I have been fortunate to coach a lot of junior golfers over the years. Several develop a passion to play competitively and I am happy to help them develop the skill and mindset for that kind of play. In January, I was asked to coach a junior golfer with competitive experience from Peru. I was excited to see what she could do.
In the first lesson, I discovered that Micaela is very talented but she could be so much better with some adjustments to her swing. When I suggested the changes, she looked at me like my head was going to explode. While it was a difficult change, she saw the results immediately and committed to making the adjustment.
As a student, Micaela is very astute and quick to grasp concepts. Her dedication to practicing and playing over the last couple of months yielded a 3rd place finish in the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour at Eagle Trace Golf Club in Coral Springs this past weekend. She shot an 85 and 81 in a two-day tournament. This win is extra special because she played against a former Peruvian teammate who consistently hit longer drives in the past. Armed with her new swing, those days are over and the future is bright for Micaela.
There's nothing like your first ACE! Congratulations Mica!!!
One Swing in the hole 167 yards.
Last Sunday, I learned that Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast, Inc. needed some golfers to participate in their annual Play4JA Golf Tourney that was held yesterday. With such short notice, I was not sure how many of my students would be available. Some were already committed to playing in tournaments, while others had had personal commitments. In the end, several of my students decided to skip their weekly lesson and take advantage of this great opportunity to play the Palm Beach Par 3 to practice their short game, meet some new people and have some fun.
The tournament format was a scramble where a junior golfer was paired with three adults. Those adults represented Gulfstream Goodwill Industries, Woerner Holdings, Keller Williams, Keiser University, Fifth Third Bank, and Bank of America. It was my honor to have nine of my junior students participate and even more rewarding to learn that one of them, Thomas Nevico, led his foursome to the best score, shooting a 35. Thomas also won a closest to the pin contest. The other students were: Kirk Barto, Annika Collado, Spencer Shapiro, Vivian Sterijevski, Danny Tadeo, Troy Tharitimanont, Nathan Vertes and Sydney Rogers who won two closest to the pin contests.
This was a unique opportunity for my junior students and I am proud of each of them for having the courage to step outside of their comfort zone to help Junior Achievement raise almost $30,000 to cover the cost of Junior Achievement curriculum kits. Each kit contains enough supplies for one volunteer to teach up to 30 kids.
Thank you again for this opportunity to golf at the Junior Achievement tournament today! Vivian had a lovely time golfing & the weather could not have been better. It was a beautiful course & she played with a Keiser University team. It was a scramble format and she held her own with these three gentlemen. She was best ball several times, had some great putts, & struck up conversations when appropriate. The men cheered her on & tried to help her with her short game. Overall a really great day! - Vivian's Mom
Thank you so much for inviting me to play in the golf tournament. It was tons of fun and the people I was with were awesome. I won a yeti in a putting contest. It was a good experience. -Nathan
I had a really great time today, met some nice people. Thank you for thinking of me and inviting me to play. I represented Team Beaver well! - Annika
Since 1981 Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast has delivered financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and workforce readiness programs to over 738,000 youth across our five county area.
Too many kids do not have access to education crucial for their future success: personal financial responsibility, budgeting, critical thinking, & career readiness. Junior Achievement exists so that all kids, regardless of background, receive the tools they need to build a future for themselves in which they are optimistic, economically self-sufficient, and determined, with a belief in the power of free enterprise. Junior Achievement prepares students to develop successful financial management habits, empowers them to explore the potential of becoming an aspiring entrepreneur, and provides them with the skills necessary to succeed in a global workforce.
Playing sports is a great way to meet people and make friends. Golf is no different. I recently started coaching a junior golfer who just moved to the area from Peru. I was able to get her connected with two golfers her age and last week they scheduled time to play a couple of rounds of golf together. Apparently, the player with the best score earned a bag of Oreos from the other players.
Golf friendships are unique in that age does not matter. Mateo just turned 10 but he also joined the girls for a round of golf. They played together from different tee boxes and they had a blast.
It is for this reason, that I teach group classes with mixed age groups. Golfers learn all of the same skills. They may progress and excel differently but at the core they are all golfers who want to enjoy the game.
Once a year, golf enthusiasts get an opportunity to see professional golfers play at The Honda Classic. While the tournament is Thursday-Sunday, the entire week was filled with opportunities for junior golfers to experience golf like never before. This year, several of my junior students were able to take advantage of some unique opportunities:
The First Tee invited Jayda Dookie to play in the Monday Pro-Am at The Honda Classic with PGA Professional, Austin Smotherman.
On Tuesday, Abby Falcon, Kaleb Falcon, Blake Leon, Mateo Muñiz, Kirra Pugliese, Nick Pugliese and Xander Trivlis attended a First Tee Junior Clinic featuring demonstrations by PGA Professionals Chase Koepka and Erik Compton.
On Friday, Joshua Isaac Sidney and Mateo Muñiz were Standard Bearers. David Peschansky was one on Saturday. A standard bearer is a person who carries the mobile scoreboard during a golf tournament for their assigned group of golfers. The Honda Classic offers this opportunity to juniors which allows them to watch and follow the golfers closely behind the ropes.
Another behind the ropes experience is serving as a junior reporter. Jayda Dookie had the opportunity to interview Chase Koepka on Friday.
On Saturday, First Tee invited Spencer Shapiro, Jayda Dookie, Annika Collado and Blake Leon to participate in a behind-the-scenes tour of The Honda Classic.
Today, Annika Collado and Mateo Muñiz were invited to play in the First Tee Monday After the Honda Tourney. They teed off on hole #3 in a shotgun start.
The South Florida PGA Junior Section season has started. The first Prep Tournament was canceled today due to inclement weather but the first Links Tournament of the season was played at Jupiter Dunes yesterday without any issues. I always tell my students, the best way to gain confidence in your game is get out and play.
Registering for a tournament is another level of play. A crowd of people may be watching you which can be stressful. In addition to playing, you are keeping the score of the other golfers in your group while trying to remember the different rules of play. It is a completely different experience that can be exciting or deflating if you do not have the right attitude which is to have fun.
Winning is great but when your goal is to win, you play stressed and are unable to make clear decisions. It is important to play relaxed and focus on one shot at a time. If you can learn something about your game that you can improve you are already winning.
Congratulations to Abriella Morrison and Danny Tadeo! Abriella earned second place in the girls 6-8 division and Danny finished second in the boys 12-14 division. All smiles and they already let me know what they need to work on before their next tournament.