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I was looking for some background information about my Truespec fitter and ran across this and his involvement with Ryan Sefrioui, "Team OT".  This caught my attention because I remember hearing about Ryan from a Drive-Chip & Putt contest at the Masters. Man, have things ever changed since my few adolescent years playing JGA tournaments in Florida. Only 14 years old and has his own website and team!   @GolfSpy MPR and the rest of you who have some young, aspiring golf talent.... don't get left behind.

ABOUT | OT Golf (ot-golf.com)

Personally I find this both amazing and a little eyebrow raising at the same time.  Is this the new model from which the next Tiger emerges?  Obviously not having this level of support won't preclude a "natural" from getting to pro golf phenom status but not having it would, seemingly, put him/her at a big disadvantage.  I should think there is some considerable expense involved?  Well to do parents?  Partially sponsored on the bet for future payout?  What are your thoughts?

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This has happened a lot with other sports too. The specialization and training seems to increase. Though we all hear the stories of past greats being at the course from sun up to sun down, just it was less focused or regimented practice. I hope most get to be kids since for every Speith and JT there are countless other young players that never make it.

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The risk of burnout / injury derailing the chase is probably equal to the chance of achievement.  I saw that with my niece & her group in competitive gymnastics.  There are 100's of thousands of kids in similarly focused training for many sports and activities.  Many get to at least a college scholarship level and I wonder if the $$ spent on the specialized training and camps is less or more than the scholarships??!!  My experience with a dance focused kid and estimating the $$ involved with everything, that payout was slightly less than the scholarship $$'s in our case.

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My daughter is 13 and faces some tough mental challenges in gymnastics when it’s time to “flip” a new way she’s not done before. Fear sets-in, and then a “mental block” on a skill. The issue with this in gymnastics is that if the gymnast hesitates just one bit, they can be badly injured...

We recently started getting her some “sessions” with a former Univ of Michigan gymnast who we met 5-6 years ago. The former gymnast works as a sports “psychologist”, mental coach, and they have online training, meetings, groups, and 1-on-1 sessions. It’s not cheap, but it’s helping, and we’re willing to do whatever we can for our daughter to be successful and safe in such a demanding sport. There are are only 60-some colleges in the USA that offer gymnastics, and at this point, this is what she dreams of doing, so if we have the means, we’re going to help her anyway we can.

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I coached AAU hoops for years, from 12 years old up to 18, and I worked for Nike coaching teams at Elite camps. There are SO many misconceptions about AAU basketball from the parent’s and kid’s perspective. First, they think they HAVE to play every year starting at a young age to get a scholarship, be a pro. Next, they think their little hometown team playing in local tournaments is getting their kid “seen”. Neither is true.....

Sure, playing more hoops should help develop the skill, but coaching in AAU is atrocious, so outside of being on a court, they usually don’t get better with fundamentals. A kid that isn’t playing on a team that travels to the biggest tournaments in Vegas, NY, California, etc, isn’t getting “seen”. Playing a weekend 13-U tournament in little Monroe, LA, isn’t going to magically get a kid a scholarship.

Next, you’re LIKELY not going to be an NBA player unless you’re taller than 6’5”. Yep, some at 6’3” make it, but your better be a FREAK athletically. Jason Kidd was 6’5” and played point guard.... 7 footers are playing “outside” now. 
 

What’s my point? As in ANY sport, your kid better have athletic ability, FIRST. A professional athlete, generally, isn’t “made”. Next, if your kid isn’t getting the proper coaching along the way, it’s also likely they won’t have the basic skills to compete later at the highest levels. Lastly, just because we get our kid extra coaching, psychologists, trainers, etc, it comes back to their athletic ability. In golf, it’s ROUGH. How many guys do we all know who are “plus” handicaps? They shoot in the 60s. They played in college. Yet... They can’t even SNIFF the PGA Tour! Jack, Rory, DJ, Tiger, etc weren’t average golfers who just worked hard. They are blessed with a given talent that can’t be drilled into someone. Borderline? More drilling, more coaching? Maybe. Brian Bateman from right here in Monroe, LA, was THAT guy. Was he on Tour? Yep. Did he win once? Yep. Some do it, but the first thing a parent needs to have is OBJECTIVITY. Don’t make plans for your kid. Be honest about their abilities, and set ACHIEVABLE goals for THEM! 
It’s hard to be honest about our kid’s talent and ability, because a LOT of parents live vicariously through their kid.

Give your child EVERY chance to succeed. Believe in them. Support them. But, if you need to, be honest when the time comes.....

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Excellent post @PMookie. I try to tell people this, especially in our area here where there isn't a thriving junior golf culture and Kirke looks like an anomaly, so they immediately start making "next Tiger" comments: there are 32 NFL teams. Each time has a roster of 53 players. That makes about 1,700 guys cashing NFL paychecks.

There are 125 guys with full PGA Tour cards. Worldwide, I wonder if there are 1,000 guys who are able to sustainably make a living playing golf at any level. Read John Feinstein's Tales from Q School or Tom Coyne's Paper Tiger or follow Monday Q Info on Twitter and you'll see that making it on Tour versus not making it is not only a matter of absolutely other-worldly skill honed by devotion, but also of having your best round at exactly the right moment, which no one on earth can control.

EDIT: This made me think of this video recently posted by (quarantining with COVID) George Bryan of Bryan Bros golf:

The relevant part of the video starts around 5:30, when George talks about his and Wesley's playing history. If this is the complete picture, it sounds like George was much more successful than Wesley in college golf. But Wesley caught fire at the right moment, winning three Korn Ferry events in a single season to automatically get a promotion to the PGA Tour, then winning there to lock up a card for two seasons.

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17 minutes ago, GolfSpy MPR said:

Excellent post @PMookie. I try to tell people this, especially in our area here where there isn't a thriving golf culture and Kirke looks like an anomaly, so they immediately start making "next Tiger" comments: there are 32 NFL teams. Each time has a roster of 53 players. That makes about 1,700 guys cashing NFL paychecks.

There are 125 guys with full PGA Tour cards. Worldwide, I wonder if there are 1,000 guys who are able to sustainably make a living playing golf at any level. Read John Feinstein's Tales from Q School or Tom Coyne's Paper Tiger or follow Monday Q Info on Twitter and you'll see that making it on Tour verses not making it is not only a matter of absolutely other-worldly skill honed by devotion, but also of having your best round at exactly the right moment, which no one on earth can control.

EDIT: This made me think of this video recently posted by (quarantining with COVID) George Bryan of Bryan Bros golf:

The relevant part of the video starts around 5:30, when George talks about his and Wesley's playing history. If this is the complete picture, it sounds like George was much more successful than Wesley in college golf. But Wesley caught fire at the right moment, winning three Korn Ferry events in a single season to automatically get a promotion to the PGA Tour, then winning there to lock up a card for two seasons.

This makes me think about current timing with Covid... How many talented young people are missing out on scholarships right now because Covid canceled their seasons? I never would’ve played college basketball had it not been for my senior season in HS.

How many guys/girls are missing out on scholarships, tournament invites/qualifying right now, and won’t get their chance because Covid hit at the wrong time for them.

As they say, “Timing is everything.”

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Besides the talent mentioned above we made sure our kid liked what they were doing and really wanted to be at all the classes, rehearsals, intensives, etc. and we tried to keep it fun rather than work.  I saw more than a few that were being pushed by the parents and weren't having any fun at all.  

As mentioned for golf specifically but other sports in general, there are a lot more athletes that have the physical gifts than actually 'make it' because the mental side of sport and the off the field dedication that is needed to succeed is lacking for them.

You see a few pro golfers that had a lot less talent but still made it....Poulter comes to mind, wasn't he a 2 handicap (not a +2) or something close when he started as a pro?  I am sure there are a few others too.

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I don't have kids, and won't, but have a niece that will be talking soon. Very good insights by @PMookie and @GolfSpy MPR, as always.

I know from discussions with my instructor (who is also a D2 college men's golf coach), that women's golf and lacrosse are two of the most underutilized scholarships in the NCAA. He reckons a junior female golfer who can break 85 or maybe even higher at a respectable track would get looks from coaches at the D2 level at least. So, while I know my niece will be exposed to golf from an early age (I mean, we bought her an 18" miniature putter for her birthday 😀), I don't think the goal would be to do much more than get a partial ride to a school somewhere. And if she's not interested in golf, I don't think her parents would care all of that much.

From my own perspective, I was a single sport athlete growing up for the most part, focusing only on baseball. I didn't play on expensive travel teams, but played with some people who did. Could I have played college ball somewhere? Maybe, but it would have been small-time and I would have had to put in a lot more work than I did. To echo MPR's numbers, I kept pretty good track of players I played with and against and where they ended up. As far as I know, only one (Kirk Cousins) made it to the highest level of any sport, and he didn't do it in baseball. A few others played D1 college ball and kicked around in the minors for a while. It's nearly impossible to become pro, even in a sport like baseball with rather large organization rosters. 

3 hours ago, PMookie said:

Next, you’re LIKELY not going to be an NBA player unless you’re taller than 6’5”. Yep, some at 6’3” make it, but your better be a FREAK athletically. Jason Kidd was 6’5” and played point guard.... 7 footers are playing “outside” now. 

I remember going to an open tryout for the Detroit Tigers back when those were a thing. They very clearly stated upfront to anyone trying out for pitching that unless you were 6'7" or taller and could crack 90 MPH they had no interest in you. The type of bodies and the athleticism they have at the professional level is unreal.

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15 minutes ago, edingc said:

I don't have kids, and won't, but have a niece that will be talking soon. Very good insights by @PMookie and @GolfSpy MPR, as always.

I know from discussions with my instructor (who is also a D2 college men's golf coach), that women's golf and lacrosse are two of the most underutilized scholarships in the NCAA. He reckons a junior female golfer who can break 85 or maybe even higher at a respectable track would get looks from coaches at the D2 level at least. So, while I know my niece will be exposed to golf from an early age (I mean, we bought her an 18" miniature putter for her birthday 😀), I don't think the goal would be to do much more than get a partial ride to a school somewhere. And if she's not interested in golf, I don't think her parents would care all of that much.

From my own perspective, I was a single sport athlete growing up for the most part, focusing only on baseball. I didn't play on expensive travel teams, but played with some people who did. Could I have played college ball somewhere? Maybe, but it would have been small-time and I would have had to put in a lot more work than I did. To echo MPR's numbers, I kept pretty good track of players I played with and against and where they ended up. As far as I know, only one (Kirk Cousins) made it to the highest level of any sport, and he didn't do it in baseball. A few others played D1 college ball and kicked around in the minors for a while. It's nearly impossible to become pro, even in a sport like baseball with rather large organization rosters. 

I remember going to an open tryout for the Detroit Tigers back when those were a thing. They very clearly stated upfront to anyone trying out for pitching that unless you were 6'7" or taller and could crack 90 MPH they had no interest in you. The type of bodies and the athleticism they have at the professional level is unreal.

Add the international aspect to baseball, and it’s VERY difficult to make the big leagues!

Great insights!

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27 minutes ago, edingc said:

To echo MPR's numbers, I kept pretty good track of players I played with and against and where they ended up. As far as I know, only one (Kirk Cousins) made it to the highest level of any sport, and he didn't do it in baseball. A few others played D1 college ball and kicked around in the minors for a while. It's nearly impossible to become pro, even in a sport like baseball with rather large organization rosters.

Same stories here. Played mostly hockey growing up I know one kid that made it to play division 1 college hockey, and that took 4 years of specialized training on a high level junior teams after sophomore year of high school before starting college, and I am pretty sure that was the end of the line and he was the best player I had ever seen. The level of skill needed for all these sports is insane.

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I think one of the great arguments for youth golf is that, even if you don't become a Touring pro, there are few sports like golf that continue to be useful for opening doors in so many walks of life. Absolutely no shot here at baseball or hockey (@edingc and @ejgaudette, I trust you guys take my point as I intend it), but if you don't turn pro or go into coaching, most people at some point end up no longer playing those sports.

I think the character building of youth sports, if done properly, is worthwhile for its own sake, regardless of the sport. But I'm happy that Kirke stumbled into golf right away, just because whatever direction his life takes him, he'll likely be able to use his skills on the course for something useful for him.

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Just now, GolfSpy MPR said:

I think one of the great arguments for youth golf is that, even if you don't become a Touring pro, there are few sports like golf that continue to be useful for opening doors in so many walks of life. Absolutely no shot here at baseball or hockey (@edingc and @ejgaudette, I trust you guys take my point as I intend it), but if you don't turn pro or go into coaching, most people at some point end up no longer playing those sports.

I think the character building of youth sports, if done properly, is worthwhile for its own sake, regardless of the sport. But I'm happy that Kirke stumbled into golf right away, just because whatever direction his life takes him, he'll likely be able to use his skills on the course for something useful for him.

This is very true team sports get that much harder to play as you get older. I have played some pick up hockey since high school but not much and my skates are currently rusting in my basement. Golf being that individual sport is so much more accessible sure.

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Hell of a lot of great info here. I won’t put it as eloquently as @PMookieor @GolfSpy MPR but like @edingcand @ejgaudettei was a single sport athlete once I got to middle school. Baseball was my passion and if my fire attitude for the sport went into my schoolwork I probably could have played some decent college ball, but I wasn’t and it wasn’t meant to be for me. What I did learn from that (mostly because of my father) was passion for something, and baseball took 110% of my passion as a kid. 

My hope for my kids is they have that passion for anything. Sports, studying, researching, building, whatever that passion is and works for them in life. My son loves golf, but loves to play on the course. He doesn’t want to go to these lessons or camps he just wants to play and that’s all I can ask for is that he loves the game. My daughter from early looks will probably be a little different with a passion that involves steady day in and day our practice but time will tell.

Long winded short I just hope my children enjoy whatever they do and that it helps them develop into good human beings because that’s all that matters. If they end up on tour and I’m caddying that’s just a bonus.

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A big +1 on golf as a long term sport compared to team sports.

I have a similar story with baseball as the others.  Played it and golf in HS since golf was a fall only sport and way back then baseball was not.   

I did play baseball in college and 30+ years later I still get together with about a dozen of the guys I played ball with .........

on a couple day trip to play golf !!!    😃

 

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4 minutes ago, Shapotomous said:

A big +1 on golf as a long term sport compared to team sports.

I have a similar story with baseball as the others.  Played it and golf in HS since golf was a fall only sport and way back then baseball was not.   

I did play baseball in college and 30+ years later I still get together with about a dozen of the guys I played ball with .........

on a couple day trip to play golf !!!    😃

 

We have an alumni game each spring. When I was in college and younger, I looked forward to that as a way to get back out on the field. Now that I'm older, each bad hop into the chest (I played the corner infield positions, mostly) I saw scares me to no end. If I play again (COVID probably won't allow it again this year), just stick me in the outfield and I'll go up and fan over a few curveballs and be happy I didn't get hurt. 🤣

@GolfSpy MPR is 100 percent right about golf being a lifelong sport. It fills the competitive itch left after I quit coaching baseball a few years after I quit playing.

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Driver: callaway_logo.png.3dd18aa65544000dd0ea3901697a8261.png Callaway Mavrik (9°), 45.75", Dumina AutoFlex SF505X | Unofficial AutoFlex Review
17° Hybrid:
callaway_logo.png.3dd18aa65544000dd0ea3901697a8261.png Callaway Super Hybrid, 41.5", Mitsubishi MMT Hybrid 80 TX
18.5° Driving Iron: 
cobra_logo.png.190908c8b4518eec87c087429e4343ee.png Cobra KING Utility (2016 Model), 39.5", Mitsubishi MMT Utility 105 TX
21° Hybrid:
callaway_logo.png.3dd18aa65544000dd0ea3901697a8261.png Callaway Epic Flash, 40", Mitsubishi MMT Hybrid 80 TX
4-AW:  
Sub70_Logo_WhtBlk.jpg.aee386374adf9afd31a02b989c839f9d.jpg Sub70 699 (4-6)/699 Pro (7-AW) Combo Set, 1° Flat, 37" 7 Iron, Mitsubishi MMT Taper 105 TX | Build Thread
54°, 58°:
cobra_logo.png.190908c8b4518eec87c087429e4343ee.png Cobra KING MIM Black, 1° Flat, 35.5", 35.25", Mitsubishi MMT Wedge 105 TX | #CobraConnect Review
Putter:
image.png.49fcc172a1ed0010d930fbe1c5dc8b79.png L.A.B. Golf DF 2.1, 36", 68°, Black with Custom Sightlines, BGT Stability Tour, L.A.B. Press II 3° | Unofficial Review
Grips: 
lamkin.png.5081890e009ae78e16066ee0fd18b7c0.png Lamkin Sonar Tour
Ball: :Snell:Snell MTB-X Optic Yellow

Tracked By: :Arccos: Arccos | #CobraConnect Review
Bag: :1590477705_SunMountain: Personalized 2020 Sun Mountain Sync
Riding On: :CaddyTek: CaddyTek Caddylite EZ V8 | Unofficial Review

WITB? | 2020 Participant #CobraConnect Challenge | 2019 Reviewer Callaway Epic Flash Driver

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I love this topic. Professionally I work in college athletics and it is amazing the difference when it comes to recruiting compared to when I started a decade ago. I find a lot of parents have an unrealistic view on the level their child belongs. I often attribute that to a mixture of pride and everything they've invested (time and money) in getting their child to a certain level.

Sent from my SM-G950U using MyGolfSpy mobile app

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1 hour ago, Lacassem said:

Hell of a lot of great info here. I won’t put it as eloquently as @PMookieor @GolfSpy MPR but like @edingcand @ejgaudettei was a single sport athlete once I got to middle school. Baseball was my passion and if my fire attitude for the sport went into my schoolwork I probably could have played some decent college ball, but I wasn’t and it wasn’t meant to be for me. What I did learn from that (mostly because of my father) was passion for something, and baseball took 110% of my passion as a kid. 

My hope for my kids is they have that passion for anything. Sports, studying, researching, building, whatever that passion is and works for them in life. My son loves golf, but loves to play on the course. He doesn’t want to go to these lessons or camps he just wants to play and that’s all I can ask for is that he loves the game. My daughter from early looks will probably be a little different with a passion that involves steady day in and day our practice but time will tell.

Long winded short I just hope my children enjoy whatever they do and that it helps them develop into good human beings because that’s all that matters. If they end up on tour and I’m caddying that’s just a bonus.

Last paragraph, first sentence: amen.

As I said, I was a longtime coach. Hoops was my sport/passion. I lettered in 5 sports in HS, and could’ve played 3 in college. When my son was born, I kept getting questions about how I’d be if he didn’t play sports. I always said I didn’t care what he did, as long as he did something, followed HIS passion, and was a good boy.

Hes been All-State in choir for four years, and is now known locally for his vocal ability/acting via our community theater. He LOVES singing/acting. And...... I am SO proud of him. He works as a waiter, has a 3.6gpa, and is an AMAZING young man with a huge heart.

You're totally right. I just hope they love what they do and are good human beings!

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Driver: :cobra-small: King F9 Speedback, Xphlexxx Busa 2 Liquid, XX stiff, 45”

Fwy: 

Hybrid: :callaway-small: X2 Hot Pro, 20*, :Fuji: Rombax 8D07HB TM27 X

Irons: :honma:TR20 Tour P 4/5, Tour V 6-10, Dynamic Gold X100

Wedges: Vega VW-06 50*/54*/58*, Dynamic Gold S400

Putter:  :edel-golf-1: EAS 1.0

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