Golf’s Youth Movement
CBGC Junior Tour Dates: (June 24, July 22, Aug. 19, Sept. 16, & Oct. 14) (Shotgun Starts @ 3pm)
Did everyone watch the final round at Augusta last weekend? What a great event it was. Jordan Spieth almost pulled off the unthinkable. Rickie Fowler played exceptional golf and Patrick Reed made clutch putt after clutch putt to seal the deal as Masters Champion. It was a great event and good for the game of golf. Tiger Woods did not win, but I think he showed a lot of promise as we move toward the future. However, it sure won’t be an easy task if he plans to win another major championship.
The reason I say that is because the game is being swallowed up by a tremendous youth movement. Did anyone else hear the same stat I did on Sunday? Henrik Stenson was the only man in his 40’s in the final 9 pairings! The leaderboard was dominated by 20 and 30 somethings. Most of which were 20 somethings. There is no denying that the young guns are playing the game at its highest level right now.
I feel like golfers have finally shaken the stigma of “golfers are not athletes,” and it is now becoming more appealing to younger players, but the question remains, where do young aspirational golfers start? If you want some more detailed answers to this, check out my two articles called “Getting Your Junior Started in Golf.”
I am passionate that both Camps and Junior Coaching are each great areas to start a junior into golf instruction. Golf needs to be FUN! You can’t simply line up the kids in single file and have them smash balls at the driving range. Instruction needs to be done in the form of games. I also believe that playing the actual game is vital for sustained growth. That is why we developed our “Hat System” and “Junior Tour” at CBGC.
We created the hat system to give both our juniors and their parents a clear path to improvement like in martial arts. As each junior reaches different milestones, they receive either a gold star or new hat color. The hat system is based on having our juniors focus on the parts of the game they can master at their age & strength level. All players start at a White Hat level which is based on scoring from 100 yards and in from the hole. This is the most critical part of the game and what juniors can master and play to at a level far beyond their age and strength level. They are unable to hit the ball 250 yards physically, but they can play to the equivalent level in their chipping and putting. If we want our juniors to love the game, they have to be able to see improvement, have success, and be on a path to mastery.
For a junior to advance in our hat system, he or she has to play in our Junior Tour where they play 9 holes with their teammates on a Sunday afternoon with a parent or grandparent caddying. This gives them the opportunity to compete which unfortunately in the past was not an option for beginning golfers. Unlike other sports where you play matches, games, or scrimmages right away (baseball, football etc.), golf has been set up that you only play tournaments when you are a “good golfer.” Well, how are you meant to get good if you can’t play tournaments? This is why we created a junior tour where our players can learn how to play the game with their friends and very little pressure on a course they can succeed with lots of fun and prizes.
Crazy Right? Learn the game by playing the game with your friends. If you listen to the best young players in the world, you’ll hear how they were driven to success by one another. Jordan Spieth played alongside Justin Thomas and they pushed each other. Last weekend they once again played together, only this time it was on golf’s biggest stage. Picture a young Jordan and Justin going through the Hat System. If Jordan graduated from a White Hat to a Yellow Hat, you can bet Justin would be doing everything in his power to earn that Yellow Hat. The kids compete against each other, and we as coaches need to sprinkle in and educate them on the core values. That is what Jordan and Justin grew up learning, and that is how we make champions both in golf and in life.