teammates to be in the correct position on every down. And the mentality of the defense was to swarm to the ball. If you get a chance to see this game, please notice how many white longhorn jerseys are involved in every tackle, they were swarming!

Kasey Studdard, Longhorn Legend offensive lineman, said the USC was running the same couple of blitzes, different defenses, when the Longhorns lined up in a certain formation. Well, the offensive line, who had played together for years and may be the best offensive line in UT history, took about 10 seconds to discuss it and figured out how to defeat it and they did so the rest of the game. Superior example of great teamwork!

Yes, team sport teamwork is similar to, but different from, individual sport teamwork. It is however, everyone being on the same page and fulfilling their duties. Parents, please get on board today with your girl’s junior golf efforts. If she’s willing to put in the effort to practice and play then you need to support her, period. If you are unsure of the best ways to support her contact us at icare4parents@gmail.com

See you on #1 tee with support… Sam

Junior Golf: More Championship Thoughts

In this Wednesday Waggle let’s spend a little more time of the way champions think. These are valuable lessons from highly successful athletes.img_0102-1

The mental game or the mindset of a player, coach or team is critical to performing at a high level. In fact most elite athletes will tell you that they wish they had started working on their mental game earlier than they consciously did. The consensus is that the physical part of the game is easier to master than the mental part. We can all see this play out in every sport. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)

Early in the UT/USC National Championship Game, UT’s Aaron Ross dropped a punt and USC recovered the ball on the Texas side of the field. To paraphrase UT head coach Mack Brown,
“Aaron was the only 1 mad on our sideline because all the rest of us knew what a great player Aaron was and that he wouldn’t do that again.” Wow, what great confidence by teammates and coaches! Having this level of confidence allows everyone involved to focus on what’s important, as in the next play and winning the game. It keeps everybody as calm as is possible in such circumstances. When your daughter hits a poor shot, how does she react? Please encourage her and help her build her confidence so that when she has an undesirable result on the golf course, she can recover and get back to playing her normal game.

As the halftime break was ending and UT was getting ready to go back out on the field, 1 of the offensive linemen gave a brief and enthusiastic rah rah speech. Then Coach Brown uttered his own final words to the team, and I’ll paraphrase his brief statement, “OK, let’s go win this game!” What a classic speech of confidence in his team! They were leading and had 30 minutes of football left and if they played as good as they were capable of they would be National Champions. The team and coaches knew they were good enough. This was the perfect time to reinforce their level of confidence with a few calm and choice words. If Mack had yelled and screamed at the team or thrown things, it would have appeared as as lack of confidence or panic to the players. (photo from google.com)image

Do you remain calm or do you show signs of stress or panic with your girl? Does your daughter believe that you have confidence in her and her abilities on the golf course? If not, Dad and Mom, it’s time to change your tune! Encourage her during practice with words like, “you can hit that shot, chip it in, make that putt, you know how to do that, you’re good enough and of course, I love you.” Our youngsters are fragile creatures who do not want to disappoint their parents. A smile, a thumbs up and an I love you are what your junior golfer needs more than anything else.

Calm and confidence are 2 traits that can vanish quickly during the heat of competition. A couple of bad holes and all of a sudden your daughter doesn’t even think she can hit her golf ball. Some days she’ll recover and sometimes she may not, but that’s golf and that’s life. It’s not how you react to something, it’s how you respond. There’s a big difference.

Tons of excellent golf books and sports psychology books are for sale all over the web. Or look up some world champions and see how they prepared for competition. I suggest you only look at players who finished 1st at least once at the highest level of competition in their sport. Read some of Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus’s quotes or any of the golf legends, male or female. Their insights are spectacular and immediately useful. Help your daughter build up her confidence and the calm that, hopefully, goes along with it.

See you on #1 tee looking calm and confident… Sam

Junior Golf: Sometimes It’s Tough

In this Friday Flop Shot we will look at the times it is tough being the parent of an athlete, particularly the parent of a junior golfer. There are an infinite number of ways to deal with your own emotions when you are watching your son during a tournament. Let’s talk about some things for parents to do that are helpful to your child’s success.img_0106-1

It’s easy when your son is playing well. We, parents, are all smiles and thumbs up. But what is your reaction when he triple-bogies the 1st hole? Do you show some negative body language, turn away, drop your head, throw your hands up or mutter something uncomplimentary? Here’s where it is particularly tough for parents because we are human and we want our kids to do well. Your son sees and hears everything you do. The last thing he wants is to disappoint you and he will surely glance your way after a good shot as well as after a poor shot. Parents, we must BE the parents and in spite of how our heartstrings are being shredded by a bad hole or 2 we must be the ones who continue to smile and give a thumbs up to our youngsters who are in the midst of some poor shots. Whatever it takes, laser this into your brain! Folks, we are our kiddos #1 fans and support system. Act like it! (photo offcoursegolf.com)

This isn’t his last golf tournament so he will have plenty of chances to shoot some good scores. Relax and enjoy the time you have been given to be with your young golfer on a beautiful golf course. Set the example for other parents and fans. As you attend more and more tournaments, you will see shocking behavior from other parents, not in every event, but a few times each year. Frankly, once S3 started playing in college tournaments, I thought that the college parents we were around for 4 enjoyable years were the most pleasant, relaxed, knowledgeable and respectful parents and fans we had ever seen. Great atmosphere and met some super people!image

Sometimes, unfortunately, it takes seeing someone else act up to perhaps enable us to see what we might look like when we exhibit an undesirable act during a round. I’ll always remember when S3 was dealing with some intermittent anger issues. Then in a tournament he watched another guy go ballistic with his anger, I’m talking scary crazy here, and S3 said, “Wow, Dad, that was horrible! Is that how I look? I don’t want to be like that.” That 1 example from a peer made the point that all my words could not. Amazing! Here I am with S3 on #15 on the beautiful Ocean Course at Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast, Florida.

See you on #1 tee in a good mood… Sam

Junior Golf: The U. S. Open

In today’s Wednesday Waggle we will look at the 2nd men’s major tournament of 2016 which starts tomorrow. This is often referred to as The United States National Championship. We are talking about, of course, the men’s U.S. Open Golf Championship. (photo golfdigest.com)img_0102

Oakmont Country Club Western Pennsylvania is the site and this course is regarded as the toughest course that PGA players have ever competed on. So what is an Open event? It’s pretty straightforward as the event is open to professionals and amateurs as long as they meet the requirements. Playing in a U.S. Open is a big deal, a dream for any serious golfer. Ways to qualify include various rankings in the PGA Tour, special amateur wins and certain international wins. There are also qualifiers where a GHIN (golf handicap index) of 1.4 or less enables you to submit your entry a. The good news is that this largest field in golf, 156 entries, has 80 players from sectional qualifiers. This is great stuff, but keep in mind that more than 10,000 guys enter the sectionals to go after these 80 available spots. You must play great to earn a spot in the qualifiers.

Now, if your young man makes it to the actual tournament the fun really begins. Phil Mickelson said that Oakmont is probably the toughest course the PGA has ever played. Folks, that’s an intimidating statement! The greens are faster than any the pros have seen. The fairways have a bunch of slope, so keeping a tee shot in play is very difficult. The 1st cut of the rough is moderate, read-perhaps a chance to hit the green and the 2nd cut is just brutal leaving the bat players in the world virtually no chance of getting on the green. The traps have a huge amount of new soft sand added to them, so hitting the ball from a trap is more of an advancing shot, rather than potential scoring shot. Oh, and the greens have tremendous undulations. (photo ococean.com)image

To be fair, the USGA intends for this event to be the most mentally and physically demanding golf event anywhere. And they accomplish it! It is certainly possible for them to set up the course as a fair, albeit very tough test and hopefully this is what is done. For example, have you ever heard the term, U. S. Open rough? Usually this refers to long, deep and difficult to sometimes find and play the ball out of and it’s a tradition at this tournament. Well, that’s what you’ll see if a ball gets into the 2nd cut this week at Oakmont.

TV coverage is on Fox and after their disastrous broadcasting last year, they have upped their announcing crew by adding Paul Azinger, who has a great golf IQ and is quite knowledgeable and interesting to listen to. I’m excited to hear him as Paul always gives genuine golf nuggets that should be written down or at least noted. So tomorrow’s TV runs from 9am-4pm, central time on FS1, same on Friday, then at 4pm those days it switches to regular Fox until 7pm. Saturday and Sunday it’s 10am-6pm, central time, all on your regular Fox channel. Set those Tivos because this will be great stuff! And playoffs in the U. S. Open are 18-holes played the next day following completion of the standard 72-holes, Monday.

See you on #1 tee looking ready for tough rough… Sam

Junior Golf: Big Achievement Big Reward

In this Friday Flop Shot we will discuss how Mom and Dad should give recognition to your junior golfer when he reaches a goal or completes something very meaningful. This can range from making an adjustment to his putting stroke, to winning a tournament, getting a golf scholarship or in our case graduating from college in 4 years on a golf scholarship.image

Once S3, Linda and I acknowledged we were all on the same page regarding college golf and college graduation as the end goals, we proceeded full-speed ahead. As it became clear S3 would get his degree, we began planning his graduation gift/recognition. A nice golf and coast-oriented vacation with Mom and Dad was requested and I went to work. (photo offcoursegolf.com)

Since we love Florida, that became our focus. A search of golf resorts came up with several including the Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast. It didn’t take long to see that this was where we needed to spend some time. It was good geographically being close enough to the World Golf Hall of Fame so we could take a day trip and still come back to Hammock Beach and play an afternoon round. And it was a decent drive from Navarre Beach where we would spend time with our dear friends Shirley and Steve.

Our first stop after a 12-hour drive was Navarre Beach and S3 and I played Tiger Point Country Club the next day. Although the course was suffering from water issues, it was easy to see how this layout could be very tough with proper course conditions. So we worked out the kinks from the previous day’s drive and played call-shot golf. Great fun really when you want to do something different on a mostly vacant golf course.

Next morning we drove to Hammock Beach Resort for a 3pm tee time on the fabulous Ocean Course. The HB Resort courses are top-rated and both are stunningly beautiful and very hard. The Ocean Course has about 6 holes right on the Atlantic beach and there is water of some sort on nearly every hole. The 2nd course, The Conservatory, is regarded as Tom Watson’s masterpiece of golf design. It is Florida’s longest course at 7777 yards tipped out. As an inland venue, The Conservatory has a million sand traps, lots of undulations, some water and has every inch of grass in perfect shape. The are no proper words to describe the exhilaration you feel when you are playing this course! It’s a must play! Below, S3 is cutting the corner on this lengthy par 4 on the back 9 at The Conservatory.image

After our 4 days at HBR we headed back to spend Memorial Day weekend at the beach with Shirley and Steve before driving back to San Antonio. S3, Linda and I enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime vacation and had so many extra-special moments. It was more than any of us had anticipated!

So parents, the point here is that your junior golfer will benefit from your acknowledgement/recognition of improvements to his game and goals he has achieved. Your response should be appropriate, in kind, to the level of your son’s achievement. Smaller for smaller and bigger for bigger.

See you on #1 tee ready to achieve something… Sam

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