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Calling all Parents of Junior Girls


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#1 dpb5031

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 01:19 PM

Hello all.  I am the father of a 13 year old (7th grade) girl.  She is a good little junior player, having competed for the past three seasons in US Kids, Optimist, and some local tour events with decent success.  I started this thread so dads, moms, and perhaps even some kids, could talk about their experiences with regard to girl's golf.  Things like introductions to the game, instruction, equipment, tournaments, keeping them motivated, challenges, avoiding common pitfalls, college choices, and generally all things girl's junior golf.

The reason I think this thread will be of some value is that I have found the process quite challenging.  Information, particularly from people who have been down this road, seems hard to come by.  I suppose that is largely because, relative to many other sports, there just aren't that many young girls who truly play golf.  The world of girl's junior golf is also quite different than that of the boys juniors, also due largely to sheer numbers.

I would bet that some of the golf related experiences I have been through with my daughter will be of value to parents of younger girls.  I am also confident that there are plenty of GolfWRXers who have been through the process of raising junior girl golfers, and will soon be, or have since, sent them off to college.  Since mine has just become a teenager, I am hoping that perhaps I can learn something.  In any event, having a daughter to share in my love and enthusiasm for this great game is truly a blessing, and I feel very lucky.

So, tell us all about raising your junior player...feel free to brag, post swing videos, discuss milestones, provide advice, or ask any question of me you like.

Edited by dpb5031, 12 April 2012 - 02:24 PM.


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#2 dpb5031

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 02:52 PM

ok...no takers so far...lol.  I suppose this illustrates my point that the girl's junior golf community is pretty small!  

Perhaps if I ask the first question it will spark some conversation.  My daughter is signed up for an IJGT tournament this weekend.  We have never participated on this tour.  It is very expensive to enter, but they play at some premium venues, have decent participation in the girls division (which can sometimes be an issue), and the tour seems very well organized and professional.

What are opinions of the IJGT?  Is it worth the money?  As a 7th grader, my kid is the youngest in the field of 20 girls.  Is she in over her head?

#3 sggreen

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 03:10 PM

Ok, I'll bite.  Father of a 17, wait 18 year old today.  IJGT is very expensive.  There are many Junior Tours around for the girls to play in.  In the Midwest we have PJGT, Golfweek Tour, MAJGT, AJGA, and many local events.  Another great tour that many of the East Coast players participate in during the winter is the Peggy Kirk Bell out of the Carolina's.  Most of these tours are easy to get into except for AJGA.  It takes some time to get accepted in most of their tournaments.  If you are looking to just get her tournament experience she doesn't have to play in the most expensive/competitive tournaments.  If exposure to college coaches is the plan then she needs to play in multiple day events in order to get ranked on the Junior Golf Scoreboard, Golfweek, and AJGA Polo ranking.

When my daughter decided that golf was her sport and she gave up basketball, volleyball, softball, and all the others that kids try we put her with a swing coach.  He has been working with her since 7th grade.  It has been a long process but as she has grown physically and mentally her game has too.  She had many offers coming out of high school and will be playing college golf this fall.

The great thing about girls junior golf is that you will see the same girls at many of the tournaments and they build lasting friendships.  As in every other sport you will see that there are physco dads in this sport too.  It's fun to sit back and watch them living and dying on every shot.

#4 dpb5031

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 03:55 PM

Thanks for the reply and Happy Birthday to your daughter!  What level (DI, DII, etc.) will your daughter be playing in college?  I'm curious about that process for girls.  Is it all about scoring average or placing in big tournaments?

As far as instruction goes, initially I taught my daughter myself and she did quite well.  After her season as an 11 year old, I brought her to a highly regarded instructor in our area.  We are in NJ.  Unfortunately he really messed up her swing.  She lost distance relative to the girls she played with, and also lost consistency.  We abandoned that swing coach last summer and I began teaching her again.  We actually went to see Geoff Jones (Slicefixer here on GolfWRX) in December, and spent 3 days with him.  He taught both of us so much!  Since then she has been practicing the fundamentals he advocates with me monitoring her progress, and although it is early in the season, it looks promising.  We will see him again in early summer.  I suppose I am fortunate that she readily accepts instruction from me, as I also have another daughter (non-golfer 16 year old) who will not hear a word I have to say about anything...lol!

The reason I signed her up for the upcoming IJGT event is because it is within a short driving distance, it is at a great course, and there are about 20 girls signed up.  It sucks to go to an event and have only 2 or 3 girls in it.

Another thing that is challenging is that my daughter has absolutely not one friend from school interested in golf.  There are also no junior girls at or near her age who play at our club.  I'm concerned about keeping her motivated and interested through these teenage years.  She really loves the big tournaments where she meets a lot of girls her age.  Did your daughter have friends locally to play and practice with?  Was it an issue keeping her interested in the game?

Edited by dpb5031, 12 April 2012 - 03:58 PM.


#5 sggreen

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 04:35 PM

Once you start playing multiple day tours you'll see that there are many girls signed up and as she makes friends with these girls she will want to go to touraments to see them and hang out.  We were lucky that our high school team has been top 5 in the state for many years and with that we have a good number of girls that go out for the team.  We got her a membership at a club a couple miles away that has a great junior program and there were many high school girls and boys playing there that she could play and practice with.  Practice is a lot more fun if you're doing it with someone else.


When it gets time for her to select a college don't get caught up in it all.  Have her pick a school that she likes even if she weren't playing golf. Remember we're talking about girls so she needs to find a team that she connects with too.  My daughter had 5 good offers (4 D1 and 1 D2) and she elected to go to the D2 school.  She loved the school and really liked the girls.


Another tour I forgot to mention is the Junior PGA Series.  Very well run tournaments.


#6 tx_basser

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:36 PM

I saw this topic on my phone earlier but did not have the chance to reply, but now I am home I can.

Anyway... I starting putting my kids in Golf Camps every summer from the time they were 5 (Boy) & 7 (Girl), and also took them to the range and let them hit balls, putts, and basically keep golf in their mind.  As they got older I took them to the local Par 3 to play golf where it was 5 bucks, play all you want.  My goal was to keep them interested and around golf until they got of age to see their skills start to develop.  Around the time my daughter hit the 7th grade I told her it was time to get serious is she really wanted to be on the HS golf team since she quit playing soccer.

She agreed, and we started hitting balls 4 days a week for about 45 mins to an hour each day with her 7 iron to just start grooving her swing.  We did this for almost 6 months before I started introducing other clubs, and the last club was her 14 degree driver.  We then played the Par 3 course more often and worked on allot of chipping, putting, bunkers, etc.  By the time 8th grade hit, we started playing 5 or 6 holes in the evenings twice a week at the local golf course during super twilight and even during the winter.  That year we had a really crazy winter/spring and it rained so much the range was closed, so I bought a hitting net and mat and turned the garage into the golf room.  I turned on small heaters in the garage, and she would stay in there and hit balls and listen to music.  When we did play we were normally the only ones on the course, so we hit lots of mulligans and do overs to just get the practice in.  The summer of her 8th grade year before going into the 9th grade, I spend spent allot of quality time with my daughter as we practiced 5 days a week, and played 9 holes twice a week in the evenings to keep her skills going.  I then put her in the local JR PGA section to play 9 -hole tournament over the summer and entered her in one every week, where I was able to caddy for her and help her with her decision making process and overall course strategy.  She won several of them and got 2nd several times and was only a stroke or two behind.  It was good experience to how to play competitive golf.

Then as she entered 9th grade she tried out for the golf team and was 6 strokes ahead of the nearest competitor after 9 holes.  She made 1st position varsity her Freshman year, caused a real rukus with most of the other kids because they realized a new sheriff was in town.  Several of the parents were very abrasive as they knew the level of competition had changed to make the varsity team, and the perks that going along with being number one.  Her first season in HS, she was alway top 5 every tournament by shooting in the low 90's.  She is now shooting in the upper 80's at the end of her Freshmen year, and qualified as first medalist to head to the regional tournament.

She has reached the point that I really can't teach her anymore than what I have, other than continuing to provide resources, work ethic, motivation, etc.  She knows her swing better than I do, and all I do is check in on her once a week when we play our friendly 9 holes, and give her a few tidbits of instructions.  Now came the hard part, in that I realized I needed to seek professional instruction for her to keep elevating her game, and enable a possible D1 schlorship offer from the best schools.  We have an excellent PGA pro at our local course she has several high profile girls under his program, so I talked to him about taking her over and he is really excited.

The main thing I have done to my kids and it seems to have really caught on with my daughter is to let her know up front, that if she wants go off to college as a freshman to a nice university she had better get a schlorship.  Otherwise it is down to the local community college while living at home, then to the local university.  Nothing glamorous, but it will be an education.  I'm trying to do the same to my son, but it may or may not work......  never can tell.

Teaching my daughter has been the most rewarding and most frustrating thing I have ever done, but I stuck to my guns from a practice standpoint, but still remained flexible to give her the abililty to still have fun with her friends.  The thing that one has to realize is that to get your kid to the level and teach them to play golf, you have to give up any hobby you might have for yourself and commit totally to their development.  I can't tell you how many hours we have spent in the bunker while I raked after every shot and she hit balls.

Good luck if you take this path...

#7 Man In The Miura

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 08:18 PM

My daughter is 13 and is her own golfer now.  I guided her, pushed her, and set her on the "golf as a lifestyle" path, and now it's pretty much up to her how she wants to pursue it.  She'll be attending an IJGA camp as well as a Nike camp (4th year in a row) over the summer at her request.  She plays in the junior state golf association events as well as another northwest junior golf league.  Golf has always been second to fastpitch softball, but that will change after this softball season, because softball and golf are the same high school sports season, and she's committing to golf.  She's a 80-84 golfer at Golf Digest's 63rd most difficult course, and at away courses is in the mid to high 70s.  She's flirted with even par and sub par on just two occasions.

Each year we host a collegiate women's golf team in our home while they play in a major west coast event at our home course.  My wife and I feel that we have learned a lot from these young women regarding what college golf is like, what comitment it takes, and what the advantages and drawbacks are of pursuing golf at the collegiate level.  We are a bit disappointed with the academic rigor student-athletes seem to pursue.  There are a lot of psychology, sociology, elementary education, and other softer degrees pursued because more difficult paths do not mix with playing golf.

I would be really proud of my daughter if she attacked golf at the collegiate level, but my wife and I also agree it probably isn't the wisest choice.  We have summarized our feeling as follows:

1) College golf would be good if a scholarship was offered and we could not otherwise afford to pay for college
2) College golf would be good if it got our daughter into an institution she would otherwise not get into (read Ivy League)
3) We would rather our daughter be recruited for a JOB exiting college that be recruited for GOLF entering college

I sound like a nabob of negativity.  Those are the parents' thoughts, and ultimately we'll support whatever path in life she chooses to pursue.  I will say this, though: putting the "next level" of golf on the back burner has really impacted how her and I approach the game.  It reminds us that golf is for entertainment purposes and is essentially frivolous.  Golf is about who you are with and the friends you make along the way.  Get to know your competitors as friends.

I sort of feel like my mission is accomplished, because I know golf is a lifelong deal for my daughter.  What comes next is her deal.

#8 dpb5031

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 09:04 PM

Wow...there are some interesting responses to this thread.  The last two almost seem to be on extreme opposite sides of the spectrum socio-economically, and as such provide completely different perspectives.  We've got one guy looking at golf as a frivolous pass-time for his kid, and another looking at golf as a significant and serious opportunity to go somewhere that otherwise would be out of reach.  I can appreciate both points of view, but if my kid were to have the opportunity to play for a great program, and had the desire to do so, I could not imagine steering her in a different direction.  Top level collegiate sports can open a lot of doors.

I really wish my daughter had more kids to play golf with at our club.  Beyond that, the high school in our community only has one non-gender specific golf team (currently all boys).  Girls can play if they can make the team, but get no special dispensation.  My girl also plays field hockey and really excels at lacrosse.  When high school rolls around she  is going to have to make a decision between golf and lacrosse as a Spring sport.  That will be tough since she enjoys being the "big shot" (leading scorer) on the lacrosse team and all of the camaraderie of it being a team sport.

She is really good at golf though, and has always had an interest and love for the sport.  She loves to watch the majors with me and one of her favorite TV shows is the Big Break.  From what I'm learning, it may not even be that important to play on the high school team, as long as she continues with the tournaments.  What do you guys think about that?

Oh, and another thing.  I am a decent player, currently around a USGA 3 index, but when I go out with her I almost never bring my sticks.  I usually just carry her bag or drive the cart and help her with yardages, clubs, and reading putts.  I tried playing along, but it doesn't seem to do either one of us any good.  Perhaps that will change as she gets a little older?

#9 bub72ck

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 09:05 PM

No daughter for me just a wife who was a good junior player and a D1 collegiate player.  I have learned a lot about women's golf watching her play and hearing her stories growing up.  A few things I can tell you to do, don't do, look out for, etc based on her experience.

1)Women are women.  I don't have to tell any of you here that but I will anyway.  When my wife was a young player and began to show signs of talent the older women at her home club really began to resent her.  They would schedule events at times when my wife was in school and even tried to change the age limits for the ladies club championship after my wife won at age 15.  A protest from my father in law got that reversed thankfully.  Be prepared for some cattiness from older women as well as other girls at tournaments.  Its a fact of life with the ladies.

2)Be prepared for some unfair tactics by men at times.  I have seen on many occasions changes in the tees at scramble events when my wife plays.  Somebody will recognize her and know she is a good player and all of a sudden the women are playing from the white tees like the men.  I feel especially bad when another woman is in the event and she can't hit it 250 off the tee.

3)If you really want you daughter to play at a high collegiate level get her playing from the mens up tees.  A sub 80 average is great but not that great from the red tees.  My wife started playing the men's "white" tees when she was in junior high and it made her a better player in the long run.  Women's D1 tournaments are usually played between 5800 and 6300 yards depending on the course and event.  Most women's tees are in the 4800-5300 range.  Huge difference there.  The course we used to belong to had a ladies course record of 73 that stood for years.  My wife shot 66 the first time she played a competitive round there.  She shot 73 often from the men's tees.

4)Find other girls for her to play with.  Even if she becomes a great player she won't want to play with the boys very often.  My wife would rather play with 3 women that shoot 90 (with her shooting par) than three men who shoot par.  When we moved 2 years ago the best thing that ever happened to her was finding a group of women who were all single digit caps like her.  Instant bond and great friendships.  Plus, it made all of them better players.

5)Choose a college based on a career and not golf.  My wife and I both chose college based on golf scholarships and it made it much more difficult to find a career after school.  If your daughter starts at a smaller school and shows rapid progression she can always transfer.  The odds are against anyone wanting to be a professional athlete.  I think my wife could have made if she really wanted it but it was not on her agenda.

6)Don't be the insane parent that pushes his child to the brink.  My father-in-law did that to my wife and there are still some lingering scars to this day (she's 28).  My dad pushed me too but it's different for women (see first sentence of number one above).

7)As for tournaments there are plenty of series available now for all skill and price levels.  My wife is one of four kids in her family so there wasn't a lot of money to go around.  She played a lot of PGA junior series events due to lower cost than AJGA and IJGT.  She began USGA qualifiers in college and made it to a women's amateur a few years back.  

8)In the end golf is not everything.  It has shaped both my wife and I and definitely made us better people.  As good as my wife was and is at golf (had lowest scoring average in all of D1 women's golf at one time) our son sleeping in the floor is her WHOLE world now.  She could care less about playing golf in the near future.  So, regardless of her talent level something has taken over priority.  Don't get me wrong I LOVE my son more than anything else on the planet but I still think about golf and getting out to play.  She doesn't.  She's a woman (see first sentence of number one above LOL).

Good luck with your daughter's career.  You will have a blast watching her grow into the game and compete.  Love her and support her all the way.  Hope something I've said has helped.

Edited by bub72ck, 12 April 2012 - 09:08 PM.

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#10 dpb5031

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 09:14 PM

View Postbub72ck, on 12 April 2012 - 09:05 PM, said:

No daughter for me just a wife who was a good junior player and a D1 collegiate player.  I have learned a lot about women's golf watching her play and hearing her stories growing up.  A few things I can tell you to do, don't do, look out for, etc based on her experience.

1)Women are women.  I don't have to tell any of you here that but I will anyway.  When my wife was a young player and began to show signs of talent the older women at her home club really began to resent her.  They would schedule events at times when my wife was in school and even tried to change the age limits for the ladies club championship after my wife won at age 15.  A protest from my father in law got that reversed thankfully.  Be prepared for some cattiness from older women as well as other girls at tournaments.  Its a fact of life with the ladies.

2)Be prepared for some unfair tactics by men at times.  I have seen on many occasions changes in the tees at scramble events when my wife plays.  Somebody will recognize her and know she is a good player and all of a sudden the women are playing from the white tees like the men.  I feel especially bad when another woman is in the event and she can't hit it 250 off the tee.

3)If you really want you daughter to play at a high collegiate level get her playing from the mens up tees.  A sub 80 average is great but not that great from the red tees.  My wife started playing the men's "white" tees when she was in junior high and it made her a better player in the long run.  Women's D1 tournaments are usually played between 5800 and 6300 yards depending on the course and event.  Most women's tees are in the 4800-5300 range.  Huge difference there.  The course we used to belong to had a ladies course record of 73 that stood for years.  My wife shot 66 the first time she played a competitive round there.  She shot 73 often from the men's tees.

4)Find other girls for her to play with.  Even if she becomes a great player she won't want to play with the boys very often.  My wife would rather play with 3 women that shoot 90 (with her shooting par) than three men who shoot par.  When we moved 2 years ago the best thing that ever happened to her was finding a group of women who were all single digit caps like her.  Instant bond and great friendships.  Plus, it made all of them better players.

5)Choose a college based on a career and not golf.  My wife and I both chose college based on golf scholarships and it made it much more difficult to find a career after school.  If your daughter starts at a smaller school and shows rapid progression she can always transfer.  The odds are against anyone wanting to be a professional athlete.  I think my wife could have made if she really wanted it but it was not on her agenda.

6)Don't be the insane parent that pushes his child to the brink.  My father-in-law did that to my wife and there are still some lingering scars to this day (she's 28).  My dad pushed me too but it's different for women (see first sentence of number one above).

7)As for tournaments there are plenty of series available now for all skill and price levels.  My wife is one of four kids in her family so there wasn't a lot of money to go around.  She played a lot of PGA junior series events due to lower cost than AJGA and IJGT.  She began USGA qualifiers in college and made it to a women's amateur a few years back.  

8)In the end golf is not everything.  It has shaped both my wife and I and definitely made us better people.  As good as my wife was and is at golf (had lowest scoring average in all of D1 women's golf at one time) our son sleeping in the floor is her WHOLE world now.  She could care less about playing golf in the near future.  So, regardless of her talent level something has taken over priority.  Don't get me wrong I LOVE my son more than anything else on the planet but I still think about golf and getting out to play.  She doesn't.  She's a woman (see first sentence of number one above LOL).

Good luck with your daughter's career.  You will have a blast watching her grow into the game and compete.  Love her and support her all the way.  Hope something I've said has helped.

Everything you have said has, and will help.  Thank you!



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#11 dpb5031

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 09:45 PM

View Postteamyonex, on 12 April 2012 - 08:18 PM, said:

My daughter is 13 and is her own golfer now.  I guided her, pushed her, and set her on the "golf as a lifestyle" path, and now it's pretty much up to her how she wants to pursue it.  She'll be attending an IJGA camp as well as a Nike camp (4th year in a row) over the summer at her request.  She plays in the junior state golf association events as well as another northwest junior golf league.  Golf has always been second to fastpitch softball, but that will change after this softball season, because softball and golf are the same high school sports season, and she's committing to golf.  She's a 80-84 golfer at Golf Digest's 63rd most difficult course, and at away courses is in the mid to high 70s.  She's flirted with even par and sub par on just two occasions.

Each year we host a collegiate women's golf team in our home while they play in a major west coast event at our home course.  My wife and I feel that we have learned a lot from these young women regarding what college golf is like, what comitment it takes, and what the advantages and drawbacks are of pursuing golf at the collegiate level.  We are a bit disappointed with the academic rigor student-athletes seem to pursue.  There are a lot of psychology, sociology, elementary education, and other softer degrees pursued because more difficult paths do not mix with playing golf.

I would be really proud of my daughter if she attacked golf at the collegiate level, but my wife and I also agree it probably isn't the wisest choice.  We have summarized our feeling as follows:

1) College golf would be good if a scholarship was offered and we could not otherwise afford to pay for college
2) College golf would be good if it got our daughter into an institution she would otherwise not get into (read Ivy League)
3) We would rather our daughter be recruited for a JOB exiting college that be recruited for GOLF entering college

I sound like a nabob of negativity.  Those are the parents' thoughts, and ultimately we'll support whatever path in life she chooses to pursue.  I will say this, though: putting the "next level" of golf on the back burner has really impacted how her and I approach the game.  It reminds us that golf is for entertainment purposes and is essentially frivolous.  Golf is about who you are with and the friends you make along the way.  Get to know your competitors as friends.

I sort of feel like my mission is accomplished, because I know golf is a lifelong deal for my daughter.  What comes next is her deal.

I know you are providing her with every opportunity for golf, and seemingly anything else for that matter, and that is great, but are you really that confident that a 13 year old will make the best decisions?  Suppose she were to decide impulsively tomorrow that she didn't want to play golf any longer (for whatever reason) only to come back to you 6 or 7 years from now, when the opportunity has long since passed to say, Dad, why didn't you make me stick with it?  I could have been a contender!  ...lol!

I'm half joking, but also half serious.   As a parent, how much should you push?  I mean we push our kids to study, clean their rooms, and do whatever else is in their best interest.  Where and how do you draw the line with sports, especially if your kid shows some potential?

So far, my daughter has been mostly self motivated, but I have recently noticed a proclivity to change practice plans on a weekend if a better opportunity (movies with friends, sleepover, etc.) comes along.  I know that is to be expected at her age, and I don't interfere.  What I try to do is stress to her that if she signs up for a tournament, it is her responsibility to make sure that she is prepared, and that preparation often involves hard work and sacrifice.

#12 BigTexGolfer

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 10:46 PM

Great topic!  I have a daughter the same age, will be  13 in June.  She started getting interested in golf when she was about 6 or 7 because her big brother was starting to play.  She has a swing that from day one was on plane, and from the hitting zone thru follow thru very good.  Started talking free clinics  at PGA Superstore and making progress. After a couple of years just hitting on the range had her in a summer clinic and the instructor stopped me and said you need to get her on the course, she is definitely ready.  Took her out and played a few holes, and let her decide when she had enough.  

About 2 years ago one of the local courses started a junior program  where she would get a couple of days practice each week.  They also started playing team tournaments thru NTPGA that were best ball with a partner and cumulative points for a six kid team.  Great format to learn to play competitive golf since it took some stress off if she had a bad hole.  She made a couple of good girl golf buddies thru this, one of which is the daughter of the assistant golf coach for the high school she will attend.  He has set up a weekend short game clinic with a very good instructor and may do off campus PE with them next year.

We have joined a local club and moved her junior weekly academy and team to be with the group there.  Also doing some private lessons with an instructor that she likes a lot, along with the short game clinics a couple of times a month.  While that sounds like a lot, she probably spends about 6 or 8 hours a week with golf.  That has increased steadily over the years, and I have tried to not be one of those pushy parents that drags their kid to work on their game.  My experience watching those kids in other sports is they get burned out.  So we have moved up the practice and tournaments to match her progress and desire.  She has played mostly the team events, with some individual tournaments.  She is getting much more confident now, and ready to take on more individual tournaments including some 18 hole ones this summer.  She wants to do off campus PE next year, which means a 15 hour per week commitment to meet the school district requirements.

The high school coach and I often lament how different it is working with girls in sports than it is with boys.  You cannot just kick 'em in the butt to motivate the girls the same as the boys.  A lot more tears involved when things are not going well, or you say the wrong thing at the wrong time.

Overall it is an amazing thing watching her progress over the years.  She will go along for a while and plateau, even seem to regress.  Then something from a lessons kicks in and she drops 3 strokes.  She has added about 15 yards in the past 3 months, averaging about 190 with the driver and 150 with a 5 hybrid. Occasionally she gets a drive out there over 200, but more importantly keeps it in play most of the time even when she misses.  Scoring is improving shooting mid 40s for 9 holes the first few times playing from the ladies tees.  I figure if the trend hold she can be playing the white tees by this point next year.  Hopefully at that point shooting in the 80s.

#13 BigTexGolfer

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 11:20 PM

View Postdpb5031, on 12 April 2012 - 09:45 PM, said:

View Postteamyonex, on 12 April 2012 - 08:18 PM, said:

My daughter is 13 and is her own golfer now.  I guided her, pushed her, and set her on the "golf as a lifestyle" path, and now it's pretty much up to her how she wants to pursue it.  She'll be attending an IJGA camp as well as a Nike camp (4th year in a row) over the summer at her request.  She plays in the junior state golf association events as well as another northwest junior golf league.  Golf has always been second to fastpitch softball, but that will change after this softball season, because softball and golf are the same high school sports season, and she's committing to golf.  She's a 80-84 golfer at Golf Digest's 63rd most difficult course, and at away courses is in the mid to high 70s.  She's flirted with even par and sub par on just two occasions.

Each year we host a collegiate women's golf team in our home while they play in a major west coast event at our home course.  My wife and I feel that we have learned a lot from these young women regarding what college golf is like, what comitment it takes, and what the advantages and drawbacks are of pursuing golf at the collegiate level.  We are a bit disappointed with the academic rigor student-athletes seem to pursue.  There are a lot of psychology, sociology, elementary education, and other softer degrees pursued because more difficult paths do not mix with playing golf.

I would be really proud of my daughter if she attacked golf at the collegiate level, but my wife and I also agree it probably isn't the wisest choice.  We have summarized our feeling as follows:

1) College golf would be good if a scholarship was offered and we could not otherwise afford to pay for college
2) College golf would be good if it got our daughter into an institution she would otherwise not get into (read Ivy League)
3) We would rather our daughter be recruited for a JOB exiting college that be recruited for GOLF entering college

I sound like a nabob of negativity.  Those are the parents' thoughts, and ultimately we'll support whatever path in life she chooses to pursue.  I will say this, though: putting the "next level" of golf on the back burner has really impacted how her and I approach the game.  It reminds us that golf is for entertainment purposes and is essentially frivolous.  Golf is about who you are with and the friends you make along the way.  Get to know your competitors as friends.

I sort of feel like my mission is accomplished, because I know golf is a lifelong deal for my daughter.  What comes next is her deal.

I know you are providing her with every opportunity for golf, and seemingly anything else for that matter, and that is great, but are you really that confident that a 13 year old will make the best decisions?  Suppose she were to decide impulsively tomorrow that she didn't want to play golf any longer (for whatever reason) only to come back to you 6 or 7 years from now, when the opportunity has long since passed to say, Dad, why didn't you make me stick with it?  I could have been a contender!  ...lol!

I'm half joking, but also half serious.   As a parent, how much should you push?  I mean we push our kids to study, clean their rooms, and do whatever else is in their best interest.  Where and how do you draw the line with sports, especially if your kid shows some potential?

So far, my daughter has been mostly self motivated, but I have recently noticed a proclivity to change practice plans on a weekend if a better opportunity (movies with friends, sleepover, etc.) comes along.  I know that is to be expected at her age, and I don't interfere.  What I try to do is stress to her that if she signs up for a tournament, it is her responsibility to make sure that she is prepared, and that preparation often involves hard work and sacrifice.

Walking the fine line of pushing enough or not enough is something we all deal with. Something that you just have to rely on your instincts, and make a few mistakes.  Kind of like the game itself.  I worked in a tennis pro shop in college and there were a few state ranked girls that played there.  One was about 12 and her dad would drag her out there and drop her off. Most of the times she would sit in the shop with me keeping an eye out til he entered the parking lot.  She would run to the water fountain and sprinkle water on herself to make it look like she was sweaty.  Figured out from that the motivation has to come from them, with some guidance from us.  Teaching moments come when someone not as good as them suddenly get better because they have worked harder.  The other thing we cannot confuse for hard work is just being out there going thru the motions.  One thing I have seen with my daughter is she does much better having periods with complete focus interspersed with enjoying some of the social aspects of the sport.  truth be told, you can only really focus intently for a short period of times, especially at that age.  And, it still needs to be fun to keep her going.  There is some balancing involved, that at times goes to far one way, but the results and attitude seem to bare out when it gets out of whack and a change needed.

At their age the social thing really starts to be an issue.  So it really helps if they make some friends that they can do things with off the course.  For my daughter it works out that a lot of her practice time is structured times with her golf team, and she knows that because of the financial commitment from me it is a priority for her.  We had an event that really pushed the envelope recently that I was very proud how she handled.  The new hot boy band was doing a free concert locally and we stood in line for 4 hours to get in with several of her friends.  The problem was the concert was to start at 1:00 and she had a tournament tee time at 3:00.  It was supposed to be a short concert so we thought there was plenty of time.  Turned out we did not get in the park until 1:30 the same time we needed to leave to get to the tournament.  She knew up front there was a drop dead time line because of this.  When we had to leave before the concert started she did not fight it at all, even though I know she was very disappointed.  Went on to shoot her best score of the year at the tournament.  So at least now I know she gets it, and can handle the prioritization that can affect other stuff.  Not to say it does not come into play, but can handle it.

#14 dpb5031

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 06:00 AM

View PostBigTexGolfer, on 12 April 2012 - 11:20 PM, said:

View Postdpb5031, on 12 April 2012 - 09:45 PM, said:

View Postteamyonex, on 12 April 2012 - 08:18 PM, said:

I sort of feel like my mission is accomplished, because I know golf is a lifelong deal for my daughter.  What comes next is her deal.


I'm half joking, but also half serious.   As a parent, how much should you push?  I mean we push our kids to study, clean their rooms, and do whatever else is in their best interest.  Where and how do you draw the line with sports, especially if your kid shows some potential?

So far, my daughter has been mostly self motivated, but I have recently noticed a proclivity to change practice plans on a weekend if a better opportunity (movies with friends, sleepover, etc.) comes along.  I know that is to be expected at her age, and I don't interfere.  What I try to do is stress to her that if she signs up for a tournament, it is her responsibility to make sure that she is prepared, and that preparation often involves hard work and sacrifice.

Walking the fine line of pushing enough or not enough is something we all deal with. Something that you just have to rely on your instincts, and make a few mistakes.  Kind of like the game itself.  I worked in a tennis pro shop in college and there were a few state ranked girls that played there.  One was about 12 and her dad would drag her out there and drop her off. Most of the times she would sit in the shop with me keeping an eye out til he entered the parking lot.  She would run to the water fountain and sprinkle water on herself to make it look like she was sweaty.  Figured out from that the motivation has to come from them, with some guidance from us.  Teaching moments come when someone not as good as them suddenly get better because they have worked harder.  The other thing we cannot confuse for hard work is just being out there going thru the motions.  One thing I have seen with my daughter is she does much better having periods with complete focus interspersed with enjoying some of the social aspects of the sport.  truth be told, you can only really focus intently for a short period of times, especially at that age.  And, it still needs to be fun to keep her going.  There is some balancing involved, that at times goes to far one way, but the results and attitude seem to bare out when it gets out of whack and a change needed.

At their age the social thing really starts to be an issue.  So it really helps if they make some friends that they can do things with off the course.  For my daughter it works out that a lot of her practice time is structured times with her golf team, and she knows that because of the financial commitment from me it is a priority for her.  We had an event that really pushed the envelope recently that I was very proud how she handled.  The new hot boy band was doing a free concert locally and we stood in line for 4 hours to get in with several of her friends.  The problem was the concert was to start at 1:00 and she had a tournament tee time at 3:00.  It was supposed to be a short concert so we thought there was plenty of time.  Turned out we did not get in the park until 1:30 the same time we needed to leave to get to the tournament.  She knew up front there was a drop dead time line because of this.  When we had to leave before the concert started she did not fight it at all, even though I know she was very disappointed.  Went on to shoot her best score of the year at the tournament.  So at least now I know she gets it, and can handle the prioritization that can affect other stuff.  Not to say it does not come into play, but can handle it.

Sounds like you've got a real good kid there and also a good golfer.  I have tried to draw parallels for my daughter to some of her friends who play travel soccer or softball.  The commitment for those sports is huge, and she sees it.  Structured practice every day, batting coaches, pitching coaches, clinics, camps in the summer, and travel on the weekends.  She sees some of her friends putting in the time with "their" sports, and I think that has contributed to her willingness to practice.

With regard to practice and how hard to push, I can give some good advice to parents of younger kids, especially girls.  Some days go great with practice when they are first learning the game, and some days things just don't go right.  Whether it is mood, timing is off, lack of concentration, lack of interest, whatever, it is best to just shift gears and move on to something else.  When they are young you don't want golf to be a negative experience.  Positive reinforcement works best.

When she was about 10 and first learning the game, some days we would go out on the course and she just wouldn't have it in terms of being able to strike the ball.  Then of course she would get upset because things weren't going well.  In those cases I would recognize it right away and say, "you know, I think it would be more fun to just go play a putting or chipping game today," or something like that.  We would cut her play on the course short and move on.  In time, they develop determination and learn to persevere and succeed on their own.

Edited by dpb5031, 13 April 2012 - 06:02 AM.


#15 Man In The Miura

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 09:34 AM

We're pretty pragmatic in our house.  Grades come first, then sports.  Fun comes first with sports.  What I really enjoy seeing my daughter learn from sports is the competitive fire.  It was mentioned earlier how seeing a player leapfrog ahead through hard work and dedication can be a great teaching moment, and I totally agree.  Same with school and grades.  

I'm probably quite gung-ho at pushing my daughter at golf by most standards.  But golf completely infuses our daily lives.  Tees clog the dryer vent and a soft spike wrench resides in the kitchen drawer.  But after seeing what it takes (and takes away academically) to play college golf, I've backed off that avenue of motivation.  

So golf is really about making friends and having competitive fun.  I'm not worried in any way that she'll regret not being pushed harder in that respect.  She played in a 54 hole tournament two weeks ago where the weather was 39 degrees and pouring, and had a great time.  Adults would have abandoned the rounds in fury that the tourney wasn't cancelled, but the 120 participants gutted it out seemingly oblivious to the conditions.  That's my latest yardstick: if she wants to compete like that, there is no way I can push her harder.

--edit-- pushing without pressure is the art.

Edited by teamyonex, 13 April 2012 - 09:48 AM.


#16 dpb5031

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 07:06 PM

I think you nailed it with your edit, and I think it applies to much more than golf.  It is one of the great balancing acts we strive to achieve as parents; motivating our children to realize their fullest potential without crushing them under the pressure to achieve it.  And you are correct, seeing your kid get fired up with competitive spirit is very rewarding, especially when you know they have the ability to capitalize on it.

Tomorrow will be the first tournament of the season for my daughter.  She is the youngest girl in a field of 20, so it will be a challenge.  She is pumped up about it though, and so am I.

#17 Mr22putt

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 08:53 PM

Hi all:
There is a simple sol'n.


For those who have Korean friends.....just send your daughters to live with them for the next 5 yrs and there will likely be a 99% chance your daughter qualify for the LPGA in 2018.

I wish all your daughters much success whichever route she takes and hope to see them on the LPGA in the future.

#18 Sean2

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 09:27 PM

I have a friend whose daughter recently turned 14. She's a bit of an anomaly. Last year for example she won around 11 tournaments, including two national ones (she's been winning tournaments since she was eight). She's used to playing with girls much older than she is. She averages around 240 - 250 off the tee, though I've seen her hit 270 on occasion, though she's quite small. Her irons have his little tiny dime sized mark on the sweet spot. I've seen her hit shots in tournaments that are jaw dropping.

Her father is her only instructor, she loves to practice and play. And, he isn't one of "those" parents, if you know what I mean. She has qualified for a lot of big tournaments, but since they don't have a lot of money for travel expenses she hasn't participated in many of those, which is why she is a bit under the radar. Regionally though she has been called "THE force to be reckoned with in women's golf" in a recent magazine article.

She can shoot in the low 70's from 6400 yards with no problem and if her putter is working she can break 70.  

She has made a lot of friends in her tournament play and enjoys seeing her friends again when she competes.

She plays in a lot of regional events, and a few national ones each year.

I'm surprised NJ doesn't have a less expensive alternative for juniors. I know it can get expensive. As Bobby Jones said there's golf and there's tournament golf. The more tournaments your daughter can play in the better. She'll also see the same girls over and over again and form long lasting relationships. They can also serve to motivate one another, and if they live close to one another they can get together on occasion.  

Good luck! :-)
Hey...be nice.

#19 dpb5031

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 07:34 PM

Well, we just got home from the IJGT Battle at Bulle Rock in Havre de Grace, MD.  Still cannot believe, it but my kid won the tournament in a sudden death playoff!  She was the youngest in the field of 20, and they played from about 6000 yards.  I really cannot believe that she actually won.  The course is an extremely challenging Pete Dye design and the greens were rock hard and very fast.  She hit 13 GIRs in rd.#1 and shot 85 (with several disaster holes).  She shot 80 in rd. #2 with 10 GIRs and a birdie on the tough 18th.  Bulle Rock used to host the LPGA Championship and had such notable winners as Se Ri Pak, Annika, Suzanne Petterson and Yani.  I'm telling you, there is no place to miss it on that golf course!

We know that the IJGT is typically not at the same level of competition as AJGA, but for a 7th grader, we are damn proud.  Twenty players is a respectable field also.  There were 2 college coaches out there scouting some of the older girls in the field, and she beat them all!  She is elated and I think this experience has shown her that her practice is paying off.  I also expect a huge motivation boost from this.

Funny...I had no idea when I started this thread.  I wasn't even sure about entering her because I thought it might be over her head.

#20 rafal

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 07:37 PM

That sounds great and should provide you with all the motivation you need to keep supporting your daughter's development as a golfer.

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#21 Sean2

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 08:06 PM

Congratulations! That's great! Good for her...and you for entering her into the tournament.

Pete Dye never designs an easy course. It's like he wants to punish golfers. :-)
Hey...be nice.

#22 Man In The Miura

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 09:44 PM

Wow!  She's on her way.

#23 Musky

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 12:21 AM

What a great thread.  Congrats to the OP's daughter.  How exciting.  My daughter will be 15 at the end of May.  She'll be playing her first MAJGT event just outside Chicago in two weeks, and another the second week of May in Galena, IL at Eagle Ridge.  She has been playing in one day WI State PGA junior events for the last two years..  She played her freshman high school season last fall and had a nice year, even with a wrist recovering from a cyst removal in 1/2011.  First team all conference, honorable mention all state (WI), all area, Milwaukee metro area player of the week.  This year she is hitting the ball much farther with a much better swing after two seasons of playing with pain, first with the cyst, then struggling with the recovery.

She has a swing coach, a long time, well known junior instructor here in WI.  One comment that stood out in one post was the fact the poster's daughter has no girls with whom to play golf.  Prior to high school, golf for our daughter was a bit of a lonely business, though she did make friends in the junior program at our club, and in the State PGA events, she really flourished in the high school team environment.   Even though she finished her freshman season as the best player on a fairly strong team, the upperclassgirls embraced her and treated her well right from the start.  Especially a tiny senior with no where near my daughter's skills.  Her mother and I feel so fortunate that took place.  This was a result of fine girls and their equally fine parents, as well as excellent coaching by the head coach.

I have very few posts on this site, and am quite glad to see this thread.  I think I have a lot to add, and learn, as a parent of a junior girl golfer.  I hope this thread stays alive.  Right now it's past my Cheeseland bedtime, but I'll be checking back and contributing regularly.

#24 dpb5031

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 01:06 PM

Now that I have a minute I just wanted to provide a brief review of our International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) experience.  It is my understanding that the IJGT is generally considered a "notch down" in terms of level of competition from the AJGA.  Many players use the IJGT to get status (performance based entry) toward an exemption into an AJGA tournament.  This is especially true for the boys, where there are so many players, and it is very hard to get into the AJGA events.  It is not nearly as difficult for a good junior girl player to get into events, as there are so many fewer players.

We chose to participate in this IJGT event because it was an "available" weekend for us, the venue was only 95 miles from home, it was held at a great course, and there were plenty of girls signed up to play.  The cost was $315 after paying $100 to join the "tour."  That may seem expensive, and I suppose it is, but I found it to be a pretty good value nonetheless.  The venue was Bulle Rock Golf Club, a high end daily fee Pete Dye designed course that used to host the LPGA championship.  Rates if you were to show up to play are $130.

Beyond the golf itself, everything about the tournament was very well executed.  The young men and women working the event were very professional and friendly.  The web site is terrific and provides you with all sorts of information and even player stats.  Scores were posted on the website (and email alerts generated) almost immediately following completion of play.  One meal was included for the competitor as were unlimited range balls and use of a short game practice facility.  Each competitor also got a handful of tee gifts including a towel, tee-shirt, dozen premium golf balls, and some other knick knacks.

In the end, I highly recommend the IJGT.  They play at some great venues, and there are events to choose from each weekend in different areas of the country.  It could definitely get expensive fast if you were to follow the tour, play in a lot of events, and have to incur related travel expenses.  I think I am going to sign my daughter up for another event that is relatively close to our home in mid May if we can work it out.  

I anticipate that this win is going to prove to be very significant in my daughter's development as a player.  Winning really validates that the practice is paying off.  It also is a nice deposit into the confidence bank that can be drawn upon in future tournaments!



#25 Musky

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 05:47 PM

We've found junior tournaments to be well run in general, and just a blast to attend.  I know parents from all over WI, and most are friendly and treat their girls, and boys, well.  The MAJGT events are similar to the IJGT events.  They provide the participants with national ranking stats and help players to qualify for AJGA events.  We're looking forward to my daughter's first in two weeks.  They are much pricier than the State PGA junior tournaments in WI.  But they are one day events played at shorter yardages.  Last year my daughter played a one day tournament on The Irish Course at Whistling Straits, and I think the fee was less than $50.  By joining the MAJGT and entering two events to this point, we have spent as much or more than we did to play a State PGA event once a week all last summer.

But it has to be done.

Great job by your daughter.  When I look at the scores from last year's tournament, I'm thinking my daughter can maybe make a run at winning or at least a high finish in two weeks.  Of course as it will be only her third two day tournament at this yardage, you never know.


#26 dpb5031

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 07:58 PM

We have really enjoyed all of the tournaments my daughter has played in over the years also.  It is especially important for us, since the tournaments are the only place she really gets to meet and spend any time with other girls who actually play and love golf.  We did the US Kids World Championships in Pinehurst 2 years in a row and she still keeps in touch with some of the girls she met there.  

Wow, what a great deal for her to play at one of the Whistling Straits courses!  I suspect the golf industry understands that they need to attract youngsters to the game for their own sustainability.  

Best of luck to your daughter in her upcoming events and please keep us posted.  You never know with kids when something is just going to "click."   Our next event is a one day Optimist International District Qualifier on April 28th.  She'll be busy with lacrosse between now and then, so finding practice time will not be easy.

Edited by dpb5031, 16 April 2012 - 07:58 PM.


#27 Musky

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 08:10 PM

Thanks for your comments.  She was lucky enough to play the Irish Course in junior events two times last season, and will again this year.  The WI State High School Golf Coaches Association puts on what they call The College Showcase at The Irish Course.  Last year was the inaugural event.  They have skills, tests, TaylorMade provided tents, launch monitors, and video equipment to record swings, and there was an 18 hole tournament following those.  40 college coaches attended, and they did round table discussions about recruiting.  There were only a couple D1 coaches, most were D2, D3, and NAIA.  It was quite the experience, and the course was set up in a manner that destroyed a lot of kids.  Some tears were shed.  

Last year's event became bogged down, so this year they are doing it over two days with the taping and skills stuff on day one, and the tournament on day two.  They have increased the field to over 100 kids and are expecting more college coaches.  It's very exciting for the kids.  The coaches are provided with books with all the kids profiles, and they cruise the course and watch the kids play.  It's pretty nerve wracking to be standing off the side of a green watching your daughter hit her approach while four or five coaches are standing there discussing the kids as they hit in.

And good luck to your daughter on the 28th.  We'll be teeing it up the same day.

Edited by Musky, 16 April 2012 - 08:11 PM.


#28 golfnut-2X

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 08:38 PM

Great thread.  Hope it continues.<br><br>I also have a pre-junior daugther.  Though young it's her second year playing competitively.  I have been working with her for many years since she was little but they say the journey is just beginning.<br><br>


This weekend she shot one over for 9 and next day two over for 9. She is 7 playing from 1500 yards for par36 or 3000 for par 72 18. <br><br>USKids has some good multi day competitions in what they call their "regional" tournaments.  Locals everyone goes with all skills.  If you are in florida, californina, or another year round warm climate state the locals may be competitve.  I am in the North East and not very competitive.  Regionals are very competitive.  The big one is the World Championship in early August at Pinehurst - literally the top 50 kids for a given age bracket from all around the world.  From what I seen its the single most world wide event that is multi day and very competitive - 3 day rounds.<br><br

>I am very interested in other competitive tours or statewide competitiions.  Unfortunately the local section waits until 10-12.<br><br>Wish you all the best on the journey.  <br><br>Looking forward to both learning from this thread and sharing what I have learned.



Kind Regards,

#29 Sean2

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 09:46 PM

My friend's daughter won this weekend. She shot a 68/71. This is the third event she's won this year.
Hey...be nice.

#30 BigTexGolfer

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 09:47 PM

View Postdpb5031, on 15 April 2012 - 07:34 PM, said:

Well, we just got home from the IJGT Battle at Bulle Rock in Havre de Grace, MD.  Still cannot believe, it but my kid won the tournament in a sudden death playoff!  She was the youngest in the field of 20, and they played from about 6000 yards.  I really cannot believe that she actually won.  The course is an extremely challenging Pete Dye design and the greens were rock hard and very fast.  She hit 13 GIRs in rd.#1 and shot 85 (with several disaster holes).  She shot 80 in rd. #2 with 10 GIRs and a birdie on the tough 18th.  Bulle Rock used to host the LPGA Championship and had such notable winners as Se Ri Pak, Annika, Suzanne Petterson and Yani.  I'm telling you, there is no place to miss it on that golf course!

We know that the IJGT is typically not at the same level of competition as AJGA, but for a 7th grader, we are damn proud.  Twenty players is a respectable field also.  There were 2 college coaches out there scouting some of the older girls in the field, and she beat them all!  She is elated and I think this experience has shown her that her practice is paying off.  I also expect a huge motivation boost from this.

Funny...I had no idea when I started this thread.  I wasn't even sure about entering her because I thought it might be over her head.

That's awesome!  Congrats to her!

My daughter had a little breakthrough on a much smaller scale.  Made her first eagle, and broke 40 with a 3 over 38 for the first time.  It was a Team tournament that she was supposed to have a partner playing best ball, but her playing partner had to cancel.  Still only finished 3 shots off the lead in her age group and one of the 5 best scores out of 22 teams in all the age groups.  Course was setup very short, almost half her normal yardage, but the wind gust were up to 40 mph.  Learned a few things about course management in tough conditions, and  hit every fairway.


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