Connect with us

Opinion & Analysis

Junior Golfers: Ask Yourself These 4 Questions Before Picking Summer Tournaments



The summer is quickly closing in, and surely junior golfers across the globe are busy picking out and finalizing their summer schedules. For some, this means hitting the road for tournaments, while others need to budget more wisely — both time and money — and should find competitive local options.

Trying to decide what’s really important for your game and your career can be very difficult. That’s why I’ve developed 4 important questions to ask yourself, or for the parents to ask of their juniors, when formulating a plan of attack.

1. Have you developed ball control?

Prior to any significant tournament play, it is my opinion that juniors should spend several years learning and practicing the motor control patterns of the swing. This skill is called ball control; the ability to deliver the club in a way the player can regulate distance, trajectory and shot shape. This should include hitting countless range balls, putts and chips.

According to the Royal Canadian Golf Association Long Term Development Plan, which is available for download here, players should be hitting upwards of 2,200 practice shots per week by middle adolescence. Their skills should be developed under the watchful eye of a strong technical instructor, and students should be encouraged to develop other skills through participation in a wide variety of sports.

If the junior is discovering golf in their teenage years, parents are wise to still engage in this process; a strong level of ball control is the foundation for scoring. Although it is tempting, taking a short cut will lead to problems later in the development of the player. When in doubt, keep practicing and playing as much as possible.

2. Can you consistently break 75 on your home golf course?

In my opinion, you’re not ready for national tournaments until this happens. Also consider that playing your home golf course is about 2-3 shots easier than playing in a tournament. This means if you shoot 78 on average at your home golf course, you are going to be lucky to break 80 in a national tournament.

My research suggests that in 2016, the average American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) qualifying required a score of 75.4 for boys to earn a spot and 77.6 for girls. Also, breaking par is becoming a common theme in junior golf. My research suggests that last year in the AJGA, boys shot in the 60s over 900 times and girls over 600 times. This means, based on my 2-3 shot rule, these juniors are shooting in the mid-60’s in practice!

If you average 80 or above in national caliber junior golf, my advice is to stay local until your game develops. The local PGA Sections in many regions run great tours, and the Mid Atlantic and The Met Section in New York are two of many great opportunities. It may be more damaging to your career, confidence and bank account to continue playing in national tournaments when you’re playing poorly or your game is simply not ready. Build confidence and round out your game in local tours before you move back up to the big leagues.

3. How do I make the most of my summer?

In my experience, the first and crucial step on the competitive golf ladder is spending considerable time on a home golf course where the junior learns the nuances of the game in a competitive environment. By the summer after their freshman year in high school, the junior should be playing multiple days of 18+ holes where they are ideally playing with others of a similar caliber and set consequences. The more matches that come down to the last hole, the better.

4. Do I need to take the travel money and sink it into a private club membership?

The quality of the golf course is far, far, far less important than the access to the facilities and the opportunity to play with other talented players on a daily basis. The trap of being a member can come when junior does not play enough holes or doesn’t have anyone to compete against.

Golf is about consistency over long durations. Playing nine holes a few times a week is not going to help. Juniors must extend themselves and try as often as possible to play 18. They must also learn to compete, ideally playing for something of consequence. This means responsible gambling; playing for something that they would hate to lose, but nothing ridiculous. A candy bar, or even push ups, can add enough incentive and pressure to win.

Too many juniors, fueled by misinformation, are in a hurry to build their tournament resume. Students who are willing to invest the time to build strong technical skills and then learn all the nuances of golf are going to arrive at tournaments prepared to shoot the scores necessary to earn trophies. Until then practice, compete and stay local.

Your Reaction?
  • 57
  • LEGIT22
  • WOW17
  • LOL2
  • IDHT1
  • FLOP4
  • OB2
  • SHANK31

Brendan is the owner of Golf Placement Services, a boutique business which aims to apply his background in golf and higher education to help educate players, their families and coaches about the process! Website - Insta - golf.placement.sevices Twitter @BMRGolf



  1. jersey boys london cheap tickets

    May 30, 2017 at 3:00 am

    jersey boys london cheap tickets | China football
    jersey wholesale, NHL, MLB, NCAA, and other Majestic Jerseys For
    Sale from best jerseys suppliers and wholesalers, free
    shipping service and authentic quality sports jerseys.

  2. H

    May 5, 2017 at 2:14 am

    That #4 had me cracking up to no end. Private club membership pfffft. So funny. Whatever happened to can we make golf affordable at the grassroots level and not admit that it’s an elitist rich man’s sport. Play Golf America! PGA!

  3. Judge Smells

    May 4, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    So basically set junior up with 315 range balls per day, force them to play 18 holes every time they play, kick back and wait for that scholarship letter

  4. Ben

    May 4, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Great article!! I think when I first embarked on tournament golf, I wasn’t well prepared for the variety in golf courses. Course management is key; once you have developed the skills mentioned above. Going from a wide open, mid-length golf course, to narrower, shorter courses, nobody ever showed me the true meaning to course management (aiming for the middle of the green, hitting three wood to stay short of bunkers, etc.). Playing a variety of courses, will help you embrace the many challenges a golf hole, and also introduce you to a broader spectrum of course conditions (speed of greens, wind, thick rough, pine straw, tightly mowed fairways, etc.). I also encourage kids to play golf on family vacations, where the courses are comprised of different grasses (Bermuda took me a while to get used to in college).


  5. PETE

    May 3, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    Great, now my kid will have to track down the local loan shark because he’s down 250 snickers bars this month. It took guts to blatantly advocate gambling to minors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Opinion & Analysis

How valuable is hitting the fairway, really?



Hitting more than 50 percent of fairways has long been considered a good goal for amateur golfers. The winners on the PGA Tour tend to hit 70 percent. I have long maintained, however, that it is not the number of fairways HIT that matters. Instead, it is the relative severity of fairways MISSED.

Think about it. By the one-dimensional Fairways Hit stat, every miss is the same. A perfect lie in the first cut is exactly the same as a drive in a hazard… or even OB. There is nothing in the 650+ PGA Tour stats about this. In all, there are 60 stats in seven categories that relate to driving performance, but none about penalties! Like PGA Tour players don’t make any?

Let’s see exactly how important the old tried-and-true Driving Accuracy (Percentage of Fairways Hit) really is. To test it, I used two data clusters: the 2017 PGA Tour season (14,845 ShotLink rounds) and my database for the average male golfer (15 to 19 handicappers – 4,027 rounds).

For the graph below, I started with the No. 1-ranked player in the Driving Accuracy category: Ryan Armour. He certainly was accurate by this measure, but why did he only rank 100th in 2017 Strokes Gained Off the Tee with a barely positive 0.020?

Next I looked at the actual top-5 PGA Tour money winners (J. Thomas, J Spieth, D. Johnson, H. Matsuyama and J. Rohm), the 2017 PGA Tour average, and all PGA Tour players that missed the cut in 2017. We all know the significant scoring differences between these three categories of players, but it’s difficult to see a meaningful difference in the fairways hit. They’re not even separated by half a fairway. How important could this stat be?

For those that have not tried, our analysis includes Strokes Gained and Relative Handicap comparisons. That enables users to easily differentiate between FIVE MISS categories below based upon severity. The final three categories are what we consider to be Driving Errors:

  1. Good lie/Opportunity: One can easily accomplish their next goal of a GIR or advancement on a par-5.
  2. Poor Lie/Opportunity: One could accomplish the next goal, but it will require a very good shot.
  3. No Shot: Requires an advancement to return to normal play.
  4. Penalty-1: Penalty with a drop.
  5. OB/Lost: Stroke and distance penalty, or shot replayed with a stroke penalty.

As we are fortunate enough to work with several PGA Tour players at Shot by Shot, we have access to ShotLink data and can provide those clients with the same valuable insight.

Let’s see how the frequency and severity of driving errors relates to the above groups of players (removing Mr. Armour, as he simply helped us prove the irrelevance of Driving Accuracy). The graphs below display the number of Driving Errors per round and the Average Cost Per Error. Note the strong and consistent correlation between the number and the cost of errors at each of the four levels of performance.

Finally, the average cost of the errors is heavily driven by the three degrees of severity outlined above (No Shot, Penalty, OB/Lost). The graph below compares the relative number and cost of the three types of errors for the average golfer and PGA Tour players. The major difference is that PGA Tour players do not seem to have a proper share of OB/Lost penalties. I found only TWO in the 14,000+ ShotLink rounds. While I accept that the most severe faux pas are significantly less frequent on the PGA Tour, I also believe there must have been more than two.

Why so few? First and foremost, PGA Tour players REALLY ARE good. Next, the galleries stop a lot of the wayward shots. And finally, I believe that many of the ShotLink volunteer data collectors may not actually know or care about the difference between a Penalty and OB/Lost.

Author’s Note: If you want to know your Strokes Gained Off the Tee (Driving) and exactly how important your fairways and the misses are, log onto for a 1-Round FREE Trial.

Your Reaction?
  • 26
  • LEGIT3
  • WOW4
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB1
  • SHANK5

Continue Reading

Opinion & Analysis

Yo GolfWRX: “Are you betting on Tiger Woods to win the Masters?” (Bonus: A March Madness-inspired shot attempt)



Equipment expert Brian Knudson and Editor Andrew Tursky discuss a variety of topics including Tiger Woods being the favorite at The Masters. Also, a Fujikura Pro 2.0 shaft unboxing, Knudson paints the new TG2 studio, and Tursky tries to go viral during March Madness season.

Enjoy the video below!

Your Reaction?
  • 9
  • LEGIT2
  • WOW0
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK2

Continue Reading

Opinion & Analysis

Tiger shoots opening-round 68 at Bay Hill, is now the Masters betting favorite



It’s happening. Tiger Woods is playing good golf, and the Masters hype train is full-steam ahead. After opening at 100-1 odds to win the Masters, Tiger is now the favorite to win at Augusta in 2018, according to Jeff Sherman, an oddsmaker for (according to his Twitter bio).

After 9 holes (he started on the back nine) at the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill — where Tiger has won eight times — he was sitting at 3-under par. What also happened at that time was Sherman updated Tiger as the favorite to win the Masters. Clearly, bettors and Tiger fans had seen all they needed to see in order to put their money down on him winning another Green Jacket in 2018.

Related: See the clubs in Tiger’s bag

On the course’s third hole, however, with water looming left, Tiger hit a foul ball with a 3-wood off the tee and later realized the shot had gone out-of-bounds. Tiger was hot under the collar after hearing the news, and he threw his 3-wood headcover backwards in disgust as he started walking back to the tee to reload. He salvaged double-bogey, and he then made three more birdies coming home to complete his 4-under par round of 68; one of the birdies was a 71-footer after which all Tiger could do was smile.

Woods currently sits in a tie for fifth place, just two shots behind the leader Henrik Stenson.

Can Tiger win at Bay Hill for the ninth time? Will you bet on Tiger as the favorite to win at the Masters? Will Tiger win the Masters?

The questions above would have seemed ridiculous to ask just a month ago, but they’re now legitimate. Welcome back to the spotlight, Tiger.

Your Reaction?
  • 24
  • LEGIT2
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP2
  • OB2
  • SHANK8

Continue Reading

19th Hole