In Pursuit of Smiles: Measuring the progress of junior golfers
It can be an exciting time when someone new to the game catches golf fever. This can happen at any age, but the look on the faces of junior golfers making solid contact, successfully navigating a pitch shot over a bunker or making a putt is something special. It spurs some to tackle the next challenge and derive a sense of accomplishment; for others it may be a desire to bring another smile about.
Given that golf has many components and nuances to conquer, sometimes taking a step back and looking at one’s overall progress can be a good measuring tool. One way to do that is through the analysis of scores made, which ultimately feed into the determination of a Handicap Index®. Using the mathematical model to measure which rounds are actually one’s best rounds, without the anecdotal perspective of trying to decide where a golfer hit the best shots, made the most putts, etc., works pretty well. It helps in objectively determining whether the 90 at Super Difficult GC or the 88 at not-so-difficult GC was the “better” round.
The decimal value Handicap Index is a simple, but unique way to measure progress. If the value goes down, the golfer is improving; if the value goes up, the golfer isn’t quite doing as well as previous efforts. That is pretty straightforward, and doesn’t get confused by which course, which tees, etc. The use of a Handicap Index is not a precursor to a competitive environment; measuring progress in and of itself is pretty valuable. The science behind the formula does all the work and lets the golfer focus on the game itself, including deriving enjoyment.
A key for all golfers, including juniors, is that having a Handicap Index is available to anyone. It is not tied to skill; from novice to superstar, anyone can use the system. And here at the SCGA, we encourage juniors to get into the habit of posting their scores and maintaining a Handicap at an early age, which is why we don’t charge clubs for any juniors on its roster.
Please take the opportunity to provide junior golfers with this valuable member benefit. We all want to know where we stand with our game and a key SCGA offering is at one’s fingertips. Bring on the kids and the smiles!