I get a lot of satisfaction out of seeing my students progress in their game. It is awesome to hear about how they have shaved strokes off their round of golf. When I ask, " What made the difference?" undoubtedly, the response is "I did what you told me to do." Now that can vary from student to student. One may need to relax, another may need to visualize the shot, while many need to start focusing on their swing and not the ball.
I cannot count the amount of times, I have had to remind my students that the ball just gets in the way of the swing. In order to help them understand this, I tell them to practice their swing without a ball. This allows them to focus on feeling the club and it following it to complete the swing. If they can do this and appreciate what I am trying to teach them, they will improve.
An article in Golf magazine backs up my suggestion. You can read it below and then please start practicing without a ball.
When I first learned I was receiving the "Coach of the Year" Award from First Tee, I laughed because I don't consider myself to be award worthy. I absolutely love teaching juniors and I do it for them. I want them to have the opportunity to learn golf, a sport they can play for their rest of their lives, a sport they can play with their friends, with their family and build memories. It is also a sport that can open up doors if you are willing to put in the effort.
Today, I was presented with the award by Emily Valentine, Director of Program Development-First Tee Florida Gold Coast, at the beginning of my Tuesday group of homeschool golfers and I was humbled. I was not expecting to be overwhelmed with cards and gifts for this achievement. This award really belongs to the parents and juniors that I teach because without them I would not be able to do what I enjoy.
I am especially grateful to the Village of Royal Palm Beach for this great facility which allows me to accommodate so many juniors. Quite honestly, I am only able to do what I do because I have a great team of coaches on my team that are willing to join me in expanding my junior classes to others. I also cannot say enough about my awesome for lack of a better word "assistant" who takes care of the BIG stuff so I can just teach.
I am honored and grateful to have had this memorable experience.
It is hard to believe that another season of golf is coming to a close for my junior students. I could not be more proud of the accomplishments that they have achieved. Playing for your high school team is a privilege but when you or your team qualify for regionals that is awesome. Congratulations to Annika Collado, Jayda Dookie and Vrishti Patel. Annika qualified individually as a freshman!
In addition to playing on his high school team as a freshman, Thomas Nevico stayed busy playing U.S. Kids Tournaments. He finished first over the weekend with a 79 at Jensen Beach Golf Club in the Tour Championship and he will be playing in the South Florida PGA Junior Section Prep Tour Championship this weekend at Sandhill Crane Golf Club. Mateo Muniz, 9, who moved up to the Prep Tour earlier this fall to compete in 18-hole tournaments will be joining him.
Moving up means that you are ready to challenge yourself and my homeschool junior golfers are doing just that. Over the summer, Mateo qualified for the Sub-regionals of Drive Chip and Putt for the first time while some siblings stepped out of their comfort zone to just compete. Vivian, Marina and Luke had a blast! I continue to be impressed with their energy and enthusiasm for golf.
When that energy sends you to the course to play a round with friends or to compete against other golfers your age that is awesome. This past weekend, Abriella played in her second Links Tournament while Josh and Bella will be teeing off for their first competitive rounds in the Under Armour tournament series this Saturday. No matter what the scorecard says, they are winners because they made the decision to get out there and have some fun. Golf has to be fun first, improvements on the scorecard will come in time.
One student who knows how to put in the time to improve his scorecard is Blake. Blake took a break from golf during the pandemic but came back with a fire to play this fall. His commitment to practicing at least twice a week on course and completing assignments led him to complete the Player and Par levels in record time. He has a goal to start competing after the first of the year.
These are just a few of the stories that I am honored to share. It is my pleasure to be apart of them in a small way.
If you were watching Olympic golf, you know that the U.S. won gold in Men's and Women's Golf. Xander Schauffele, 27 and Nelly Korda, 23 won gold by sticking to their game even after facing adversity on the course. It is really inspiring to see young golfers exhibiting these traits on a world stage. Highlight videos of their final rounds are posted at the very end for your reference.
After watching them both win golds, I was curious about when they started playing golf. Xander started at the age of 9 but did not start playing seriously until he was 12. His family, however, could not afford the travel expenses associated with competitive play that could rank him nationally, so he played college golf and then worked his way onto the PGA tour by playing the Web.com Tour (now called Korn Ferry Tour).
Nelly started playing golf at the age of 6 when her older sister, Jessica (also an LPGA tour player) started becoming serious about the sport. When she qualified for the U.S. Women's Open 2013 and made the cut, one month before her 15th birthday, a desire to play on tour awakened. She would eventually join the LPGA 4 years later after a tough year on the Symetra Tour.
Two very different and difficult paths towards becoming a professional golfer. Both remained committed to their goal, never giving up and I believe it is that same grit that carried them through to win gold.
Based on interest from some of my homeschool families, I decided to offer a Golf Summer Camp this year. In order for it to be successful, I would not only need my usual team of coaches but I also wanted my teenage golf students to join the team as volunteers. I believed their participation would add another layer of fun and relatability to the experience.
Additionally, I thought the experience would help them learn patience. As they helped a younger golfer, they would naturally notice the technique flaws that plague them in their own swing. The end result their own game could potentially improve.
Fortunately, when I started sharing the opportunity with my students, I received overwhelming support for their involvement. Several of my students, even signed up to volunteer for at least 3 of the 4 summer camp sessions that I was offering. I was very pleased because this shows that while golf may be an individual sport, it is also a community.
My volunteers did not disappoint. They arrived early for set up and often stayed after camp to practice their own skills. They were willing to do whatever was asked of them without complaint. Most importantly, they were not shy about working with the younger golfers offering tips and guidance when it was needed.
I could not be more proud. Sharing knowledge and paying it forward...this is how we grow the sport!!