By Michael Burcin, Owner, Under Par Consulting
Half of the programming we offer at UPC is based on performance trends, hurdles, and habits that I observed when kids transition from junior to collegiate golf; and then who succeeds at a high level once in college. It is not a random coincidence about who continues to progress when golf courses get longer, greens get faster, and even the best collegiate weather in spring and fall is nowhere near what we see in summer tournaments.
It has never been easier to get a really good full swing lesson in the United States. In almost every city, in every state, there is a great teacher doing great things in developing junior golf swings. At the same time, finding teachers that willingly will discuss short game, course management, or come watch their students play is few and far between. You can argue why that is; somewhere between short game doesn’t sell and it is not how most instructors business models are built…..but it remains important.
The number of kids playing junior golf and then go to college who posses the skills to be efficient practicers, understand short game versatility, and navigate themselves while understanding course management is few and far between. Yet the best two players of the last generation only averaged hitting 50% of their fairways. What is the disconnect? Part of the blame falls on golf on tv, some on the stats that those same tv announcers discuss, and just as much falls on equipment and what we prioritize. Why do we get fitted for drivers that we hit 6-12 times a round, but putters (which are used as many as 30 times) are usually bought cold off the rack?
In order to maximize your potential in this great game your expectations must be managed. Players must realize what happens in a full swing lesson or during your weekly range grind session, has almost zero connectivity to what score you will shoot.
My ranking of what is important to the junior golfer is course management including mental preparation, then pitching to include chipping and putting, and last is ball striking. You do not have to hit it very good from tee to around the green if you do all the other things well. Tee to near the green is the area we have the least control over while we have 100% control on how we prepare for a round, our game plan, and our attitude. We also have substantial control over shots from 30 yards off the green and in.
To conclude hit less range balls, pick clubs to keep the ball under the hole, play more holes, and find a good regular short game lesson. Your golf future will look much brighter!
Michael Burcin, Owner – Under Par Consulting