Posts Tagged ‘mental preparedness’

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

Junior Golf: 3 Lessons From A Tough Day

In this Friday Flop Shot we’ll look at 3 lessons your junior golfer can learn when he/she has a tough day on the golf course.

Let’s use yesterday’s round from the men’s U.S. Open Championship as a frame of reference. The wind was howling on Long Island and the world’s best male golfers scored one of the highest average rounds in PGA Tour history. There were a few guys barely under par and the rest were over par, some way over par.

These are professionals and they, as a rule, respond to difficult situations more effectively than the rest of us. We’ll see what happens today and over the weekend, but some of our fan favorites may not make the cut.

Here are 3 takeaways:

1. Every golfer has a bad shot, a bad hole, a bad round or a bad day. It’s going to happen, it’s part of life. How your youngster responds is the key. Help him/her to let go of, release, forget about the last shot and focus on hitting a good next shot.

2. Everyone needs a way to deal with frustration and anger. Don’t you think that Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy wanted to explode, cry or something after they combined for 25 strokes over par in Thursday’s round. Each of them must go low today to have any chance of making the cut. Help your son/daughter learn how to manage tough situations at the earliest possible age. It’s never too soon to address this issue.

3. Even in the toughest weather somebody’s going to have a good score. Those four 1-under par 69’s yesterday were superhuman and awesome considering the struggles the rest of the field had. In high school, S3 played in a snowstorm and the round was called after 9 holes. He shot 39, 3-over par, pretty decent considering the conditions, but one guy shot 34, 2-under par. Yep, there’s always that player! Have the proper clothes and equipment for windy and/or wet conditions. Everybody’s playing the same course and conditions. Someone’s going to have a good score. Encourage your child to be that golfer with the good score.

See you on #1 tee ready to handle the weather… Sam

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

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