Posts Tagged ‘mental preparedness’

Junior Golf: Wise Words From Sir Nick

In this Monday Mulligan we’ll look at some great wisdom shared by TV announcer and 6-time major winner Sir Nick Faldo.

The finish to yesterday’s PGA Championship was wild and very exciting. Early in the day, up until the middle of the round, there must have been a dozen players within 2 strokes of leader and eventual winner, Brooks Koepka.

One of the first players to make a birdie run to hopefully get into a playoff was Thomas Pieters. He birdied 14 and 15 at which point Sir Nick was asked, “What does Pieters mindset need to be here on in to have any chance of winning or making a playoff?” The response, “Hit great shots and make everything!”

That says it all, doesn’t it? Now at this point there were a lot of guys making a ton of birdies. Anyone getting some momentum was going to need to keep it as long as possible to have any chance at all. Brooks was continuing to hit excellent shots. He wasn’t making many mistakes.

Tiger’s game is improving and he ended up in 2nd place after Adam Scott, who was once tied with Brooks for the lead, but missed a couple of birdie putts and lost his momentum. Adam finished 3rd after tugging a couple of drives to the left on 17 and 18, resulting in a bogey on the 72nd hole and moving Tiger to 2nd place by himself.

Tiger had the crowd going as he started 0 for 7 fairways and was still 2-under par. He finished with a 64 and was sticking shots close to the pin and making birdies. He was looking good as he’s sneaking up on playing well enough to win a big tournament.

However, it was Brooks Koepka’s day as he and Adam battled head-to-head for 16 holes. Adam’s miscues on 17 and 18 ended his chances as Brooks cranked out great shot after great shot and made, not everything, but enough key putts to win. Great golf, great drama!

Photocredit:golfdigest.com

So while Sir Nick’s line was initially addressed to Thomas Pieters, it was Brooks Koepka who executed those instructions perfectly. There were a lot of top pros playing really good golf, but you, BK, were the only one living out Faldo’s advice for the victory! You played better than everyone else, Congratulations!

See you on #1 tee ready to win… Sam

Junior Golf: 5 Important Quotes For Junior Golfers

In this Wednesday Waggle we’re going to look at 5 quotes from top PGA professionals and get some insight into how winners think.

In one of S3’s mental management courses, the instructor interviewed only world-class 1st place winners in many different sports, both team and individual. He asked them what percentage of their sport was mental. Their answer was all the same, 90%.

Think about that for a minute. The concept is that if someone had the basic body type necessary for a particular sport, then most people were, if driven to succeed, coordinated enough to achieve some level of success. The degree of success depends on how well the athlete masters the mental game.

What does this look like in golf? Here are 5 quotes from great golfers, in no particular order:

1. The King, Arnold Palmer: “I’ve always made a total effort, even when the odds seemed entirely against me. I never quit trying; I never felt that I didn’t have a chance to win.”

2. The greatest golfer of all-time, Jack Nicklaus: “As soon as I heard a player talking negative about the course or conditions, I wrote him off as a competitor. He’d already taken himself out of the tournament.”

3. The third member of The Big Three, Gary Player: “We create success or failure on the course primarily by our thoughts.”

4. The man with the most PGA Tour wins, San Snead: “Forget your opponents, always play against par.”

5. Two-time Masters Champion and super creative, Bubba Watson: “Nobody our here’s playing for second place.”

Photocredit:nicklaus.com

What common thread do you see? Dad and Mom, each of these men has a mental structure, a discipline that is constant. They do not veer from it.

We’ve seen confidence from Arnold, positivity from Jack, controlling thoughts during a round from Gary, play against the course not the player from Sam and 1st place is why we play from Bubba.

See you on #1 tee mentally ready… Sam

Junior Golf: 5 Options for the Sunscreen Dilemma

This Friday Flop Shot will be short as I search for the perfect solution for sun protection.

Even for us, it’s hot. Temperatures are well above 100 degrees with no letup in sight. Yes, we’re used to the heat but I’m always looking for a better solution to the extended sun exposure that our junior golfers must deal with.

Here are 5 tips, some previously mentioned and a couple of new ones:

1. Shea Butter has it’s own SPF of 6, not bad. You want organic and unrefined. Try it prior to slapping some on for tournament day. Minimal protection, but clean.

2. Organic Sunscreen. Nearly all have zinc or magnesium dioxide. Try it first. Some folks are allergic to zinc so I’d really like to find an organic sunscreen without these 2 metals. Beauty by Earth SPF 25 mineral sunscreen looks pretty clean. Buy on Amazon.

3. Cooling/wicking long sleeve summer shirts. Anything is better than nothing. Even cotton has a single-digit SPF. Please practice with this shirt to make certain your kiddo’s swing is not impeded.

4. Make your own sunscreen. Search the web. There are plenty of recipes.

5. Regular sunscreen. This is a last resort. Using it infrequently and in small amounts, will minimize the negative effects. I’ve seen some kids so slathered up it was horrific. Please don’t be one of those parents.

Be wise when it comes to sun exposure. Do some research and don’t default to the everyday chemical-laden stuff. You can do better.

See you on #1 tee ready for a sunny day… Sam

Junior Golf: 6 Reasons to Watch The Open

In this Monday Mulligan we’ll look at 5 reasons your junior golfer will benefit by watching this week’s Open Championship, previously called The British Open.

Carnoustie Championship Course is the venue for the 3rd of this year’s men’s majors and it’s got its own set of unique qualities.

Reasons to watch:

1. The history. Britain is the home of golf. It’s where golf began and golf has been played at this course since the early 16th century. This is a chance to learn things about our great sport that you won’t hear at any other event.

2. The courses. Most golf courses in Britain are serious links designs, the likes of which are few and far between in the U.S. It takes a different mindset and genuine creativity to have a good round on these courses. You will be fascinated by the unique designs.

3. This course, Carnoustie, a long and narrow golf course at more than 7400 yards, is a brute. As Sir Michael Bonallack put it, “When the wind is blowing, it is the toughest golf course in Britain. And when it’s not blowing, it’s still probably the toughest.”

4. The players and their strategy for links golf. All the world’s top players will be here, including your favorites. You will see types of shots attempted here that are not seen on the typical PGA Tour venues. If the course is dry and fast, you will see some fabulous low rolling shots. The pros hit these because links greens are notorious for not holding when they are hot and dry. The only way to get close is to roll the ball.

5. The weather. PGA Tour player Davis Love III, was asked what was the most layers of clothes he had worn in a golf tournament. He said, “That’s easy. It was 5 layers in the 198x British Open.” Summer weather in Britain is unpredictable. Calm and 70-degrees one day and windy, wet and 50-degrees the next. It’s usually a decent opportunity to see who makes the best rain gear.

6. The dreams. Dreams and creativity go hand in hand in this wonderful game. No venue offers more of either of these than The Open Championship. As my dear friend and excellent golfer, Nelson said, “If you don’t have any dreams, why do you even get out of bed in the morning?” Give your son/daughter a chance to dream.

Now it’s dvr time. The Golf Channel has Live From The Open on from 5:00a-11:00a through Wednesday, then scattered throughout the day from Thursday-Sunday. Tournament schedule is Thursday and Friday, 8:30a-3:00p on the Golf Channel and on NBC, Saturday, 6:00a-2:00p, and Sunday, 6:00a-1:30p. We always record 2 hours after the event in case of a playoff.

Junior Golf: 5 Essentials for Hot Weather

In this Friday Flop Shot we’ll look at some things that are critical for success when it’s hot. These are always important but hot weather is different and that makes them even more essential.

What is your definition of hot? Maybe it’s 85 degrees for some of you but really most of our bodies notice the heat as the outside temperature approaches our body temp of 98.6. And certainly more humidity makes the heat more oppressive.

Hot weather can take a toll on any athlete and our kids are more susceptible to its affects than we are.

To give your junior golfer the best chance of success, make sure he/she has these items:

1. Refillable water bottle. Drinking 3 or 4 bottles during 18 holes is probably about right. Sipping is better than gulping. Before teeing off and at the turn, ask the tournament staff to please make sure all on-course water supplies are constantly refilled. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had an afternoon round and there was no water on the course. It’s absolutely inexcusable and don’t put up with it. Down here most tournaments tolerate or even announce that it’s OK for parents to give their kids water or Gatorade, yes, during a tournament round. Kids’ safety first! Please double check with the Tournament Director to avoid a possible DQ.

2. 2 towels, a larger towel for the bag and a smaller one for face and hands.

3. Extra gloves, maybe 2 or 3. Your child is going to sweat. A wet glove is useless.

4. A hat, cap, visor or head band to keep salty sweat from running down into their eyes.

5. Sunscreen. Please don’t bathe in it. We use very little and it’s mostly on nose, ears, cheeks, etc.

Of course, there are many more items on your pre-tournament checklist like snacks, balls, tees, counting clubs and so on, but the 5 items above are particularly critical when high temperatures prevail.

See you on #1 tee ready for the heat…Sam

Junior Golf: 3 Benefits of A Short Memory

In today’s Monday Mulligan we’re going to look at memory or lack of it. There are times when having a short memory is a very good thing.

Have you heard the phrase, “have a cornerback’s memory.”? What it means is that every cornerback-a defensive player on a football team, will get beaten on a pass play at some point and he’d better be able to forget about getting smoked by the receiver and get back to playing good football ASAP.

The point here Dad and Mom, is that mistakes, in golf that would be poor shots, are going to happen and your junior golfer needs to put them out of his/her mind as quickly as possible.

Here are 3 benefits of a short memory:

1. It gets a player’s focus back on track. The previous shot is history, forget it. Focus on hitting the desired next shot.

2. It gets the vital signs returning toward normal. Taking a few deep breaths can help return heart rate and stress levels to where they should be. Elevated pulse and respiration rates are not helpful for playing good golf.

3. It instills and reinforces a winner’s mindset. The elite players in every sport do not dwell/replay the negative. They stay focused on the positives and on improving their game.

Depending on your child’s age, skill level and personality type it can take a while for him/her to get these concepts down consistently. That’s OK, kids need to work through things.

Photocredit: cdnsportsmemorabilia.com

The PGA Tour player with the most all-time wins, it’s not Tiger, Sam Snead, has a bit of a footnote to his legacy of 82 PGA Tour wins and 7 majors. It’s that he really had trouble letting go of a bad shot. Sometimes he’d carry his bad attitude for several holes, which he played poorly enough to remove him from contention. Many folks feel Snead might have won several more U.S. Opens if he just could have let go of those bad shots. Wow!

See you on #1 tee with a short memory… Sam

Junior Golf: Did Brooks’ Putting Win the U.S.Open?

In today’s Monday Mulligan we will take a look at Brooks Koepka’s historic repeat victory in the U.S. Open.

Winning one U.S. Open is a lifetime goal for any golfer, but winning a second, in a row, puts a golfer in rarified air. Brooks is only the 7th golfer to win in consecutive years since the first U.S. Open in 1895.

The U.S. Open is different. Please make this point to your junior golfer: that even though there was plenty of controversy surrounding this Open, involving some players actions, some players comments and the USGA, there was still going to be a winner on Sunday! Controversy is a distraction and avoiding distractions is a key to being competitive. Focus on your own game and be positive.

When I close my eyes and think about the U.S. Open I use this Jack Nicklaus quote: “”A difficult golf course eliminates a lot of players. The U.S. Open flag eliminates a lot of players. Some players just weren’t meant to win the U.S. Open. Quite often, a lot of them know it.” And to paraphrase another of his quotes: “When I think of the U.S.Open I see a very long golf course with high rough, fast greens and tough pins. It should be different from every other course we see during the year.” No whining please.

So what were the keys to BK’s won? There’s a long list but we’ll just cover a few things here. It starts with being in a position to win on Sunday. At one point there were about a half-dozen guys within a couple of strokes of the lead but most of them either played themselves out of contention or couldn’t make the couple of late birdies to get into a playoff.

When it was obvious Brooks had won, the Fox announcers talked about the keys to his success. Yes, he hit some stray shots. And he made a bogey or 2. But he made clutch putts! During his final 9 holes he made several 8 to 10 footers for pars! Those were serious pressure putts and he made them.

Time and time again, after every tournament you’ll hear the announcers compliment the winner on his putting. Dad and Mom, your child must be an excellent putter if he/she is to have any chance of winning a golf tournament.

Surely the winner must hit some fairways and hit some greens. But making putts is the key to victory. You have to make a putt to make an up and down. You must make a putt to have a sandy. You have to make putts, period. Sometimes you have to make a putt to have a “good” bogey. Yes, there is such a thing because it’s way better than a double bogey.

Photocredit: golfchannel.com

And your son/daughter must make some birdie putts and some par putts. And in theory, to win, they need to make just about everything from 10 feet and in. Make 100% of the 3-footers. Yep, ya gotta make putts to win.

Congratulations to Brooks Koepka!

See you on #1 tee dreaming of winning the U.S. Open… Sam

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