Golf Legend Nick Faldo Hosts International Junior Golf Academy Annual Clinic

IJGA Director of Golf Jonathan Yarwood introduced golf legend Sir Nick Faldo to the student body today as he hosted a special golf clinic on the campus of the International Junior Golf Academy (IJGA) in Bluffton, South Carolina

Enthusiastic IJGA students gathered around as Faldo shared bits of his considerable experience on a variety of topics, including technical tips, strategy on the course, physical conditioning and his vaunted mental approach to success. Faldo gave a variety of demonstrations showing his near flawless shot control and described at length the many nuances of skilled ball striking.

Faldo fielded questions from IJGA students ranging from how to deal with striking a ball partially submerged in a water hazard to who his dream foursome would include. To this he answered Ben Hogan, Sam Snead and Lee Trevino. He also conversed at length with the students about yesterday’s finish at the Master’s tournament, his favorite moments from Augusta and his other Major Championship victories. Establishing a theme throughout his presentation, Faldo left the students with a powerful message. “Relax. Be yourself. Have fun and experiment. That’s how you learn.”

Click Here to View a Photo Gallery of the Event on Facebook >>

About Sir Nick Faldo

A former World Number 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking for a total of 98 weeks and winner of six Major Championships with more than 40 tournament victories in total, Faldo is regarded as the most successful golfer Britain has ever produced.

Nick Faldo received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in November of 2009 for his lifetime contribution to the game of golf. Sir Nick is the only living British golfer to receive such an honor.

About IJGA

International Junior Golf Academy
The International Junior Golf Academy (IJGA) was founded in 1995 and is located in Hilton Head, South Carolina. IJGA is the home of elite juniors from around the world looking to earn a college golf scholarship in the United States. Since 1995, IJGA has achieved nearly 100% college placement and graduates have earned over $51 million in college golf scholarships. Emphasizing both intensive training and scholastic achievement through the nationally accredited Heritage Academy, IJGA’s diverse student body represents 28 countries as athletes and scholars.


IJGA to Professional Golf: A Road Map

Dreams do Come True

But it takes a lot of work. A lot of work. The quest to play golf at the professional level is one that requires a lifetime of commitment, dedication and sacrifice that few can muster. It is a journey that is more complicated than it seems on the surface, and some simple insights into the process can serve as a valuable road map that may help outline the best route to a successful career. For most junior golfers, the best way to that goal is a measured, thoughtful approach that enables steady growth into full potential.

Junior Golf: Academies Pave the Way

Whether your junior golfer has been playing for many years or is relatively new to the game, attending an elite golf boarding school will dramatically increase both the chance of playing college golf and the quality of schools available. For those who pass through the halls of the International Junior Golf Academy (IJGA), the dream of a professional career becomes more real, and the road somewhat easier. Nearly all of our students receive scholarships to the top collegiate golf programs in the United States.

IJGA functions much like a college program with its elite academics, world-class golf training and relentless pursuit of excellence. Emphasizing both intensive athletic training and scholastic achievement through the nationally accredited Heritage Academy, IJGA has produced some of the finest young athletes playing golf today. IJGA’s Stewart Hagestad made golf history at this year’s Masters Tournament, becoming the only Mid-Amateur champion to ever make the cut and then went on to earn the coveted Silver Cup awarded the low amateur.

Receiving the proper type and quality of instruction at the high school level is critical to future success. Our innovative coaching staff provides programs of instruction tailored to each student’s abilities and needs as opposed to a “one size fits all” style. The team guides every student down a unique path that seeks to create a finely-tuned balance of physical skill, mental acuity and upstanding character.

IJGA prepares junior golfers for all of the aspects of competitive play as well as life beyond the golf course. By the time they graduate, our student-athletes are well prepared to compete in the college and professional ranks.

College Golf: Expressway to Success

Playing golf in college serves two purposes for the ambitious athlete. First is gaining invaluable training and high level tournament experience which is much like the professional ranks without having to go it alone. Those who forego college must manage the financial and strategic requirements of improving enough to qualify for a professional tour on their own. At this stage in the learning process, the costs and logistics can be daunting. In 2017, competing on a developmental tour such as the Web.Com Tour costs at a minimum $75,000 per year and the PGA Tour about $110,000. Add to this the need to organize travel, room and board, hiring a caddy and coaches, tour memberships and tournament qualifying and registrations, and it becomes a massive undertaking for the individual. In college, the young golfer gains quality instruction, physical and mental training, thousands of hours of practice and the afore mentioned competitive experience without the same burdens.

The second positive aspect of playing golf in college is gaining a quality academic degree. This will provide great options for life beyond the golf course and often also helps with the pursuit itself. Many who take the college route earn degrees that help manage the various aspects of making the way to the pro ranks.

Simply said, the college path to professional golf delivers excellent return on investment.

Making it on Tour: Avoiding Potholes

Making the move into the professional world is a learning process just like junior and collegiate golf and it requires patience and mental toughness.

The PGA’s qualifying school, or “Q-School,” used to be a direct path to the premier level, but, since 2013, has become an entryway to the tour which is the developmental arena for the PGA Tour. IJGA’s Richy Werenski earned his way onto the PGA Tour this way. The LPGA qualifying school is more like the traditional format featuring escalating qualifying tournaments. IJGA alumna Stephanie Meadow won her LPGA Tour card via the Final Qualifying Tournament. The vast majority of golfers will require significant seasoning to be ready for this step.

Obviously the ultimate goal is playing on the PGA or LPGA Tour, but most everyone entering the pro circuit will start in more humble venues. The first professional tier features various mini-tours that host events around the country that require entry fees and offer modest prize money. At this level only the most successful players will win enough to do more than cover their expenses, so the emphasis is on gaining experience and moving up to a higher tour.

As professional golf has continued to expand over the last thirty years, more of these developmental tours have emerged to accommodate the increased demand. Today there are more than twenty professional golf tours, each run by a professional golfer’s association or an independent tour organization which is responsible for arranging events, finding sponsors, and regulating tour play. Competitive play in these venues is tough and finding the right entry-level tour as a road to the top requires some study and self-evaluation as the choice will be different for everyone. Examining past statistics and results of the various tours along with other personal intangibles will help in finding the right place to begin.

Moving into the highest ranks takes years for most players who succeed, so managing the costs of navigating the lower tier tours is an important factor to consider. As mentioned before, the expenses are considerable and it takes time to reach a point where tournament earnings eclipse costs. Taking the college route pays dividends here as opportunities to earn a living outside of tournament golf support the drive to continue playing and moving up the ladder. With some success on the course may come opportunities for sponsorships to aid in defraying expenses and some players even sell shares in their future potential in the manner of a stock offering. Navigating the byways to a successful career in golf benefits from creative thinking.

The road to the world of professional golf is unique for every ambitious individual who aspires to achieve the dream. Careful consideration of the many options available will help make it easier and more attainable. Study the road map carefully to find the right path for you.

Click Here >> to request more information about IJGA and our world-class junior golf instructional programs and college placement services. Dreams begin here.

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 Alum Named the Best Amateur Golfer of the Year

IJGA alumni Stewart Hagestad is in the news again. Hagestad was named Amateur of the Year by Global Golf Post.

Hagestad attended IJGA where he grew both mentally and physically as a student-athlete before attending the University of Southern California (USC).

Hagestad, a 26-year-old Californian, took a work sabbatical this year and made the most of it. He won the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship and was named the 2016 Metropolitan Golf Association Player of the Year, won low-amateur honors at The Masters finishing 36th overall, competed in the U.S. Open and posted the clinching point in the Walker Cup at Los Angeles Country Club and was named the 2016 Metropolitan Golf Association Player of the Year. Most recently Hagestad was a member of the U.S. Walker Cup Team and helped propel his team to victory posting the winning point for the United States.

IJGA is very proud to include Hagestad in its storied history of successful student-athletes in golf and in life.

Tips for Teens on Balancing School, Sport and Life

When it comes to balancing school and life, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Add playing golf or any sport on a regular basis to the mix, and things get even more complicated. Balancing all of these takes practice, commitment and hard work. With the confidence of the people you surround yourself with, as well as confidence in yourself, you may find that succeeding in all of these categories isn’t as tough as it sounds.

I think everyone can agree when I say that school is tough. Not only is it the numerous tests on a regular basis or the nightly three hours of homework, but social interactions and expectations can also cause stress. For most students – school work and homework is tedious and overwhelming. The most important thing to remember is to take one thing at a time. Instead of focusing on each assignment you have due for every single class, pick one subject and one assignment and dedicate your next 30 minutes of focus to completing it. Even reward yourself after every assignment completed with a 5-minute break or some old Halloween candy (we won’t judge). After taking one assignment at a time, fully completing it and moving on to the next thing – school work can seem less daunting and feel like something you have power over versus the other way around. Pro Tip: do your weekend homework on Friday nights. It may not be the most fun evening you will ever have, but you will feel so much better when you wake up on Saturday morning knowing you don’t have any work to do over the weekend. Best.Feeling.Ever.

Golf, like school, is tedious and takes lots of concentration. After a long day, it may seem impossible to go and play18 holes and shoot multiple birdies, but it is very possible. This is where time management skills come in handy. When you are playing golf, it is important to have a clear mind and not be thinking about much else other than what you are doing right in that moment. Thinking about an upcoming test or project can only stress you and make your head be elsewhere, when it needs to be on the course. I’m sure many of the professionals will tell you that when they are about to shoot, they don’t think about much other than the next 10 seconds. Because in that moment, that’s what matters. If you manage your time successfully, then balancing schoolwork and golf will seem less challenging and more rewarding.

Social interactions are incredibly important in this life, and finding the time and energy to do so is not easy. Being social and unwinding does not mean having to sacrifice your grades or your golf game. In fact, they can go hand-in-hand. Being social in school is important. Those people can be the ones to lift you up, and you can do the same for them. If you and a friend are struggling in one certain subject, studying together and encouraging each other can be what it takes to bring those grades up. Same goes with golf. If you notice a friend who may not be shooting their best, perhaps find ways to compliment them on the things they are doing right, and offer friendly insight and suggestions for things that could use a little work. Outside of school and golf, it is important to remember to relax and enjoy the place you are in. Relaxing and recovering your body is just as important as hard work. Time for some Netflix!

Contrary to popular belief, you can succeed in all of these categories, without letting anything fall to the wayside. Pushing yourself and knowing your limits is important, and it is never a bad thing to ask for help. Organization is essential to balancing everything in your life, so don’t be afraid to buy a planner (and actually use it!). Write down all of your assignments so you don’t miss anything and set personal goals constantly. Most of all, don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things. If you live a healthy, balanced life, the rewards will be amazing. Guaranteed!

What Drives You – Navyug Rungta

What Drives You is our student spotlight video series showcasing the stories of our diverse student body. This episode features IJGA Junior, Navyug Rungta from India. When Navyug joined the Academy he was a relative beginner and has since made huge strides in his golf game, even shooting an all time best round of 80 at the Friends of Faldo Series IJGT event in November. With the incredible drive and determination Navyug demonstrates on and off the green, we know that he will continue this impressive progress and we look forward to following his journey here at IJGA and beyond!

New Year’s Resolution: Improving Golf Fitness

Whenever a new year approaches, many people look back over the past year and consider what they would like to improve or work toward in the coming months. For a golf athlete, your resolution could be improving your physical performance in order to improve your game. Here is a quick step by step process to get started.

  • Find a professional to work with, ideally someone that is certified with the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) to focus specifically on your golf fitness goals. Our students at the Academy are fortunate to have TPI certified Director of Performance Training, Shawn Mehring to assist in their goals. If you cannot attend the Academy with us, go to and find a TPI Certified Fitness Trainer.
    1. This fitness trainer will have the availability to complete a Level 1 Mobility Screen. This screening process will take you through every possible movement in relation to a golf swing and find your limitations.
  • With your TPI Trainer, sign up for personal training sessions to improve your limitations.
    1. You do not want to program your own workout. There’s a ton of knowledge and resources a trainer has, especially when it comes to modifying exercises and phases of training, that they will utilize when designing a personalized program.
  • DON’T GIVE UP! Changes do not occur in a week or even two. It may take months for you to improve a limitation. You will excel at some exercises and training elements, but there will also be some that you struggle with. The struggles are the most important part to improving abilities. It lets you know the most important aspects on which to focus. Once you improve the limitations, your golf game will improve dramatically. Your scores may not improve immediately – but your mobility, swing mechanics, posture and overall well-being will change.

The golf fitness world is growing at a very fast rate. There are a lot of certified professionals who specialize in golf fitness. You don’t have to train as a body builder, powerlifter, or crossfitter just to be in shape. Although your program may include those aspects, you will focus a lot on mobility, stability, posture, core activation and power development.

Utilizing these steps and setting small goals to help build to your ultimate goal are a fantastic way to start the new year on the right foot. Getting into better physical shape will not only improve your daily life but also help dramatically on the golf course with added stamina, strength and flexibility.

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.

10 Tips to be a Better Golf Parent

  1. Provide opportunities to play and compete.
  2. Encourage your child to give 100% effort.
  3. Focus on their improvements, positive points.
  4. Provide unconditional love and support.
  5. Encourage your child to take responsibilities.
  6. Involve your children in any decision to be made.
  7. Respect the coach’s role.
  8. Do more things than golf in your child’s and family life.
  9. Be a good role model.
  10. Enjoy the process of being a golf parent.

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