PGA Junior Golf Camps Blog
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.

Safety and Golf

May 6th, 2020



 

With emphasis on safety, golf has been touted as a form of recreation to stay active while keeping social distancing and safe.

With golf being played in the outdoors in wide open spaces, golf has inherent factors that make it safer as a way to keep active. From built in social distancing to more, there are other things you can do to play golf safely and responsibly during this time.
  • Maintaining Distance
    • Golf is a sport with built-in distance between participants, making it ideal for social distancing. When out on the course or on the practice areas, golfers should keep a length of at least six feet between each other. With the typical wide-open, outdoor spaces of golf facilities, don't forget to maintain distance while enjoying the fresh air and warmer weather.
  • Clean and Sanitize
    • Be sure to clean and sanitize your hands throughout the round. Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in your bag for easy and constant access. Additionally, after each outing, try to clean and sanitize your grips and clubs. 
  • Avoid Contact
    • Golf courses are adapting with new policies. Avoid touching the flagstick. With raised cups and other contactless ways of holing putts out, golfers can still enjoy a round without pulling or touching the pin.
  • Postround Handshakes
    • Instead of the typical handshake at the conclusion of the round, use a contactless method of communication. Whether it's a wave, bow, or other celebration, feel free to express yourself while keeping clean.
For more information and ideas, here are some links below:
COVID-19 Statement

March 16th, 2020



At PGA Junior Golf Camps, the health and safety of campers is our primary focus.

Like you, we have been monitoring events related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are working with our partner PGA Professionals, golf facilities as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to determine any changes to our current programming.

We will be notifying you via email and through our online blog of any changes to our current camp schedule. As always, we will be doing all we can to continue to educate and motivate campers for success on and off the course. Please be assured that health and safety of campers and staff is our highest priority and we will continue to monitor the situation throughout the coming months.

Thank you for your support of PGA Junior Golf Camps during this rapidly evolving situation.

Sincerely,
The Team at PGA Junior Golf Camps

Judy Alvarez Receives Patriot Award

January 13th, 2020



 

Camp directors for PGA Junior Golf Camps have been honored with many accolades, and another national award has been bestowed on one of them. Judy Alvarez received the Patriot Award from the PGA of America at the most recent edition of the PGA Annual Meeting. This award is presented each year to a PGA Professional who personifies patriotism through the game of golf and demonstrates unwavering commitment and dedication to the men and women who served and protected the United States of America.

Alvarez, PGA Head Professional at Sunken Meadow Golf Course in Kings Park, New York, has worked tirelessly over the years with veterans. She established six PGA HOPE programs in South Florida and has led seminars and free clinics for local military organizations. Traveling across the country, her work has impacted thousands of veterans and PGA Professionals. Additionally, she has been involved with Folds of Honor and Salute Military Golf Association. Her work over the years has had profound impacts on the lives of veterans.

In a video from the PGA of America, these veterans share what Alvarez has meant to them. One shared:

"She didn't realize the impact she has on a veteran; how much she gives, and how I'm proud to call her my friend, I'm proud to call her my teacher, my mentor. To me, she's my angel."

With the amount of work she has done with military veterans, the Patriot Award was well deserved. Watch the video below from the PGA of America to learn even more about her great work. 

Judy Alvarez - 2019 Patriot Award from PGA of America on Vimeo.

 

 

 


How to Keep the Game Going During Winter

December 11th, 2019



For much of the country, this time of the year is difficult on golfers. Courses are closed, indoor facilities are busy, the temperatures drop lower and lower, and precipitation is a normal occurrence. Here are a few ideas to help keep your game sharp during the winter.

 

Work on Your Grip

Even when the outdoors is wet or cold, you can always practice one of the most important aspects of the golf swing. After you’re shown a proper grip, practice holding the golf club correctly. Repeat the process of holding the club properly until it’s ingrained in your muscle memory.

Maintaining a good grip is important to good shots, allowing golfers to control the clubface more easily. Since the ball will head in the direction the clubface is pointing at impact, a good grip help maintain a stable clubface, assisting in producing more consistent good shots out on the course.

You can take a golf club and practice this at any time. For instance, while watching TV, practice your grip while sitting down. Grip the club, take your hands off, and re-grip the club. By the time golf season swings by, you’ll have one more element in your swing down pat.

Putt for Dough 

A 300 yard drive straight down the fairway counts the same on the scorecard as a putt, and getting the flatstick going is an essential part to any good round of golf. You can build a solid putting foundation by practicing indoors. Using a putting mat or just your carpet, golfers can repeatedly work on their stance and stroke. You can also improve aim and start line by introducing a target to your putting practice. If you’re on using carpet, a mug can suffice as an appropriate target. You’ll be able to make those testy little knee knockers look like gimmes, and hopefully lower your scores!

Fitness and Strength

 Winter is the perfect time to build the muscles and flexibility in your body. The time you would use on the practice green or driving range can be spent in the gym. With the amount of literature available on golf fitness, you can find the information to tailor your workouts to your specific needs. The benefits of spending time in the gym are plentiful. Improving your strength and flexibility can lead to longer shots. Who doesn’t love hitting a long drive past their playing partners? The benefits of your winter workouts will show up in the spring, leading to more fun out on the links.

Professional Help

Attend one of the winter PGA Junior Golf Camps at participating locations! You’ll be able to have fun and learn golf under the expertise of a PGA Professional!

2019 Summer Camp Photos!

July 18th, 2019

WIN A WEEK OF GOLF CAMP! 

Summer is in full swing and we want to see your best photos from golf camp! Be sure to tag us and you could win a free hald day camp session!

Show off that improved golf swing, sinking a long putt, new camp friends or PGA camp swag and we will pick a winner at random to receive a golf camp credit to use on a future camp! 

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(Camps are subject to availability)

Check out these photos from camp so far this summer!

 

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