Many parents and junior golfers want to know what is need to get better. Below are my recommendations based on how I learned and experienced.
Get proper equipment – go to Windy Hill to get the proper clubs, shoes, balls, and push cart.
Lessons – Start with lessons and then add Clinics and Camps. The more junior golfers can get in front of their professional or professional’s colleague the quicker and better the junior will become.
Coach supervised practice and play. To learn how to practice and compete.
Purchase a junior golf play pass and range plan if able. Windy Hill is the perfect place to work on a golf game regardless of age. If I had this growing up I would have been in heaven.
The Rest of the Story
My parents made sure I had the proper equipment available in the 70’s. I had a nice condensed set of Wilson, Patty Berg clubs. I had a bag, nice pair of golf shoes, tees, ball markers, and golf balls (Wilson Lee Trevino inexpensive golf balls). My parents spent more money on clubs and shoes because the proper clubs developed a better golf swing and good golf shoes protected my feet. Golf balls not so much I was learning to play the game and beginners lost a lot of golf balls. As long as they were round and not cut I could use them.
Continued golf lessons from a reputable LPGA/PGA professional will ensure strong fundamentals and a solid foundation.
I would have to say my first lessons came from my dad. He soon found out that it was better for me to get lessons from the local PGA professional. This was two fold: to keep him from getting gray prematurely and to help me build a sound golf swing.
After my first lesson I started to practice. Maybe 2 hours at a time. I loved to hit balls and I always tried to hit it hard. Soon I would practice for a few hours then go play nine holes. Shortly after I played in a tournament for juniors at the local par three golf course. Didn’t win (chipping and putting was bad) but had fun and did something with my DAD! I loved to compete. I learned on the fly. Baptism by fire. I found the more I learn the rules the more they helped me. I also found the more I didn’t win the more I needed to practice my short game.
Practice Plan to ensure proper practice and play. Tournament play to develop and imprint competition spirit.
My parents soon purchased a junior golf pass for me to play the local public courses (very cost effective), I was still using Lee Trevino golf balls and the same golf clubs, but my mom always made sure I had the proper fitting golf shoes.
Golf ranges were few and far between where I lived. So my dad also made me a shag bag of golf balls. He dyed them yellow so I could see them in the field. He was before his time with the “Yellow Golf Ball Idea”.
I hit balls, played lot’s of golf, and played in local junior golf events. I wanted to be good so I kept practicing. During my later years in high school my dad bought me a new set of clubs. They were custom made for me. I was traveling to more and more bigger events in the state of Illinois. Soon I was traveling to events in all over the United States. I did okay but could have done better if my short game was better.
After high school it was time for college. I knew I needed to go south for school because I could practice all year round. I started at the University of South Florida. They had a golf course but no driving range so I took my shag bag of balls my dad started for me and pounded balls in the “PIT” a piece of land on campus that the team used as a range. I was strong and hit it long but my chipping and putting was average. Mostly because I did not know how to work on that part of my game. So what I lacked in short game I made up for with my distance and my resolute.
I ended my college career at the University of Miami. My game was getting better and better. My team finished 2nd at the 1986 NCAA Championship and I personally finished 7th. My short game was still just there. I received a BS in Education and after graduation and continued to play golf.
Over the summer I played in professional event’s as an amateur and even qualified for the US Women’s Open as an amateur. I turned professional for the US Open and made the cut scoring my first professional check.
I decided to try and qualify for the LPGA. It was a long shot. My dear friend Dick caddied for me because he knew my game. He convinced me to commit to hit it down the middle, hit it on the green, two putt, and deal with what ever comes my way. That strategy helped me finish 2nd at LPGA Qualifying school.
In 1987 I finished 2nd in the Rookie of the Year race. I still lack a short game that held me back. I decided to attend a Dave Pelz short game school. It took a long time to grasp what he was trying to teach me because I was stubborn. But I kept practicing the short game. I put countless hours in because I only understood how to hit it long. My short game is now my strength.
If I had a proper practice plan earlier in my career my short game would have been stronger and the top 5 finishes on tour could have been wins.