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Opinion & Analysis

Winning Ways: What it takes to become a winner in Boys Junior Golf

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One of the greatest accomplishments for a junior golfer is winning! In this article, we set out to examine the data on winning and provide you with feedback on what it takes to join this elite group of golfers. It is based on an analysis of tournament results from all events during the 2017 year from the Junior Tour of Northern California. We then asked stats guru, Peter Sanders, Founder of ShotByShot.com, to provide the stats related to the winning scoring numbers that we found. Finally, we discuss ways you can practice helping build your skills and work towards becoming a tournament winner yourself.

The Winning Scores

In 2017, the Junior Tour of Northern California held 26 tournaments with 850+ members. According to our data collection based on information available on the website, the average boys field was played from 6,587 yards. On these courses, the average winning score for boys was 143.48. Eight of the 26 tournaments were won with scores in the 130’s, and the lowest two-day total was 132. In the data collection, we also collected the average 10th place scores for boys. The average 10th place score for boys was 153.6, or 76.8 per round.  

The Winning Stats

We provided the numbers to statistics expert Peter Sanders. Peter’s company has been providing Strokes Gained analysis for golfers for the last 29 years. Peter is the founder of ShotByShot.com, a website that provides golfers at all levels with Strokes Gained analysis, pinpoints specific strengths and weaknesses and highlights improvement priorities. Since the launch of ShotByShot.com in 2005, Peter has collected over 317,000 rounds. Accordingly, Peter has agreed to share the numbers, below, for a typical male player who averages 72. There are two important points to consider when reviewing these statistics:

  1. In order to have a complete picture of the puzzle that is golf, one must consider the ERRORS, or lack thereof, that play such an important role in scoring at every level. Even the 650+ PGA Tour stats ignore these important miscues. Shot By Shot has included them in their analysis from the beginning and they are highlighted below.
  2. The data provided represents only tournament rounds. As such, it will primarily represent the high school and college programs that use ShotByShot.com

Infographics Created by Alexis Bennett

How to Improve

Junior players are encouraged to use the stats above as a benchmark against their own performance to determine where they might need to improve against the “typical 72 player.” After identifying gaps in their game, they can then create practice plans to help improve.

For example, a junior might notice they have more errors off the tee then the model. To improve, they could work on having a “go-to” shot off the tee like a knockdown 3 wood or hybrid. They might also play games in practice where they either play worst ball off the tee, or treat the rough as out of bounds. Worst ball off the tee is when the player would hit two shots and then play from the worst one each time. When playing the rough out of play, the player must hit the fairway. If they don’t, they must treat the ball in the rough as out of bounds and re-tee. Both games will put significant pressure on their driving of the golf ball and teach the player skills necessary to reduce ERRORS.

Clearly the top players in junior golf are excellent; they can travel to a course they likely don’t know, play a practice round and then shot a 36-hole total near to par. Although exact data on what these players are doing at their home golf courses is not available, it is likely that these players are playing a lot of golf at their home golf courses with scores of par or better. My own experience with elite juniors suggest that the very best players shoot 65 or so at their home golf course often (5-10 percent), while scoring a lot of rounds between 68-73.  

The Takeaway

If you are not at this level yet, don’t worry! Shooting under par is a skill to be developed, just like chipping, middle irons or driving the golf ball. Hopefully this article will give you some insight on not only what you need to do to improve your score but also how to do it!

Happy Golfing!

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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 - www.golfplacementservices.com Insta - golf.placement.sevices Twitter @BMRGolf

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Bruno

    Feb 11, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    Trophy looks like a {{{spittoon}}} 😮

  2. Ross

    Feb 10, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    I would love the answer to be Talent!

    But nowadays you probably need a lot of money, several coaches, psychologists and some severely pushy parents forcing you to train every single day of your life

    the sort of family where the sentence “if you’re not scratch by the time your 12 you’re out the family” is mentioned daily and probably inscribed on every birthday card

    • Lee

      Feb 10, 2018 at 8:22 pm

      Your comment comes across as a very bitter individual that never achieved their dreams. In golf and most other sports many families have a very balanced life. The reason you hear of the outliers is because of how extreme they are.

      • Andrew

        Feb 11, 2018 at 12:08 pm

        You have obviously never been to the IMG Junior World, Lee. Ross is not saying that he is that way. Please read a little closer instead of being quick to lecture on your naive worldview.

  3. Marty

    Feb 10, 2018 at 11:27 am

    What does the President’s Cup have to do with junior golf!?

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Opinion & Analysis

7 tips for senior golfers to play better and enjoy the game longer

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Have you ever played a golf course and remembered where you used to hit the ball on certain holes? Have you ever gotten to a 360-yard par-4 and recalled when you used to lick your chops because you knew a little flip wedge for your second was ahead? Ever made shooting your age your next big goal? If you have, welcome to golf’s back nine, the time when you keep seeking improvement knowing full well it will never be what it once was.

Aging is another vivid example of the paradoxical beast that lies at the heart of our game. If we’re totally honest, we admit we can’t do anything as well as we did 25-30 years ago. Yet a little voice never far from our golf ears keeps whispering, “If you just move the ball in your stance and adjust your grip, you will hit it solid again.” That’s when we need to be honest and ask, “What does solid mean at 65-70-75 years old?” It certainly isn’t solid like it was at 35 years old, but it may be more solid than the last shot, or yesterday. And as we’ll see, it just might be solid enough for the home stretch. So we keep playing and practicing in a search for golf’s version of a fountain of youth.

If you are, like this author, closer to the 18th green than the first tee, here are 7 golden nuggets for the golden years:

1. Forget how you used to play

Stay present and take what the game gives you now, here, today. If that’s 210 off the tee, get your fairway woods and hybrids out and do the best you can with your inevitably longer approach.

2. Work on your scoring game

If aging has robbed you of flexibility and strength, it does not have to affect your game from 100 yards in. Seniors need to chip and putt more than any other age group.

3. Yoga and Pilates

If you think we’re old, we are a babe in the woods compared to these ancient disciplines. The mind/body connection is vital for seniors. And… the results speak for themselves! Staying as flexible and as strong as you can for as long as you can is vital for senior golf. Oh, and walk and carry whenever possible!

4. Get properly fitted

Not only do we play senior golf dreaming of yesteryear, male seniors often let testosterone affect their game. I get sooo many seniors coming to see me who are ill-fitted for their equipment, or more accurately, using equipment that once fit their game85-90 mph clubhead speed does not likely require a stiff shaft, 9 degrees of loft or 75 grams of weight to achieve proper launch and landing conditions. Good senior golf demands brutal honesty with yourself.

5. Consider swing “adjustments,” not “new swings”

I don’t want to be a bearer of bad tidings here, but as a teacher of many years, I know this much: The swing you’ve had for oh so many years is not going to change. At least not very much. The does not mean it can’t be made more effective. I “tweak” seniors, not break them down.

6. Play forward tees

I’m a club professional, and I was a fairly decent player once. At 70 years young, I am proud to say that I play white tees measuring no more than 6300 yards. And in a few years, I’ll likely move up again. It’s just a fact of life and denying it is futile.

7. Check your fundamentals

Just because a certain grip, posture or ball position was effective once, as we age, all these may need adjustments from time to time. Swings get shorter, slower, narrow, etc. And as they do, we have to allow for these things and find new ways to complement the “senior swing.”

The alternative to all of the above is a garage sale. And as long I can swing a golf club, I will be doing so. If I want to enjoy the game, I’ll do so with lighter clubs, from shorter tees, chipping and putting my way into the hole. We’d all like to turn back the clock, but the last time that happened was, uh, never.

Enjoy the back nine. I know I am.

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Opinion & Analysis

Out of Bounds with Amanda Rose: “If Phil were to make a classic rock album, what should it be called?”

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In this episode of “Out of Bounds,” Amanda Rose (@AmandaGolf59 on Twitter and Instagram) recaps the Evian Championship, Padraig Harrington doing weird stuff (again), Phil Mickelson’s new Twitter persona, and Thomas Pieters’ temper. Enjoy the video below!

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Courses

Hidden Gem of the Day: “Sweetens Cove Golf Club” in South Pittsburg, Tennessee

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These aren’t the traditional “top-100” golf courses in America, or the ultra-private golf clubs you can’t get onto. These are the hidden gems; they’re accessible to the public, they cost less than $50, but they’re unique, beautiful and fun to play in their own right. We recently asked our GolfWRX Members to help us find these “hidden gems.” We’re treating this as a bucket list of golf courses to play across the country, and the world. If you have a personal favorite hidden gem, submit it here! 

Today’s Hidden Gem is our first ever double submission! That’s right, two GolfWRX members have now submitted Sweetens Cove Golf Club in South Pittsburg, Tennessee as their favorite Hidden Gem golf course. Here’s what they both had to say below.

bogey pro

“It’s a 9 hole course that is all about the golf.  It doesn’t have a fancy club house.  It’s minimalist and pure golf.  It’s always in excellent shape and very fun.  It is a real treat to play and people come from all over to play it.  I’ve never heard a bad word about it.  Its very similar to a links style course with rolling fairways, waste bunkers, large fast undulating greens.  From the website, it is ranked 50th in Modern Course and ranked #1 course in Tennessee for the last 3 years.”

FairwayFred

“While starting to get too much publicity to be considered a hidden gem it’s hard to argue that Sweetens Cove isn’t one of the best golf values in the country.  For $40 peak season you can play 18 at the #1 ranked course you can play in TN and Golf Weeks 50th ranked modern course.  What Sweetens lack in holes (its a 9 hole course) it more than makes up for with amazing variety, incredible green complexes, firm and fast turf and in my opinion the best set of artistic bunkers I’ve ever seen anywhere.  Rob Collins the principal architect (and now the head of the management team) built the course by hand with his partner Tad King.  Rob has OVER 700 days on site working on the build.  That is almost unheard of in golf course architecture and construction and is the main reason why all the little details at Sweetens are so good.  The main thing at Sweetens is playing golf there is about FUN which is not always the case.  Definitely one to seek out regardless of budget.”

According to the Sweetens Cove website, course rates range from $25 to $65 depending on the day of the week, time of the year and time of day. Also, they have a $100 play-all-day rate (with a cart) and a $60 walk all day rate. Sweetens Cove is located approximately 25 minutes from downtown Chattanooga.

Know a local course that you can play for under $50 that deserves recognition? Submit your hidden gem here

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