Posts Tagged ‘playing in hot temperatures’

Getting Started in Junior Golf… Made Easy – part 1

Parenting a Junior Golfer leads to memories that last a lifetime!

Wow, here we’ve been going into a lot of details about what to do to support and encourage your Junior Golfer, but maybe you’re visiting for the first time and hadn’t consider golf as an option for your youngster… Well here’s our first installment of how to start your child in the wonderful, exciting and healthy world of Junior Golf.

This will begin some of the greatest experiences you, your Junior Golfer and all your family will ever have!

Let’s begin:

1.  Does your child have any interest in golf?  How do you know?

  • Start by asking and taking a trip to the range. let them swing at some balls and watch the excitement in his or her eyes.
  • If your child is very young, under 5 years old, buy a set of plastic clubs at a discount store and let them swing at whiffle balls in the yard.
  • If your child seems to have little interest right now, that’s OK.
  • Expose them to some golf:  have them watch golf on TV with you
    • Let them putt on the carpet and again take a couple of swings at the good old whiffle balls…great, inexpensive training aids.
    • It’s kind of like the kiddo who does not want to go fishing, but you take them anyway.  They really are not too interested until someone catches that first fish.  Then they say, “Do you think I could try that?”
    • Promote Positive Exposure without being pushy.
Wood, putter and iron are shown.

Wood, putter and iron are shown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2.  Get them some clubs.  Pre-owned children’s/beginner’s sets are readily available.

  • Every golf-related business either has some on hand or knows where you can get some at a very inexpensive price.
  • To get started, your JG needs only a few clubs:  5-iron, 7-iron, 9-iron, pitching wedge, putter and either a 3-wood or 5-wood.
  • U. S Kids Golf makes great clubs for youngsters.
  • As their skills increase, you can upgrade to more clubs and more different types/brands of clubs-skill level compatible.
  • Caution:  make sure the clubs are the correct length for your child.
    •   Clubs that are too long or too short do not give your Junior Golfer much chance of success.
    • Get your child fitted at a major sporting goods store or golf facility.
    • Write down the correct shaft length of the 5-iron that fits your child.
    • While you may be charged for the fitting, you are not obligated to buy clubs from the person that does the fitting.
    • But you do want to buy clubs with a 5-iron that matches the length you wrote down.

3.  Buy a golf bag.  As a rule, buy the lightest bag that their stature allows them to carry.

  • One or two pockets are all they need at this point.
  • Stand bags -the ones with the legs that pop out when you set them down, are super!
  • Buy the size that fits your Junior Golfer, not you.

4.  Buy the best quality golf shoes you can afford.  Top name brands include Adidas, Etonic, Footjoy and Nike among others.

  • Make sure they fit properly.
  • Soft spikes are required on almost every golf course these days
  • Buy a waterproof style if you can afford it.  Wet feet are no fun on the golf course.
  • S3 has worn the Adidas Tour 360 4.0’s for the last 4 years and they are fabulous-a bit pricey, but an excellent value!

5.  Get a glove.  99% of all golfers who wear gloves, wear one on their weak hand.

  • If your Junior Golfer is playing golf right-handed, they would use a glove on their left hand.
  • The best selection of gloves is at the biggest golf stores.
  • If your Junior Golfer needs a Youth or Children’s glove-their hand is smaller than an Adult XS, yes, you need to shop at a big golf store.
  • For the girls, there are a good variety of gloves in very lady-like colors.  Again, go to the bigger golf stores or big sporting goods stores.
  • Gloves serve several purposes:  controlling moisture, controlling grip, helping with feel and with beginners, even stopping the formation of blisters.  And gloves just look good!

Okay, these are the first 5 tips, 5 more to come, we don’t want to overload you… that would be like carrying a full pro’s bag for 18 holes – think of this more as a golf cart version – we want you to enjoy the game, and this blog!

Now get out there and yes… have fun! Sam and Linda

Beat the Heat – Junior Golfing Tips – part 2

If you can’t stand the heat… don’t parent a junior golfer!

As you know Mom and Dad, the days of playing junior golf tournaments in 75 degree, blue-bird weather, at least in Texas are few and far between.  Our kiddos more than likely will be playing in high heat in the summer and maybe decent, but chilly weather in the winter.

Okay, here’s the second installment of Beat-the-Heat tips, I pray you have taken advantage of the first set. Let me know how you implemented them with your Junior Golfer.

7.  2 Gloves, at least 2 gloves:  Gloves can get soaked with sweat and your JG needs the comfort of having at least 1 extra glove…probably a total of 3 gloves is best. S3 has worn Nike, TaylorMade, and Titleist gloves over his Junior Golf career. He prefers the leather Nike Elite Feel, but his college teammate, Dakota likes the leather Titleist Player’s glove. Gloves come in synthetic or leather, we prefer leather for overall quality, feel and longevity.

8.  Hats, caps and visors:  Bigger brims provide more protection but if it is windy, bigger can become a hassle.  Beginning JG’s may find bigger hats to be uncomfortable or clumsy. Preference plays a big part in the selection, but getting your JG to be comfortable in a cap, hat, or visor may protect them from suffering heat stroke in extreme weather.

9.  Sunscreen and insect repellent:  We prefer organic sunscreens which stop the burning rays while letting in the beneficial rays.  Be sure to put some sunscreen on your Junior Golfer’s ears, nose, back of the neck and forehead. Warding off those flying no-seeums and mosquitoes is no fun especially during a tournament we use a non-toxic repellent found online at www.mercola.com and FYI we do not receive any monetary benefit from this website.

 10.  Eyeglasses:  If your Junior Golfer wears prescription glasses, just make some provision for them not to slide around on the nose or face during their swing.  Contact lenses may perform better for your Junior Golfer if available, or prescription sunglasses. S3 wears non-prescription sunglasses (Oakley’s) about ½ the time –and frankly I think he plays better without them.  Pay attention to how your Junior Golfer plays with and without shades and offer them your input.

11.  Head-bands, wrist-bands and soaking neck towels:  These are a matter of personal preference…of course, as the boys and girls get older –some items are just “unfashionable”.

12.  Follow the tournament rules:  At the recent San Antonio Junior Matchplay Championship, parents were encouraged to give their Junior Golfer’s something to drink as often as possible –between every hole, if necessary, because of the extreme heat –no coaching of course.  There was a course appointed cart bringing wet towels to the competitors.  The safety of our JG’s is paramount for a day of excellence at the golf course and when parents and spectators are given this latitude of additional contact with the players –parents are expected to display their personal integrity and refrain from coaching. (Linda will give us ‘how to’s’ on this in a later post.)

There you go, 12 tips you can put into practice today to prepare your Junior Golfer to beat-the-heat in style.

The time you spend with your Junior Golfer will be some of the best moments in both your lives!  Preparing for inclement weather puts your Junior Golfer at the top of the playing field, weather-wise, with the other players who are prepared –and at a great advantage over the players who are not properly prepared.

We will be posting future preparation tips for rainy and cold days of play. Until then, get out there and have fun!! – Sam

Beat the Heat – Tips for Your Junior Golfer – part 1

Junior golf is not for the weak of heart! Ditto for parenting junior golfers…

Living in South Central Texas means your junior golfer will play a lot of tournaments in hot weather. Heat is a fact of life down here, “hot” is considered 95 degrees and above.
If you live or play where the temperature is a challenge, you need to prepare your JG (Junior Golfer) for the heat.

S3 (our son, Sam III) was five, playing in one of his first tournaments, when he mentioned how hot it was on the golf course. I began preparing him for his future in golf with my answer: “Son you live and play golf in South Texas and it is hot here most of the time. Together we will learn how to deal with the heat and the fact that it is hot, will not affect your game.”

Though he didn’t realize it, S3 was already beating the heat by being properly hydrated and in “golf shape”. In this post and the next, I’ll share some beat-the-heat tips; you can use to prepare your JG.

The Beat the Heat List:

1. Be physically prepared: Your Junior Golfer’s goal is have basically the same energy level at the end of their round as they had on #1 tee. Physical conditioning is paramount. There are a number of convenient ways to get your Junior Golfer in “golf shape”, here are a few:
• He or she should carry their bag and walk rather than ride
• Play 9 holes at least three times a week
• Eat healthy on and off the course (limit processed foods)
Many tournaments are won or lost on the last few holes and being in “golf shape” is a great advantage.

2. Wear light-colored clothing: Choose the dri-fit/quick dry/wicking type of polyester fabric. Be sure to include “wicking” socks…they really help keep your Junior Golfer’s feet comfortable. Nike, Adidas, PGA Tour, and Under Armour are just a few of the great brands we prefer. Check out their websites.

3. Hydrate in advance and during the round: Advance hydration means having your Junior Golfer drink about ½ their body weight in ounces of water every day…for at least 2 or 3 days prior to their event. If he or she weighs 80lbs, it would be 40 ounces. (As a fitness specialist, Linda teaches that everyone should be drinking this much water daily) Hydration choices during the round include: water, sports drinks and green tea (without artificial sweeteners). Our Junior Golfer prefers the original Gatorade or water. Encourage yours to drink throughout the round. Don’t let your Junior Golfer wait until they are thirsty to start drinking – by then they are becoming dehydrated.

4. Be mentally prepared: Following the first three tips will give your Junior Golfer a physical advantage in the heat. He or she also requires mental preparedness and you can help by saying, “You have really prepared well, now let’s go out, have some fun and play golf!”

5. Carry at least 1 large golf towel: A must-have to wipe away sweat, this is invaluable. (Cold watered-down towels are great to place on the neck of your Junior Golfer as well)

6. Keep Energy Level Balanced: Your Junior Golfer is burning a huge amount of calories and they lose many nutrients in their sweat. Performance suffers without nourishment. Foods that hold up in the heat: peanut butter crackers, pb & j sandwiches, fruit snacks, jerky (without msg) and whole-grain bars. Eat a few bites every 3 or 4 holes. S3 has made a tradition of eating ½ of a turkey and cheese sandwich-dry, at the turn. Hamburgers are down the list as they sit heavy on the stomach –maybe ½ a burger only. Hot dogs and sausages are off the list as they sit heavy and greasy. No chocolate –too messy in the heat. Remember –eat light and eat frequently!

Okay, my next post will cover six more tips you can use to beat the heat. Let me hear from you –Sam

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