Kids and Juniors
How to win a high school golf match
By Chris Noble
A high school golf coach has a lot of responsibilities. From running practices, driving to tournaments, coaching players and communicating with parents and guardians, it can seem like a high school golf coach’s job is never done! Winning a high school golf match is no easy feat, however with proper planning you can set your team up for success to win their next match or tournament. Let’s discuss how.
Know your Players
A high school golf team can range from two to 22 players, so it is crucial that you get to know each player on your team, their golf background, skill level and their goals for the season. Before the season even starts, ask your players what their goals are or what they are hoping to accomplish this season. Is it breaking 90? Breaking 80? Improving a short game? Being on the all-state team? This knowledge can help a coach understand how much time and instruction each team member will require. You can create a detailed practice plan for each player if you clearly understand their wants and goals for the season.
Practice with a Purpose
Never send your players out to the range, putting green or course without communicating specific goals together. Is the goal today to make 50 5-footers during practice? Working on 75-1225 yard shots on the range? Hitting 100 bunker shots and getting at least half on the green? Regardless of what it is - practice with a purpose and have a clear set goal in your mind before sending your players out for practice on any given day.
On-Course Practice Work
When your players go out for a 9 or 18 hole round of golf, make some fun and competitive games. Maybe you say low score a certain day gets a sleeve of golf balls, or the low man or woman gets to choose what shirt/outfit the team wears for the next match.. Give motivation for your players to go out on the course and play their best golf.
Know the rules of golf
As a coach, knowing the rules of golf will provide your players the necessary advantage that they may need, especially when confronted with an odd ruling. In 2019, the USGA unveiled major changes to the Rules of Golf and having a basic understanding can help ensure your players not only don’t get penalized but use the rules to their advantage.
Coach and mentor
When the day of the match has arrived, it’s important that you can inspire your players to play their absolute best. Words of encouragement are good, but as a coach, realize each of your players is a little different when it comes to motivation. A good suggestion would be to station yourself on all of the par 3’s to ensure you can see each player during the actual match. Encourage your players to play smart golf and boost them up if they have a few bad holes.
Encourage good course management
This could be the most important point of all, encourage your golfers to have good course management when playing in a match. Rather than playing aggressive, have them “think” their way through a round and pick the best misses. The biggest thing to teach is that golf is not a game of perfection, rather, it is a game of misses. Having better misses can protect a player from having a blow-up hole or recording a big number.
Hopefully, some of these above tips will help you as a high school golf coach to ensure that your team is set up to play their best golf!
Chris Noble, National High School Golf Association
Golf is more than just a game; it is a way of life. My hope is that my career within the game and passion for junior golf, that I can bring meaning and purpose to the high school golf world.