Posts Tagged ‘playing golf well’

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: Enjoy Family And Friends

imageIn today’s Monday Mulligan we will be brief and encourage you to enjoy the day with family and friends. Retailers are mostly open today, but financial institutions and federal offices are closed.

There are some very good sales at some of the golf websites. If shopping is not your thing, final round coverage from TPC Boston begins at 10:30am on The Golf Channel and switches to NBC at 12:30pm, all times central. Set your TiVo or watch it live. There are 10 guys within 3 shots of the leaders, Rory McIlroy and Paul Casey. Winds are supposed to pick up later in the day so it could be a wild finish!

Take a breath, relax and enjoy the day! See you on #1 tee, looking relaxed… Sam

Junior Golf: Olympic Adrenalin

In this Monday Mulligan we will visit some of the highlights of the Olympic results from this past weekend. So much to write about, so little space. (photo jennleforge.com)img_0135-1

There are many reasons or shall we say examples just from these 2 days of competition that are why we encourage you to record as much of The Olympics as possible. From the sheer competition in the events themselves, to the reactions of the athletes to being an Olympian, much less a medal winner and hearing the stories of how all of them have dreamed of participating in The Olympics their whole lives! It’s great!

So The Olympics had barely started Saturday and Ginny Thrasher won the US’ 1st gold medal in women’s 10-meter air rifle shooting with an Olympic record of 208.0. In the pure joy of medalling category is Cody Miller, Bronze Medalist in the men’s 100-meter breaststroke. You could hear him yelling in excitement when he saw he had taken 3rd place. In his post-swim interview he said his goal to win a medal in The Olympics had come true. His sheer joy was infectious, his lifelong dream was fulfilled!

Now for the pure adrenalin rush you can only get from head-to-head competition. The men’s 4×100 freestyle relay, 1 of The Olympics most exciting events had 4 legitimate contenders: the US, France who won in 2012, the favored Australians and the Russians who had the fastest time in 2016.

Now guess who’s swimming the 2nd leg for the US, yep, THE MAN, Michael Phelps. Apparently there was some discussion among the coaches as whether or not to include Phelps in this lineup, but he swam a 48.5 in a qualifier to get a spot because in Michael’s own words, “I really wanted to be on that relay!” You see, Michael loves relays!

You could feel the electricity in the air, even through the TV. All 4 top teams were in lanes 3-6 with the US in lane 5. Caleb Dresser, the fastest swimmer IN HISTORY, in the 50 and 100-meter freestyle, led off. His time of 48.10 put him just barely behind the French when he handed off to Michael Phelps who took the lead with his entry. Then came the turn and Oh Man, did Michael make a turn! He rode under the wake for the full 15-meters which got him almost a full-length lead which he passed on to Ryan Held. And Ryan did a great job of keeping the lead for the US with his time of 47.73 and then he passed to Nathan Adrian to bring home the bacon! Now in fairness, Nathan was swimming against the fastest French swimmer, a great closer, and it was now a 2-team race for the gold. Nathan kept his lead and the French just couldn’t catch him and the US had1st place. Tons of excitement!image

When you ask, what is the heart of a champion, well, here’s 1 way to look at it. Remember that Michael swam a 48.5 to make the team for this relay. And, in this event he swam a 47.12, wow! Oh, did I mention that for Nathan Adrian to hold off the Frenchman, he swam a blistering 46.97, are you kidding me!!! The truly great athletes give great performances under pressure! So the 48.5 that Michael swam to make the team was nearly a ½-second slower than the slowest split time for our winning team. By the way, Mr Phelps time of 47.12 was his fastest split time ever and at the ripe old age of 31, in his 5th Olympics! And 1 of the US coaches said that Michael’s turn was the best underwater turn ever done in competition. Ah, the heart of a champion!

What does this mean to your junior golfer? Dream big, work hard, enjoy competition and expect to win! Please enjoy these Olympics!

See you on #1 tee looking like an Olympic Champion… 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

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: Unexpected Stress

In this Friday Flop Shot we will bring up some points about some of the mental aspects of golf that your junior golfer will be dealing with for his whole golf career.image

Stress/pressure is a part of life. It’s everywhere and that includes golf and golf tournaments. There is good stress, “I’m excited about the tournament,” and there’s bad stress, “ I hope I don’t play poorly and disappoint my parents.” Both are normal and both need to be dealt with. This is a good time for me to mention that Linda and I are not sports psychologists and are merely passing along things we have learned from our son’s junior golf and college golf careers. (photo offcoursegolf.com)

As parents we are all pretty much aware that our kids are subject to stress and we are able to expect and anticipate most of the times it will show up. So here’s an example of a type of stress that hit S3 that we had never thought of: we like to play golf together whenever possible, and this means including S3 on our team in scrambles. His golf skills are a big benefit, even when he was playing from the ladies tees he could sometimes drive the green! What we did not realize was that even at a young age S3 felt like he needed to hit a bunch of great shots to carry the team of us old folks and C and D players for all 18 holes. Here’s a pic of S3 and me with some of my college buddies at a scramble in Houston, what fun!image

What did this look like? Well, he was trying so hard, read over-trying, that it took him 9 holes to calm down and contribute to the team. In fairness, his chipping and putting is always good, so it was his drives and approach shots that needed a calmer persona. Finally he would take a breath and get his adrenaline under control. This wanting to carry the team pattern continued until he got to college. Even today, I know in his heart he would like to put the whole team on his back and hit all the great shots himself. The key is controlling the excitement and it’s tough.

This is relevant folks because stress and pressure are always hanging around our youngsters and the more we are aware of it, the more we can give them a thumbs up and a warm smile.

See you on #1 tee looking stress-free… Sam

The Correct Fit for Your Junior Golfer Part 1

Here’s your Monday Mulligan. Today we will address item #4 from my previous post, Potholes, Bumps and Curves in Your Junior Golfer’s Path: improper or ill-fitting clubs, equipment or shoes. The correct fit of all these items for your junior golfer is critical.

golf fun

 

 

 

As a junior goimagelfer, your child’s main physical activities outside of conditioning exercises are swinging a golf club and walking. This is where they will spend the majority of their time and it is critical for their success and their good health that everything fits them properly.

Over time, you will see many examples of clubs that are too long or too short, a push/pull cart that the kiddo is not strong enough to use, improper footwear and ridiculous clothing. I will touch briefly on each of these areas to give you a sound starting point toward having your junior golfer properly outfitted.

Golf clubs that are the correct length for your kiddo are the single most important piece of equipment. Clubs that are too long or too short can help create bad habits and greatly hinder the chance to hit a good shot. Free club fittings are commonly offered at almost every place that promotes golf from driving ranges and golf courses to retail sporting goods stores and golf specialty stores like Edwin Watts. There will be a charge to shorten or lengthen the clubs. For beginners, US Kids has inexpensive starter sets. Your golf budget is unique to your family and you can certainly spend a ton of money on golf clubs. Our son, Sam III, did not get his first full set of clubs until he was 10 years old. He started with partial sets such as 5, 7, 9-iron, putter and 3-hybrid, and grew into a full set .over a few years time.

This club is the 8-iron from my first full set of golf clubs. Dad gave me his Spaulding Gene Littler Master Model synchro-dyned irons. The are blades, really all irons were blades in the 1950’s. Note the genuine leather tour-wrap grips. They are wonderful, but get slick in the rain.

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So get in the car and make a run to your local golf store. Or get on the Internet and look at used golf clubs on EBay and new ones on Amazon. Plus you can always visit Golfsmith, Edwin Watts, Golf Galaxy and The Golf Warehouse.

Now, get your junior golfer and have some fun! See you on #1 tee… Sam

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