Thor Parrish is a PGA Teaching and Coaching Specialized Professional at Quail Creek Country Club in Naples, Florida.
It’s June and summer has arrived at Quail Creek Country Club. We have programming for juniors that ranges from high-level coaching for our most-skilled players, to fun summer camps for kids from ages 5-14. We run eight weeks of summer camps (both full- and half-day) with 7-8 PGA Golf Management students from Florida Gulf Coast University on board to help facilitate the engagement.
Within each week-long camp, we implement a variety of lesson plans and conduct individual skill assessments. Parents provide the child’s skill level when completing the registration forms, and we group them based on that information. Regardless of their skill level, students get the coaching that they need.
Stations are created around the golf course to ensure multiple topics are covered and a holistic approach to education is presented. Stations include putting, chipping, driving and fitness. Each group has a lesson plan based on their skill level and a dedicated coach who gets to know their abilities and works with them on all topics throughout the week. With the Florida heat always a factor, we emphasize the importance of hydration and have frequent water breaks. We stress proper nutrition and have healthy snack breaks throughout our time together, too.
The fitness station is a vital component to our summer programming for juniors. We choose a specific foundational movement of fitness – squat, overhead squat, deadlift, plank or push up, for instance – and we go over how to do the exercise, why it’s important and how it relates to the golf swing. We then reinforce the movement within games that create a fun and competitive atmosphere for the kids. Little do they know they’re getting better at the exercise and reaping the benefits in their golf swing, as well.
To further promote golf fitness among juniors, I recently released a free online course through Operation 36 on how to implement golf fitness on the lesson tee. This brief overview highlights some of the foundational exercises that I conduct with my students and how I relate those activities to the golf swing. It also includes three games that can be set up to promote the concepts being discussed, but in a fun and competitive setting.