PGA Junior Golf Camps Blog
How to Get (and Keep) Your Kids Interested in Golf This Summer

May 9th, 2019

Break out the sunscreen – summer is here! There’s no better way to enjoy the warm temperatures and beautiful sunshine than out on a golf course.

Although it may be difficult to find time for the game with jam-packed schedules, family vacations and the like, PGA Junior Golf Camp Director Brian Jacobs has a few ideas to get your kids excited about playing the game.

As a lead instructor for Mill Creek Golf Club in Churchville, New York, Jacobs draws from his experiences as an accomplished player, caddie and PGA Professional on the lesson tee and knows that summer is primetime for golf camps where youngsters learn the game.

The question for parents the next few months is how they get their child interested in attending a camp that could spur some interest in not just golf, but playing the game for a lifetime.

Below are three ways Jacobs believes parents can answer that question, making this summer a season full of memories on the course!

Play Golf Together

Summer is the ideal time to get out on a weekend and go experience golf as a family. By showing interest that you care about golf, your son or daughter may do just the same.

“Taking your son or daughter to the lesson tee for instruction together is a great way to show passion and love for the game,” says Jacobs. “You’re able to spend quality time together.”

Golf is Fun!

It’s finally nice out, so why stay inside all day? For some, sunshine and 75 degrees won’t last year round.  This is the time of year to go have some fun!

“Golf is a great summer activity because it involves movement, learning and fun,” adds Jacobs. “At our PGA Junior Golf Camps, we do LOTS of games, making sure each child blends in with others in a friendly, supportive environment.”

Adding small games can make a big difference for a youngster. It keeps them interested, makes them smile, and most importantly, allows them to have a good time!

“We learn and we play as teams and individuals from appropriate yardages based on skill set,” Jacobs says. “We give LOTS of high fives and praise, too!”

Progress Makes Perfect

The time when a child isn’t participating in summer camp may be even more important than the time they spend at camp. Jacobs believes that keeping them active and practicing what they learned will also keep them interested.

“Play games with the kids and make sure they are set at the right yardages so they can improve and grow,” says Jacobs. “I’d also recommend that parents bring the child back to the Camp Instructor for continuation of instruction. He/she knows the child best, and can keep them loving the game and improving.”

Brian Jacobs, PGA, is the Director of Instruction at Mill Creek Golf Club and a Camp Director for PGA Junior Golf Camps in Churchville, NY. Click here to find a PGA Junior Golf Camp near you!

New Camp Locations Added!

May 9th, 2019

Check Out the Full List of Camp Locations Here!


As new locations pop up around the country and abroad, PGA Junior Golf Camps may be closer to your home then you think! Check out some of the most recent additions to our camp list!


Bridges at Poplar Creek Country Club - Illinois


Calling all aspiring college golfers! We are pleased to announce the creation of our newest camp session featuring two NCAA Division I golf coaches! Campers will have the option to attend an evening seminar with a Q&A about playing at the collegiate level.


In this two day program, junior golfers have the opportunity to receive instruction from an outstanding coaching staff led by Northwestern's Head Men's Golf Coach, David Inglis and UCLA's Assistant Men's Golf Coach, Andrew Larkin. Coach Inglis and Coach Larkin along with additional PGA professionals will deliver daily instruction geared toward those high school and tournament level players who are looking to climb their way up the high school ladder, improve their tournament results and have aspirations of playing collegiate golf.


TPC San Antonio - Texas

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When you hear TPC you know you can expect a top notch golfing experience. Featuring two championship level course and the latest in advanced golf technology, junior golfers will learn from Greg Hillard, one of the best golf instructors in the state of Texas.


Todd Creek Golf Club - Colorado


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The majestic Rocky Mountain backdrop at Todd Creek Golf Club really sets this course apart. The 25 station grass tee driving range allows campers to learn and practice their driving skills with over 65,000 square feet of open land. Located north of Denver and led by popular junior golf instructor Brad Alston, who previously ran Junior Golf Camps at Park Hill Golf Club, Todd Creek will be a golfing experience juniors will never forget.


Camps are filling fast! Register today.

“Start With Questions, Finish With Questions”

May 8th, 2019

Tim Fraley is the Director of Instruction at Awbrey Glen Golf Club in Bend, Oregon. As a long time member of the PGA, Coach Tim has been a fixture of junior golf in the Pacific Northwest for over 20 years. Sign up for Tim's PGA Junior Golf Camps now!

 

 

A successful golf lesson starts with getting their attention!  If you are like me, you enjoy teaching so much that it’s easy to ramble on and quickly lose your student’s interest.  With juniors, it’s important to set the tone by asking unexpected questions like:  How was your day at school? Did you watch the basketball game last night?  What did you do last weekend? How much did you practice last week?  Now that you have their attention, the real instruction can begin.  After each class session is completed, I like to ask questions and have the kids repeat topics they’ve learning during the session.  I challenge them to teach what they know to family members to better grasp and retain the material.  It holds them accountable when mom or dad asks them about a skill learned-and they can deliver! 

 

Parents of junior golfers can use this approach as well. Asking questions and allowing your young athlete to ‘teach’ you is a great opportunity to really solidify what they learned in camp. Not only asking about how their camp was, but asking specific questions like: Have you seen your shot improve? What techniques did learn today? What’s your favorite club to hit?  This is the best way to for you and your young golfer to get the most out of the camp experience.


Want to learn more about Coach Tim? Check out his bio on his PGA Junior Golf Camps location page!

 

Camps are filling fast! Register for PGA Junior Golf Camps today!


“Make Failure Your Fuel”: How to Help Your Athletes Learn from Adversity

April 18th, 2019

John O’Sullivan is a best selling author, professional speaker, and founder of the Changing the Game Project. Be sure to check out John's website for more information and insight into the world of youth sports.


 

In May 2018, retired US Women’s National Soccer team star Abby Wambach gave the commencement address to 600 women from Barnard College in New York City. Wambach, the all-time leading scorer for Team USA, an Olympic and World Cup champion, and an inspirational athlete known for playing with passion and giving her all every time she stepped on the field, gave an incredible talk to the graduates, sharing stories from her career, and lessons she learned. (You can read the amazing talk here, I think every young woman should read this, my 12-year-old daughter did!)


One of those lessons she learned over decades at the top of her sport:


Make Failure Your Fuel!


As Wambach stated to the attendees:


“Here’s something the best athletes understand, but seems like a harder concept for non-athletes to grasp. Non-athletes don’t know what to do with the gift of failure. So they hide it, pretend it never happened, reject it outright, and they end up wasting it.


Listen: Failure is not something to be ashamed of, it’s something to be powered by.


Failure is the highest octane fuel your life can run on. You gotta learn to make failure your fuel.


When I was on the youth national team, only dreaming of playing alongside Mia Hamm… I had the opportunity to visit the national team’s locker room. The thing that struck me most wasn’t my heroes’ grass stained cleats, or their names and numbers hanging above their lockers. It was a picture. It was a picture that someone had taped next to the door, so that it would be the last thing every player saw before she headed out to the training pitch. You might guess it was a picture of their last big win, or of them standing on a podium accepting gold medals. But it wasn’t. It was a picture of their long time rival, the Norwegian national team celebrating after having just beaten the USA in the 1995 World Cup.


In that locker room I learned that in order to become my very best — on the pitch and off — I’d need to spend my life letting the feelings and lessons of failure transform into my power. Failure is fuel. Fuel is power.


Women: listen to me. We must embrace failure as our fuel instead of accepting it as our destruction.”


Yes, Abby, yes! We must embrace failure, and not let it destroy us, but use it as fuel to get better. As fuel to get moving again. As fuel to not let anyone tell us our dreams are not worthy of pursuing. As fuel to put aside the disappointments that come along with pursuing something worthy and great.


Failure is oxygen. Like a fire uses oxygen as a to grow, we use failure as our fuel.  It is a natural part of pursuing excellence. It is supposed to happen.


We have written about adversity here before. In their research on elite and near elite performers, or what they call “Super Champs” and “Champs,” Dave Collins and his colleague Aine MacNamara have found that those who make it to the very top, who play internationally and have the greatest success, have a path filled with struggle. They are presented with both on field and real-life struggle, disappointment, and at times pain, yet they persevere. “The talent pathway,” they conclude, “should not be a comfortable place to be.”


It is a rocky road to the top.


Collins and MacNamara have also found that well-timed character and psychologically based interventions from coaches and supportive adults help these athletes develop coping skills, grit, and resilience. In other words, it is not our job to smooth the pathway of our athletes, to give them plush fields, carry their gear for them, and remove all obstacles from their supposed path to greatness. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It is our job to help them learn from struggle, and see that the path to the top is not supposed to be easy.


If we really want to help our athletes, students, musicians, and entrepreneurs achieve something great, we need them to understand the path is filled with potholes. And we need to be sure not to pave them, but to ensure each one of those potholes is an opportunity to learn.


For many children in sport, May and June mean tryout season. This is inevitably a season of disappointment for many children, some who do not make the team they want, and others who do not make a team at all. It is a time where they face uncertainties such as new teammates, a new coach, perhaps a new club and whole new friend group. Many families move towns, and young athletes are thrust into trying situations, with no friends or familiar faces to look upon.


They may face failure and adversity this month. They will definitely face it if they continue in sports. I love this image about talent development:

It is not a smooth path nor a straight line to the top. That is where we come in parents. It is up to us that failure becomes their fuel. How do we do that?

We can help our children learn from adversity, and embrace the struggle. To do so, try these ideas below:


1) Help your athletes focus on the process: nothing worth doing comes easily, especially in sports. You will have your good days and bad days, your injuries and your healthy periods, your good coaches and your bad ones. Help instill a growth mindset in your kids by, as noted Stanford Researcher Carol Dweck says in her great TED talk, introducing the word “yet” into their vocabulary. “I didn’t make the top team YET, I need to practice more.” “I have not earned a starting spot YET, time to get to practice early and stay late.”


2) Ask your athletes the right questions when they struggle: though times of adversity can often lead us to criticize, or focus on the negative, a great approach after a struggle is to ask these three questions


What went well?

What needs work?

What can you learn from today that will help you practice better this week and perform better in the future?


These are not only process-oriented questions, but they help athletes realize that it never all goes wrong. There is always some good, and always opportunities to learn. When your athlete faces adversity, focus on ‘what is good about this?”


3) Don’t blame the uncontrollables; instead focus on their response to events: Athletes do not control the actions of officials, or what the opponent does. They cannot account for a bad field or poor weather. Blaming and complaining about those things will never make an athlete better, and they only bring negative energy into the conversation and the team. Help them focus on what they control (effort, focus, training time, etc) and let the other stuff just roll off. As Ohio State Football coach Urban Meyer says, E + R = O. The EVENT plus our RESPONSE equals the OUTCOME. We control our response, so respond well!


4) Help them find things they are passionate about: One of the critical ingredients needed for athletes to overcome adversity is ownership of the experience. As parents, when it comes to sports it is very helpful to assist our kids in finding their passion, instead of determining it for them. When a young athlete loves what she is doing, and is doing it because she owns the experience, she is far more likely to keep pushing through injuries, adversity, etc. It is great when kids fall in love with the sports we love or played, but that does not always happen. You cannot force passion, and passion is what overcomes adversity.


5) Show them how to embrace the hand they were dealt, and play it well: We all have faced adversity, and when our children struggle, it is a great time to share our own struggles, and what we learned from them. Be vulnerable, and teach them how adversity helps you develop grit, resilience, and more love of a sport, or a job, or anything you do. As Wambach shared in her speech, going into the 2015 World Cup, as one of the greatest players and leaders the US National Team had ever known, she was asked to lead from the bench. “You’re allowed to be disappointed when it feels like life’s benched you,” said Wambach. “What you aren’t allowed to do is miss your opportunity to lead from the bench. During that last World Cup, my teammates told me that my presence, my support, my vocal and relentless belief in them from the bench, is what gave them the confidence they needed to win us that championship. If you’re not a leader on the bench, then don’t call yourself a leader on the field. You’re either a leader everywhere or nowhere.”


I wrote this today not only because I just heard Abby Wambach’s inspiring commencement address. I wrote it because I am a coach, and my teams just finished tryout season. I have been coaching for over two decades, and I still hate tryouts. This year, like every other, there were disappointed players. But there was one who was thrilled.


Recently, I had to have a very difficult conversation with this young player who was devastated not to make the top team in her age group. It is a conversation every coach dreads having.


She could have quit. She could have blamed everyone. But she did not. She got to work. She showed up focused and prepared every day. She joined extra practices. She embraced her role as a leader on her new team. She took every opportunity to play up, and gave her best effort every time. She learned from the good days, and from the bad days. And one year later, she was back on the top team in her age group.


Her failure was her fuel. And that fuel helped her earn her spot.


Because in the end, it was not really even a failure at all. Just a bump in the long rocky road to the top.


Help your athletes to make their failure their fuel. Help them navigate those potholes that sports, and life, throws in their way. Not by blaming, avoiding, or paving over those bumps, but by helping your athletes see that there is always a path forward.

 

Want to read more of John O'Sullivans work? Check out his website!

 

Camps are filling fast. Register your child for a Junior Golf Camp today!

How To Select the Best Clubs for The Young Golfer

April 17th, 2019

The crew at EPEC understands how difficult it can be to select the right set of clubs for your new golfer. Check out their guide on types of clubs to consider based on your child's skill level.  

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The hardest part about supporting your young golfer is sometimes deciding what clubs to put in their bag.

Young golfers can be grouped into 3 skill levels:

Beginner - Has little to no golf experience, but excited to learn. This group needs to find success quickly to avoid being discouraged. The best way to describe success for this group is that they are able to get the ball airborne easily. A Beginner's golf bag should have a Driver, Hybrid, 7 Iron, 9 Iron, and Putter.

Intermediate - Has some experience and plays recreationally. As a young golfer’s skill increases, clubs that deliver more specific distances are required. An intermediate player's golf bag should have a Driver, Hybrid, 5 Iron, 7 Iron, 8 Iron, 9 Iron, Pitching Wedge, and Putter.

Advanced - Plays frequently and sometimes competitively. This group needs to have clubs to perform the full spectrum of yardages. Their skill level has grown to the point where clubs should complement the types of shots they are trying to hit. An advanced player's golf bag should have a Driver, Fairway Wood, Hybrid, 6 Iron, 7 Iron, 8 Iron, 9 Iron, Pitching Wedge, Sand Wedge and Putter.

Interested in learning more about EPEC junior golf clubs? Head over to the store to find out more!

Competitive Edge Overnight Camps Offer Next Level Instruction!

April 17th, 2019

 

Is your junior golfer ready to take the next step in their game?


Offered at some of the finest courses in the country, Competitive Edge Overnight Camps are designed to improve the most motivated junior golfers. These camps are taught by PGA professionals who are widely regarded as some of the country’s most successful junior golf instructors, many of whom are former top golfers themselves.


Competitive Edge overnight camps concentrate on instruction designed to take your junior golfers' game to the next level. Special emphasis on mental conditioning, course management, and the short game are just some of the various areas of focus for our camps. Golfers will practice stroke play, match play, and other competitions to gain valuable course experience and improve their mental and physical game.


Tee Off at the site of the 2020 Ryder Cup!

Parents are invited to experience one of the most desirable golf locations in the world with their junior golfer. Set foot on the same greens that will host golf's best at the 2020 Ryder Cup. While juniors receive professional level instruction, parents will have the day off to enjoy special golf rates at any of the courses during their stay. Explore the resort property and stay in deluxe accommodations at the Inn On Woodlake.  


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Experience Hilton Head

Recognized as One of Golf Digest’s “Best Places to Play,” competitive junior golfers will not only receive professional instruction but also the best technology that golf has to offer. Instructors utilize various tools including TrackMan Pro, SAM PuttLab, K-Vest and V1 Pro Software to build an individual plan of improvement for each student, and focus on areas that each individual needs to improve their golf game.

 

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Interested in learning about more of the Competitive Edge Overnight Camps that are offered this Summer? Check out the Overnight Camps section to view other locations and learn more!

Putting: Control the Setup

April 2nd, 2019

Director of Instructor at TPC Las Vegas Matt Henderson shares his putting technique and how to control the pre-shot routine. Check out more of Matt's blog on his website and be sure to register for his PGA Junior Golf Camps!

Putting Contains no large athletic feat, nor does it require the modalities needed for the full the swing.  That means that our average Club Champion can hypothetically putt just as well as a TOUR Champion. Quite often if left from any manipulative movements the stroke itself will look very much like the established setup position.  For great putting…. take control over setup. Here are the steps that I look for in my instruction:

1. Shaft In-Line with Forearms

The importance of this cannot be overstated and that is why it is number one.  A lot of amateurs grip the putter too much in fingers, essentially taking their full swing grip to the putting stroke.  In full swing, we are assembling angles that enable us to create speed and get the ball in the air.... neither is needed to putt it well.  Ditch the full swing grip and get it in more in the palms and in line with your forearms like the above picture. This is my only hang up on grip, feel free to cross hand, claw it or any other configuration that you can muster.

2. Ball to Toe

The arc that we wish the putter head to move on will be affected by how far away or close to the golf ball we stand.  Too close and we can shape it in an out to in pattern, too far way and the path could be too far in to out. Without being properly fit for a putter my best suggestion would be to fall into TOUR average, which is 2 – 2 ¾ Putter head lengths away from the ball.  With the average putter heads measuring 4” that puts our ball to toe measurement somewhere between eight to ten inches away from the center of the ball. Start at two putter head lengths and work slightly away from it if it feels to close.

3. Ball position/Stance Width

  • Ball position is tricky, because it is interwoven with stance width and can not only influence the angle of attack of the putter head, but can influence aim as well.  The truth is that ball position can depend on what aim bias the individual has. Aim bias is really a reflection of our vision and each of us is unique. This can be modified with Putter head shapes, the addition or subtraction of sight lines, and of course ball position.

To establish ball position, start with the ball one revolution ahead of center and then ask a friend to tell you where the face is pointed in relation to the aim-line.  If the face is aimed left move the ball further back, if it is aimed right move the ball further up in the stance.

  • Stance width and ball position need to be mentioned in the same breath.  If the stance widens our head and sternum move further behind the ball…which changes the effective ball position.  Which if you read above…changes the effective aim. Pick a stance width when the ball position is established. Stance with should be a constant.

4. Forearms In

No awkward elbow positions…The elbows simply need to be neutral to posture.  If they are not we are simply negating all the work of trying to get shaft in line with forearms earlier.  To find your neutral position stand completely upright and let your arms hang naturally, look down and that what your elbows should look like on the putter.

5. Body Check

The last check is to make sure that our lines are not jumbled.  The lines that I am mainly concerned with are the line we intend to start the ball on (True Aim Line) and the shoulder line.  Most of the time if the two are not parallel players tend to have path and aim issues. Set the club face to the Aim line and establish shoulders to club face

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