Posts Tagged ‘mental preparedness’

Junior Golf: It’s U.S. Open Week

In this Monday Mulligan we’ll take a look at this very special week we have in front of us.

It’s time for the second men’s major of 2018, The U.S.Open, hosted by Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York. There is plenty of history with this club since it is one of five original founding members of the USGA and has held four previous U.S. Opens including the 2004 U.S. Open won by Retief Goosen.

Mom and Dad it’s what the U.S.Open really is that is important. It’s other name, not really a nickname, is the U.S. National Championship. At some point, every young athlete dreams of being a champion, perhaps even a national champion. Use this week as a time of inspiration, get some dreaming going on.

What does “Open” mean? There are basically 3 types of event categories for entrants: open events, amateur events and invitational events. “Open” means open to anyone who qualifies, both professionals and amateurs. “Amateur” means amateurs only, no professionals. “Invitational” means you must be invited to play in the event and may include either or both professionals and amateurs.

This week there is a star-studded field of all the world’s best golfers ready to prove their skills. And they’ll need them as traditionally this tournament is known for its length and brutal rough. Shinnecock Hills already is regarded as a challenging course and with a U.S.Open type setup we should see some amazing shots.

Photocredit: golfdigest.com

Let’s set up the TiVo. Coverage is on Fox, all times are Central: Thursday 3:30pm-6:30pm. Friday 3:30pm-6:30pm. Saturday 10:00am-6:30pm. Sunday 9:00am-6:00pm. Be sure to record at least 1 hour after Sunday’s end time in case of a new format 2-hole playoff. And all week long the Golf Channel has the very informative Live From the U.S. Open broadcasts starting today.

See you on #1 tee with championship dreams… Sam

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: Ignore The Naysayers

In this Wednesday Waggle, we’re taking a slightly different look at junior golf. Come along with me and enjoy the ride.

So your son/daughter has been playing well, having a Top 10 finish, a Top 5 finish or maybe a win. The next tournament is the finale, the biggest, the end of the season, the state championship, it’s a very big deal. And the naysayers show up saying things like, “Your boy/girl is not going to do well on that course. The fairways are too narrow, the greens are too fast, he/she doesn’t hit the ball far enough and they’ll never beat so-and-so.”

This was slightly the case as Big Red prepared for his biggest event. Even with convincing wins in his first 2 races, the negative folks were still saying this course was too long, he’d never hold up, his first 2 wins were flukes, he’d never beat his main competitor in this race and so on.

His coach/trainer, Lucien Laurin, and his caddy/jockey, Ron Turcotte, knew their athlete very well. They understood that he loved to run and he loved to run fast, very fast. And they also knew that he wanted to beat all of his competitors. He had to win, no second place for him!

Watch how this athlete handles his last competitive event. Watch the greatest racehorse of all-time, Secretariat, and see how he finishes his career. Watch the greatest athletic performance in history!

FYI Mom and Dad, in each of his Triple Crown races, Secretariat ran each quarter-mile faster than the previous one. He was constantly accelerating! Talk about finishing strong!

The takeaway here parents is to know your athlete, ignore the naysayers, be positive and move forward. The team must be on the same page so that the athlete has the best opportunity for an excellent performance. Finishing strong is a big deal!

See you on #1 tee ready to perform… Sam

Junior Golf: 3 PreSummer Checks For Irons That Fit

In today’s Monday Mulligan we’ll look at 3 aspects of your junior golfer’s irons so you can be sure he/she has the correct equipment for maximum summer golf benefits.

Your youngster is growing, needing bigger shoes, new pants, shirts, tops and bottoms. Remember Mom and Dad, that getting taller, faster and stronger likely means different golf clubs.

Irons and all golf clubs that are mismatched to any golfer are a handicap. Your kiddo’s chance of success is poor if he/she is using improper equipment.

Start by asking for the name of the best club-fitter in your area. It’s best to ask the really good adult golfers, the ones who seriously compete and win in amateur events in your area. They know! Not being judgemental, but if you ask your swing coach, he/she will say they can do it. Now, this may be true or not. Perhaps they are the best swing coach around and are capable of doing a club fitting, but are they the best club-fitter, I don’t know. If you ask a junior or their parents, they may say they use their swing coach.

The swing coach will recommend that your child needs this, that and the other in the next set of irons, which should be soon. The club-fitter makes that happen with their own unique set of skills. And the best club fitter is a very talented and well-respected person!

Here’s what should be evaluated and acted upon now, with the current set of irons, to make the best use of your summer golf investment:

1. Iron shafts: are they the correct length, weight and flex? For example: “x” inches long, 100 grams and regular flex.

2. Iron heads: are they matched to the skill level. For example: lighter or heavier weight, cast or forged construction and best for beginner, intermediate or advanced skill level junior golfers.

3. Iron grips: are they correct for your young golfer’s hand size and “feel” preference? For example: too small/skinny, too big/fat, just right/perfect and do they “feel” hard/slick, rough/coarse or pleasant, meaning slightly tacky/grabby.

There will be more than one club fitter in your town. The reality is that most are ok, but one or two are genuinely talented. Those are the folks you want to find.

A simple equation is that as your child’s skill level advances, they require more highly-skilled professionals, including swing coaches and club-fitters. Find out who the best are so you can go to them when you need them. You will need them!

See you on #1 tee with a proper set of irons… Sam

Junior Golf: Inspiration For The New Year

In this Friday Flop Shot we’re offering you some very special inspiration to help fire up your junior golfer, Dad and Mom and the whole family as we enter a new year.Photo credit dubaigolfThere are reasons some athletes are great. And at times we can’t completely figure out why greatness is in some people but not in others. There are times that greatness shines beyond the boundaries of apparent human ability. Oh, and for those of you who think you’re a decent snow skier, this post may put things in perspective.

Today we’re not talking about a golfer. We’re talking about Franz Klammer. Who? That would be the Franz Klammer who is the greatest men’s downhill ski champion of all time! What does skiing have to do with golf, you ask? As we look at genuine greatness, today it has everything to do with your junior golfer.

Examples of greatness can leave us with our eyes and mouth wide open, shaking our head at what we just saw! Hopefully that’s what you all will feel after watching the attached video.

Frank Gifford, former pro football player and avid skier and Bob Beattie, former U.S. national ski team coach are doing the play-by-play. The setting is thus: a Swiss skier has just set an incredibly fast time in men’s downhill skiing, in the 1976 Winter Olympics. The very fast time seems almost impossible to beat. Klammer is the last skier with any chance, no matter how slim, to take the lead which would mean winning the gold medal. Klammer is Austrian. The Olympics are at legendary Innsbrook, Austria. He’s going for gold in front of his home crowd. Franz Klammer is revered as the greatest athlete in Austrian history! Could any athlete have a more exciting opportunity than this, heck no!

Here’s the link to the video. The first 2 minutes set the scene and the last 2 minutes are the run. I highly suggest watching this on the biggest screen possible with the sound turned all the way up to capture the enthusiasm of the announcers. This is one of the top individual performances in the history of sports.

The Winter Olympics are coming this February. Men’s downhill is one of the first events, usually starting the first Saturday and only running a couple of days. You easily can miss the whole thing. We always record men’s and women’s downhill plus a lot of other events too. Franz Klammer’s 1976 performance is special but that doesn’t mean you won’t see someone else put on a spectacular gold medal performance. If you don’t watch, you’ll never know!Photocredit Sports Illustrated

The lesson here is belief. Believing that you can do it when you need to do it. Hit the fairway, hit the green, make the putt. Ya gotta believe!

See you on #1 tee believing you can put on a great show… Sam.

Junior Golf: The First Step To Success

In this Friday Flop Shot we will look at one of the most important things that you must stress to your young golfer in order to help them achieve junior golf success.

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Photocredit:Dubai Golf

This idea was always first in our house. Yes, even ahead of playing golf. Without this factor your child is limited in all areas of positive achievement. What on earth are we talking about here?

Let’s call it high standards. What does this look like? Well, many things come into play. A desire to compete, a desire to excel and wanting to get good grades on schoolwork are good examples. With discipline, structure and solid parental guidance these things are all possible.

Parents of kiddos 7 years old and younger may be wondering exactly why this is important. Why can’t your child just go to school and be a kid? Well, he/she certainly can, but things will be much better if you decide to pursue the suggestions we’re offering today.

Everything we’re talking about here translates directly into the world of golf, both practice and play. Without a good mental approach your youngster is at a distinct disadvantage.

Here’s where it gets very serious. No pass/no play is a reality in high school and college golf. Your son/daughter must be scholastically eligible to play in competition, period. There are no exceptions. There are minimum number of classes/hours and a minimum GPA that must be maintained. Start preparing your child for this situation now.

Once a golfer is scholastically ineligible there is a waiting period before they can regain their eligibility. This time varies depending on the structure of grading and grading periods at individual high schools and universities. It might be as short as a week or 2 or it could be 4 or 5 weeks. In every instance, no one is happy about it.

The coach is not pleased. The teammates while supportive, usually, of their ineligible team member, feel let down. Your child should be unhappy with him/herself. The lack of discipline, desire for excellence, respect for the game and respect for their teammates should hopefully be an encouragement to square those shoulders and start producing better grades.

It’s bad enough in high school where the consequences are basically embarrassment, letting down the coach and teammates and missing some tournaments, but it’s really bad in college where your son/daughter is being paid to play golf.

Too much scholastic irresponsibility and your golfer might be kicked off the college team. It happens! So now you and your student have this nightmare and your college out-of-pocket dollars have dramatically increased. Time for a big time pow-wow!

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S3 was eligible for every event in high school and college. He missed a couple of events due to injury and one due to a poor qualifying round. But his grades were always good! There was actually more scholastic failure among his high school team members, than with his college ones. I feel this is generally due to an increased maturity level among college golfers.

Mom and Dad these are life lessons which are timeless and are helpful in every part of your kiddo’s future. Please consider finding some ways to incorporate some of these suggestions into your son’s/daughter’s everyday routine.

See you on #1 tee looking disciplined… Sam

Junior Golf: The Sheer Joy Of Winning

In this Monday Mulligan we’ll take a look at what winning should truly feel like. Let’s have some fun!

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photocredit:jennleforge.com

It’s tough to win a golf tournament at any level. There are always a number of players in every field that are surely capable of winning. There were playoffs in both the LPGA event in Texas and at the PGA team event in New Orleans.

Haru Nomura was certainly excited to finally defeat Christie Kerr after a lengthy playoff. But the uninhibited joy of winning his first PGA tournament was on display with young Australian Cameron Smith, who along with teammate Jonas Blixt won the Zurich Classic defeating Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown on the 5th hole of a sudden death playoff this morning.

After Cameron made a short birdie putt for the victory, the announcers came up for a quick post-game interview. Cameron was so choked up he just was unable to communicate. His life had been totally changed by the win and all the emotions of a 23 year-old poured out, leaving him with a million thoughts spinning in his mind and uncontrollable tears of joy! He was unable to speak.

Thankfully the interviewers understood that they should let Jonas Blixt do the talking for the team. And he did a great job. Jonas explained that the 2 of them both lived in Jacksonville, practiced together at TPC Sawgrass and had become good friends and he, Jonas had genuinely enjoyed watching his friend play excellent golf and was thrilled for both Cameron and himself, of course, for their team victory.

Please understand that there are many victories to be had, some large and some small. Hitting a good shot after hitting a poor shot is a victory. Getting out of a sand trap is a victory and hitting the ball fairly close to where your son/daughter wanted it to land is a victory. While these small victories may not always lead to uncontrollable tears of joy, they certainly are opportunities for encouragement, a smile, a thumbs up, I love you! Recognize these moments and participate, within the rules, in them. There will be more moments in the future, but they will not be the same as this moment right now!img_0196

In society today we are encouraged to control our emotions, be stoic, stand tall. And there are times for that. In the midst of golf competition, the best players make every effort to stay in their emotional zone, not too high and not too low. Then at the end of the event, players can let their emotions loose and manifest them freely and openly. That’s what Cameron Smith did and it was a beautiful thing to see.

Show your son/daughter.

Tell them that it’s OK to have some uninhibited joy! These are rare and special times!

See you on #1 tee ready to have some fun… Sam

Junior Golf: How To Win And Still Be Friends

In today’s Good Friday Flop Shot we will offer some input on how your son/daughter can win a match or tournament and still be friends with their fellow competitors.

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Dubai Golf

Our wonderful sport is about friendships, friends and family, family and friends. Time spent on the course is precious and even among the most relaxed fun-filled groups, a little bit of competitive spirit usually shows up, even if only for a hole or 2. Maybe your son and his buddy both missed the green and and your boy says,”Hey, how about a chipping contest? Closest to the pin wins!” Great fun, very little pressure and no financial risk, not playing for money, just 1 shot. No drama, no big buildup, just do it. Good old-fashioned competition, fun competition.

Trying to win a match or tournament ramps everything up a few notches. The pressure, intensity and ability to perform in these circumstances is tough. Let’s look at 3 things for your junior golfer to be aware of so that he and his competition can continue to be friends after the event.

Golf is about making friends. The 1st time your youngster joins any organized golf function, tournament, clinic or camp, he will start making friends. This will continue through college and many of these relationships will last his whole life and several of his buddies will form a genuine core group of his inner circle of friends. Very cool stuff!
Golf is a sport of honor, integrity and accountability. There is no place for bragging, mocking or finger-pointing. Respect for the game, the opponents and for himself/herself must be introduced and encouraged from your child’s initial contact with the sport. Win with grace, lose with grace. Life lessons right here, Mom and Dad!
It is possible to be pleasant and even friendly with the competition and still win. Look at Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose in the final round of last week’s Masters. These guys are Ryder Cup teammates, fellow European Tour members and good friends. How many times did they say good shot or give a thumbs up to each other? Certainly each one wanted to win with a passion. They wanted to beat their good friend but they would pursue this desire to win with respect, honor, dignity and friendship. It was special to watch!

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photocredit:GOLF.com

Your child’s mental and physical abilities will be challenged constantly during competition. Not winning occurs more often than winning. You will see the highest of highs and lowest of lows from your kiddo during some of these very trying situations. A thought that Linda and I found to be relatively effective with S3 in tough moments, was to remind him that this was not his last round of golf he would ever play. Focus on improving the process and the desired results will come. There will be more golf to play. The future is bright!

See you on #1 tee ready for a friendly round of golf, but I still want to beat you… Sam

Junior Golf: 1 Attitude For A Sunday Win

In this Wednesday Waggle we’ll take a look at 1 particular mindset that has proven successful for some professional golfers over the years. Your daughter is an individual and will develop her own type and style of mindset based on her skill level, maturity and competitiveness.

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photocredit:golfdigest.com

Being within 5 or 6 shots of the lead at the start of a final round of any tournament means a player, your daughter/son in this case, has a chance to win. I mean a couple of bad shots by the leader and a couple of great shots from your kiddo and she’s right there.

Have you ever asked her what her final thoughts are just before she initiates her pre-shot routine for her 1st shot? Well, that could lead to a very interesting answer. Just don’t ask her at the event. This should be discussed well prior to any competition. And her answers will likely change as her game and confidence improve.

6-time major champion and World Golf Hall of Fame member Sir Nick Faldo referred to his own pre-game mentality as he was getting ready to tee off in the last group in the final round of a tournament and right now we’re talking about The Masters, which Sir Nick won 3 times. He knows of what he speaks, at least for himself.

To paraphrase Sir Nick: “You’re standing there waiting to be announced and tee off. You shake hands and say something proper like play well but in my mind I’m saying, I’ll bury you!” Now these words may sound a bit harsh to some Moms and Dads out there. These are the words of Sir Nick Faldo and how his mind had to get in a place to win a huge event and certainly he meant them no physical harm. He was going to bury them under his barrage of great golf shots that were better than his opponent’s shots!

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photocredit: sky sports

These words aren’t for everybody but I assure you that there are women and men who have this or a very similar thought process when they prepare for competition. To be competitive means a number of things. It means your daughter enjoys the challenge of constantly improving her game in order to have some opportunity to win. And then it will become a desire to win. How badly does she want to win? Is she willing to make the necessary sacrifices required to attain the victories she is dreaming of?

The bottom line parents is that your girl will need to decide if she really wants to win or just play kind of for the fun of it. If she truly wants to win that means she has to beat everyone else. She has to want to play better than them and do it! If she wants to win, she’ll find the mental self-talk that works for her. Ask her about this. Let her do most of the talking and you do most of the listening. You may find you have a real competitor holding onto that golf club!

See you on #1 tee ready with a winning mindset… Sam

Junior Golf: Where Are Sam And Linda?

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Dufner photo golfdigest.com

In this Wednesday Waggle, we are having fun with a play on words as we ask you, “Where are Sam and Linda?”

Where could we be? Unfortunately, we are not at some exotic golf destination or resort. But we are still in a very good place. We are in the soon to be released April 2017 issue of Junior Golf Magazine!

Yes, recently we were contacted by the publication asking if we would be interested in writing an article for them. A senior staff member had seen 1 of our posts and it peaked his interest. Of course, an enthusiastic Yes was our reply and now Parenting Junior Golfers will have a presence in all 50 states and internationally as well. Exciting stuff!

Our article is Understand Your Junior’s Attitude To Empower Their Game. This brief introduction to the personalities will start you on the path to gaining insight into why your junior golfer, and you as well, act the way you do. Here’s the link: http://www.juniorgolfmag.net/The-Mental-Game.pdf

Junior Golf Magazine is an excellent resource for everything for your junior golfer. We encourage you to check them out. Use our article as a starting point.

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See you on #1 tee, mentally ready… Sam

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