Working with Juniors – Make it Fun!
Working with Juniors – Make it Fun!
Hi, I’m Mel Sole, Director of Instruction at the Mel Sole Golf School, headquartered at Pawleys Plantation Golf and Country Club in Pawleys Island, SC. We conduct 1, 2 and 3-day golf schools, hourly golf lessons, and senior golf schools—any golf instruction program your heart desires. Give us a call at 800-624-4653 or 843-237-4993. We will be happy to book a commuter school or a package that contains accommodations, golf, and golf school.
Monthly Golf Tip by the Mel Sole Golf School.
It has been one of the joys of my life to work with junior golfers. They are much more receptive to change and new ideas. They are also willing to stand and do the same drill over and over. (unlike some adults I’ve taught who seek instant gratification)
I want to share my experience working with one beginner in particular over the last two years.
Alexandra Rippy is now 11 years old. When she was nine, I started her off with short putts of about two feet to initiate a feeling of success from the onset. When a junior sees rapid results, their interest and enthusiasm continue. So encourage your child or grandchild with praise for some easy putts. The development of this young girl’s swing has indicated that if she plays and practices with equal enthusiasm over the next ten years, she could compete at a high level.
Remember this mantra. Working with Juniors. Make it Fun!
I slowly introduced longer putts and then moved on to chipping. Using a 7 iron. (a proper junior set, not cut-offs!) We started a few feet off the putting surface and kept the chipping motion simple. I had her swing her arms like a pendulum and again saw fairly good results in a short time.
After a few weeks, I moved on to pitching. The movements were getting a little more complicated with a wrist hinge and a small body rotation going back and a bigger one going through.
This shows her in the setup position with the hands set slightly ahead of the ball.
It shows the backswing position with the left arm straight, the wrists hinged, and the hips rotated back slightly. #3 shows her in the impact position, with the left arm still straight, the hips starting to rotate through, and the weight shifting onto the front foot.
Just after impact, the arms extended out in front of her—all the weight through onto the front foot and the hips facing the target. I felt strongly that I needed to help her keep the left arm straight through impact, as most juniors have what we call a “Chicken Wing” or breakdown of the lead arm, which leads to a lot of frustration early on. This was a strong foundation for the full swing to come by working on this pitch shot (and continuing with the chipping and the putting) for about two months.
It was truly amazing how easily she adapted to the full swing because of the solid foundation we’d built.
As you can see in picture #5, all she had to do was make a slightly bigger shoulder turn to take her to the top of the backswing, and from there, she accelerated through the ball with a good body turn.
In picture #6, we see a good extension and rotation of the forearms (introduced during the pitch shot routine) and, finally, in picture #7, a full follow-through.
Build your child or grandchild’s swing from the ground up (or, in this case, from the hole out), and you will be excited with the results. However, please do not allow them to proceed to the next phase until they succeed with the earlier routines. Working with Juniors Make it Fun! Enjoy the experience of introducing a young person to this game of a lifetime!
Source: Mel Sole Golf School.
Thanks for reading – Working with Juniors – Make it Fun!
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