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 http://www.mytpi.com/experts 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

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


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


College Prep 101

With the spring semester in full swing, reality begins to set in and the whisper of graduation and college starts to become a scream for seniors. It’s impossible to ignore the future, and not being prepared for what lies beyond high school can be alarming. Many seniors in their final semester of high school begin to have what is affectionately called ‘senioritis’. Assignments become more difficult and reality begins to set in. Choosing and committing to a college is an exhausting process that involves lots of paperwork and long conversations, and when you find one that clicks it can feel like things are looking up.
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Before a student-athlete gets to that last semester of the senior year, underclass students will set up unofficial college visit after talking with a school/coach as the next step for learning more about the university and the golf program. Once a coach has recruited a student to be a part of their team it is an important decision to verbally commit and sign a letter of a intent that balances the student’s goals and priorities.

Fortunately, being a part of IJGA gives student-athletes many advantages when it comes to finding a college that fits golf and academic goals. The College Placement Team at IJGA works around the clock to help students turn the daunting process of looking for a college into something exciting. When looking for a college, it is important to have different options and to not be discouraged. Communication is vital during this process and keeping up with your emails from prospective colleges and coaches has never been more important. Along the way there may be bumps in the road but remembering the student’s goals and being realistic about the options available within golf and academic development.

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<strong>Useful Tips:</strong>
<li><strong>Don’t go at it alone!</strong> There are always going to be people by your side willing to help with the college process. Make yourself responsibility, but don’t feel like you have to do everything by yourself.</li>
<li><strong>Ask lots of questions.</strong> When meeting with a college coach or advisor, don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you can. Find out what is important for you in a school, and make sure you don’t leave the campus wishing you would have asked more questions.</li>
<li><strong>Research colleges</strong>, as well as the location, how the campus looks and feels is important in choosing a school, but so is the surrounding community. Many colleges encourage their students to become a part of the community during your four years, so you want it to have things that are appealing to you!</li>
<li><strong>Make grades and your golf score a priority during high school.</strong> It’s easy to get distracted when a class mate is doing better, or some in not being nice to you today, take on that challenge to focus on positive character and goals, making your college resume and search appealing to college coaches. Your hard work and determination in high school will improve your college search.</li>
<li><strong>Take advantage of college prep courses, workshops, and good advice from others.</strong></li>
<li><strong>Be Organized</strong>. Keep your schedule, and work environment organized. This will reflect how you plan your approach to the game of golf as well as you college search. If you start early, it will become second nature and you will be grateful that you are organized and not frantic. During the college process you will receive lots of information and important paperwork, and it is important to know how to work through the application process just as much as it is for course management and reading greens.</li>
<li><strong>Be Challenged. </strong>As your advisors and guidance counselors are here to assist you, as well as deadlines. Challenge yourself to give these tasks priority as much as you would to your new swing and that big project due for class.</li>