The keys to becoming an elite junior golfer, according to elite junior golfers
Welcome to Golfer-to-Golfer, where we try to learn from all different kinds of avid players out there, in hopes that the rest of us can take away something that might improve our own games.
The path to professional golf starts quite early for those who reach the top levels of the game. For nearly every pro you cheer on each weekend, their training started well before the age most people even get their drivers license.
At this week’s Mizuho Americas Open, a handful of those pros-in-training will be showcasing their skills. In a first-of-its-kind event at Liberty National, the tournament features 20 of the country’s top juniors playing alongside LPGA pros. And although the juniors were a bit star-struck sharing the range with their idols, they have plenty of game themselves. In just a few years time, at least some of these juniors will be playing on the LPGA Tour themselves.
Much like the pros, the success of these juniors is no accident. They’ve dedicated their lives to this craft, and the rewards — such as teeing it up in this event — are just starting to roll in.
Ahead of their first taste of the pro-golf spotlight, we caught up with some of the juniors to get their keys to becoming some of the best young golfers in the country.
Put in the time
“I think the biggest key to being successful as a junior is being dedicated to practice and putting in the time and the effort. What you do on the course is a reflection of your practice, so it’s really important to put in the hours and put in the work. Obviously, you want to have fun on the course, because that’s what keeps you going. But I think the main key is putting in the time and the effort if you want to be successful.” —Anna Song, 16
Fall in love with the game
“It’s going to sound super cliche, but you’ve got to fall in love with the game. Fall in love with what you do every day and try to be the best at doing that every day. It’s not easy, and some days you’re not going to love it, but you’ve got to learn to love it and learn why you love it and always go back to those things. I like playing a lot of games on the course, so if I’m ever struggling to have fun I can play a game that brings me back to it.” —Macy Pate, 17
“You’ve got to work hard. You’ve got to be dedicated and committed with your time and be disciplined in your practice. It’s all about being decisive and not being lazy. I’m still learning about how to do it best, and managing school and golf and other stuff can be tough, but it’s a learning experience. I’ve just got to make sure I’m putting in the time and effort and reminding myself that it’s for something I love.” —Jaclyn LaHa, 17
Spend the extra time
“I would tell people to just spend the extra 30 minutes on the course. I know it can be hard, especially for me because I go to actual school and I know it can be hard to balance social life and golf and school and do all the extra stuff, but it’s totally worth it. I know my dad used to tell me, ‘If you’re not out there practicing, someone else out there is.’ And I think that really impacted me and so I was just always trying to keep going and put the extra time in.” —Ashleen Kaur, 18
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