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The Best Events to Get Noticed by College Coaches

Stand Out from the Crowd

It is a great time to be a junior golfer with a dream of playing in the college ranks. Scholarship opportunities have increased significantly over the last decade as more schools sponsor varsity level golf teams. This is a very good thing, but the competition for those spots has become tougher too. Getting noticed by college coaches is much like a tournament, so aspiring junior golfers must use the same kind of discipline and skill that helps them do well on the course to succeed.

One of the most important factors in making an impression is playing in quality tournaments to demonstrate your abilities both on and off the field. Fortunately, the number of tournaments for juniors has grown over this time period as well. This provides many more opportunities for young golfers to find the best mix of competitions to enable them to stand out from the crowd.

IJGA Top Finishers

What Are the Best Events to Play?

Success in elite junior golf tournaments will help capture the attention of college coaches, but all tournaments matter to those evaluating your potential. Build your competitive golf resume wisely – and steadily. Choose events in which you can perform well and seek to step up your competitive level only when you are ready. It is inevitable that you will have a poor first round score somewhere and feel like you should withdraw from the tournament. Resist this urge because many college golf coaches look for juniors who try to manage their rankings this way and frown on the practice. Make the best of the situation and post the best possible score you can. Coaches will be impressed by a player who demonstrates they can handle adversity and bounce back after a bad round.

Things to Look for when Choosing Tournaments to Play

An established tour that chooses collegiate or professional tour venues for their tournaments. A well run organization will also actively pursue and coordinate having coaches attend events. They will also be good at making information about players in the field easily available.

Quality of course and difficulty. The course should be set up like a collegiate event and pin placements should be like those in a collegiate competition. Boys 15-19 division should play 6,800-7,100 yards when possible and girls 15-19 should play around 6,100.

Quality of players in the field. This is perhaps the strongest indicator of the tournament’s quality. But, more than that, high level competition will bring out your best and help you grow and improve as a golfer. Coaches will also take note when you shine amongst other bright lights. They know better than anyone else that quality of performance is more than just the number you write on your card.

Highly ranked players may also want to participate in amateur or professional qualifiers to further demonstrate their abilities to college coaches. Events of this kind would include the U.S. Amateur Qualifier, the U.S. Open Local Qualifier and state amateur championships.

Know What Coaches Will Be There

Most college coaches will spend a full month every season on the road recruiting. In this time they will usually attend 10 to 12 junior tournaments as they are the ideal platform to evaluate young talent. Keep in mind, though, that coaches are at an event to look over current prospects, not necessarily find unknown players. Just hoping to be noticed randomly probably is not the best strategy. If you are thinking in terms of college recruitment, you should already have a proper golf resume and information kit assembled. Once you have this, do your homework and decide which schools you think fit well and will have available spots on the team. From there, find out which events these coaches will attend so that you can make the most of your showcase tournament performances. If you have not already made contact with a particular coach, send your resume and an informative but to-the-point letter expressing your interest and to let them know you will be competing at the event they will be attending. A thoughtful and well done presentation and letter of introduction will impress a coach; hopefully enough for them to take an interest in you.

Know What Coaches Will Be Looking For

Experienced coaches can evaluate your golf game in ten minutes. But success in competitive golf requires more than just a sweet swing. Coaches will be looking to determine both the quality of your athleticism and the quality of your character. As a coach follows prospects around the course he or she will evaluate how they present themselves, how they deal with distractions, how they react to bad breaks and how they interact with other players. A young athlete who shows resiliency when things become difficult and shows discipline and maturity will distinguish themselves in a very positive way. With this in mind, be sure to behave in a professional manner and always be courteous to everyone you encounter. Relax, play your best game and stay steady. Most importantly, be yourself and enjoy the experience.

At IJGA, we have many years of experience helping junior golfers navigate the difficult and competitive process of college recruitment. Whether you are thinking about signing your junior up for his or her first golf tournament or your child is already active on the circuit, know that tournaments provide experience and lasting memories. You can learn more about the benefits of juniors competing in tournaments, as well as tips on how to improve junior golf training by contacting the International Junior Golf Academy today at (843) 686-1500.

You may also request more information by clicking here. »

Why FUN Will Get You to College and Beyond

Why Fun? Why not scores or some type of performance based assessment? Why not beating your competition to a pulp? Why not mastering technical prowess and increasing your sport specific IQ? While some may call it ludacris, a major factor in deciding whether an activity will be sustained is the enjoyment of that activity. This takes many forms within different skill levels, but is uniform across sport and performance.

The cliche saying of “if you give a person a fish” (vs.) “if you teach a person to fish” is one that compares the idea of giving someone what they want versus teaching them to be able to earn what they would like. The real skill is being able to teach someone to be self-reliant, as this creates a sense of confidence, higher self-esteem, it mitigates helplessness, and helps create a growth mindset.

Let’s take, for example, a high school golfer with average scores and a goal to improve to play college golf. If this golfer is exclusively trained with on-range drills, then the transfer of that skill into competitive settings will be more challenged and less consistent. While the technique is a key to consistency, too much understanding can create friction points. Try thinking about it like this, in professional car racing there are mechanics and drivers. The mechanics are mainly responsible for tuning and building the car while the driver is mainly responsible for testing and pushing the performance of the car to its potential. They must both operate with communication and applied testing to prime themselves for each competition. In the case of our high school golfer, too much of a focus on technique without the understanding and confidence in how to perform with what they have can create frustration and be discouraging.

In life we refer to the ability of embracing challenge and adversity as resilience; The same stands true in golf. At IJGA, while we do spend time on the range crafting the swing, we also use applied exercises to help transfer those skills into on-course and applied competitive settings. However, what we have been able to understand in our time developing golfers, more clearly than anything else, is the process of incorporating FUN into training. In training, we create opportunities to learn how to enjoy the process of being challenged, which in turn serves to develop life skills, which transfer into the future of each student we work with.

While there are a bounty of ways to develop this into training, two suggestions we have are to focus on creativity and embrace challenge. When working to transfer skills from the range to the course, we will set up challenges that allow students to rapidly apply their skill but also activate their creativity.

One example of creativity would be to set up three stations, one where you are attempting to hit a bottle off of an alignment stick 10pts for a hit, one where you have to use one club and hit a set number of different shots (we recommend 7) to a target 2pts for each successful shot, and another where the task is to hit a specific target (30-50 yards) with the least number of shots possible (subtract number of shots taken from your total points). Once you have your score, students can then take a break before going through the cycle again and see if they can improve it.

In focusing on embracing challenge, we will have students play in competitive formats and where they are unable to complete a task we will make it a bit more difficult. Take, for instance, a player who continually will leave putts short, we will have that player play a match where each time they leave a putt short they will have to pull that putt back one club length from where it stops before they can take their next stroke. This element of creating conditions in training that are tougher than in competition allows students to enjoy competition more and become more comfortable in competitive environments.

These are just a few ideas of many, feel free to reach out and share your best ideas or ask us more about our training.

-Skylar Jewell,

IJGA Mental Conditioning Coach

IJGA Staff Profile: Jonathan Yarwood

side from the renovations we are making to the facilities here at Old Carolina, we are also making some changes to build a world class staff to provide the best possible experience for our students. We would like to introduce our new Director of Golf, Jonathan Yarwood. Jonathan brings years of experience building champions at every level in golf, from juniors to the elite level on the PGA Tour. We are excited to be able to offer than knowledge to our students and can’t wait to see the progress they make this year. Below are some fun facts to get to know Jonathan a little better.

Name: Jonathan Yarwood

Position: Director of Golf

Describe your role at IJGA? Responsible for the quality of the product and development of the students

What’s your favorite part about your job? I love the daily challenge of the organizational moving parts. I also love to see my team of coaches making a difference in young lives

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received? Get good and they will come along with a winner never quits and a quitter never wins

Favorite sport besides golf? I love all sports, anything that has a winner and a loser I will watch

What is your favorite home-cooked meal? Traditional British roast dinner with all the trimmings

What is always stocked in your refrigerator? Water! We sweat a lot!

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Hilton head where I am now, It is just a magical place to live.

Is there anything you are addicted to? Or can’t live without? Golf

What movie do you watch again and again? Gladiator

Where is your favorite place to travel and why? The UK as I get to see my kids there

What’s three things we don’t know about you? 1. I love things with an engine 2. Nobody in my family plays golf 3. I love nature

Favorite quote? Roosevelt. “ The Credit belongs to the man in the arena….not the cold and timid souls that know neither victory nor defeat’

Advice for Golf Parents

It is not easy being a ‘golf parent’ or a parent of a young athlete involved in any sport for that matter. I have seen many anxious parents biting their nails and looking on in horror when things are not going how they envisioned. Conversely, I have seen and experienced the utter joy and fulfillment that achievement in sport can bring to a parent and child.

Firstly, you must understand that this is a long journey. It takes many hours, days and years to become a competent golfer with sacrifices both mentally and financially along the way. There are good times as well as bad times. Golf is a fickle game to play and even more so to watch. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it sometimes!

It is easy to stand on the side lines and ask ‘why did they do that?!”. Believe me, they are often not trying to do that! Golf is a difficult game to play and a tough one to watch.

I believe that the sport should be used as a vehicle to create a lasting bond together. No matter what the outcome, that bond should never be broken or damaged. A game of golf is much less important than family love. The best players I know, all had a deep and unconditional love from their family which was not based on their scores.

Obviously, we all want every player to win every event they enter and to play to all of our expectations. The reality is that it will not always happen. Golf, and sport in general, is a teacher of how to deal with adversity and to create grit and resilience. These lessons can be taken far beyond the golf course and into life.

A parents’ job is to create the opportunities that allow the child to have their best shot at being their best. Their job is also to support and love them unconditionally.

From a practical perspective, I like the parents of our students at IJGA to be as involved as they would like to be in the development of their child. We often team up with and educate the parents who are heavily involved and make sure we are all on the same page and preaching the same message. We are very transparent in what we do and derive our changes and improvements from facts. These facts can then be shared with all in the team to ensure continuity for the child. Some parents do not want to get involved in the golf side, which is fine also.

I sat and though about my top twenty tips for golf parents. I have listed them below and hope they go some way to showing the joy, frustration and love that goes with being a golf parent!

20 Tips for Golf Parents:

  1. Provide unconditional love to your children
  2. Provide unconditional love to your children
  3. Don’t let score-outcome define them
  4. Don’t let them link their self-worth and self-esteem to their score
  5. Develop the whole person not just the golfer
  6. Don’t specialize too early
  7. Enjoy the bond that sport brings to a parent and child
  8. Let them be children!
  9. Understand it’s a simple game to watch and incredibly tough to play!
  10. Provide unconditional love to your children
  11. Understand it’s a journey. The best player at 14 is not usually the best at 17
  12. Look at developing skills and outcomes take care of themselves
  13. Look at developing mastery of skills
  14. Put emphasis on academic development
  15. Put emphasis on social development
  16. Understand that 1 in 1,000,000 makes it. Pros on TV are the 1% of the 1%
  17. Golf teaches great life lessons for business, school and sociability
  18. If you put too much pressure on them when you watch or if it’s too stressful to watch, don’t watch! Drop them off and let them just play
  19. Keep expectations low and simple
  20. Provide unconditional love

Lastly, form a team with their coach. Everyone should be without ego or agenda and on the same page for the good of the player and the person

Jonathan Yarwood – IJGA Director of Golf

IJGA 2017 Fall Semester Success

As we move into the holiday season, we pause to celebrate the end of another great year. This is indeed the perfect time for us to reflect on the successful fall semester at IJGA. As we make our lists – and check them twice – we realize the changes have been vast as they have been profound. Structurally, our Old Carolina facilities are nearing completion. The buzz of saws continues to hum even now as we write this from our new IJGA offices. Soon enough the construction crews with their hammers and nails will be replaced by students in the new IJGA Tour Performance Center with golf clubs and balls – all eager to become better every day. Athletically, our energetic and committed Golf Coaching Team has revitalized the training development program. Personally, our passionate and dedicated Student Life Team is putting the final touches on a character, leadership and engagement program. Indeed, our nice list is quite long this year.

Welcoming Director of Golf Jonathan Yarwood, and his years of professional and junior golf experience, was the most significant change for students starting the semester. Jonathan added new coaches to the existing team to enhance the golf program, incorporating fact-based fundamentals with the latest technology to give our students the best available knowledge to help them improve their game. The new, comprehensive program goes much deeper than standard training. The results the students saw and the pace at which they improved made the hard work all worthwhile to them.

The hard work has clearly paid off with the following tournament wins as proof:

  • Florida Junior at Falcons Fire won by Luis Martinez.
  • Faldo Series South Carolina Championship at Parris Island won by Fabienne Van Kleef
  • Central Florida Classic at Lake Buena Vista won by Chase Phillips
  • Island Open at Dolphin Head Golf Club won by Kotaro Murata

To go along with these wins, IJGA students also finished the semester with eight 2nd place finishes and nine 3rd place finishes.

Paired with the new program, we have been making some tremendous structural improvements around the campus starting with a complete renovation of the old barn. The Bluffton Barn started its life as an equine facility, before changing into a golf pro shop for the old Traditions golf course. Projected to be completed in the first quarter of 2018, this beautiful former barn will once again transform into the IJGA Tour Performance Center, our state-of-the-art indoor training facility. The “revitalization” started with the old pro shop being converted into the new office space, but the more important aspect of the renovation has been taking place in the back half starting with a indoor putting/chipping green the size of the 18th green at Harbour Town Golf Links. Along with the green, we have installed individual hitting bays, taking advantage of the new Power Tee system; these tee’s automatically feed up to 60 golf balls per minute, enabling students to really focus on locking in new swing changes. Potentially the most important enhancement will be the 600-square foot IJGA Tour Performance Studio that will house the Swing Catalyst force plate system, making us one of the only indoor facilities to have this system available for junior golfers. At our home course, Pinecrest, the renovations continue. We are remodeling the practice facility at the course to accommodate the extensive new golf program; expanding the hitting area on the driving range, as well as adding new bunkers and an improved putting green will give our students a wider array of training situations, and therefore the upper hand going into tournaments.

While a robust golf program and supportive facilities are paramount to success in the game, IJGA takes pride in our focus on the development of the individual as well, understanding that positive character traits are important in life and in the game of golf. With this focus, fall semester saw the introduction of the Captain Program, inspiring student leaders within their peer groups to create positive change at the Academy. In addition, our Student Life and Mental Performance programs work in tandem to host character-building events, such as “Waves”, to encourage students to think about their strengths and how those strengths can be utilized both personally and on the golf course. In the spring semester, IJGA students will begin a leadership development program called Habitudes. Used within many university athletic programs, Habitudes will challenge students to develop leadership skills – preparing them to be as sound in character as they are in golf ability.

As we look toward a new year and semester, we look forward to welcoming our students back. We are committed to building on the foundations laid over the course of the school year’s first five months and will continue to strive for excellence in golf, in academics and in life.

2018 Assessments and Blueprinting

Assessments and Blueprinting

It is so exciting to enter the new semester here at IJGA. As you may know, our individual coaching program is guided by gathering facts on each player and creating a fact-based road map of improvement. At the start of the first semester we conducted a week long Assessments and Blueprinting study. We have done the same thing at the start of this semester to measure improvement and to provide the current location on the developmental map of each student.

During the Assessment process, the students go through a series of tests using the science and art side of the game. The science side includes TrackMan, 3D, BODITRAK, SAM PuttLab, and video. From this technology we can make an informed choice rather than an opinionated guess as to what the player needs to do. It also has the advantage of allowing us to measure progress. We measure the art side, although this data is less quantitative and more qualitative. We test putting skills, pre-shot routines, shaping shots, different lies, mental awareness as well as hold a two-day tournament. Along with a robust physical screening in the gym, we have a comprehensive approach which encompasses all the skills and disciplines in this complicated game.

Student Assessment Day Video

Students worked tirelessly to have renowned IJGA coaches observe their swing style, mobility, strength and overall golf abilities. This day is essential for coaches to determine where each student’s strengths and weaknesses lie. This data is then collected for the Blueprinting process.

Student Blueprinting Video

The road map we create is called a Blueprint. It is delivered in a round table format by the coaching staff and specialists involved during the testing. Each student has a consultation slot and listens to the evidence as well as the solutions to what they do. It is as enlightening for the students as it is for the coaches, and creates team collaboration which is what makes IJGA so special.

Following the Blueprinting Day, we begin to implement individual Blueprinting plans. We are currently undertaking two weeks of technical training. This where we make the changes and adjustments to gain a more reliable technique that can work under pressure. What follows is a period known as blending, in which we trust the new mechanics and start to use them.

It has been a well planned and well received process so far and we look forward to the continued improvement of our students.

Jonathan Yarwood, Director of Golf

Try This to Improve Your Golf Game

The Best Way to Improve your Golf Game

Retention and Transfer

Over the last 30 years technological improvements within the game of golf have been amazing. We now have golf balls that fly further and straighter with less spin. We have a better physiological understanding of how the golf swing works through 3D analysis. Ground pressure plates such as Swing Catalyst, TrackMan and other launch monitors all play their part in understanding what happens within the swing and the effects the swing has on the golf ball. Combine this with improved aerodynamics of golf balls and the sheer number of options you can choose from to improve is incredible. Matching your swing speed and spin rates gathered from a launch monitor data enables you to choose the most suitable ball.

Over the same 30-year period, the average handicap within the game has hardly improved however. People still quit the game due to its complexity and difficulty, finding that the hours and hours spent on hitting thousands of balls is worthless. For years people have sought new technology that will make everything easy and cause the ball to fly high and straight, and for a brief period their golf game may look a little better, but it then plateaus, and performance falls again. To understand how to improve, you must understand how our brain works and more importantly how our brain retains information and how we can best transfer our skills from the range to the golf course.

We need look at how we practice. Most people have heard of the terms Block Practice and Random Practice. These are both great ways to help improvement, though to gain the most from these you must be very specific in what you are trying to do. Achieving improvement that lasts over a longer time requires a high level of concentration and a task where your performance can be measured and learned from. Learning and being reflective on what you are trying to do is crucial in retaining the information. Your brain will better absorb the information if you consciously reflect on the process. This is a skill that all Tour players are good at as they are searching for information and reasoning behind why they hit a shot.

If, like most people, you find yourself getting frustrated and negatively critical of what you are doing, this will decrease your level of performance. Instead of becoming overly frustrated, accept the situation and challenge yourself to react in a way that will allow you to improve your game. Challenge yourself to accept the shot you have played and gain knowledge from that shot.

In short, be open-minded to mistakes, accept those mistakes and learn from them.

Here is a putting example to put this into practice:

When struggling with distance control in putting, a drill that is both challenging and requires high levels of concentration is a ladder drill. Within this drill there must be a goal that is both challenging and achievable. Depending on your skill level, start with fewer balls and gradually increase the amount of balls.

Start with 5 balls and begin at the 1st orange cone. The challenge is to get all 5 balls within the space between the single white cone and the line of 4 cones.

Each ball must be shorter in distance than the previous ball. Once all the balls lie between the single white cone and line of 4 white cones, you can then increase the amount of balls to make it more challenging.

For each putt you must change your location.

1st Putt = 1st orange cone

2nd Putt = 2nd orange cone

3rd Putt = 3rd orange cone

4th Putt = 1st orange cone

Etc.

If the ball goes longer than the previous ball, start all over again.

This is one of many ways that will help with your performance on the golf course. In the end, it takes patience and perseverance.

Dan Jackson, IJGA Golf Coach