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Fall=August in USKG Tour world: Getting the kids back in the saddle against tough fields


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It hasn't been a full week since the end of Worlds, but here we are--starting the Fall Tour this weekend. The Stuart field will be strong as usual, with several of the kids coming fresh off (mostly) strong performances at Pinehurst. I do have to wonder if you really need to play the local tour at 7/8/9 y.o. the week after Pinehurst, but hey--I can't wait to hear about some of stories they bring back with them.
My kids are excited to enter the fray again after taking most of the summer off from tournament golf. It's going to be fun and a little scary to see how they play and react to the level of competition. This is their first foray into the South FL golf scene, where it is very possible they could each come in last in their respective fields. But hey, as our very own @heavy_hitter told me months back--they have to start somewhere. If they want to compete, I'll train them best I can and then turn them loose. We've practiced, sweated, broken down, geared up and it's tournament time once more.
Is anyone else starting Fall Tour soon? For those just coming of Worlds, does it make the local tour seem small or easier when you come back?

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The last tournament we played in about a month ago left us all ready to take a break, with the heat index touching 104 and the course running out of carts by the time we got there (we were among the l

LOL, you guys are crazy. US Women’s Am champ Rose Zhang - SCPGA   LPGA champ Danielle Kang - SCPGA   PGA Major champ Collin Morikowa - SCPGA

We could argue all day on this but my perception of local pga sections is there to provide a local place for kids to play. When kids get more serious they should be playing TGT and Legends. For most

Supposedly we are getting a local tour back this fall in Charleston, SC, although website still doesn’t show schedule. But USKG has confirmed it will happen. When we lost our tour 3 years ago we spent one season driving 2.5 hours to nearest tour..... that got old quick and since we’ve just done state,regionals, worlds. I think it’s been nice to stick to the multi day tmnts, but do think my son will enjoy the locals again if some of his friends play. He hasnt faired too well in multi days over last year so curious to see if playing locals again helps...more “reps” kind of thing. Also, with any luck (lots of luck) I may be able to get my 6 year old daughter out ?

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I'm happy for you guys for getting your local tour back. If USKG wants to help keep growing the game, they are going to have to have tours in a golf-friendly state like SC.

I know my kids are looking forward to the social interaction as much as anything, and hopefully you can sell your daughter on that aspect.

My kids will probably play their first multi-day in December, and thankfully it is just a 30 minute drive for us. Taking as much travel out of the equation for these young kids is a good thing, even if the benefit is mostly for us parents :)

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We used to have an outstanding director, but he moved onto other things. As we've all seen, all local tours are not created equal. Very much dependent on level of commitment and involvement from each director. Its not making them rich, so they need to have some level of passion for it. Probably a lot of thankless work behind the scenes with not a ton of payoff. We've played in some that were a complete waste of time. USKG basically farms out the model and its up to the director to put the work in. Columbia (SC) and Savannah both have outstanding tours, hopefully our new director gets it.

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Kudos for your enthusiasm.

My son is at the cusp of moving on from US Kids and I'm so relieved that he can finally play by himself w/o the parent caddy circus.

As explained in the past my biggest gripe with our local tour was the price and the overbearing parents.

Some parents have zero etiquettes while others have over-the-top etiquettes. The later being worst than the former.

 

 

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The best tours for kids under 12 are local pga sections.

the best pga section by far for young kids is the North Texas junior tour. I think Southern California is similar. Here in south Florida the tour is okay but really is lacking for younger kids especially for 9 holes. The only real option is US Kids.

US kids is okay as a tour but the focus is too much in how kids place and going to worlds. All of which is great but I think can really turn off kids and parents as well. Plus the cost to play 9 holes With registration is a lot for what what is.

having a good a good regional or state tour where you don’t have travel more then 200 miles is perfect for kids under 12. Unfortunately a lot people do not have this options.

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NTPGA can't even touch STPGA and I don't think STPGA is overly great but I do know of people who love STPGA. I do tend to think local PGA do run better events overall, with better season ending championships and able to age up vs USKG you can only play what age you are regardless of score and skill. Seems at 10 and above USKG looses its luster that it had at age 7 for example. Tiger did you ever play in the TJGT?

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We could argue all day on this but my perception of local pga sections is there to provide a local place for kids to play. When kids get more serious they should be playing TGT and Legends. For most kids that starts once there older then 12.

TGT and the legends tour in Texas are ok I put them on the same level as Florida state.

when it comes to 9 holes tournaments for kids under 10 I think NTPGA is way more competitive then almost anywhere else’s.

a lot of this has to do with the local population a lot people don’t understand that the DFW area alone is probably the size of Orlando and Miami together.

This why TGT tournaments are good competition. Texas is a large state and I would say overall has more kids playing golf then Florida by a long shot. I played in both states and Florida has tough competition but there are more girls in Texas playing for sure.

i also had my kids play in smaller states and even the large competitions feel like a small event. The reality is you have to travel.

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Actually I was answering the OP's question that best local tours are pga local Junior sections. A lot parents who play worlds get this Idea that US Kids and worlds means there kid is the next super star.

There are only 2 reasons to play local events the first being you just want to startthe kids in their first competitions and second you want to qualify for regional and US Kids worlds and gain status.

If you kid won or placed in the top 10 at US Kids worlds and you playing US kids locals every week you need to find harder competition out there and stop bragging to parents who are just starting out in golf. If you hear a parent bragging about US kids they have no clue about how hard high level junior and Professional golf really is. The goal of every parent of young kids is to get them to play real courses and distances without caddies as soon as possible.

 

 

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Locals USKG events flavor will be different in each age group in market. We are lucky as hell where we are, we have 3 kids in our group who placed top 20 this year, 1 in the top 10, one that was just outside that. In previous years had them in the top 5. So By playing USKG locals while short in yardage we are getting a chance to play against girls who can play and its about having great competition to play against. Do some need to play locals no, but at certain ages USKG is the best option out there for kids under 11 I would say at least around here.

I will say in the past after worlds when we had a summer tour to come back to the events after worlds were a lot easier mainly because of how much shorter it was vs worlds in some cases up to 500 yards difference. This year no events right after don't start up again till the end of August and are aging up so not as big of a difference. You never NEED to play USKG locals unless you need status to play in a regional or getting into worlds but for younger kids not really a better option out there. Once they hit 18 holes that's a different statement plus where you live there could be other alternatives that are better. Again our flavor of USKG is pretty loaded.

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Tiger, my question was why parents feel the need to enter their 7/8/9 y.o. kids into local tournaments a week after Worlds. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy my kids are able to face a strong field--but at this age it seems like a lot after the biggest, longest and most draining event of the year for not just kids but parents.

For older kids, maybe 10+, I get it.

As far as USKG goes, there's plenty of talent in the south FL tours. Hell, Tiger's kid played in our event (but up a few age groups from us) yesterday and shot -3. In the 10-11 girls group behind us, the leader carded 15 after 5 holes... the girl in 2nd was at 18, 3rd 20 before they called it for darkness stemming from lightning delays. The tour is officially a local, but the talent level is closer to a State with the talent from Palm Beach County.

Regarding the parents, I found them to be very friendly, kind and as unpretentious as one could expect for the area. As a parent with kids who want to go to worlds for the first time next year, it was great to be playing with two parents who just got back and was open to talk about some of the ins and outs of their trip. Kind of like having a thread on this forum, but in real time.

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A lot parents don't have a home course where you play on. So there paying to play with the kids every time. So if your in that situation sometimes you just play local tours every weekend instead of playing and practicing on a public course (which is not the always the best place to bring kids). I knew a lot people that did this and eventually they signed up to a course to practice on.

If you have a place to practice I agree why bother playing.

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Sunday's tournament was one of those you chalk up as a learning experience. It started out with the 9-hole divisions getting delayed for about two hours due to lightning, which is fun for everyone given the current COVID restrictions. Once things got going, the course was pretty saturated and there was a lot of standing water. The wait was so long, several groups didn't get to finish their rounds.

Thankfully, my son's group was the last one allowed to finish and he tied his personal best (shot in 6U)--although you'd never know it through much of the tournament. If a shot isn't close to perfect, he's not happy. Hopefully that perfectionist gene can be a big advantage for him at some point, somehow. Our group had one kid he'd played with before and another who was friendly--both parents were upbeat and personable. Both of the other golfers were fresh of varying degrees of success at Worlds, and it was cool to hear stories of their trip.

My daughter's round was one of the groups who only made it through five holes. That was a bit of a disappointment, but she was just happy to get out and play with some girls her age. It was my father's introduction to being a grandaddy-caddy, and he lamented about his mistakes regarding club selection and a few other things he said cost her a few strokes. I was just happy to have him out there, and so were my kids. He's requested a range-finder for next week (we don't have one), and that's the next golf purchase.

Both kids experienced some success with their short games, which we've worked on a bunch this summer. I know it helped my son quite a bit, as he picked up strokes on the two more experienced players we played with who themselves, gave a couple strokes back to him each in their own short game. Next step is getting that drive out a little farther, as both kids outdrove him every hole. This didn't happen in 6U, so a bit of a wakeup call this was in his first 7s event.

We'll try it again on Saturday, this time at pretty swanky course. Grandpa gets redemption with a rangefinder for this one.

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I think it is more than a perfectionist gene. Certain people think that the only way to score is to hit perfect shots and hit it close to the flag stick. Reality is that very seldom in a great round does a PGA tour player do this. The player has to be conditioned to just hit the shot given and put the ball in the hole in the least amount of strokes. Too many great players never made it because they were too consumed with score rather than having fun playing the game.
Greg Norman and Tom Watson shared the same caddie at points in their careers. He was asked in an interview what was the difference in the two. I think we can all agree that Greg was more talented than Tom, but Tom had the better of careers. The caddie said "Greg would walk up to his ball and see it in a fairways divot. At that point he would moan, groan, and bitch about how unlucky he was. Tom would walk up to his ball in a fairway divot and say 'Watch this Shot!'."

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  • 1 month later...

The last tournament we played in about a month ago left us all ready to take a break, with the heat index touching 104 and the course running out of carts by the time we got there (we were among the last groups).  According to grandpa, who was caddying, my son struggled with his attitude until he saw the best player in his age group withdrawn by his father after the kid made something of a scene after a shot he didn't execute.  Two blow-up holes lead my son to his worst score in six months, and my daughter missed a pair of par putts inside of a foot but still managed to do OK.  Grandpa felt he cost my son a few strokes forgetting to use the rangefinder, and was dumbfounded about struggles off the tee.  Come to find out that my son had been teeing the ball up too far forward, causing him to ground-ball all drives.  It was a tournament to forget.

 

A hot and humid September here in Florida, along with the start of school, made it easy to forgo the ambitious practice schedule we had been partaking in.  We tapered back to swinging the club once or twice per week, and I tapered back my expectations for getting scores that approached 40.  This proved to be just what we needed.

 

The tournament yesterday was a big field, although not quite as packed as it was last month.  The field was nine and 10-deep in both my son and daughter's division, respectively, with most of the best players in each division playing.  It was hot, but no rain or lightning--a rare tournament day this time of year.  The small country club's parking lot was overrun with family vehicles, to the point where some 20 automobiles were parked in makeshift/illegal spaces.  Luckily, the club had a ton of carts, so it was already a good day before we teed off.  Yes, I know my kids are going to have to get used to walking in 90* heat and high humidity--I just wanted this round to be easy.

 

My son was matched up with a kid who had played in just one other USKG tournament, and had only been playing for four months.  I watched the kid swing a few times, and asked mom, "His swing is beautiful, has he been working a lot with a pro?"

 

"No," she replied.  "His grandfather is a pro in South Korea, and he got a lesson from him awhile back."

 

The mom and son were some of the nicest people you'd ever want to meet, and after the kid parred the opening hole, I knew my son might have a hard time handling getting beat by a kid who has been playing a a year less than him.  He and my son became fast friends, but it didn't stop my son from blowing up after a double bogie on the next hole.  I took him aside, told him I would pull him like the other kid got pulled last tournament.  Admittedly, I probably should have just pulled him and taught him the hard lesson--but I wanted him to play with this nice kid and try to make a new friend here.

 

It all ended up working out, as it was an enjoyable round by the end of the day.  Our playing partner struggled with the inconsistency most new golfers do, but kept an amazing attitude throughout.  The kids congratulated one another on shots all day, and even shared a few laughs.  

 

At the end of the round, it turned out the kid who was pulled in the last tournament we played in won the division--so it turned out to be a redemption for him.  My son shot about what I expected him to, and missed a hole-in-one by a few inches on a par 3.

 

My dad caddied for my daughter this day, and my expectations were non-existent for them.  Her struggles with consistency and shoulder/head movement the past few weeks were too great for me to solve, but I was encouraged by the last few drives I saw on the range.  After getting a text from my father she had parred the first three holes, I thought it was a typo--but indeed she did.  She ended up beating her best tournament score by two strokes (not the highest bar, but improvement), even with grandpa lamenting about the four strokes he probably cost her at various points.  Both kids were happy, and I told him to enjoy the moment as we enjoyed our "victory" Sonic dinner.


As I tucked my daughter in last night, she asked when we were going to go to Pinehurst.  I told her we weren't going until she could break 40, but I would help her get there, and it would take a lot of hard work if that was what she wanted.  She shook her head yes, and this was quite the turnaround from a kid who told me she wanted to only be a once-a-week golfer just two weeks ago.  We'll see how all that goes, but I'm just encouraged she's encouraged again by her play.  As for my son, he's still talking about his "hole-in-two" from yesterday and has been putting on the carpet all morning.  If only all days could be like this.

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21 hours ago, leezer99 said:

@MB19 Best write up and attitude I've seen on this forum in years.  Kudos to you and your family.

 

1 hour ago, darter79 said:

I feel like i just read an article from the local sports paper. Great write up. Love the motivation kids find. 

You guys are too kind--thank you.  

 

21 hours ago, Medson said:

Nice write up. 
 

40 is also the magic number for us. I need to work with the coach to figure out a way for my kid to break 40. 

The really good Jupiter/Palm Beach Gardens girls are absolute snipers with their wedges, and I think many of them see the same pro.  My kids are mostly solid with their wedges, but I do wonder if getting them in front of that pro (or another good short game coach) down there several times could shave 2-3 strokes off their score every round.  The biggest concern is justifying driving an hour each way for a kids golf lesson to my wife--lol.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 9/27/2020 at 11:02 AM, MB19 said:

The last tournament we played in about a month ago left us all ready to take a break, with the heat index touching 104 and the course running out of carts by the time we got there (we were among the last groups).  According to grandpa, who was caddying, my son struggled with his attitude until he saw the best player in his age group withdrawn by his father after the kid made something of a scene after a shot he didn't execute.  Two blow-up holes lead my son to his worst score in six months, and my daughter missed a pair of par putts inside of a foot but still managed to do OK.  Grandpa felt he cost my son a few strokes forgetting to use the rangefinder, and was dumbfounded about struggles off the tee.  Come to find out that my son had been teeing the ball up too far forward, causing him to ground-ball all drives.  It was a tournament to forget.

 

A hot and humid September here in Florida, along with the start of school, made it easy to forgo the ambitious practice schedule we had been partaking in.  We tapered back to swinging the club once or twice per week, and I tapered back my expectations for getting scores that approached 40.  This proved to be just what we needed.

 

The tournament yesterday was a big field, although not quite as packed as it was last month.  The field was nine and 10-deep in both my son and daughter's division, respectively, with most of the best players in each division playing.  It was hot, but no rain or lightning--a rare tournament day this time of year.  The small country club's parking lot was overrun with family vehicles, to the point where some 20 automobiles were parked in makeshift/illegal spaces.  Luckily, the club had a ton of carts, so it was already a good day before we teed off.  Yes, I know my kids are going to have to get used to walking in 90* heat and high humidity--I just wanted this round to be easy.

 

My son was matched up with a kid who had played in just one other USKG tournament, and had only been playing for four months.  I watched the kid swing a few times, and asked mom, "His swing is beautiful, has he been working a lot with a pro?"

 

"No," she replied.  "His grandfather is a pro in South Korea, and he got a lesson from him awhile back."

 

The mom and son were some of the nicest people you'd ever want to meet, and after the kid parred the opening hole, I knew my son might have a hard time handling getting beat by a kid who has been playing a a year less than him.  He and my son became fast friends, but it didn't stop my son from blowing up after a double bogie on the next hole.  I took him aside, told him I would pull him like the other kid got pulled last tournament.  Admittedly, I probably should have just pulled him and taught him the hard lesson--but I wanted him to play with this nice kid and try to make a new friend here.

 

It all ended up working out, as it was an enjoyable round by the end of the day.  Our playing partner struggled with the inconsistency most new golfers do, but kept an amazing attitude throughout.  The kids congratulated one another on shots all day, and even shared a few laughs.  

 

At the end of the round, it turned out the kid who was pulled in the last tournament we played in won the division--so it turned out to be a redemption for him.  My son shot about what I expected him to, and missed a hole-in-one by a few inches on a par 3.

 

My dad caddied for my daughter this day, and my expectations were non-existent for them.  Her struggles with consistency and shoulder/head movement the past few weeks were too great for me to solve, but I was encouraged by the last few drives I saw on the range.  After getting a text from my father she had parred the first three holes, I thought it was a typo--but indeed she did.  She ended up beating her best tournament score by two strokes (not the highest bar, but improvement), even with grandpa lamenting about the four strokes he probably cost her at various points.  Both kids were happy, and I told him to enjoy the moment as we enjoyed our "victory" Sonic dinner.


As I tucked my daughter in last night, she asked when we were going to go to Pinehurst.  I told her we weren't going until she could break 40, but I would help her get there, and it would take a lot of hard work if that was what she wanted.  She shook her head yes, and this was quite the turnaround from a kid who told me she wanted to only be a once-a-week golfer just two weeks ago.  We'll see how all that goes, but I'm just encouraged she's encouraged again by her play.  As for my son, he's still talking about his "hole-in-two" from yesterday and has been putting on the carpet all morning.  If only all days could be like this.

"His swing is beautiful, has he been working a lot with a pro?"

 

"No," she replied.  "His grandfather is a pro in South Korea, and he got a lesson from him awhile back."

 

ha,ha, heard that type of line before...

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