PGA Junior Golf Camps Blog
Give Your Child the Gift of Golf This Summer

May 30th, 2019

When summer rolls around, Amber Shimel of AmberLikes.com lets her kids pick what type of summer camp they want to attend. Her oldest son chose to tee off at golf camp! PGA Junior Golf Camps are held at more than 140 facilities nationwide throughout the summer and are led by PGA Professionals. Read more about her experience below and why it's a great idea to give your child the game that lasts a lifetime!

How many different sports and activities have your children tried? If you’re like us, you’ve tried quite a few! But even though we’ve tried so many different sports and activities, I’m always open to them developing more skills! And summer is the perfect time to explore new things. In our family, we let each child pick one summer day camp each year. They can choose theater camp, soccer camp; one year a child picked circus camp! I try to let them be as creative as possible and choose something that really appeals to them. If it’s at all possible, I try to make their choice happen. And this summer, my oldest son has chosen golf camp!

PGA Junior Golf summer camp

 

PGA Junior Golf summer camp

 

My son loves to golf, but has never done so competitively. He’s done several recreational programs off and on. Also, my husband and my sons often golf on vacation as the perfect guys bonding time. It’s something they all really enjoy doing together!

PGA Junior Golf summer camp

 

PGA Junior Golf summer camp

 

“Golf is a lifetime sport.” I’d heard people say that often growing up. But I never really understood what it meant until after I got out of college and stopped playing collegiate sports. It was really disappointing when I couldn’t easily play a game of competitive indoor volleyball like I’d done for years. My husband felt the same way about baseball. Although team sports are great, they are really hard to continue as an adult. Also, they can be really hard on your aging body. “Lifetime sports” like golf and tennis, can be played later in life, and are done in a more social setting. So whether or not your child will turn into Tiger Woods, golf is a wonderful skill to learn. Feeling comfortable on the golf course is a gift to give your child that will carry them through their lifetime.

PGA junior golf

 

Living in Orlando, there are lots of options for golf! We drive by many courses pretty much anytime we are out and about. But sometimes, it can be hard to know how to get into golf. But it’s actually pretty easy! Did you know your child could participate in a PGA Junior Golf Camp this summer? And probably at a course close to your home! Here in Orlando, there are two PGA Junior Golf Camp locations. One is located at Wekiva Golf Club, and the other is at Orange County National golf course. Check out this description of what your child can expect at camp:

- Action-packed camps include hands-on instruction led by certified PGA Professionals.

- Signature PGA camp curriculum focuses on developing golf skills (full swing, short game, rules and etiquette) while keeping the experience fun and engaging (games and activities).

- A fun, safe and educational environment designed with your child’s well being in mind.

- Low student to instructor ratio (approximately 6:1)

There are half day and full day camps available, as well as a special week of Girl Power Camp! There are also advanced/high school camps for those wanting more specialized instruction.

PGA Junior Golf summer camp

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for ways to wear out my kids, especially with my oldest son! And after a full day at golf camp, he will sleep well, be off electronics for the entire day, and develop a lifetime skill. It’s a total win for a parent! Be sure to visit the PGA Junior Golf Camp website and find the camp closest to you. Give your child the gift of golf this summer!

PGA Junior Golf summer camp


You can learn more about Amber and read additional blogs by checking out her website, AmberLikes.com and following her on Instagram!

Five Tips to Becoming a Complete Junior Golfer

May 29th, 2019

Much like the current campers he teaches as PGA Junior Golf Camp Director at Rick Smith Golf Performance Center in Doral, FL, John Stahlschmidt used to be an avid junior golfer himself.

Picking up the game from his dad when he was eight-years-old, Stahlschmidt started playing in tournaments by age 12, honing his game into good enough shape to earn a golf scholarship to the University of Alabama.

After trying to play competitively for a few years post-college, Stahlschmidt found a love for teaching and pursued his PGA membership in 2000. By 2008, he was a full-time PGA Member, working with the Tour Academy at TPC Sawgrass, and later on at TPC Scottsdale.

Looking back to his junior golf days, Stahlschmidt remembers what he tended to struggle with, or what he should’ve practiced, and uses that knowledge to help the youngsters he teaches throughout the year.

Below are five tips from Stahlschmidt that he uses during summer camp to help his juniors improve, placing them on a path to becoming a complete, all-around player.

1. Putting: Avoid the Three-Putt by Controlling Distance

“When it comes to putting, distance control is the No. 1 part of their games that juniors need to improve,” says Stahlschmidt. Why?

“Too many three putts,” he adds. “You have to focus on hitting putts solid to become efficient with distance control. Practice your 10-40 foot putts more than you normally do. Try to get them within three feet of the cup, which will eliminate three putts.”

2. Driving: Focus on Balance and Tempo

“Junior golfers have a tendency to overpower the golf ball, especially when they play with others who hit it farther than they do,” notes Stahlschmidt. “Over-swinging leads to losing control of the backswing and lower body, which will lead to yards lost off the tee. To avoid that issue, a junior golfer should focus on tempo and balance throughout the swing. The yards will come as they grow older. Getting a solid hit is what’s most important at a young age.”

3. Fitness: Play Different Sports

Although focusing on golf is good, too much of one sport can lead to burn out. “It’s important for junior golfers to play other sports when they’re younger, as the window to learn movement skills shrinks after 14,” states Stahlschmidt. “Playing baseball, tennis, soccer, really any sport, helps them develop better fundamental movement skills, hand-eye coordination and speed. Learning those skills early on will serve them well as they get older and is one of the reasons we incorporate non-golf athletic movement into our Camps curriculum.”

4. Mentality: Separate Practice from Play

“It’s tough, but once you get on that first tee, it’s time to turn off the technical thoughts, and focus only on balance, tension levels, tempo and visualizing the target,” says Stahlschmidt. “And remember to stay patient. Consistency in golf is a myth. I remember back in my junior golf days, I wanted to hit every shot perfect and be consistent. That’s impossible, and when you get upset and emotional about a bad shot, you’ll get a bad performance. Patience is a virtue for a reason!”

5. Scoring: Short Game, Short Game, Short Game!

Fact: 75 percent of your score is dictated by shots 100 yards and in. Which is why Stahlschmidt believes to get better scores, you need to be better at your short game.

“I highly recommend junior golfers work on pitching, chipping, bunker play and putting for 75 percent of their practice sessions,” states Stahlschmidt. “If they can get their short game sharp, scores will dramatically improve.”

And for those who believe short game practice is mundane, Stahlschmidt says to play competitive games, similar to those he uses in his weekly PGA Junior Golf Camp, that simulate on-course situations.

“Play nine-hole up-and-down contests, trying to get up and down 50 percent of the time

or more,” he adds. “Hit different shots – bad lies, in the bunker, long pitches – and don’t leave until you get a certain amount up and down. There are no repercussions without end goals, so you need to make your practice sessions worth something.”

John Stahlschmidt, PGA is the Director of Instruction at Rick Smith Golf Performance Center at Trump National Doral and a Camp Director for PGA Junior Golf Camps. You can learn more about PGA Junior Golf Camps, held at more than 140 facilities nationwide throughout the summer, by clicking here.

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!

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