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Advice from parents of late-bloomers


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Posted (edited)

Looking for a little advice, or maybe some perspective, from those who have had kids who are late/later when it comes to hitting puberty/growth spurts

 

My now 13 year old is still hovering around 61" tall...and driver SS can hit 81-82 at home in the sim, but playing and trying to hit fairways its more like 76 avg. At 10-11 he was pretty average in terms of driving distance compared to the other kids in his age group, and was usually around 39-42 per side. This spring he struggled mentally as the push back from 4800 yards to 5400 yards in the 12 y/o division (USKG) meant he was basically either laying up or  hitting 3w/hybrid into every par 4...par 5's were about the same...sometimes the par 3's were 3w/driver off the tee ... end result was even though his game had improved substantially his scores took a step back, which led to frustration, tears, all the things that go along with being used to having at least a putt/chip for birdie to trying to scramble just to save bogey on most holes. 

 

I know all kids will grow when they grow, and it just takes time (try convincing a now undersized 13 year old of that ... kid is convinced he's going to be 5'1 forever) but what did you all do in terms of tournaments? He loves competing, but moves to 6,000 yards now and he's still not any longer than he was this past spring. I tried getting him to accept that "par" is now more like birdie to him, and that he can walk away feeling proud just going out and playing "bogey golf" but I'm worried that if his scores go up again with the move back and suddenly he's back to struggling to break 50/100 like he was at 9 (when it was expected as he had just started playing and he was HAPPY) that it could kill his love of the game. 

 

What did those of you do who had kids face similar issues with regards to pulling back/not playing? Any tips on getting him to overcome the mental hurdle with regards to shooting higher scores without the negativity that accompanies them?

Edited by MD_
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8 hours ago, Nickb333 said:

How is your kid doing academically and socially? 

He'a a straight A student and has a solid friend circle that exists both inside and outside of his golf....though I'm not sure how that's relevant to the question I was asking...

 

I was really just wondering if anyone else who had kids lagged behind at these ages (kids grow so differently from 10/11-really 15/16) how they helped them handle playing when they really aren't even capable of hitting a GIR ... every tournament/series around flights kids based on age, and pretty much all of them lump 13-15 year olds together...he couldn't keep up at 12 playing 5400 yards, so 6,000-6,200 which is what all the tournaments in our area play for that age group he'll be playing every par 4 like a par 5, having to hit 3 perfect shots and 1 putt just to make a par can't be good for the psyche at least in my opinion and very limited experience which is why I was looking to draw on the experiences of others. 

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I guess the plan of action might depend on what the expectations and objectives are for both player and parent.

 

A high % of kids who are above avg (or worse) when young quit sports when they get older and fall behind peers.  Many because they saw sports as a path towards something (even making a varsity high school team) and when they realize they aren't on that track anymore they divert their attention/resources elsewhere. 

 

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21 hours ago, MD_ said:

Looking for a little advice, or maybe some perspective, from those who have had kids who are late/later when it comes to hitting puberty/growth spurts

 

My now 13 year old is still hovering around 61" tall...and driver SS can hit 81-82 at home in the sim, but playing and trying to hit fairways its more like 76 avg. At 10-11 he was pretty average in terms of driving distance compared to the other kids in his age group, and was usually around 39-42 per side. This spring he struggled mentally as the push back from 4800 yards to 5400 yards in the 12 y/o division (USKG) meant he was basically either laying up or  hitting 3w/hybrid into every par 4...par 5's were about the same...sometimes the par 3's were 3w/driver off the tee ... end result was even though his game had improved substantially his scores took a step back, which led to frustration, tears, all the things that go along with being used to having at least a putt/chip for birdie to trying to scramble just to save bogey on most holes. 

 

I know all kids will grow when they grow, and it just takes time (try convincing a now undersized 13 year old of that ... kid is convinced he's going to be 5'1 forever) but what did you all do in terms of tournaments? He loves competing, but moves to 6,000 yards now and he's still not any longer than he was this past spring. I tried getting him to accept that "par" is now more like birdie to him, and that he can walk away feeling proud just going out and playing "bogey golf" but I'm worried that if his scores go up again with the move back and suddenly he's back to struggling to break 50/100 like he was at 9 (when it was expected as he had just started playing and he was HAPPY) that it could kill his love of the game. 

 

What did those of you do who had kids face similar issues with regards to pulling back/not playing? Any tips on getting him to overcome the mental hurdle with regards to shooting higher scores without the negativity that accompanies them?

I'm going to tell you what was passed on to me by a handful of longtime members in this forum:  It's time to build him up as an athlete.

 

There are a lot of resources out there on YouTube and IG that will help you build a foundation to base a workout on.  Working on core strength, push ups, various medicine ball throws and band stretches, box jumps and fast-twitch running drills like shuttle-drills and suicides will put considerable speed on his swing if done regularly.

 

Some parents have had success with Stack System, perhaps fewer have had success with the Super Speed Golf Training.

 

My son was being outdriven by better-but-smaller players when he had just turned 10.  After a lot of work and parts of the aforementioned training from above, he's  gone from similar swing speed to your son to upper 80s.  He did grow to 5'3", but he also put in a lot of work.

 

Now, if we can get him putting well again....  it's truly a game of whack-a-mole.

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Falling behind your peers in skill is one thing, in this regard he's falling behind physically due to the fact that not all children grow at the same time/rate

 

I don't have any goals/expectations for him competitively, if I had to say a goal its that I hope he, and I, and his brothers can find a lifetime of enjoyment together playing golf as they grow-up and have kids of their own.

 

His goals, well he wants to play in high school (but that part is easy as they're lucky to get 2 kids who can break 50 let alone a full starting 5, if we lived somewhere that allowed middle school kids to play on their high school teams he could have been a starter this season in 7th grade), and right now he wants to get a PGM degree and become a kids coach like his coach he see's monthly...but he's 13 and in 8th grade so who know's what will change (I mean at his age I wanted to go to space camp and be an astronaut and ended up in k-12 education 🤣).

 

I know this board as of late has turned more into of a conversation of elite level junior golf, and there are 10 year old's smaller than my son with 90 mph swing speed, 250+ carries, and a + handicap, but that's not my kid

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1 minute ago, MB19 said:

  Working on core strength, push ups, various medicine ball throws and band stretches, box jumps and fast-twitch running drills like shuttle-drills and suicides will put considerable speed on his swing if done regularly.

 

They just built/opened a Y in town, he's getting a membership for his birthday (he asked for it) and will be able to walk over after school ... it will be mostly un-supervised but I'm hoping he'll be open to getting into a workout routine, his coach is also a TPI certified instructor and has given him a presribed workout routine. We'll see how it goes.

 

Up until this year he played (Rec) soccer, basketball, and baseball in addition to golf so we've always tried to keep him well rounded, but due to either aging out, or lack of interest, he's just baseball and golf this year.

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21 minutes ago, MD_ said:

 

They just built/opened a Y in town, he's getting a membership for his birthday (he asked for it) and will be able to walk over after school ... it will be mostly un-supervised but I'm hoping he'll be open to getting into a workout routine, his coach is also a TPI certified instructor and has given him a presribed workout routine. We'll see how it goes.

 

Up until this year he played (Rec) soccer, basketball, and baseball in addition to golf so we've always tried to keep him well rounded, but due to either aging out, or lack of interest, he's just baseball and golf this year.

That's fantastic--he'll get there if he puts in the work, and it sounds like he's willing to do just that.

 

Best of luck to you guys!

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I think you need to talk to your son and really see where he wants to go, albeit he’s 13 and things will change, even if it’s a long shot.  Then he needs to put in work getting stronger or more athletic, but done the right way.  It sort of seems like the competitions are bringing up a level of frustration, maybe pull him out of them for the time being while he works on getting stronger.  You said he has a coach, what has he said or what is his advise?

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47 minutes ago, MD_ said:

I know this board as of late has turned more into of a conversation of elite level junior golf, and there are 10 year old's smaller than my son with 90 mph swing speed, 250+ carries, and a + handicap, but that's not my kid

I don't hit the tournament trail with my just-turned 11 yo son as much as his better peers, but we do play with some of the best 9/10/11 yo in FL from time to time. 

 

There is one kid, maybe just turned 10, who is a pretty large kid for his age (think the catcher from Sandlot), and he's the onlly one who we've see who has a chance of rolling it out to 250 by the time he turns 11.  This kid, somehow through extensive coaching, has figured out how to get all of his 140ish lbs into the ball and it's surreal to watch  That said, I've also seen this kid hit plenty of drives OB because that's what happens when kids (anyone, if we're being real) swing flat out every time in the box from time to time.  I haven't seen any 10 yo hit like this besides him, but there are probably a handful out there.  They are definitely outliers.

 

But 250 carry?  Man, that would be something for a 10 yo.

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Thanks.

 

He is very results oriented...so trying to keep him focused on the right results that aren't necessarily the tournament scorecard. 

 

This is all why I'm struggling with the internal debate of having him take the summer/fall "off" (at least from competitive golf) .. on the one side I could see him losing some of the motivation to practice/workout if he's not competing, but on the other hand, moving back 6-800 yards (local PGA section events are 6,200-6,000 for 13-15 and USKG is 6,000 for 13-14 flights) and another season of being frustrated could also have a negative impact.

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3 minutes ago, MB19 said:

 

 

But 250 carry?  Man, that would be something for a 10 yo.

You caught me using a touch of hyperbole there...but I was getting at the fact that not everyone here/on this forum has a kid who's racing toward being #1 in their graduating class (a direction its seemed to turn since I first started visiting/lurking a few years ago).

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4 minutes ago, MD_ said:

Thanks.

 

He is very results oriented...so trying to keep him focused on the right results that aren't necessarily the tournament scorecard. 

 

This is all why I'm struggling with the internal debate of having him take the summer/fall "off" (at least from competitive golf) .. on the one side I could see him losing some of the motivation to practice/workout if he's not competing, but on the other hand, moving back 6-800 yards (local PGA section events are 6,200-6,000 for 13-15 and USKG is 6,000 for 13-14 flights) and another season of being frustrated could also have a negative impact.

golf is the ultimate game of frustration and masochism; it takes a certain personality type to love and succeed in the sport

 

if one of the objectives is to see how good he can get, you should challenge him to see how he responds to adversity; at 13yo he's old enough to handle it and he may surprise you (and himself)

 

don't take this the wrong way, but if the goal is to shield him from hardship so that he sticks with golf (out of fear that he might lose interest/quit if he can't perform at the level he expects of himself) then maybe consider more the snowplow parenting approach

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Just my two cents:

 

I was a pretty scrawny kid in junior/early varsity golf. 5'3 - 125 freshman year and grew to 5'10 160 or so my senior year with no weight training or workouts. Just a super late bloomer I guess. I was mainly playing against kids that were about 6'0 185. Let's just say I played around my length efficiently. I got really good with a 3w and 4h/5h and almost never had a full wedge into greens. Almost always a D, 4h-5-6-iron, and a chip/putt. Par 5's it was more like a D, 3w, 8/9i, and a chip and a putt. It's not really about length, just quality of shots with clubs that will reach out there. I almost NEVER missed a driver. Easy swing for 240/250 down the middle is better than 260-280 and in the trees or water left or right.

 

And yes I struggled to shoot super low, but that just comes with the territory of junior golf. There's going to be kids that are better, stronger, faster, more "athletic", but then you see someone like Akshay Bhatia who's super skinny and he absolutely rips the ball. I know he's also 6'1, but you get the point. I think just re-assuring him that golf is for him to enjoy and as long as he's having a blast out there doing a hobby that he loves, it's going to be fine. It's something that he'll look back on for the rest of his life and hopefully remember as a positive experience. I miss junior golf like hell, wish I would've laughed more at some crazy shots over the years. You're not going to go home with every single trophy or top 3. Not even the pro's do that and there's no way to "perfect" golf. There's always something to work on, even at the highest level.

 

I like some suggestions of other posts in here. Maybe just starting to do some light weight training will push him mentally in the right direction when he starts getting stronger and bigger. Sometimes it's just the thought that you can do it to push you even further. Also not too sure on his current swing, but if he's working with a TPI guy, maybe just really grinding out his swing mechanics and getting everything dialed in to use his body effectively. I've seen some crazy small kids rip it over the years.

 

Good luck to him!

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1 hour ago, etodd said:

Just my two cents:

 

Thanks for the input/perspective. He recognizes he's got to put in work to get better/longer...his 3w is a weakness, and definitely something he needs to work on, but right now when he's looking at a 340+ yard par 4 he's hitting driver (165-175 carry typically, and where we are it's pretty much no/little roll out especially in the spring), 4H (because his consistency with dispersion is significantly better than the 18.5* fairway) to about 20-30yds, and then 1/2-3/4 wedge...if he hits all 3 good, at best he's got a putt to get up and down for par. When he was playing from about 2400/4800 he got pretty used to a goal of breaking 80 and was motivated to work hard to improve that...fall was step back, as the courses got longer and he was still really only driving it the same distance, so in the fall season from 5400 he spiraled, had a couple rounds over 100, bad attitude, down on himself, clearly not having "fun" etc...tried to work on the mental game over the winter, he did add about 15-20 yards off the tee over the winter mostly from optimizing his swing/AOA and got back into the mid/low 80's by the end of the spring schedule, but still wasn't where he thought he should be. I have no expectations for him, I've said it 1,000 times I don't care if he shoots a million as long as he's enjoying the game, but to be honest he's a hard headed (now)teenager and has it in his mind that he should still be out there expecting to break 80....He really wants to play in the local PGA section events this summer, mostly because his best friend is and fomo, but I just feel like moving back another 800 yards isn't a wise decision for him where he's at mentally and I'm not sure how to get across to him that the score isn't the important part (since you know telling him that directly multiple times makes 0 difference).

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1 minute ago, MD_ said:

Thanks for the input/perspective. He recognizes he's got to put in work to get better/longer...his 3w is a weakness, and definitely something he needs to work on, but right now when he's looking at a 340+ yard par 4 he's hitting driver (165-175 carry typically, and where we are it's pretty much no/little roll out especially in the spring), 4H (because his consistency with dispersion is significantly better than the 18.5* fairway) to about 20-30yds, and then 1/2-3/4 wedge...if he hits all 3 good, at best he's got a putt to get up and down for par. When he was playing from about 2400/4800 he got pretty used to a goal of breaking 80 and was motivated to work hard to improve that...fall was step back, as the courses got longer and he was still really only driving it the same distance, so in the fall season from 5400 he spiraled, had a couple rounds over 100, bad attitude, down on himself, clearly not having "fun" etc...tried to work on the mental game over the winter, he did add about 15-20 yards off the tee over the winter mostly from optimizing his swing/AOA and got back into the mid/low 80's by the end of the spring schedule, but still wasn't where he thought he should be. I have no expectations for him, I've said it 1,000 times I don't care if he shoots a million as long as he's enjoying the game, but to be honest he's a hard headed (now)teenager and has it in his mind that he should still be out there expecting to break 80....He really wants to play in the local PGA section events this summer, mostly because his best friend is and fomo, but I just feel like moving back another 800 yards isn't a wise decision for him where he's at mentally and I'm not sure how to get across to him that the score isn't the important part (since you know telling him that directly multiple times makes 0 difference).

Yeah definitely tough when he's only getting the driver to about 180 with some rollout - I didn't realize. I used to have little blow ups here and there, but never was too terribly short compared to everyone else so that never really got to me mentally. You know it's tough on a kid any way you put it. It would be rough having to play 450yd Par 4's with D, 3w, Wedge, and then Putter, and somehow scrape by with pars so I get where you're coming from with the "bogey golf" expectations. He'll get there - just gotta keep working at it!

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3 Wood: Titleist Tsr3 15° (A1/C) - Fujikura Ventus TR Red 7 Stiff (77g) - MCC Black - 43.25"

3 Hybrid: Titleist Tsr3 19° (A1/C) - Nippon ModusHybrid G.O.S.T Stiff (91g) - MCC Black - 40.50"

Irons: Fourteen TB7 4-PW (22°-44°) - (BB&F Co) - Nippon Modus3 115 Stiff (119g) - MCC Black - STD

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 Raw (49/54/59) - (BB&F Co) - Nippon Modus3 115 Wedge (122g) - MCC Black - STD

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5'1 doesn't strike me as that small for a 13 yo.   Sure, there will start to be some bigger kids with moustaches and such at that age, just like little league baseball, but I think 5'1 is generally about average for a boy that age.

 

He should have the strength and size to hit the ball quite a bit further than he is.   Does he have a swing coach that is helping him generate a little more power?  

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Sounds like this is a somewhat rhetorical post based on your responses OP. You already know the answers. Physically either grow taller or stronger or both; or become more efficient in the swing. And if that's not possible, mentally prepare for it to take time and learn how to deal with the present interim results.

 

...Or stop playing tournaments where your kid cannot handle the length until he can.

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This sounds similar to my son. He is almost 12, and he carries maybe 180-185 and total distance around 200. He is 85lbs and ~62". Over the last 2 years, he has gained maybe 20 yards. So he went from being in the top quartile to maybe bottom quartile-ish nowadays. Part of this is due to some health issues but given his recovery from that, he is starting to gain some strength and distance

 

The lack of distance has been frustrating especially as he sees kids who he grew up playing hitting it about 30-40 yards past him. We have adjusted our expectations for the tournaments for the season. Instead of playing a bunch of local Golf associations tournaments from 6100 yards, we are playing some USKG and the ones which are closer to 6100. The way we think about par 4's in these longer distances is to think of the ones closer to 350 as par 5's; when he was 10, he would birdie half the par 5's from 350 yards, so we try to use the same logic and see if we can par half of them now. Playing USKG also helps a bit with confidence as the fields are not necessarily as stacked at age 12, so even if the score is higher (say mid 70's), the chase to win helps keep motivation in.

 

I was talking to someone whose kid is older and said no matter what, having comfort with long irons and woods is critical even in high school. I would set the right expectations and pick tournaments that are balanced.

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8 hours ago, MD_ said:

 

They just built/opened a Y in town, he's getting a membership for his birthday (he asked for it) and will be able to walk over after school ... it will be mostly un-supervised but I'm hoping he'll be open to getting into a workout routine, his coach is also a TPI certified instructor and has given him a presribed workout routine. We'll see how it goes.

 

Up until this year he played (Rec) soccer, basketball, and baseball in addition to golf so we've always tried to keep him well rounded, but due to either aging out, or lack of interest, he's just baseball and golf this year.

This is all I was getting at with my question. Glad to hear he's kicking tail with his grades and buddies. 

 

I sure wouldn't give your sons stature too much thought. I was the second tallest kid in 8th grade and one of the few guys close to 6' as a freshman in HS. At that point I was pretty much done growing upward. I was amazed my junior year in HS at all the previously 5'5" guys that were now 6'2"++. 

 

Your son will be successful in life if you just keep doing what you're doing. No reason to micro manage his golf or worry. One of the best things my dad ever did for me was let me win and lose on my own. He was always there if I needed and asked for help but... As I made mistakes and accomplished some cool stuff, I got to own all of it. Thanks for that dad! 

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My daughter was always the smallest, but now she caught up and can win more.
Ofc sometimes there are coming girls one head bigger, bad swing, and still 20y further, it is what it is.
The more important thing to focus on for him is how he performs against kids of the same size.
My daughter always blamed being short for being outdriven, but then she met a now good friend of hers, she was even smaller and bombed it past everyone.
My daughter got explained by her what she does in athletics "every day", and so my daughter started as well, and still isn't the longest but comes closer and closer to the bomber in her size.
The point is smaller kids, once they realize how important strength training is, will outperform most early big kids, at some point once the growth starts to even out.

Don't think we can tell you more than get stronger and be positive, maybe show him some books where youth sport is explained, it's a prevalent topic.

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Posted (edited)

My 13 year old is also on the smaller end of the range...~61" and ~73ish lbs.  She was always one of the smaller girls and youngest in her competition groups....was one of the shortest hitters so relied on good short game to be competitive.  Around 2 years ago decided not going to use being small and a short hitter as an excuse, so has since:
- work with a trainer for overall strength, flexibility, core and power
- sleeps as much as she can
- we consulted with a nutritionist and by her choice she eats a good diet, very littel junk food, plenty of protein, lots of eggs and milk - even though she is not fond of either
- speed trains
- works on swing technique - iron compression and driver accuracy and power. she has good body spacial awareness from ballet and can adjust her swing however coach asks
- further sharpened putting, and expanded types of chipping and bunkers she can execute 

Her iron approach is probably the relative weakest area of her game because she doesn't have the strength, size and speed to aggressively pin hunt - she's accurate enough to able to GIR using woods/hybrids/long irons but getting high spin and holding greens is a challenge.  But now her driver distance is long enough (195-205 carry plus roll) and her approach shots straight enough to keep her in contention but those aren't enough to win but keeps her in the game.  It's her putting and short game, and also bunker saves that wins it for her.  She's also a calm player, able to focus and has good course management. She's learned how to score low with what she can control, and tries to address her relatively weaknesses with training and diet.  

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Honestly, they will grow (at their own rate).

I would just focus on developing as an athlete, eating lots and maybe smashing some drivers as hard as they can a couple times a week. 

In my opinion, I would think he has a lot more potential in him for swing speed.

I know when I was 13, I was 60" tall, 99 pounds and could get almost 100mph clubhead speed. 

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My son is a late bloomer.  14 yrs old and about 95 lbs.  He's a rail.  On an average drive, he is carrying it about 220 +/-.  He used to be average in distance as a 10-12 yr old, but quickly started falling behind his peers as they began puberty.  At any given tournament my son is 30-60 yards behind his competitors.  Luckily, the whole distance gap does not bother him and he continues to play his own game.  Instead of taking a break or playing shorter courses, he pushes himself to actually play longer courses (6,800+ Yards) and is able to hold his own.  He understands that the distance will eventually come, but there is no doubt he is growing a bit impatient with nature as well.  

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1 hour ago, kekoa said:

My son is a late bloomer.  14 yrs old and about 95 lbs.  He's a rail.  On an average drive, he is carrying it about 220 +/-.  He used to be average in distance as a 10-12 yr old, but quickly started falling behind his peers as they began puberty.  At any given tournament my son is 30-60 yards behind his competitors.  Luckily, the whole distance gap does not bother him and he continues to play his own game.  Instead of taking a break or playing shorter courses, he pushes himself to actually play longer courses (6,800+ Yards) and is able to hold his own.  He understands that the distance will eventually come, but there is no doubt he is growing a bit impatient with nature as well.  

While puberty will help a little, it won't fully develop unless they hit the gym. My 14 year old increased over 15 mph in about 9 months simply from being given a program and lifting weights.

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On 5/28/2024 at 11:11 AM, MD_ said:

Looking for a little advice, or maybe some perspective, from those who have had kids who are late/later when it comes to hitting puberty/growth spurts

 

My now 13 year old is still hovering around 61" tall...and driver SS can hit 81-82 at home in the sim, but playing and trying to hit fairways its more like 76 avg. At 10-11 he was pretty average in terms of driving distance compared to the other kids in his age group, and was usually around 39-42 per side. This spring he struggled mentally as the push back from 4800 yards to 5400 yards in the 12 y/o division (USKG) meant he was basically either laying up or  hitting 3w/hybrid into every par 4...par 5's were about the same...sometimes the par 3's were 3w/driver off the tee ... end result was even though his game had improved substantially his scores took a step back, which led to frustration, tears, all the things that go along with being used to having at least a putt/chip for birdie to trying to scramble just to save bogey on most holes. 

 

I know all kids will grow when they grow, and it just takes time (try convincing a now undersized 13 year old of that ... kid is convinced he's going to be 5'1 forever) but what did you all do in terms of tournaments? He loves competing, but moves to 6,000 yards now and he's still not any longer than he was this past spring. I tried getting him to accept that "par" is now more like birdie to him, and that he can walk away feeling proud just going out and playing "bogey golf" but I'm worried that if his scores go up again with the move back and suddenly he's back to struggling to break 50/100 like he was at 9 (when it was expected as he had just started playing and he was HAPPY) that it could kill his love of the game. 

 

What did those of you do who had kids face similar issues with regards to pulling back/not playing? Any tips on getting him to overcome the mental hurdle with regards to shooting higher scores without the negativity that accompanies them?

This was my son exactly. Lifting, speed training, playing multiple sports, none of it mattered. His could not gain speed. Started high school about the same size as your son and swinging in the low 80s. That 13-14 age was brutal. Playing around 6000-6500 and hitting driver-3 wood on every hole and sometimes still needing wedge. We did a few things to try to help, they helped some, but honestly it was just a tough stretch of golf. For what it’s worth, he worked his tail off during that time trying to find a way to just compete and has now come out on the other side much better for it (I know that doesn’t help your son to hear/they only see what right in front of them)

1. We still played tournaments, just not as many. I wanted him to compete and see where he stood. It also gave him something to prepare for/stay motivated.

2. We looked at the course prior to playing and changed par based on length of holes. So if he couldn’t reach a par for with max driver/3wood we would make it a par 5, etc.

This helped some from a mental standpoint, but what I found interesting was it also changed strategy. Maybe he would just layup with 7i and hit 9iron to green if there was trouble. This helped shave strokes. 
mentally knowing 84 was par for the day, helped some. It at least gave a target that was more reasonable. 
3. We continued to work hard with a TPI trainer. When the growth spurt finally came, and it did finally come lol, he was able to compete almost overnight. 
4. Finally, work to be elite around the green. From 80 yards in he needs to be the best in the field. 
 

He did finally get to a point where he thought the longer courses actually played in his favor. He felt he could hit Fairway woods better than longer players could hit long irons. The short courses where those kids hit driver wedge and he was hitting driver long iron were tougher to compete. 

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Thanks for the tips, @kekoa and @Movingday decided against doing the full junior series this summer with the local pga section, got a deal worked out with the pro at a local private club he's played in a bunch of events at (but one we could never dream to afford to join) and he's going to volunteer with their junior camps for the 5-8 year old kids 3 days a week and he'll get junior membership privilege's for the summer...honestly I think he's excited to just spend the summer playing for fun and will play from their regular mens tee's that play about 6100 yards.

 

I like the idea of just changing the par on the scorecard for the holes we know on paper he can't reach, maybe its enough of a difference from a mental standpoint it will help. Obviously trying to convince him that "bogey is par" didn't work, so even though its essentially the same thing its framed differently and maybe it will click for him. There is one event we will probably enter, just because it's close to home so we will definitely try it for that one and see....interestingly he's usually played some of his worst rounds there since moving back, mostly because it has a lot of PA's/Trouble to carry on approach and never wanted to hear that 5i/9i was probably a better play than 3w/wedge, but now from 6,000 the lay-up will be forced

 

To your point #4 this is 100% where he needs to improve this summer and going to be a focus, he's pretty good (better than average for the level of competition he plays against), but definitely not elite...he's not missing greens or leaving himself 50 footers but just not getting close enough proximity to the hole to have many 1-putts from that distance.

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