Posts Tagged ‘Putting’

Junior Golf: Giving Back

In this Monday Mulligan we will look at 2 words commonly used by successful athletes and business men and women. They are an expression of gratitude and show a desire to help communities, charities and even individuals, usually in geographical areas where they have some affiliation, perhaps where they grew up or where they do business. (photo jennleforge.com)image

I’m referring to the phrase giving back and the golf community is a leader in actions and dollar volume donated to organizations across the US. The name sponsors of tour events are interviewed on the air and they always talk about how much they love sponsoring the tournament. It’s great exposure and name recognition and then they will mention the dollars that have been raised for local charities during the current year and over their time of involvement. Mom and Dad, it’s tens of millions of dollars!

PGA Tour golf is big business and everybody wins. The players are paid lavishly. The sponsors benefit greatly. And the local foundations and charities receive huge amounts of money! Win, win, win!

Our own Valero Texas Open has raised $101 million dollars since 2002, becoming only the 4th PGA Tour event to break the 100 million dollar mark. So it’s no wonder local charities are excited when VTO time comes around!

What does this mean to your junior golfer? He/she can be proud to be part of a sport that really gives back to the communities. Technically giving back sounds like returning part of what was earned. It can be in your junior golfer’s case, just giving, since really they aren’t earning a living playing golf yet.

Ways to give: make/distribute food to those less fortunate, volunteer the whole family to serve food at charitable events over the holidays, spend time at senior’s facilities reading or playing games, volunteer at golf or civic functions, get a group to pick up trash at a city park, there’s a ton of options depending on your junior’s age and abilities. (photo arnoldpalmercharities.com)

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Parents, if you have been involved in giving then you know of what I speak. Kids love giving! And parents will too! We have had 2 aha occurrences along these lines in our family. The 1st was when S3 was about 10 years old and we went on a Thursday night to make sack lunches for the people under the bridge. This referred to an area of downtown under some overpasses where homeless folks hung out.

Linda, S3 and I were part of about 20 folks assembling these bags. Food items were 2 pieces of bread with a slice of baloney in-between, a bag of chips and a can of generic soda all in a brown lunch sack. When it was mentioned that this might be all a homeless person may have to eat for a couple of days, S3 was sad that we couldn’t do more. He did accept that doing something was better than doing nothing.

The other time(s) were at Feed My Starving Children where over the last 6 years our church and affiliates and have made millions of nutritious meals delivered to kids in 70 countries. Our family loves doing this! It feels like you have actually done something very worthwhile! This year over 3 days we made 544,320 meals, enough to feed 1492 children for 1 year, amazing!

Sometimes it seems like getting is emphasized over giving. I’d like to encourage you to turn that around and emphasize giving over getting. It’s very possible you might notice a subtle change in your junior golfer’s mindset. Kids love to give, but guess what Parents, it all starts with you.

See you on #1 tee with a giving attitude… Sam

Junior Golf: What’s The Difference

In today’s Wednesday Waggle will will look at what made a difference. A Tour player is back on top after being kind of in the back of the pack for most of the year. Why is he playing at a high level right now, what’s the difference? (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)img_0102

It’s Rory of course. Mr. McIlroy had a great win at last week’s Deutsche Bank Championship in the 2nd round of the playoffs. He started Monday’s final round 6 shots back of 3rd-round leader Paul Casey. So what enabled Rory to get in the winner’s spot? Putting, putting, putting. How many times have you heard someone say that to win a golf tournament, you have to make putts?

McIlroy has hit a bunch of good shots this year but his putting has not been good. So he changed from a Nike to a Scotty Cameron putter and hired Henrik Stensen’s putting coach. So basically in 1 week his putting improved dramatically to 7th in the field in strokes gained putting. In other words he made a bunch of putts, enough to win! (photo golfdigest.com)image

What does this mean for your daughter? Well, how is her putting? Does she make most of her 3-footers, like 100%? Then look at 8 feet, which she can try for 2 out of 3 and then 20 feet where the goal is to NOT 3-putt.

Remember that the short game, chipping and putting is where she can lower her score the quickest. Have her fitted for a new putter. Get a putting aid, there are a ton of them at all price ranges. And practice. Watch Golf Channel Academy putting instructional videos, they’re free. There’s a lot she can do to improve her score. And yes Dad and Mom she needs your help.

See you on #1 tee, ready to make some putts… 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: The 100

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will look at the men’s playoffs now in the 2nd elimination round at TPC Boston. The low 100 scores from last week are competing for 70 spots this week to advance to the next stage. (photo offcoursegolf.com)img_0106-1

Reminder that this is a Friday through Monday event so I slightly freaked out when there was nothing on our TiVo Thursday evening. Aha, it was then I remembered the next morning’s start times.

Yesterday was very interesting to watch. Part of it for me is that to my eye TPC Boston is a very mesmerizing course to look at. Man, it looks tough with winding, narrow, undulating fairways with lots of rough and bunkers and greens that have slopes and features resembling the North Atlantic during a storm. As good as these guys are, this layout really demands accuracy and punishes those who cannot put the ball where it belongs.

James Hahn hit every fairway, an amazing feat in itself and both he and Ryan Moore hit some great iron shots to take the lead at 6-under par. There are another 32 players at 3-under or better so these next 3 days should be exciting! These guys are good!

1 of the reasons Phil Mickelson is so popular is that he is so creative with his shotmaking. He pulls off shots that most other pros won’t even try. Yesterday was both ugly and amazing in this regard. I watched him take an 8 on a par 4, trying to hit a ball out of some cattails and couldn’t get the ball out, had to go back and drop, take a penalty shot, wow, really rough. Then on the 18th hole, his ball was right of the green, about pin high on a very steep slope in some fluff and there was only a small piece of green between a trap and the pin. Phil swung very hard, like out of his shoes hard, with a gap wedge, hit the ball a mile high, landed it just over the trap and almost holed out. What a highlight reel!

So get the TiVo going, enjoy your Labor Day Weekend and go hit some balls or play a round. By the way, just in case you hadn’t noticed, adding to the entertainment mix, college football starts as well, and my Longhorns host #10 Notre Dame on Sunday evening, Hook ‘Em!

See you on #1 tee ready for some excitement… Sam.

Junior Golf: Unforced Errors

In today’s Monday Mulligan we’ll take a look at something that happens in every sport, it just tends to happen less among the players and teams who are properly prepared mentally. (photo jennleforge.com)img_0135

Unforced errors are our topic today. What are they? Simply put, it’s making a mistake when you should not have. In golf, it’s hitting a poor shot when your ball was in a decent position for you to have hit the proper shot, a good result. You had no extraordinary degree of difficulty or challenges required to hit the good shot. Missing short putts or hitting poor chip shots from a good lie are also valid examples.

In volleyball, service errors are 1 example of unforced errors. If the serve is merely in play, it forces the receiving team to make a play. If the serve is not in play the receiving team gets a free point. The #1-ranked US Women’s Volleyball team entered their semifinal match against Serbia as the Gold Medal favorite. 18 US service errors later-read 18 points for Serbia-our ladies lost 15-13 in the 5th set. In fact 2 of Serbia’s last 4 points to win the match were US service errors. The final point was a block going off of 1 of our girls and ending up out of play, Serbia wins 15-13. Serbia played great, in fact they peaked in this game because China blew them out 3-1 in the Gold Medal match.

How on earth does our team of this caliber commit 18 service errors in 1 match? I mean that’s 18 points and Serbia only beat us by a total of 11 points in the 3 sets that they won! Is it lack of practice/preparation, poor coaching, lack of focus during the game, folding to the pressure of The Olympics or just having a bad night? I don’t know the answer, only the result. Unforced errors took our team out of the Gold Medal Match. To the ladies’ credit they did bring home the Bronze Medal and had a lot fewer service errors! (photo 14-05-1994.blogspot.com)image

Golf’s latest example of unforced errors was yesterday when Rickie Fowler took himself out of contention shooting 5 strokes over par on his last 8 holes, after going 55 holes without a bogey. With a final round 74, Rickie’s fluid swing from earlier in the week disappeared and he could not maintain his great scoring. So he ended up T-7 in The Barclay’s. He needed to be T-3 or better for an automatic Ryder Cup spot. Surely he is still in the running for a Captain’s pick.

Errant tee shots-read unforced errors-led to more difficult following shots, which made pars very challenging on this very tough golf course.

What happened? No telling. Was it really old-fashioned pressure of too many high-value goals dependent on the last few holes? Sure, the pros feel pressure just like the rest of us, but they’re usually better than we are at dealing with it.

Minimizing unforced errors is critical for your daughter. Depending on her age and skill level, confidence is a good place to start eliminating mistakes. Get her off the range and onto the course. Encourage her to remember how it felt to hit that good shot, chip or putt. Ask her how she can feel her muscles soaking up the memory of a great shot. Put these positives in her mind. Pressure is coming and proper preparation and a solid level of confidence are important foundations to be able to handle it.

See you on #1 tee, properly prepared… Sam

Junior Golf: Rio Points To Ponder

In this Friday Flop Shot we will look at some of the amazing takeaways from The Olympics, our points to ponder from Rio, things to get you thinking. (photo offcoursegolf.com)img_0106-1

1st what does it mean, if anything, that the 2 Golf Gold Medalists shot exactly the same score, on the same course, 16 strokes under par? Does it show that course designers Gil Hanse and Amy Alcott did a brilliant job allowing both men and women to have relatively equal opportunities on the Olympic course? Yes, I think so!

From the don’t judge a book by its cover realm, how many of you wondered as you watched the only Russian female golfer tee off Wednesday morning, “Wow, that’s a big hat and an unusual wardrobe for the golf course! Can she actually play dressed like that?” Well, in case you hadn’t noticed, Maria Verchenova finished T-16 at 280, 4-under par. Oh, did I fail to mention she shot a course record 62 on her final round! Yes, she can play. Don’t be distracted by trivial things like the clothes or the swing, look at the scorecard at the end of the round!

Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades! This old saying is particularly applicable in The Olympics because only the 1st 3 places count. 4th place and beyond are all equal, equal to zero, that is! Let’s look at Gerina Pillar whose 1st 54 holes were excellent as she began her final round 2 shots off the lead and in the thick of the medal hunt. For whatever reasons she was unable to stay with the leaders and finished well off the pace. She was in tears after and stated, “I need to work harder.” Pressure, pressure, handling pressure is key to winning and Gerina’s really tough pressure came in the final round of her Olympic tournament and she did not perform good enough to place. (Kuchar photo reuters.com)

Golf - Men's Individual Stroke Play

Continuing with the Close doesn’t count theme…, let’s look at Stacy Lewis whose 76 on day 3 left her with a lot of space to make up to contend for a medal. She had a great final round of 66 and her birdie putt hung on the lip on #18, keeping her in 4th place 1 shot out of 3rd. So Stacy was as close as you could get without medalling, the dreaded 4th place…and by 1 shot. Wow!

What does this mean for your junior golfer? Yes, the ladies can play this game very well, too. Encourage your daughter and your son that everyone can play good golf. It takes commitment! Also your kiddos should work on maintaining their game focus so to not be easily distracted by unimportant things. And please emphasize that EVERY STROKE COUNTS! That 2-inch tap-in putt counts just the same as her/his longest tee shot ever. And the last stroke on the 18th hole counts just as much as the 1st shot on #1 tee.

See you on #1 tee looking focused… Sam

Junior Golf: Ladies’ Exciting Finish

In today’s Monday Mulligan we will review the action from Saturday’s final round of the Rio Olympics Women’s Golf. (photo jennleforge.com)img_0135-1

The day started with Inbee Park in the lead and she was joined by Lydia Ko and Gerina Pillar in the final 3-some. Stacy Lewis had a terrible round on Friday and had left herself a fairly long chance at medalling. Lexi Thompson, after a solid round on Day 1, never was able to get back into the trophy hunt.

There was considerable drama, but not really as to who would win the gold. Inbee started out making some birdies and increased her lead where only a major collapse on her part would knock her out of 1st place. While she made a couple of bogeys on the back 9, she also made more birdies and she just wasn’t letting go of that Gold Medal.

The great battle was for the other 2 spots, silver and bronze. Remember in The Olympics there are only 3 spots that matter. 4th through 60 all are the same and are meaningless other than having the excellent distinction of being able to call oneself, an Olympian.

Lexi Thompson had her best 18 holes at Rio with a 66. It was however, a case of too little, too late. Her total of 281 left her T-19, 13 shots out of the lead. Good for her shooting a low final round!

Gerina Pillar was paired with 2 # 1’s and got outplayed. Birdies were required on these last 18 holes and Gerina just couldn’t get the birdie train rolling. She had a 74, her worst Olympic round by 5 shots, while watching Indee and Lydia make birdies. This was an opportunity to really learn some things about pressure-packed final rounds! She finished T-11, 278, 10 shots out of 1st and 4 shots from 3rd.

Stacy Lewis and about 7 other players were where the action was! She started making some birdies and climbed into contention at 1 point for a possible silver or bronze. Knocking heads with Stacy were Lydia Ko, ShanShan Feng, Haru Nomura, Amy Yang, Brooke Henderson, Minjee Lee and Charley Hull.

After a disastrous 76 on Friday, Stacy shot a final round 66 putting her in the bubble spot of maybe 3rd, probably 4th. Her birdie putt on 18 literally hung on the lip, just 1/16th of a roll and it would have gone in and likely put her in a bronze medal playoff. So close! (photo bbc.com)image

Stacy Lewis finished T-4, 275, 1shot from bronze and 2 shots from silver. She was joined by Haru Nomura and Amy Yang. Brooke Henderson, Minjee Lee and Charley Hull all were T-7, 276.

This was a very exciting final round because we actually had 10 ladies with a legitimate chance to medal, and the final 2 places weren’t decided until the end of play. And they were all fighting hard because again, only 3 places count! These are the rarest trophies in golf and must be fought for with every ounce of energy and skill! Thanks ladies for some great entertainment!

See you on #1 tee looking entertaining… Sam

Junior Golf: Ladies Begin Play

In this Wednesday Waggle we will take a look at the Ladies Golf at the Rio Olympics. Play begins today and ends Saturday. The format is 72-hole stroke play, same as the men’s event won by Justin Rose of Great Britain. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)img_0102-1

The women have pretty much all of their top stars on hand so the competition should be excellent. Our Team USA includes Stacy Lewis, Lexi Thompson and Gerina Pillar and it will be most interesting to hear from them about all the ramifications of being an Olympian and being the 1st women Olympic golfers since 1900.

1 of the things not mentioned often enough is that Olympic medals are the rarest of them all, being up for competition only once every 4 years. I’ll leave it up to you math wizards out there to compute the odds, but the factors involved in winning an Olympic gold medal vs a major would be: a golfer has 16x the chances to play in a major based on frequency of occurrence, every year for majors and every 4 years for The Olympics. Then majors likely have about 156 entries each and there are many different ways to be eligible to enter each major, oh and there are 4 majors each year all of which have extremely high levels of prestige, although different. Olympic golf has a maximum of 4 entries per country, based on rankings. So math folks, go crazy here and give me a number of how rare an Olympic golf medal is compared to winning a major, please!

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The point I’m trying to make is that Olympic medals in golf are very rare birds. In fact, golf’s future after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where golf is included, will be determined at a meeting in 2017. So it is possible that golf could again be eliminated at the 2017 meeting and starting at the 2024 Olympics, it would be gone. Who knows for how long? Maybe medals from Rio and Tokyo would be the ONLY Olympic golf medals for another 100 years, Wow! So after Tokyo you would have a maximum of 6 different men and 6 different women who would have Olympic golf medals and all the other great players would be looking at that vacant spot in their trophy case never knowing if there would ever be another chance for them to win an Olympic medal to fill in that spot. (photo golfnewsnet.com)

The coverage begins at 5:30am today on The Golf Channel. All rounds are replayed several times throughout the day. Please, set your TiVo. This is golf history and it will excite your daughter and give her some opportunities to dream big! Can’t wait!

See you on #1 tee looking like an Olympian… Sam

Junior Golf: Thrilling Olympic Battle

In today’s Monday Mulligan we look at the thrilling final 18 holes of the 2016 Rio Olympics Men’s Golf Competition. It was a classic battle which had a ton a drama and surprises! (photo jennleforge.com)img_0135

Yesterday started off with Justin Rose 1 shot ahead of Henrik Stensen and everybody else was basically fighting for 3rd in theory, at least, because these 2 guys were in good form. Rose appeared unflappable as he had been playing well for the 1st 3 rounds and Stensen had been playing good for weeks and recently won The Open Championship. Probably neither 1 was going to collapse during the final round. Bubba Watson was T4, 6 shots back and Matt Kuchar was T7, 7 shots behind Rose and Rickie Fowler was 9 behind and Patrick Reed was 13 shots down in the pack. Medal hopes for the Americans were not looking good.

With Rose and Stensen trading birdies nobody gave much thought to 3rd place until someone saw that Matt Kuchar, playing a couple of groups ahead of the leaders, had gone 6-under par on holes 5 through 10 and was blasting past people on his way up the leaderboard. Getting a bronze was looking good but a silver or gold was needing 3-under at least on the 3 easier finishing holes. After driving the par 4 16th, Kooch 3-putted for a par. Stuck his tee shot on the par 3 17th to less than 3 feet and made a birdie and just did not hit his 3rd shot close enough on the par 5 18th and made par, so he finished 13-under and locked up the bronze medal.

Meanwhile back in the last group, Stensen pulled even to Rose with a birdie on #17. Now they’re tied going into the par 5 72nd hole. Lead NBC announcer legendary US golfer Johnny Miller said,
“I think whoever birdies this hole wins! I don’t expect both guys will make birdies, the nerves are just too great!” All of the announcers made reference as to how everybody on the course, not just the players was feeling the intense pressure of being the 1st Olympic Golf Gold Medalist in 112 years!

So Henrik was 1st to hit to the 18th green leaving his approach almost 30 feet short of the hole. Then Justin stuck his 3rd shot to maybe 2 feet, pressure, what pressure? Henrik missed his birdie putt so that meant a 2-footer was all that Justin needed to win the gold medal and yes, he made it. Coming down to the final shots on the last hole, what a finish for golf!image

Gold Medal-Justin Rose, Silver Medal-Henrik Stensen, Bronze Medal-Matt Kuchar. Great job guys!

Let me close with some quotes from Matt Kuchar and his USA teammate Bubba Watson. “I can assure you I’ve never been so excited to finish in the top three in my life,” Kuchar told Golf Channel’s Steve Sands. “I can’t explain to you the pride I feel just burning out of my chest. It’s something I haven’t felt before.” Watson, who was in contention for a medal at the start of Sunday’s round, was excited for Kuchar. “I was grinning from ear to ear every time I looked at the leaderboard and saw he was making pars and making birdies, he was going to get a medal. As long as he signed the scorecard the right way, he was going to get a medal.” Can you say team sport?

See you on #1 tee looking to be a part of something bigger than yourself… Sam

Junior Golf: Olympic Golf Dreams

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will hear the words of some of the golfers competing in the Rio Olympics. So many of the golfers have a lot in common with the other athletes even though they play different sports. (photo offcoursegolf.com)img_0106

Ricky Fowler in an interview earlier this week said, “Growing up I’d always watch The Olympics and think about how cool it would be to play in them. But then I knew I might not ever get to do it, because my sport, golf, was not an Olympic sport. But things have changed and now I’m here!” Announcer, “What is it like being here?” Paraphrasing Ricky, “It’s absolutely unbelievable, walking into the stadium and representing the USA and being around all these great athletes! My Olympic Dream is coming true.”

Bubba Watson in his post-round interview after shooting a 73 on Thursday, was asked about being part of The Olympics, he replied, “It’s been absolutely amazing. The sad thing is, I shouldn’t say this, but golf gets in the way. I want to go to every event. What a thrill of a lifetime. What a dream come true. I get to be an athlete, but I also get to be a spectator. This is the greatest sporting event around the world. We have every different sport here and now golf is in it. So it is an absolutely amazing, amazing time and I wouldn’t change it for the world. And like I said before, golf gets in the way. I am giving golf my best effort. I had 1 bad swing today and 2 3-putts, but now I get to be a fan and support the USA.” (photo cliffhawkins/gettyimages)

So Mom and Dad what does this mean for your son and daughter? Now they can add the dream of being an Olympic golfer to their dream list! It has been over 100 years since golf was last played in The Olympics and now it’s back! Your junior golfer has a brand new dream! Some of the greatest golfers of all-time NEVER had a chance to play Olympic golf, but now your junior golfer does.

Encourage your kids to dream and dream big!

See you on #1 tee dreaming of Olympic gold… Sam

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