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Juniors should they learn to play it safe all the time?


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#1 tiger1873

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 06:28 AM

I have been wondering if it's better to make sure younger juniors be taught to play it safe at a young age or should they be allowed to make mistakes but be taught to be aggressive.

I am not talking about basic course management like playing to the shots they have in the bag or even doing a layup because there just don't have the distance. I am talking about taking risks to get birdies rather then just go for par if they have the shot. ( hope this kind of makes sense)

I have a theory that the kids who win  all the time at a younger age are all about course management. They always play for par and hope to do no worse then bogey on a hole and hope for a few birdies to fall in. For the most part it is a good strategy to win   when kids are under 13 or 14.  You can score easily score in the high 70's this way.  

The other thing I almost always notice the kids dads are actually very good golfers too.  At first I thought this was a good strategy but lately I am seeing the flaws in not taking risks.

If you want to break par you need to go for Birdie on every hole (within reason) at least that should be the mindset.  When I watch the pro's they almost never concede a shot in the hopes of getting no worse then bogey.


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#2 Socrates

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 07:21 AM

I think that playing it safe will result in a lot of good finishes win zero wins.  There is a big difference in playing aggressively and playing with foolishness.  You need to find out what the risks are and how good you are when you are presented with a risky shot.  Once you know your limits, you can play aggressively at the right times and increase your chances of getting a positive result.  If you never take the risk, you will make a lot of pars and not many birdies and eagles.  Course management is more than just playing it safe everywhere.

You can see it on Tour right now that the old "lay up to a good number" strategy is not winning any tournaments.
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#3 Fade to Black

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 07:27 AM

Played a lot of sports growing up, and something a coach said to me at one point in time stuck with me:

"It's easier to train/teach someone to tone it down as they get older, than it is to teach someone to be more aggressive/risky as they get older."


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#4 cwglum

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 07:41 AM

In order of priority ... Have fun, be aggressive and learn from mistakes.

If you teach a kid to always be careful, they'll never find their ceiling.
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#5 leezer99

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 07:51 AM

NO LAYING UP!


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#6 tiger1873

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 08:11 AM

View PostSocrates, on 14 May 2018 - 07:21 AM, said:

I think that playing it safe will result in a lot of good finishes win zero wins.  There is a big difference in playing aggressively and playing with foolishness.  You need to find out what the risks are and how good you are when you are presented with a risky shot.  Once you know your limits, you can play aggressively at the right times and increase your chances of getting a positive result.  If you never take the risk, you will make a lot of pars and not many birdies and eagles.  Course management is more than just playing it safe everywhere.

You can see it on Tour right now that the old "lay up to a good number" strategy is not winning any tournaments.

I agree about not playing it safe with the pro's but I can honestly say in younger junior golf playing it safe and getting nothing worse then bogeys will win a lot tournaments. Especially if there under 12 and I see it all the time  if you can get  80 or below your going to most likely win.  The key to winning at the younger ages is not blowing up holes and that means not taking risk in a lot of cases.  

I seen it where kids can actually birdie and par more holes but lose because you had a blowup on 1 or two holes because it end up in a bad lie in a sand trap or hit water somewhere and end up with a high number on the score card.  I've also noticed that as the kids get older the scores are tightening and the ones taking risk seem to have less and less bad holes.  

I also think that playing it safe does make sense because you need to break 80 before you can break par but I also wonder if in the long run it makes it harder  to break par the longer they play.

Edited by tiger1873, 14 May 2018 - 08:14 AM.


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#7 BrianMcG

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 08:18 AM

When I was a junior, there was a par 5 I used to play a lot that had a creek with a bridge across it.

Me and all of my friends would always try to bounce it across the bridge with our approach shots instead of laying up. What fun.


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#8 BloctonGolf11

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 08:20 AM

Some healthy risk is good. You have to teach them to take each shot on its own merits and know where they are in a competition.

1st tourney of this spring tour my son is playing we get to the 5th hole. It is a dumb hole for an 8 year old. 265 yard par 4 but with an 85 yard wide pond before the green and another 20 yards of fairway between the pond and the green. It was wet that day so a tattooed drive was the only way you were going to have a decent second shot at the green over the water. All 3 kids hit good drives but no long bombs and are basically at equal position 15-20 or so yards short of the pond. My son was 2 strokes down to one kid and 3 strokes down to another. They both laid up to a side area to have a lengthy but safer approach to the green. I looked at him and said buddy what do YOU want to do? You can layup or you can pull out your 3 wood and try to carry it and gain a shot. He said, I am three strokes off the lead the right thing to do is go for it. He hit a beautiful high 3 wood that faded just a tad to much hit the edge of the pond and rolled back in. Was he deflated? Nope. He knew the right shot at that time was to go for it and try to gain a stroke on the kids. If anything he felt good that he went for it, hit a good shot, and it just didn't work out.
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#9 heavy_hitter

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 08:38 AM

My son plays Fortnite and really just started getting into video games for the first time in his life.  He used to say "Dad, I just came in 6th place."  My comment back would be "Great, how many kills did you have?"  Answer was always zero because he would land on the outskirts of the map and scavenge.  He would run away from other players to avoid being shot.  He would move with the storm, hide, and tried to survive.  He never had a chance to win a game because he didn't know how to shoot anyone.  What point is it to come in 6th and not have a chance to win?  There is none.  In any game you play whether it be Fotnite, COD, Golf, Basketball, at some point you have to be aggressive to win.  You have to pick the point to be aggressive and play the game.  Kenny Rogers sang a famous song in "The Gambler" and there was a lot of truth to that song.  "You have to know when to hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away and know when to run."  Same thing goes for Fortnite, COD, Golf, Basketball or any other sport.  My son now understands that he has to take risks and how to take those risks in Fortnite.  Hasn't won a game, but it is a heck of a lot more fun for him to get 3 to 4 kills a game and coming in 30th than hiding and coming in 6th.

Point being, if you are playing for bogey every hole, they aren't learning anything about how to play the game.  If they are winning on bogeys, they aren't learning how to win.  They are only learning how to survive, so what is really the point?  I can assure you that if your kids are playing tournaments that the winner isn't below 80, she isn't playing in the right tournaments.  Learning Course Management and strategy are key to future success in any game.

Edited by heavy_hitter, 14 May 2018 - 10:31 AM.


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#10 Belmont148

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 09:48 AM

I don't know if Wayne or Michael said this first, but here goes...

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#11 tiger1873

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 11:09 AM

View Postheavy_hitter, on 14 May 2018 - 08:38 AM, said:

My son plays Fortnite and really just started getting into video games for the first time in his life.  He used to say "Dad, I just came in 6th place."  My comment back would be "Great, how many kills did you have?"  Answer was always zero because he would land on the outskirts of the map and scavenge.  He would run away from other players to avoid be shot.  He would move with the storm, hide, and tried to survive.  He never had a chance to win a game because he didn't know how to shoot anyone.  What point is it to come in 6th and not have a chance to win?  There is none.  In any game you play whether it be Fotnite, COD, Golf, Basketball, at some point you have to be aggressive to win.  You have to pick the point to be aggressive and play the game.  Kenny Rogers sang a famous song in "The Gambler" and there was a lot of truth to that song.  "You have to know when to hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away and know when to run."  Same thing goes for Fortnite, COD, Golf, Basketball or any other sport.  My son now understands that he has to take risks and how to take those risks in Fortnite.  Hasn't won a game, but it is a heck of a lot more fun for him to get 3 to 4 kills a game and coming in 30th than hiding and coming in 6th.

Point being, if you are playing for bogey every hole, they aren't learning anything about how to play the game.  If they are winning on bogeys, they aren't learning how to win.  They are only learning how to survive, so what is really the point?  I can assure you that if your kids are playing tournaments that the winner isn't below 80, she isn't playing in the right tournaments.  Learning Course Management and strategy are key to future success in any game.

My older daughter brought it up to me because she really starting to figure out her game. She noticed it last year at a tournament when there was a hole that had a risky driver shot to par the hole. The other girls all went to safe shot and eliminated the chance for par.  She made the shot and made par.  Lately she asked my why do some girls never try to get it the hole on chips opting for an easy putt but they never give it chance to go in.

It's stuff like that that may be good course management but does it costs them birdies for sure.  I see lots of junior and for that matter amateurs in the 75 plus range which is good but there still playing it safe. I am not saying everyone does this,It just been an observation and trying to figure out what kind of practice the kids need to do over summer.

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#12 golfer929

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 08:39 PM

I would say that at a younger age there is absolutely nothing wrong with playing to the middle of the green and 2 putting or maybe making a birdie here and there. That will win you a lot of junior golf tournaments!

As you start needing to shot under par, this same strategy could work I believe. The name of the game is hitting greens and making putts. If youíre in the middle of the green every single time you will have at most 30ft like 80% of the time, usually closer. Itís pretty deflating for other players to see a guy having a makeable birdie putt every hole.

You can go ahead and try to be aggressive, you will shoot 67/68 every so often, but expect to shoot 78/80 twice as much

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#13 mbs_59

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 06:50 PM

I think there are stages of this.  I think a junior needs to play conservatively until they are consistently breaking 90, shooting low 80's, striking the ball well and chipping and putting decently.  Once they get to that stage, it's time to rev it up and learn to take some chances, fire at pins in the right circumstances, be more aggressive on the greens, etc.

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#14 kekoa

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Posted 29 May 2018 - 05:36 PM

Interesting topic.  

On sunday, my son played in the tour championship for the Coachella Valley our.  We come to a 78 yard par 3 with water on the left.  Pin is on the right of the green and there is this huge palm tree guarding the pin.  Essentially there are two options:  Hit a straight 9 iron to the left/middle of the green or try to fade one and hope you don't block it right into the palm tree.  My son was -2 coming into the hole and I could already tell what he was thinking.  He wanted to go for the pin.  I hated the idea and let him know.  Anyhow, he gets up there and hits the worst iron shot ever into the water.  Drops one and 3 putts for triple.  Ughhh...   Thinking back, I probably should have supported him on the riskier shot, but I just didn't think it was necessary given where we stood in the tournament.

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#15 CTgolf

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Posted 29 May 2018 - 06:21 PM

Good learning experience for an 8yo!


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