Posts Tagged ‘winning golf’

Junior Golf: How To Win And Still Be Friends

In today’s Good Friday Flop Shot we will offer some input on how your son/daughter can win a match or tournament and still be friends with their fellow competitors.

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Dubai Golf

Our wonderful sport is about friendships, friends and family, family and friends. Time spent on the course is precious and even among the most relaxed fun-filled groups, a little bit of competitive spirit usually shows up, even if only for a hole or 2. Maybe your son and his buddy both missed the green and and your boy says,”Hey, how about a chipping contest? Closest to the pin wins!” Great fun, very little pressure and no financial risk, not playing for money, just 1 shot. No drama, no big buildup, just do it. Good old-fashioned competition, fun competition.

Trying to win a match or tournament ramps everything up a few notches. The pressure, intensity and ability to perform in these circumstances is tough. Let’s look at 3 things for your junior golfer to be aware of so that he and his competition can continue to be friends after the event.

Golf is about making friends. The 1st time your youngster joins any organized golf function, tournament, clinic or camp, he will start making friends. This will continue through college and many of these relationships will last his whole life and several of his buddies will form a genuine core group of his inner circle of friends. Very cool stuff!
Golf is a sport of honor, integrity and accountability. There is no place for bragging, mocking or finger-pointing. Respect for the game, the opponents and for himself/herself must be introduced and encouraged from your child’s initial contact with the sport. Win with grace, lose with grace. Life lessons right here, Mom and Dad!
It is possible to be pleasant and even friendly with the competition and still win. Look at Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose in the final round of last week’s Masters. These guys are Ryder Cup teammates, fellow European Tour members and good friends. How many times did they say good shot or give a thumbs up to each other? Certainly each one wanted to win with a passion. They wanted to beat their good friend but they would pursue this desire to win with respect, honor, dignity and friendship. It was special to watch!

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photocredit:GOLF.com

Your child’s mental and physical abilities will be challenged constantly during competition. Not winning occurs more often than winning. You will see the highest of highs and lowest of lows from your kiddo during some of these very trying situations. A thought that Linda and I found to be relatively effective with S3 in tough moments, was to remind him that this was not his last round of golf he would ever play. Focus on improving the process and the desired results will come. There will be more golf to play. The future is bright!

See you on #1 tee ready for a friendly round of golf, but I still want to beat you… Sam

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Junior Golf: Lesson 2 From The Tour Championship

imageIn our Friday Flop Shot we’ll take a look at the 2nd lesson to be learned from The Tour Championship. Every time you watch a professional golf tournament, there are many things to be learned, both good and bad. (photo from offcoursegolf.com)

So our 2nd and final lesson we will take from last week’s Tour Championship is: nobody plays great all the time. Yes, the greatest names in the history of the game had their streaks when they won multiple golf tournaments. And Byron Nelson won 11 events in 1 year in the 1940’s, but as great an achievement as that was, he didn’t win everything. Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Johnny Miller, Tom Watson, Tiger Woods and more guys have won a lot of golf tournaments in 1 season. But they all had times that they weren’t playing good enough to win. Yes, none of them liked it, but it’s called being human.

LPGA Hall of Famer Judy Rankin was talking on the golf channel about how many tournaments in a row the pros play, and for most it’s 2 or 3 in a row because it is so demanding. However, Judy made the point that if you are playing great, you want to keep playing because you know it won’t last forever. This is reality in professional golf.

Jason Day was hot as a firecracker the last few months on the PGA Tour and he was a favorite to win it all. In Atlanta however, Jason’s magical play had faded and while he was playing pretty well, after 2 days it appeared that he would really need to finish super strong to get back in it. In the meantime Henrick Stenson was on fire in the 1st round and looked like he was going to shoot about 30-under par if he could keep it up as he did at this same venue in 2013, winning it all. Ricky Fowler looked like he was always just about to get a bunch of birdies going but he never caught fire.image

Then there’s Jordan Spieth who had everybody, except him and his caddy, shaking their heads after he missed the cut in 2 of the playoff events. As the other guys on the PGA Tour know, Jordan is a competitor to take very seriously when the stakes are high. Stenson could not maintain his torrid birdie streaks and Jordan patiently caught up with and ultimately passed him. No one else was really a threat on Sunday as 2 days of rain had made a mess of everyone’s scores, except for Jordan’s. Congratulations to him! (Byron Nelson photo from media.nj.com)

Mom and Dad, you junior golfer is not going to win every golf tournament they play in. Winning just 1 is a big deal. Any golf tournament is hard to win so don’t beat your junior golfer up when he doesn’t play well or is not competitive. It happens. It’s part of golf. Players at every skill level are looking for consistency and guess what, sometimes your golfer is more consistent and sometimes they are not very consistent at all. Accept the fact that designing a plan to work toward better consistency is the way to go. This isn’t accepting failure. This is about accepting that golf is hard and being an elite athlete in any sport is hard and all athletes in all sports at all levels want to be more consistent in playing at a higher level.

So love your son. Take him to #1 tee and I’ll be looking for him… Sam

Potholes, Curves and Bumps in Your Junior Golfer’s Path!

Make lemonade out of those lemons that fall onto your junior golfer’s path. Those potholes, curves and bumps can all be turned into positives.

All golfers have interruptions in their forward progress. So how does a parent deal with these setbacks? Let’s start by identifying what is going on. Some situations are obvious, but some can be very subtle.

Here are some challenge areas:
1. Lack of interest…your junior golfer isn’t as fired up about golf as he was.S3 hole in one!

Let’s address this. There are numerous reasons for decreased interest. Burnout, poor tournament results, too much going on, overbearing Coach or parents, nagging injuries, hormones, family issues, scholastic issues, friendship problems, they never liked golf in the first place and can’t take it anymore, the list is endless.

So how do you find out what is really happening? Just ask. Try this today: take half a sheet of paper and write, “When I think of golf I feel…”, skip a couple of lines for your child to respond, then write, “I play golf because…”. Make sure there is enough room for your child to write an answer and give it to him when he is in a peaceful state of mind. The answer gives you something to work with.

It may take a while to learn what is really going on, but it can be done. And you should do some inspecting. Check out their golf shoes. Run your hand into them and feel for wear spots on the lining, mainly around the toes, outside of the arch and in the heel. At some point too much wear leads to discomfort, chafing and risk of injury. Buy new shoes before the wear gets out of hand. Look at your kiddo’s feet. Are there any ingrown toenails, blisters, corns or calluses? I assure you, Happy Feet are essential for Happy Golf! Sometimes your junior golfer is in pain but for whatever reason, does not choose to tell you about it. I think back to a time when S3, our college golfer, was walking super-slowly in tournaments. He just kind of blew it off until we finally, after several events, visually inspected his bare feet. He had infected ingrown toenails in both big toes! Once this was cleared up, all was good. Linda and I were disappointed we had not checked out his feet earlier..but at least we finally did! Better late than never!

2. Relational issues at home, school or with friends. This can be hard to detect and can be a major distraction.

3. Injury or illness…proper recovery and rehab are imperative.
4. Improper or ill-fitting clubs, equipment or shoes.
5. Ineffective coaching.
6. Psychological issues…no your junior golfer in not nuts but there are a bunch of thoughts that surface during competition and many of these thoughts are not helpful.

Some or maybe all of these things could come up during your junior golfer’s career. They are normal!

Rather than stressing out, address these issues with a positive approach to help your golfer regain his positive attitude as soon as possible. These are great learning situations!

In my next post, I will address Challenge #2. Now get your junior golfer and go hit some balls.

See you on #1 tee… Sam

How To Keep Momentum During Your Golf Match

Momentum is one of those intangibles that is hard to dissect. You either have it or you don’t. So when you have it, how can you keep momentum during your golf match? And when you lose it, how can you get it back?

The short answer is to relax and have fun…many times easier said than done. The pressure of competition is pervasive and you can pay thousands of dollars trying to help your junior golfer deal with it. Stress is an ongoing part of life and helping your junior golfer manage their “golf” stress will help them deal with stress in all areas of their lives.

Keeping Mo involves continuing to hit good or great shots, hopefully through the completion of the round or match. Encourage your kiddo to “feel it” when they are playing well and to expect the next shot to be a good shot. Your Junior Golfer should believe that they can hit one good shot after another. Stay positive, relax and have fun.

Getting Mo back once your young athlete has lost it is tough. Losing Mo can result in disappointment, loss of enthusiasm and energy and even temporary depression. And all of these are not conducive to hitting good golf shots. What mental state helps your kiddo regain some Mo? Relaxing, maybe just being tired of having a brief “pity party”, or just not caring too much or trying too hard….getting back to having fun! Hitting a good shot can immediately lift their spirits and help them hit a string of good shots. And believing that they can compete with (read beat) everybody in their division, so they need to get back to playing like it!

Mo is elusive, so recognizing when your Junior Golfer has it is important and they want to keep it going for as long as possible.

The awareness of knowing that all athletic contests, including golf tournaments have ebbs and flows of momentum is very important. It is critical that your Junior Golfer knows that it is very rare for anyone’s momentum to last for all 18 holes. Mo comes and goes throughout the round and the key is to keep it going for as long as possible and get it back as quickly as possible.

For a quick Mo demo, take your Junior Golfer and see how many consecutive 6-foot putts each of you can make. When you miss a putt, you lose momentum…point made.

Til next time… Sam Jr

Momentum Helps Your Junior Golfer Succeed

Mo, Mo, Mo…we hear about it all the time in other sports… Momentum… and it exists in golf, as well. Mo is more obvious when you are playing but it can also show up, or not, during practice.

Your Junior Golfer will either have momentum or they won’t have it, but their Mo can change very quickly. It is important for your kiddo to recognize that Mo really does exist and they can use it to their advantage.

How do you know if if you “have Mo” or you don’t? It is simple, if they are hitting good shot after good shot and are scoring well, they “have Mo”. If they are just playing barely OK or are struggling, they certainly do not “have Mo”.

Momentum can easily change several times during 18 holes. This was very visible at the recent WGC Cadillac Championship when Graham McDowell was hoping to catch Tiger Woods during the final round. G’Mac started with a couple of birdies to close the gap and then in the middle of his round, had a 3-putt or a bogey and it seemed to take the steam (read-Momentum) right out of his game.
By the time G’Mac regained some Mo, it was too late in the round and Tiger’s lead was too large. So if McDowell had not lost Mo or had gotten it back sooner, he would have had a chance to catch Tiger.

Golfers at all levels are affected by Momentum and Your Junior Golfer may feel the impact even more than the older golfers. Next time we’ll look at how to keep the Momentum going and how to get it back when it disappears.

Now, grab your young athlete and go to the driving range.

Til next time, Sam.

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