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  1. Thanks all. I'll be sure to give Cobblestone and Copper Hill a look. Old York is about 40 minutes from my house, and that's a bit more than I'd want to travel - ideally. I've looked at Yardley, and its dues are cheaper - but no pool. That is pretty much a deal breaker considering how much my wife and kids would use it during the summer when they're all off. There are good public options nearby, including Neshanic, and we can always join a separate pool for the summer. If we go that route, one of the biggest things I'll miss is easy access to play a few holes here and there, practice facilities, and that "club" feeling.
  2. I've been in search of a private club within a half hour drive of the Princeton, NJ area/northern Mercer county. I've got a family of four - two middle school age boys, my wife and me - and we all like to play fairly frequently, even if we don't always play 18. Public options at weekend rates end up being rather costly for four (a weekend round for four at a public near me can cost $200 - $300 or more), especially considering my wife and younger son often like to peel off after 9 holes and we'd still have to pay the rate for a full 18. We'd also probably join a pool if we didn't have access at a club, and that's an additional expense. The public courses near us tend to be crowded, and that is not great for family golf, which can be slower at times as the kids learn. Besides, we like the additional amenities that a private club has to offer, such as a pool, clubhouse, practice facilities, etc. I've also found golf at private clubs to be more laid back and friendly, whereas public courses can be stressful - especially with kids. It is nice to stop by during the week for a little practice and a couple holes when time allows. Private clubs also offer ancillary benefits like networking, social events, junior programs for the kids, etc. The clubs I've looked into tend to be around $1,000 per month, not counting any initiation fees (I don't know about Bedens Brook). I'd love to find something a little more budget friendly. Would prefer to be local enough (30-40 minute drive at most), and laid back/family friendly. Any insight on clubs in the area would be great - Trenton, Bedens Brook, Cobblestone, Copper Hill, Cherry Valley - as well as others not mentioned. I've seen similar requests in this forum, but none for this particular area.
  3. It's fun for the kids, and one of the only ways for them to interact (if only briefly) with the pros. The adult autograph hounds make it distasteful, though. My wife and I were there yesterday with our kids (11 and 13), watching players come off 9. Lots of guys were finished after 9, and most hung around to sign things for a while. Some even signed in between 9 and 10 if they went on to play the back. Mostly, it was pretty laid back, and my wife and I chatted with another couple who had brought chairs to make a day of it, while our kids ran around having a ball getting their flags signed. Things got dicey when the more popular players came through - Brooks in particular. By the time he made it to the ropes, the behavior of some adult men made me embarrassed to be there. One guy basically trampled one of the chairs of our new friends, then later (apparently oblivious) turned and remarked how crazy it was that the chair had been knocked over - as if he didn't do it. I can see why some players are more dismissive of it - a guy had a glossy of Tommy Fleetwood that he wanted signed, and at one point asked me what his first name was (clearly, he had no idea and just wanted to yell "Tommy" at the right moment). I don't think Tommy signed anything, and I don't blame him or anyone else that doesn't sign. The whole scene almost made me uncomfortable that my kids were doing it, but they're kids and one day they'll probably look back fondly on the experience. I have no issue at all with anyone - kid or adult - asking for autographs, but adults should behave like adults and have some self-respect. To his credit, Brooks signed more than most, and we had also seen him on the practice green where he similarly took a lot of time to sign. Bubba, Rickie and Jordan were also exceedingly patient.
  4. Thanks to all - very helpful. Have you seen any benefit from group sessions or the "camp" style format? I've come across a lot of these, but it seems they are nothing more than structured practice with no real instruction or improvement potential. Are these worthwhile at all?
  5. I can send you some suggestions for the NJ area. - There are several fall Central and Philly tournaments still on the calendar. They are not far from you, I would sign up to as many as you can (time permitting). That will give you a really good idea on where you kids stand relative to competition, and allow you develop a plan with this coach for something over winter. The winter or the off-season is the best time to do swing changes because you are not really playing and allows to focus on drills and shots rather then the score or result. - I agree with HH.. you need to be the caddy, food carrier, driver, and guide, not the coach. Your boys are old enough to take instruction and figure it out. Thanks very much kcap.
  6. Thanks all - the responses are really helpful. We live in Mercer county, NJ - not far from Princeton. If anyone has any coach recommendations, I'd be grateful (eastern PA - Bucks County is in range). NJ winters can make it tough to stay fresh all year. With that in mind, it would be nice to find a coach that is good with kids and who has an indoor facility. We've had some exposure to group lessons at the Mercer County Junior Academy, and I think we'll tap a coach there for private lessons. For those of you that have found a good coach for your kids, how did you do that? Is there any way to avoid a time consuming (and costly) trial and error process? Is there anything to a US Kids certification? We'll certainly look into a local fall tournament. The winners of some of the local US Kids tournaments are over par, but not by much. Any tips on managing a kid's expectations going into his or her first tournament? One of the great things about this game is that it is intensely individual, but that can be a double-edged sword when it comes to kids and young egos.
  7. My two boys are 10 and 12, and I've introduced each of them to the game fairly recently. They've had some lessons, they participated in the PGA Jr. League this year, and we often go out as a family to play 9. My older son has a competitive streak, and has expressed an interest in playing competitively. If his goal is to play in tournaments, HS and (who knows) college, what are the avenues we should pursue, and what are reasonable benchmarks of success going forward? Additionally, I've read that high school golf is not nearly enough if one has any hopes at all to play in college at any level. If that's the case, what are the next steps? Some posts on here seem to suggest that unless the kids are competitive in regional/national multi-day tournaments by age 10-12, they've missed the boat. Where does that leave those who start at that age or later? Ultimately, personal enjoyment for them is the primary goal, but my older son gets enjoyment out of improving and competition, so I want to foster that to the extent I can. For what it's worth, I don't have any illusions that D1 is a real possibility, but I feel I owe it to the kids to help them maximize whatever talent and competitive drive they each have. Whatever they want to do with it is up to them. The kids played rec and travel baseball for years, and that was easy because information on leagues, tryouts, etc. was readily available. Our local golf pro suggested starting with US Kids, which we'll do in the spring. Are those local tours a good place to begin?
  8. How did being so fit benefit Tiger exactly? He's had four knee surgeries, three back surgeries, and a back fusion. I shudder to think how many surgeries he would have had if he hadn't worked out so much and been so "fit." As for the second bolded quote, why can't he win again? You can just as easily ask the converse, why do we expect him to win again? At the risk of being a broken record, when Arnie won the 1964 Masters he was only 34 years old. No one expected him to go the rest of his career never winning another major. Yet that's exactly what happened. No one thought Tom Watson was done winning majors when he captured the 1983 Open. He was only 33, but he never won another. Phil went winless from 2013 to 2018, five years, and during that stretch he was never worse than 37th in the OWGR and was one of the best putters on Tour. Just because you have the game to win doesn't make it probable. The examples are endless of successful players who inexplicably stopped winning at a relatively early age. The examples are scarce of successful players who took a 5-10 year break from winning and then started winning again. There's something intangible to winning that no one can explain, even the best players couldn't tell you what that intangible factor is or how you get it. Spieth, for the time being, has lost it. Arnie had one of the best quotes ever on tiptoeing along that razor's edge: "Once you lose that something, what is it? I couldn't tell you. I'm not even sure Jack knows. But after you lose it, to rise up again and grab it and hold on to it, man that's a tough thing." Valid points, all. Based on this year's performance, it seems he has the pure skill to win again. Time will tell whether he has the will, or the intangibles, to reclaim that edge. But if the question is, "can he win no. 15," I'd say that anyone who played the way Tiger did on Sunday at the Open and at the PGA has a pretty good chance to do so. The fact that he's Tiger and not a journeyman pro who stumbled into a couple of good rounds increases his odds, IMO. His body has (apparently) held up during what has been a very busy stretch, and his issues haven't seemed to stem from his back or knees. Had he not put himself into a hole early at the PGA, who knows? Chalk it up as shoulda, woulda, coulda, but he seems close to regaining enough past form to win again. As a fan, I hope that this year has not been the best we'll see out of him for the rest of his career.
  9. He almost won two majors this year. Sure, he's not getting any younger, but 43 today isn't the same as 43 a generation ago, considering how fit these guys are. It looks like he may have figured out his driver, which held him back earlier in the season. His iron play is still fantastic, and if he gets the feel back with the putter, why can't he win again? He's still plenty long off the tee. This season surpassed expectations, but it was his first year back. He's arguably played better as the year progressed.
  10. I've been lurking on these forums for while, but I don't think this has been asked or answered before. I'm in the market for a new set of irons, and it seems that most of the best-reviewed club fitters near me (central NJ - Mercer County) do not have natural turf hitting areas. How important is it to get a feel for clubs off grass, as opposed to a mat? My gut reaction would be that grass vs. mat shouldn't make too much of a difference. After all, many of us practice off mats all the time. There is obviously some difference, however, in the way grass responds vs. a mat. A few posters on here have had a good experience with a particular fitter that is very near me, and I'd be inclined to go there unless I can be convinced that an on-grass fitting is critical. Thanks in advance!
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