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Golf TIps: It’s all about juniors this time of year

By: Shawn Kelly
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Hey, here comes that Jolly Old Elf once again. Wow, where has another year gone already? It’s that wonderful season to enjoy family and close friends and reminisce about the past year. If you’re a golfer you might want to relive some of the more satisfying rounds you posted or maybe that one “impossible” golf shot that you pulled off. Possibly if the weather is good you can get out on the course or the range and demonstrate your new and improved golf prowess for your kinfolk. Whatever you do this holiday, just enjoy this special time but remember it’s mostly about the kids. And, if a youngster in your life happens to be developing an interest in the game, Santa might just be packing a golf bag on that sleigh this year. Junior golf has never enjoyed a broader awareness than right now and in fact there are burgeoning programs everywhere successfully promoting junior golf. Here are some tips to help juniors get involved with the game. • Help your junior get involved with a local youth golf program. Junior programs teach the basic fundamentals in a positive atmosphere along with their peers. Most programs will supply loaner clubs to learn with so you won’t need to buy clubs until their interest has blossomed. • When your junior does become serious, be sure to get clubs that fit properly. Adult clubs that have been cut down typically don’t work because they are usually too stiff and too heavy. Poorly fitted equipment will impede progress and ultimately discourage a promising junior. A dynamic club fitting with a competent PGA professional will work wonders for their technique as well as their self-esteem. • Local school programs are awesome right now. Keeping one’s grades up and trying out for your school’s golf team is a great way to improve motivation and develop interest in tournament play. • Tournament golf is huge around the US and especially in Northern California. If you’re young player is interested in tournament golf there are three levels of competition. Beginners should participate in a club at a local course or in junior programs to learn the basics. Next they can test their skills in area golf leagues like The First Tee and at the highest level, they may want to be competing in events at statewide or national levels, such as NCJGA or USGA events. A special note to parents however, just let the kids play golf. A slight push to get them started is great, but too much pressure can tend to burn them out. Juniors will let you know when they become serious. For encouragement, lend a helping hand by transporting them to and from, but give them permission to succeed at their own pace. Christmas gift ideas: • Golf shoes – They give the support players need for comfortable walking and many companies offer a complete range of sizes. • A new golf bag – A stand bag or new shoulder harness can make it more comfortable to carry when kids play. • A pushcart if they can’t carry their bag; these make it easier to trek clubs around the course. • Head covers of animals or covers that support their favorite sports team. • A membership to a junior golf program is a gift that gives all year. I hope ya’ll have a very Merry Christmas and are able to share golf with someone close to you. I would also like to share a special prayer and thank you for our troops because their courage and sacrifice allow us the opportunity to enjoy our treasured way of life and this great game of golf. My Warmest Holiday Wishes to each and every one of you!