Sunday, March 25, 2012

Saskatchewan Junior Golf Program Needs Urgent Help! - Sports - Golf

Saskatchewan Junior Golf Program is in dire need of help because of a poor junior development program, that is in serious need of improvement.

Golf is an incredible sport that teaches youth so many key fundamentals, that are essential in life and yet Junior Golf participation is severely down and Junior Female participation is an absolute embarrassment.

Who is to blame?

Jeff Chambers the head professional of Elmwood Country Club for starters along with golf courses, parents, and the Saskatchewan Golf Association.

Jeff Chambers gets paid very good money to go to various schools for teaching golf and he does a terrible job. Jeff is a favorite by many top juniors and would quickly defend that accusation, however Jeff Chambers competes and becomes friends with only the top juniors. Jeff becomes friends with scratch golfers in the 14-18 range and competes and buddies up with them like an older kid hanging out with the cool kids. If your a top junior and Jeff becomes interested and buddies up with you, your obviously going to look up to him as a well known adult is a big thing for the average kid. Jeff does little to nothing for average or below average golfers, and those are the golfers that need the most golf instruction. Jeff Chambers may help junior golfers at his home course in Swift Current, but frankly it could be just to help increase revenue for the future. Personally I was on the golf team and we just qualified for the provincial high school championship when I was told Jeff Ch ambers was coming for an hour of instruction. I was quite excited 7 or 8 years ago when this happened because maybe finally I could get my golf swing properly sorted out. I was told by top golfer Tanner White that I bend my one arm during my swing and it is suppose to be straight. Therefore I was hoping to get the instruction I need to fix my golf swing. I asked Jeff Chambers point blank to help me with my swing and he said I am just here to help you guys with drills and strategy. The group laughed a bit about it and Jeff spent the majority of the hour talking to the teacher or to the top golfer Tanner White as we continued to hit golf balls on the range. The only thing he told us to do that I remember was hit a 5 iron at a tree that was on the range, he did absolutely nothing that would improve anyone's golf game and is useless. Junior Golf is going down the drain and there always has to be someone accountable.

The Saskatchewan Junior Golf Tour is fantastic with 43 Events throughout the province, however 8 were cancelled or didn't submit results, making only 35 Events being played on the 2011 Season. That is still so many opportunities for juniors aged 18 and under to play in events regardless of where they live in Saskatchewan. Only 24 Girls Participated in the 35 Events Total! With many of them only participating in 1 Event! This is absolutely pathetic and there is no excuse for this Saskatchewan. That is at least 11 Events on the schedule that had 0 girls participating in these Junior Golf Tournaments. I mean someone has to start doing something about this, parents if your daughter shows up to any of these tournaments, even if she shoots 200 she wins first prize which is generally worth more than the entry fee for the tournaments. Therefore she gets to play a round of golf, meal, and a prize that could be worth a lot and she just has to show up!

Golf is expensive is the excuse I keep hearing time and time again, and is a primary reason why people don't start playing the great game of golf. Golf Town makes golf expensive, golf is not expensive especially for kids 18 and under. In Yorkton a membership at Deer Park Golf Course a top notch 18 hole championship golf course is $100 for the first time for Junior Golfers and $155 for the years after that. That is less than $9/month for your kid to start golf in Yorkton at a top notch facility and play as much golf as he wants and that can be worth hundreds of dollars of savings. $9/month you spend more than that on Coffee! Golf clubs are expensive at Golf Town because they sell you the latest equipment that is overpriced and convince you to play equipment that you don't need. If you start golf you shouldn't worry about getting top notch golf equipment until your a 8 handicap or better. I keep seeing kids, adults on golf courses with $3,000 worth of golf clubs in there bag and they can't play golf. I have a Driver, 7 wood, 6 iron, 9 iron, pw, sw, bent putter and can shoot a much lower round then players with this flashy equipment but they don't know how to use it. You can get a high quality set for around $300 at various online discount golf stores or seriously go to Walmart and buy a complete set for around the same amount. Success in golf isn't about the equipment it is about the golf swing.

How to fix the Saskatchewan Junior Golf Program

First you make it mandatory in every school that they have some sort of golf in the curriculum. Secondly here is what I would do. You have a team of 3 or 4 golf teaching professionals and go to each school for a week. Have 1 Grade in the morning then the next grade in the afternoon. For a day out on the nearest range or golf course where they just learn to hit golf balls and then play some fun golf games, such as putting contests etc. You have 20 players hitting buckets of balls on the range the golf teaching professional should be able to see major flaws that they have on there golf swing. Example 16 year old girl keeps hitting it 40 yards on the ground with a trailing slice. One of the golf teaching professionals sees this and notices she takes the club too far back, the club face is wide open, she lifts her leg during the swing. The golf professional friendly helps the girl to correct these flaws with tons of encouragement and she starts hitting 150 yard shots that are flying straight and in the air after just some small changes. This is such a great feeling when you start crushing and hitting pure golf shots, this is how you get kids interested in golf. You go down the row and just help kids get better by learning fundamentals of how to swing a golf club properly and on plane. After learning how to hit a golf ball and having fun and games, they have a 5 to 10 minute speech on how to get into the game talking about the Junior Golf tour and how anyone can play and the prizes up for grabs. Whoever is the closest golf course to the school getting the instruction picks up the tab for all the driving range and having the kids on the course. Why because they tell the kids how much it costs to be a member at this club, gives them a letter for the parents showing how affordable golf can be and possibly some links to where you can get top notch golf equipment like for a low price. The golf course might get more traffic and possibly more than pay for the expense of the kids being on the golf course.

Third Improve the Junior Golf Tour.

The SGA should make prizes clear for player of the year etc. to give Juniors a clear cut incentive to play as many events as they can or that there parents will allow them. You know have a $1,000 Callaway Golf Certificate and a Play Station 3 for First Place. Tell them what the prizes will be so that they can work hard to earn them. The tour format is all Stroke Play events except for the Junior Lobstick at Waskesiu. This should be changed immediately have Skins Games where in a 128 player full field. You Play 9 holes stroke play top 64 go in the Top Bracket, bottom 64 go in the bottom bracket. Have Groups of 4 playing 9 hole skins games. Winner Goes On, Losers go into B,C etc. It would be finished in 2 Days 9 Hole Stroke and Round 1 Skins Match Day 1, 9 Hole Skins and final 9 hole skins on Day 2. It goes from 64 to 16 to 4 in the (A) division. Have more Horse Races with a twist if you have an 18 hole course. Have a horse race and a reverse horse race at the end top 9 golf ers play on the front nine in a horse race, the 9 golfers that had the worst scores plays in a horse race on the back nine so that golfers can still experience the fun and games without necessarily having to be a top golfer. Have more Texas scrambles and other events maybe a modified staple ford event. Throw in some miniature golf tournaments have one at Market Mall in Saskatoon and one in Paradise in Regina. Have Big Break Competitions where they have to try creative shots and fun games. Make Golf fun again and give kids a chance to learn to play golf with proper instruction, incentive programs, and different variations of the great game.

Parents your kids get much needed exercise learn values like honesty, integrity, being friendly to one another. Golf isn't a sport where players get hurt on a regular basis it is a fun way to get exercise. Parents with daughters understand that Female Golf could be an incredible opportunity for you daughter to make serious money. You seen the 16 year old Female who won a LPGA event it wasn't because she is that good it is because the LPGA golfers aren't that great. They still earn millions of dollars and there is opportunities for any Junior female golfer to earn scholarships, great prizes along the way and potential to have a professional career in the future. Stop making excuses on how golf is expensive because it can be affordable, if you live in Saskatoon get a membership at Wildwood for $335 or give them a real treat with a membership at the Willows for $600. Junior memberships always pay for themselves in as few as 5 rounds of golf and that is for the entire year. Th e SGA needs to make changes, parents and schools need to make changes but together it can be done and make the Junior Golf Program better than anyone could imagine.



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