I am thankful that my schedule has been busy but that means I get behind on recognizing my junior students who have been playing golf competitively this season. This is long overdue, I am proud of each of them for getting out to play golf. It is my honor to coach them!!
Sara is probably my busiest junior competing in tournaments hosted by the South Florida PGA Junior Section, Under Armour and U.S. Kids. She is 8 years old but she is competing in the 9-11 age division. Recently she took second place at Banyan Cay Resort and Golf with a score of 44 and at Country Club of Miami with a score of 46. She is currently in fifth place overall in the U.S. Kids West Palm Beach Local Tour.
Mateo is competing in tournaments hosted by the South Florida PGA Junior Section and Under Armour this season. He is 9 years old, competing in the 9-11 age division. He recently placed third with a 41 at Jensen Beach Golf Club and has three second place finishes in the South Florida PGA Junior Section: shooting 41and 42 at Banyan Cay Resort and Golf on separate occasions and 41 at Country Club of Miami.
Thomas is 13 and he enjoys competing in U.S. Kids 18 hole tournaments. He competes in the 13-14 age division and recently placed first at The Saints Golf Course with a score of 74. He is currently in fourth place overall in the U.S. Kids West Palm Beach Local tour. This is incredible considering Thomas had a rough start to the season and had to recover from surgery.
David is 14 and he is competing in tournaments hosted by the South Florida PGA Junior Section and Under Armour in the 12-14 age division. Since this is his first year playing competitive golf he is playing 9 hole tournaments with hopes of moving up to 18 very soon. So far, David has a first place finish at Country Club of Miami with a 39, three second place finishes and two third place finishes.
The biggest obstacle that some of my students have is the golf ball. They are determined to swing at the ball instead of focusing on their swing and allowing the ball to simply get in the way. This sounds simple to comprehend but for a golfer who is determined to use his body to make the ball go far, it seems far more complicated. I call these golfers aggressive.
There is nothing wrong with being aggressive in how you approach the shot but attacking the ball will always lead to frustration. As a result, I spend a lot of time talking to my students about how to visualize the shot. They need to see the shot happening in their mind because the brain controls the body. I firmly believe if you have a specific outcome in your mind your body will create that outcome. The idea is to program your brain to focus on the spot where the ball needs to land instead of obsessing over hitting the ball.
Recently, one of my students shared this article with me because it reminded him of what I keep telling him. It is a good read. Click here to read it!!
If your junior golfer has been taking lessons for awhile and they are developing a passion for the sport you may be wondering what's next for them? My answer is simply let them play! This can mean taking them to the golf course and letting them play a few holes with you until they can work up the stamina to walk 9 holes with their bag. Yes, walk. Competitive junior golfers walk the golf course. If they are ready for competition, you may want to consider the Drive, Chip and Putt competition or tournament play.
Drive, Chip and Putt
As the Masters Tournament approaches, you will hear more about the Drive, Chip and Putt competition for junior golfers. This competition is free of charge and culminates with finalists from around the country competing at the following year's Masters Tournament in Augusta, GA. It is a skills challenge!! Registration begins tomorrow, March 1, 2021.
If your golfer is ready to play the course with other golfers in their age group, then they may be ready to play in tournaments. Please read my earlier post to determine their readiness before considering the tournament options that follow.
South Florida PGA-Junior Section Tournaments
The South Florida PGA Section offers tournament opportunities that will challenge your golfer as their skills improve on the golf course. I highly recommend the Links Tour for for first time tournament players since it is only 9 holes and caddies are allowed for younger golfers.
Under Armour Presents The Junior Tour
This tournament option is for golfers of all ages. When you register you are committing to play in all tournaments as scheduled. The registration fee is paid upfront.
If you have specific questions about your junior's abilities, please feel free to contact me.
There are tons of video clips online of golf shots that make the crowd roar. Whether the it is an Ace, a hole out, an amazing putt or a shot from tough lie. I believe they all have one thing in common. Imagination. If you cannot imagine the ball going in the hole or making it to your intended target before you make the shot then you probably should find another sport to play.
Most golfers give up too easily, allowing their emotions to take the lead. If you want to set yourself apart from the pack, start looking at every situation as an opportunity to use your imagination. First, take a breath and relax. Next, change your perspective of where your ball lies and look at the shot from a different vantage point. Now imagine the path of the ball and think about the approach you need to take to make it happen. Take the shot. Does this mean that the outcome is guaranteed? Absolutely not, but instead of giving up, you gave yourself a chance.
I remembered seeing this concept among others in the movie Seven Days in Utopia and I was inspired to share it with my junior golfers by challenging them to make Christmas socks. The socks, however, had to be socks that they already owned or created from materials that they had available to them at home. No outside purchase of materials was allowed.
A week later, they returned having had a lot of fun using their imagination. They discovered that it did not require a lot of effort to make the socks. It was easy to create the socks because they thought about what the socks could look like first. They thought about how to change the appearance of the socks which is basically the same as changing your viewpoint of a difficult shot of the golf course. Then they made the changes which is same as taking the shot on the golf course.
I picked up golf as a kid when my Dad introduced the sport to me. I really enjoyed playing but my brothers did not find it all that interesting until we were adults. When we play together we share a lot of laughs. I played a lot when my children were younger and they joined me at the driving range for practice. Eventually, they started to swing the club and today when our schedules allow we play a round together.
Playing golf can really bring families together, for this reason I enjoy when I have the opportunity to become coach to parent and child. I also believe it is a great way for parents to connect with their children outside in the fresh air. When you play the course, you have time to bond without the distractions of technology; including cell phones. I recommend leaving the phone in the car, I do. Enjoy the time as a family, your time together is precious, cherish it.
Playing together also provides opportunities for learning perseverance and overcoming challenges. Golf will test you at any age. Parents can teach their children how to persevere and become their cheerleader and once in a great while the children serve in this role for their parents.
Ultimately, it is the feeling of completion that both parent and child can experience from the tee box to hole. Every hole provides an opportunity for celebration and smiles. When you miss hit the ball, laugh about it, relax and do it again. Have fun. Now more than ever, families need to have more fun.