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!

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.