Last week, I spent three days at Blessings GC recruiting young players and then traveled down the road to the LPGA tournament for two days. The AJGA held a junior all star event, which represented some of the 13-15 year olds in the nation. The players' skill levels are very high and they scored well on a tough course. However, they can still learn from the pros and how they manage their games and scoring.
The LPGA players hit only about three drivers in 18 holes. They played for position and large targets. When distance led directly to scoring opportunities, they would pull driver, such as reachable par 5's.
On long par 5's, the groups were all within a few yards of each other after two shots. They all put themselves at angles that made the hole most accessible.
Whenever a pro wasn't in position on a hole, she made only that one mistake. If possible to hit a good trouble shot, she did it, but if not, she played to a safe spot and went from there. She never added a missed green or three putt to the hole.
The pros putt every putt the same. Whether the putt is for eagle or bogey, they roll the ball at the proper speed and had short putts left if they missed.
The pros were content with a ten footer after short siding themselves. And, they made a lot of those ten footers.
The pros have wonderful distance control on their irons and wedges.
The pros kept the same pace, attitude and focus on all 18 holes.
The pros made very few unforced errors. In other words, they rarely three putted, missed a green within 100 yards or took penalty shots.
The pros make mistakes just as all of us do on the golf course. However, they can usually recover from their mistakes and get out of the hole with par or bogey. They manage themselves and their games well.
If you're a young player reading this, go through the above checklist and plan to be great at these skills.
1. Have a game plan that puts you in position on each hole and allows you to play to big targets.
2. Be one shot ahead of where you are to assure that you'll have a good angle to the hole.
3. Take your medicine and get a putt for par when you're out of position.
4. Learn to control your speed on the putting green from any distance or on any slope.
5. Recognize when you're in a tough short game situation and leaving yourself a ten footer would be a good shot. Learn to keep your momentum by making these ten footers.
6. Learn to control your distance control with your wedges and irons.
7. Maintain a great attitude, consistent focus and a steady pace for 18 holes. Don't waver, don't let down, don't react to mistakes, don't rush or dawdle - learn to maintain.
These are the things that seemed to make the biggest differences in scoring between the junior players and the pros. As I said, the skill levels aren't that far off, but consistency in scoring is the goal for all and the juniors can learn a lot from the LPGA players.