By Maggie Will
Navigating the junior golf landscape can be a daunting task for junior golf families. “Which tournaments to play, where to play and how many to play” are the questions often asked of Maggie Will, 3-time LPGA winner, former college golf coach and now owner of Will2Golf, the world’s largest searchable digital golf tournament database.
“It is really about empowering my members and easing the angst associated with scheduling and connecting with college coaches”, says Will.
We caught up with Maggie to get her tips on building a junior golf playing schedule.
Will says she sees many bogeys made before junior golfers ever tee it up in a tournament. She cautions juniors to be careful not to follow someone down a road map that may not fit them.
“Everyone’s path should be as individual as their golf swing.”
Playing at the appropriate level for your game is paramount according to Maggie. “At Will2Golf we help junior golfers determine their level, set a schedule appropriate for their level and aid them in their tournament selection to grow their game to the next level.”
Once your level is identified, your next task is finding the mix of tournaments for your budget. The key is playing where you can succeed (your current level) and adding events that stretch (the next level) when appropriate. “Most folks make the mistake of running before they walk by playing in events that strain them over and over and never gain confidence”, says Will.
Most cities, counties and states are blessed with 9,18, and 36-hole events as well as numerous state championships at the junior and amateur level. Play local when possible. However, the easily searchable Will2Golf tournament finder makes finding tournaments a breeze at home or wherever your travels take you!
Will goes on to say, “When scheduling, start with your personal ‘majors’ and build around them. Just like professionals get stretched and strained at their majors, a junior golfer should schedule a few events that pressure them out of their comfort zone each year. Next, add some ‘mid-majors’, events where you feel added pressure, but not completely out of your comfort zone. And last, fill in your schedule with ‘preparatory events’ at your level and an opportunity to shoot lower scores and gain confidence.”
One big mistake Will sees is high school golfers thinking they have to play in only 36-hole events. She reminds, “Don’t fall for that trap. You can always use 18-hole events to prepare for a state or national qualifier and notes that many times a qualifier in college golf is only 18-holes. Learning to be ready on the first tee, playing to the finish and putting a number on the board is a valuable skill.”
Will’s best advice, “Keep improving and lowering your scoring average. College coaches will be interested if you can shoot scores that help lower their team scoring average.”
For more help finding tournaments, building playing schedules for your level and college opportunities, check out Will2Golf.com on the web.
You can learn more about Maggie at Will2Golf and here is shortened bio:
Maggie Will is a three-time LPGA Tour winner and longtime Tour veteran, experienced golf instructor and innovator, former college golfer and college golf coach, and founder of Will2Golf, the most comprehensive online golf tournament search and schedule-building site for junior golfers. Maggie has been a member of the LPGA Tour since 1989, the PGA of America since 2000 and the LPGA Teaching & Club Professionals since 2009. Maggie, lives in Richmond, VA and is a 1987 graduate of Furman University, was inducted into the Greater Wilmington (N.C.) Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.
Following her competitive playing days, Maggie served as the head women’s golf coach at University of Richmond, where she was named CAA Coach of the Year, and also served as an assistant coach for the women’s golf programs at UNC Wilmington and North Carolina State, the men’s golf program at Virginia Commonwealth University