Posts Tagged ‘St Andrews’

Junior Golf: 3-Foot Putts

In this Wednesday Waggle we will look at something that occurs in every round of golf and sometimes they show up in numbers. To have any chance of winning a golf tournament your daughter must conquer these. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)img_0102

What am I talking about, 3-foot putts of course! There’s a reason these are called knee-knockers or testers. This is a perfect in-between length where any player could casually walk up and take a swipe at the ball and likely miss. It is not a 6-inch tap-in and it’s not a 10-footer either. Watch how seriously every pro approaches these short putts. They go through their deliberate routine just as if it was a 30-footer.

Having a repeatable putting routine is critical and is an absolute necessity. The pros know the numbers and guess what, the winners of most pro events, both men and women, will be pretty much 100% makes on putts of 3-feet and less. Yep, that’s 1 of the stats that’s key to winning at any level of golf. (Doug Sanders photo utube.com)

Here’s how important it is to make these little putts. In 1970 Doug Sanders missed a 30-inch putt on the 72nd hole at St Andrews to win the British Open. He then lost an 18-hole playoff to Jack Nicklaus the next day. What happened in Sander’s own words, “I didn’t get set. I was thinking about which side (of the stands containing the British Royalty) to bow to. I saw my good friend Ben Hogan swat a bug away from his face, but later he told me he was trying to get me to walk away and reset.” Doug lost his focus, casually took the short putt for granted and missed. He said it likely cost him $200 million dollars plus the winning of a major and that was in 1970!image

Let’s look at the other side of 3-foot putts from last Sunday. Jimmy Walker had the same situation as Doug Sanders did in 1970, a 3-foot putt to win a major. And Jimmy went through his putting routine and stroked his ball into the middle of the cup. He stayed in the moment and got his 1st major.

Your daughter can get close to 100% makes on 3-footers, too. When S3 has been practicing on our favorite Dave Pelz putting aide, he makes just about everything. It’s quite clear, when he makes putts, he has practiced properly and when he misses those same putts, he has not, simple. Find a practice routine for short putts that keeps your daughter’s attention and get after it. It will pay off!

See you on #1 tee ready to make some putts… Sam

Junior Golf: St. Andrew’s Ultimate Lesson

imageIn today’s Friday Flop Shot we will look at the Ultimate Lesson from St. Andrews and this year’s Open Championship and put it in a junior golf perspective. So what on earth is the Ultimate Lesson we take from last week’s major championship? (photo from offcoursegolf.com)

It is learning how to win and how to lose with grace. Often we tell our kids that although losing can be painful and very tough, it is important to be decent and polite, even though you did not take 1st place. While being a good loser is frowned upon by some and they think everyone who ends up in 2nd place or lower should be mad or disrespect the winner. We disagree.

There is losing, where your child makes unforced errors and ends up being out of the running. And there is plain old just getting beat, where someone makes better shots and has a lower score. The response although difficult should be the same. Congratulate the winner and move on. This is not the last round of golf to be played. And whether your youngster lost or got beat, depending on her age, it may be hard for her to differentiate between the two. Doesn’t really matter as a serious golfer should always be seeking to improve her game.

Zach Johnson won The Open Championship with humility and grace. He played better than everyone else. His emotional press conference was a classic in how to gracefully and respectfully respond to winning a huge event. He gave God praise and thanks for his talent, he said the win would not define him, but his family and kids would. A class act, congratulations Zach!

And Jordan Spieth, who was certainly shocked when he saw his approach shot on the last hole land near the pin and then spin back some 20 feet, off the green. His birdie putt, to make the playoff, was hole high and an inch or 2 left of the cup. A good effort, just not good enough this time. Most players, once they see they are not in the playoff, head straight for the airport and get out of Dodge. Not Jordan. He followed the guys in the playoff, stayed to congratulate Zach on his win and even drank out of the Claret Jug. Nothing but class! (photo from usatftw.files.wordpress.com)

imageS3 is 4 and 1 in playoffs and the 1 defeat is from his opponent making a birdie on the 1st playoff hole. S3 was disappointed, but played well enough to make the playoff and he just got beat, period. So he sincerely congratulated the winner, accepted the 2nd place trophy and then we went home. A decent day really.

Golf tournaments at any level are hard to win so when your junior golfer is seriously contending with a few holes left, they really want to win. Different kinds of pressure show up in these instances and can make those last few holes very challenging. And winning is more fun than losing, but she needs to respond properly in either case.

Remind her that she will have many more golf tournaments and encourage her to keep improving her skills.

See you on #1 tee…with a smile on her face… Sam

Junior Golf: The Open Championship at St. Andrews Is Inspirational

imageIn this Monday Mulligan we will look at how The Open Championship at St. Andrews is inspirational for your junior golfer. As you read this, the best golfers in the World will be finishing their final round at the 144th Open Championship on The Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland. (photo by jennleforge.com)

Please, I hope you recorded some of the play, which has taken 5 days to get to the last round. Your child can easily be captivated by the stunning scenery, challenging weather conditions and special atmosphere. And the British fans have a respect for the game of golf that is second to none.

Wind and rain delays are the reasons the golfers are playing today. Yesterday saw almost no wind, leading the announcers to say they had never seen the winds so calm at any Open Championship. So the challenge of high winds, rain and chilly conditions make for an interesting opportunity for any golfer who wants to test his skills. Legendary golfer, Davis Love III was asked what the most layers of clothes were that he had worn during a golf tournament and his answer was “That’s easy, 5-layers at The Open Championship in the 1980’s”. As former Open Champion John Daly said at this Open Championship, “I can handle the wind or the rain, but please don’t give me both.” The atmosphere is totally unique.image

You may be thinking at inclement weather doesn’t sound inspirational, but if you present it in the proper way, it can be. Playing in wet and windy conditions is something that happens to most serious golfers of all ages. Preparation is a key. A name brand golf rain jacket and rain pants and a pair of the “wet” black golf gloves are essential as are of course, waterproof golf shoes. (John Daly photo mobile.twitter.com)

During S3’s fall golf season in his sophomore year in high school it seemed like every tournament was 45-degrees and blowing rain. Nobody’s rain gear was good enough. Every player and spectator was soaked to some degree. Those that didn’t have the wet weather gloves could hardly hold onto their clubs. It was tough. But you know what, every tournament had a winner and we all did it again the next week. It certainly helps you appreciate more decent weather conditions.

imageThen there’s the history. St. Andrews is widely regarded as the birthplace of golf, with the earliest mention of play in the early 1400’s. The history, architecture, local customs, food and scenery will set your young golfer’s mind spinning. A trip here for a round of golf would be one of the “lifetime” trips for anyone who loves this sport. What an amazing place! (photo from standrews.com)

There is an Open Championship every July, so if you missed this one, plan ahead to record the 2016 event. Your kiddo will love watching it! It’s a big stage!

See you on #1 tee… maybe at St. Andrews… Sam

Junior Golf: Get Creative, Watch The Open Championship

imageToday’s Friday Flop Shot will be our introduction to creativity, one of the keys to really learning how to play golf. And when your junior golfer learns to be creative on the golf course, she will get lower scores.

So golf is a sport, but is it also an art or a science? Although there is plenty of science utilized in all aspects of golf, it is not really a science. I think it’s a sport that requires a lot of creativity/art in order to be competitive. (photo from offcoursegolfnetwork.com)

With The Open Championship, previously called The British Open Championship under way this week, this is a perfect time to begin a discussion on creativity, as in visualizing the shot your junior golfer needs to hit and then execute. In other words you help your junior golfer see the shot and then encourage them that they can successfully hit it.image

The style of golf required to be competitive in The Open is links golf which is very different than the common American-style golf of hitting the ball to a spot in the fairway and then taking aim at the flag with the approach shot. Links golf has hard rolling fairways and trying to get the ball to end up in a safe zone requires genuine visualization: seeing the flight, where you want it to land, calculating the roll to hopefully have the ball stop somewhere in the vicinity of a spot where you can have a decent shot to the green. Now links greens are usually so hard that it is rare that you can fly the ball and land it within 30-50 feet of the pin. So the greens are designed for roll-ups, landing your approach shot well short of the green and rolling toward the hole. There are numerous rolling contours both on the fairways and the greens as well as the dreaded round and deep pot bunkers, which are basically a 1-shot penalty when you go into them because it’s almost impossible to advance the ball. You are just trying to get the ball back into the fairway.

This is the week to get a great introduction to links golf and get your kiddo starting to think creatively. I encourage you to record Live From St Andrews on the Golf Channel and record The Open Championship on ESPN? If you do not have the Golf Channel, this is the time to add it to your package! Do your smart search and record the series because live coverage will start at 3:00am Central Time. (photo standrews.com)

See you on #1 tee… Sam.

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