Golf Links and Tips
Youth Golf: Affordable, Convenient and Fun!
Not long ago, golf was “the expensive sport” when compared with other youth sports. The price of golf clubs versus a soccer ball or equipment in other sports was a big difference, and the cost of green fees and instruction made golf inaccessible for many kids.
As a parent of three, I can assure you that golf has now become a very affordable option. You can purchase a quality set of youth clubs for as little as $100, and many local golf courses are offering reasonable rates for juniors to play. For example, at Cantigny Youth Links, $225 buys a full season pass! Group lessons are economical as well, at Cantigny and elsewhere.
Other youth sports these days command a larger commitment in both money and time. With golf, parents can determine what is convenient to their schedule and can pick and choose when to practice or play. Best of all, kids learn a game they can play their whole life.
27w270 Mack Road, Wheaton
- Patrick Lynch, Head Professional
Chip and Run
Most golfers will have better results for short shots around the green by playing shots that land just on the putting surface and roll like putts to the hole. Choice of club can vary anywhere from a five-iron for a shot across the green all the way to a sand wedge, dependent on the length the ball needs to run. I often use the seven-iron for longer chips…the pitching wedge if the hole is closer. You certainly want to pick a club that allows you to land the ball on the green…not in the fringe. The stroke is fairly short…just enough to get the ball on the green and rolling. You should experiment with different clubs to get a good feel. Play the ball back off your right foot and keep the left wrist leading for solid contact.
Use this method for consistent play around the green…only use the “flop shot” with the sand wedge when extreme height is necessary to stop the ball quickly. Good luck saving strokes in 2019!
If you need help with your short Game, or any other aspect of the game, the PGA professionals of the AHPD are here to help make your golf more enjoyable.
Arlington Lakes Golf Club
Facility of Arlington Heights Park District
1211 S. New Wilke Road, Arlington Heights
- Steve Jenne, PGA Head Teaching Professional
- Sae Yoon, PGA Assistant Professional
- Tim Govern, PGA Manager of Golf Operations
- Rob VanDuyse, Assistant Golf Professional
You Only Need a Few Clubs
You’re allowed to carry as many as 14 clubs in your bag, but you won’t need nearly that many when you’re first learning. Instead, start with a driver, a putter, a sand wedge and supplement those with a 6-iron, an 8-iron, a pitching wedge, and a fairway wood or hybrid with 18-21 degrees of loft. These are the clubs that are the most forgiving and easiest to get the ball airborne.
Twin Lakes Golf Club
400 W. 59th Street, Westmont
Take a Lesson, at the Range!
As a golf professional, I know the value of lessons, as much as a doctor knows the value of medicine. However, too many amateur golfers are confining their lesson activity while they are playing an actual game.
The golf course is no place to be giving or taking lessons. Even if the advice is good, the tension of the game, the fear of holding up players behind and the lack of practice all add pressure and negativity to the enjoyment of the game.
Jim Randall, a student of mine, tried to teach his wife on the course. “She’s so bad, she hits the ball three times before I can move the cart. Take her, please.”
At my first lesson with Mary Randall she confessed that Jim’s constant nagging and “how to” tips made her nervous and desperate. She couldn’t concentrate nor enjoy their rounds together.
My advice to Jim Randall, and anyone else inclined to teach the game while playing is … don’t! Leave the lessons to the people who know how to do it, the pros, at the place where it should be done, the practice range. Enjoy the game and fix the problems later.
I also told Jim to take his wife … to a good restaurant. She deserved it.
THE PRESERVE @ OAK MEADOWS
Addison, IL 60101
How to Play Golf as a Family
Having fun is most important when introducing your children to the game of golf. Let’s take a tip from the master of family entertainment – DisneyTM, which continually stresses the need to view the world through the eyes of a child. By playing from the same tees and using clubs that will travel the same distance as your child’s stroke, you will get to spend quality time during the round and create a realistic goal for your child of hitting shots further than you.
I highly recommend practicing on a putting green or short game practice area that provide a great opportunity to teach proper posture, grip and alignment. One of my favorite activities is to form teams among family members and create competitions. The ultimate benefit is improvement in putting and short game which account for nearly 70% of the shots taken in a normal round of golf.
Remember the goal is to have fun, be creative, and let your child create games that are fun through their eyes while instructive in the fundamentals through your eyes.
Pottawatomie Golf Course
845 N. Second Avenue in Pottawatomie Park, St. Charles
- Ron Skubisz, Golf Course Manager & PGA Golf Pro
Properly Fit Clubs Are Just As Important For Junior Golfers
Properly fit equipment is a critical component in the development of all junior golfers. The variety of clubs available today makes this process much easier than 20 or 30 years ago when juniors were given their parents old clubs.
Juniors playing with cut-down or clubs that are clearly too long for them will result in frustration, poor swing mechanics, and the start of bad habits. Clubs that are cut-down will be improperly balanced or much too heavy to swing properly. Grips that are too big will also make it difficult to swing properly and hit the ball at the target. A certified fitter will make sure they’re using the proper clubs for their age and height.
Junior clubs are available based on age and height. A set of junior clubs will only last at most a couple seasons before they grow into the next set. A junior set consists of 3–7 clubs, and is relatively inexpensive compared to an adult set. Some companies offer a trade-in value as the child outgrows their current clubs and needs the next size up. Taking the step of seeing a PGA Professional or certified fitter will result in a happy and successful golfer.
Golf Center Des Plaines
353 N. River Road, Des Plaines
Rob Hutzler, PGA Professional
Certified Personal Coach
GolfTec – Des Plaines