PGA Junior Golf Camps Blog
Tips by Coach Cline

April 22nd, 2021

 

I have had the privilege of teaching hundreds of young golfers over the course of my career.  Part of that process has been observing the various interactions between my students and their parents.  As a parent myself, I know how difficult it is to know what to do to be a support for your child’s success.  Over the years I have found that the best ways to support your young golfer are to provide access to the resources they need and to foster self-discovery.

 

To become a good golfer at any age, one must practice and play on a consistent basis, and as a parent, you are going to play a critical role in getting them to that practice/play. The next time you see your favorite PGA Tour player on T.V. remember that behind their success was an adult who worked hard to make sure they had access to a golf course or practice facility at a young age. This same adult had the patience to accompany them to the course or provided them with transportation to practice. Your young golfer will not be as successful as they could be if they cannot get out and experience the game with some regularity.  Providing an opportunity to play is one of the most important roles you will fill in your child’s golf career.

 

The latest research shows that specialization in sports does not normally occur until sometime around high school for most athletes. Even then, they may want to have an off-season sport to avoid burn out and overuse injuries. Parents should be sure to give their child their choice of sport or activity. If they are pushed in a certain direction by what their parents prefer, they are more likely to burn out on the activity.  I suggest that parents reward effort more than success at an early age, as this will encourage your golfer to grow both inside and outside of the sports arena. Fostering a good work ethic and positive attitude will help your child succeed in all phases of life. 

 

Emotionally supportive parents are a vital component to the development of a young athlete. Every parent should learn to say one phrase immediately after every sporting event their child plays, “I loved watching you play today.” This simple phrase can be powerful on a psychological level. Instead of immediate feedback or critique, let your kid know that you had a fun experience watching them play.  Parents should avoid offering critical feedback during the car ride home. Your young golfer already has heightened emotions, whether they played well or poorly. In fact, as a parent do your best to allow your child to unwind and cool off. Let them learn to come to you when they want feedback on performance. One way to accomplish this is asking your child open ended questions about their experience. “What was the most fun part of the tournament?” “Did you learn something new today?” “What do you think needs improvement?” “Tell me about the best shot you hit today?” These are examples of probing questions that allow the golfer to connect with you on an emotional level and create a bonding experience.  As a word of caution, do not let your child’s identity become wrapped up in the game!  If they primarily identify themselves to others through the singular lens of being a good golfer, problems will arise. When a young golfer sees themselves being one dimensional (as a good athlete) they might put too much pressure on themselves to succeed, and they are more likely to fail or quit the game. I have seen this happen to many players throughout the years. The motivation to be successful comes from within, it is their choice what level they aspire to play the game. Even if they wish to compete at an elite level, they will be more successful if their life is balanced and is not dedicated to one lone pursuit. Youth golfers need to become responsible for their performance. This will lead your child to become an independent learner which will lead to greater performance under the rigors of tournament golf. 

 

Parents can help to foster self-discovery which is a useful skill for golfers to obtain. In a golf lesson I ask my students a multitude of questions about their own game. With the advent of the internet and social media, pretty much all the technical information about golf is out in the world for public consumption. The problem players have is understanding what information is applicable to them or to their game. Most people view the driving range as a place to fix things, like their swing or ball flight. A practice area should be for experimentation as well as adjustments. Challenge yourself to hit different clubs various distances and trajectories. This gives the player more tools in their toolbox and aids in learning to play golf.  I am often asked if I teach a method or model swing. My response is that the swing model is the shot at hand. 

 

Long term learning requires failure, so do not fret if your young golfer struggles or does not seem to be nailing it on the driving range or in competition. According to Brett McCabe, author of “The Mindside Manifesto,” there are three stages to long term retention, The Romance Stage, The Fog, and Mastery. In the “Romance Stage” your child will acquire a new skill or technical ability. This will fascinate them, and they will hit a few better shots and feel like they are on the top of the world. Then comes “The Fog,” the stage where they will practice without their coach and become confused due to inconsistent results. The inconsistency is just part of the learning process, but many see this as failure. Learners must push through “The Fog,” eventually they will come up with their own answers, which leads to the final stage,” Mastery.” “Mastery” means that you now own the information. This does not suggest that the player will now hit all shots perfectly; but your youth golfer will have the ability to self-correct. Understanding these learning stages is an important step in your child’s development as a player. Often, I see parents who are not patient enough or provide answers for their children. An independent golfer is usually a better golfer. Hank Haney, Tiger Woods’ former coach, talks about how a main goal he has for players is for them to be able to adjust their swings when he isn’t there to coach them. If self-discovery worked for Tiger, I suggest that you allow your kid to give it a try!

 

Hopefully, you can utilize a few of my suggestions to be supportive of your youth golfer. I have always thought that a great measurement of success for junior golfers would be to see if they are still playing the game 20 years after I have coached them. The early experience that your child has in the game will shape them forever. It is my hope that you and your child will be able to enjoy the game for a lifetime. After all, how many activities are there in this world that give us an excuse to spend time outdoors interacting with the ones we love for 2 – 4 hours! I wish you and your child success and the best of luck.

 

Hit It Long and Straight! 

Casey Cline, PGA

PGA Camp Director, Greensboro National Golf Club

Location Spotlight: George W. Dunne National Golf Course in Oak Forest, Illinois

April 22nd, 2021



 

This premier 18-hole course combines an excellent layout full of a variety of different terrains and natural features with a sizable practice facility, making this PGA Junior Golf Camp location an ideal and memorable spot for both experienced golfers and beginners. Under the leadership of Camp Director Kurt Uniek, an accomplished PGA professional with over 20 years of experience in the golf industry, junior golfers can experience a variety of youth-friendly programs and learn the game at one of the most challenging public golf courses in the state of Illinois. Click here for more information on PGA Junior Golf Camps at George W. Dunne National Golf Course. 

New Location Spotlight: Prince William Golf Course, Nokesville, Virginia

April 22nd, 2021



 

Welcome to the Prince William Golf Course, one of the area's most historic and golfer-friendly courses. Regardless of skill level or age, Prince William has a program designed to fit your junior golfer’s needs. PGA Golf Professional Scott King has years of success working junior golfers from beginners to college golfers. Scott was a Division 1 Golf Coach for over 20 years and was the Director of the US Kids Mid-Atlantic Tour for over 10 years.  Click here for more information on PGA Junior Golf Camps at Prince William Golf Course.   

Golf Camp at Home? Give PGA Junior Golf Digital Camps at Try!

April 22nd, 2021

 

We are proud to announce that we have officially launched our new platform of virtual golf camps powered by Ikonik Golf. If an in-person camp doesn’t work for your family’s schedule, or our camp locations are convenient for you, or if your child can’t get enough of golf, then our virtual camps are a great option.  

 

Packed with the same rich golf instructional content you have come to expect from PGA Junior Golf Camps, the digital camp consists of 5 “camp days” of golf instruction – just like our day camps.  Beginner or intermediate junior golfers ages 7 to 15 will find all tools, activities, and resources in one online location, including over 25 action packed camp development units with instruction led by certified PGA professionals.  Each development unit is designed to take 2-3 hours to complete and can be repeated.

 

PGA Digital Junior Golf Camps are available in different versions, one for just your junior golfer and two versions designed to allow you to learn alongside your child, whether you are a beginner or intermediate (developed) golfer.

 

To learn more about our virtual PGA Junior Golf Camps, check out our website. 

 

PGA Junior Golf Camps All Access 

  

"All Access" is a digital golf academy subscription model that offers members a deep and constantly evolving library of virtual coaching to help junior golfers improve anytime, anywhere. We are excited to launch this one-of-a kind digital subscription program for junior golfers. Weekly golf content and activities will be delivered covering the key fundamentals of golf for beginner to advanced players. 

 

Purchase a Digital Camp now and receive the PGA All Access subscription at no cost through June 1, 2021. You may continue your subscription after the introductory offer, for a monthly fee of $9.99 that can be cancelled at any time. You will receive detailed information regarding PGA Junior Golf Camp All Access in the near future. 

  

To get your free subscription click here.

Looking Forward to 2021

April 22nd, 2021

As we gear up for a summer that is looking to be one for the ages, I feel so fortunate to be part of a sport that has been able to provide children of all ages a safe and engaging activity to do with peers and their families during these trying times.  Our sport has seen a resurgence like never before and new players have flocked to the game in record numbers. The future of golf is burning bright, and we hope that our camps can continue to stoke the flame that was started for so many young players this past year. Our camps are running at 175+ different locations across the country and are filling faster than I have ever seen in my 20+ years in the business and I hope you and your child will be able to join us.

To everyone in our PGA Junior Golf Camps family, we thank you for your support and your trust in our PGA Professional Partners to teach your child the sport of golf, a true game of a lifetime. 

 

Marc Haddad

Founder, PGA Junior Golf Camps

A Director’s View: Q&A, June 2020

June 3rd, 2020



Here is what some of our experienced PGA Junior Golf Camp Directors have to say in their own words about how they are getting ready for the summer camp season.

Andrew Frakes


Plantation Golf Club
Frisco, TX

What changes have you made to teaching programs as a result of our current circumstances? How have your students responded?
As a result of our current circumstances, teaching programs have been segmented so that there are smaller classes. We have implemented a maximum of 4 students in a class. Class times have also been changed so that we can stagger classes and break times throughout the day. We also have the logistics of transitions during the day mapped out clearly through the use of guided paths as students move from different locations. When students work in a given section there are markers spaced six feet apart clearly indicating where to stand to keep a safe distance. This is consistent for the putting green, driving range and short game facility as well. I have even hired another person whose job is to sanitize our facility between rotations of students. Other safety measures that we have taken include that instructors are required to wear masks and gloves, and even though everyone is spaced six feet apart, we also provide masks for every single student that wants it. In response, the students have been happy to be out of the house and doing something in a fun, safe atmosphere. 

This has been a challenging time for everyone. What have you found is the biggest challenge in teaching? What have you done to meet this challenge?
The biggest challenge is not having the kinesthetic and hands-on aspects of teaching due to social distancing guidelines. As a result, I have had to rely heavily on verbal and visual cues. Doing this while maintaining six feet of space has been a challenge, so we have developed illustrations and animations to help teach technique. This incorporates an entertaining and fun aspect that will hold the students’ attention while also teaching important skills. The main focus is to create interesting and cohesive visual cues that will help students retain information. These visual cue cards are laminated and sanitized after each group.

What advice do you have for parents of potential campers during this time?
I want parents to know that everyone who is partnered with the PGA Junior Golf Camps is highly qualified to be doing what they are doing. The instructors also have student safety as their top priority. I want parents to feel assured that their kids are in good hands and we are doing the very best that we can to keep everyone safe.  

What is the biggest lesson that you have learned during the last few months?  
The biggest thing I have taken away from these times is the importance of my communication strategy with parents. I would have liked to have a more developed social media presence so that I could have that platform as my main means of communication, and not just have to rely so heavily on email since I get more interaction on social media.

What are you most looking forward to this summer camp season?
I am honestly just excited to see the kids and their happy faces. We weren’t sure that we were even going to be able to have camps and I am so glad that we are going to be able to. I am looking forward to seeing the new faces at camp, but also the ones who have been there before. We teach more than just golf, we teach bigger life lessons through golf. The mentorship part of the program has been something that has been lacking for me these past few months, and I am really looking forward to this rewarding part of camps.

  • Andrew Frakes is the Director of PGA Junior Golf Camps at Plantation Golf Club. He is also the founder of The Frakes Method Golf Academy. As a member of the Callaway Kings of Distance Long Drive Team and Guinness Book of World Records, Andrew Frakes has proven himself on the course and shown his passion as a competitor of the sport. Andrew is a graduate of the University of Nebraska Professional Golf Management (PGM) program. As a driven golf instructor, Coach Frakes has developed a system that focuses on individual players progressing at their own pace. It is about the experience that the students are able to enjoy while on the course, which will result in returning to the course excited to play. Results of the Frakes Method can be seen in the players of all ages that have gone through any number of classes. From junior golfers, building skills and fixing habits as they progress; to adult golfers that are now competitive in the rounds they are sharing with friends and co-workers.

 

Colby Wollitz
Persimmon Ridge Golf Club
Louisville, KY

 

What changes have you made to teaching programs as a result of our current circumstances? How have your students responded?
One of the biggest changes that we have made to our teaching programs is that we have created more distance between stations. We also have added coaches so that our player to coach ratio is lower. We are doing a lot more instruction on the golf course where it is easier and more natural to distance as opposed to the practice facility. In response to these changes, we have had nothing but great feedback. Everyone enjoys being on the golf course more and it has been great to get our students out on the course more. We have been fortunate enough to be able to stay open throughout this time and as a result we have seen the best improvement in our students compared to any other spring that The Golf Academy has been running during the past six years. 

This has been a challenging time for everyone. What have you found is the biggest challenge in teaching? What have you done to meet this challenge?
The biggest challenge in teaching has been sanitizing non-golf related things, whereas keeping the golf items clean is not a challenge. This has been a challenge because it is something that, as a golf coach, I have never had to worry about before, like cleaning door handles and bathrooms. 

What advice do you have for parents of potential campers during this time?
My advice for parents is that if you have any concerns, reach out to the camp directors ahead of time. Voice your concerns and see what the director is doing to address those concerns. If we don’t know that you have a question or concern, we can’t answer or address it. So my advice is to be proactive in your communication and reach out before the start of camp.

What is the biggest lesson that you have learned during the last few months? 
I have a few takeaways from this. The increased time spent doing short game and on-course training has positively impacted the students. Also, the biggest thing that I have learned is how to use technology and virtual tools in a better way. I have done a five-week virtual mental game bootcamp and a five-week virtual course management bootcamp during this time. Now that I know how to use this technology to benefit my students I would like to continue to do so in the future.

What are you most looking forward to this summer camp season? 
I am most looking forward to seeing everyone back out on the golf course having a good time this summer!

 

  • Colby Wollitz is the Director of PGA Junior Golf Camps at Persimmon Ridge Golf Course. He is also the Director of Player Development at The Golf Academy. He is a member of the PGA of America and since turning professional, has won multiple Sectional PGA events, was medalist in a U.S. Open Local Qualifier, and competed in the 2012 PGA Professional National Championship. He believes that there is no perfect golf swing, only a series of acceptable positions that WILL change from player to player. He enjoys working on the mental side of the game as much as he does the golf swing itself.
Matt Dito

Silverado Resort
Napa, CA

 

What changes have you made to teaching programs as a result of our current circumstances? 
In past summers, we have done full day camps and half day camps. However, this year, we have gotten rid of the full day camps and instead will have two separate half day sessions each week: one from 9 am to 12 pm and the other from 1 to 4. These changes have been made to help parents feel more comfortable about having their kid in a camp setting. We are not only limiting the duration of camp, but we are also reducing the size of camps. Other changes that I plan to make are that lessons are going to be strictly verbal and any touching of clubs or physical adjusting of a student’s form will not take place. While the guidelines for social distancing are that people need to keep 6 feet apart, I am going to try to have students and coaches maintain a distance of 8 feet, just to be even more cautious about it. I am also using mats that are spaced 10 feet apart so every kid knows exactly where they are supposed to swing their clubs and we will have clear walking plans mapped out to maintain this distance. Another thing that I am going to do is that even though the mask requirement is not mandatory outdoors, I am going to be wearing a mask to set an example and be extra safe during my junior instruction right now. My students are not required to bring a mask, but they are welcome to do so if that makes them feel more comfortable. 

This has been a challenging time for everyone. What have you found is the biggest challenge in teaching? What do you anticipate doing to meet this challenge?
Personally I think fear has been a challenge and might be a little bit of a hurdle. As instructors, coaches and directors of camps, I think it is our responsibility to reassure the parents that we are taking the necessary precautions to keep their kids safe. I am treating their health and safety as if they were my own kids. 

What advice do you have for parents of potential campers during this time?
I just want parents to know the precautions we are taking. Now at Silverado, junior classes are required to wash and sanitize their hands every thirty minutes. Very strict social distancing guidelines are going to be adhered to. We are really emphasizing no shared equipment. Everyone has to have their own set of clubs; we are not even loaning clubs right now. All of the precautions we are taking are for the kids. Other places might not be taking these steps, but we are doing this in our atmosphere for the protection of your kids. 

What is the biggest lesson that you have learned during the last few months?  
From a personal standpoint, a lesson that I have learned from our current circumstances is don’t take anything for granted. We are in uncharted waters right now, and as time goes on over the next weeks and months the industry is going to take a different look and we are going to change the way we interact with our students, and that is okay. Enjoy each day as you have it. 

What are you most looking forward to this summer camp season?
I am just excited about seeing the kids. I want to get back and be out there and see the kids. I am a 49-year-old, who is 13-year-old at heart. I just love hanging out with the kids and having a good time. I am looking forward to seeing progression during the week of camp, but I am mostly excited to have fun with the kids. 

  • Matt Dito is the Director of PGA Junior Competitive Edge Day Camp at The Johnny Miller Academy at Silverado Resort & Spa. Matt has been a Class 'A' Member of the PGA of America since 2005 and is originally from Petaluma, CA. He has been teaching Golf since 1998 and has created his own distinctive brand of instruction that engages the student to determine the most effective learning style. Matt enjoys working with students of all ages and ability levels, enjoys helping junior golfers develop their swings and a passion for the game, and helping more accomplished players exceed their goals.
Getting Ready for the Season

June 3rd, 2020

Due to the new safety guidelines that will be in place at the PGA Junior Golf Camps this summer season, there will be limited rental and loaner sets of clubs available. In order to help your child make the most of his or her camp experience, you will want to be sure that your child has all of the equipment that he or she needs, and we have you covered!

 

Don’t know what clubs your child might need? Check out this article that explains how to select the best clubs for your beginner, intermediate and advanced golfer.

 

In need of new golf balls? Check out these bundle deals at OnCore Golf.

 

For additional equipment needs, check out the PGA Junior Golf Camps online store.

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