Andy Santor, PGA, Head Golf Professional at Mill Creek Park Golf Course in Youngstown, Ohio was featured in the Best Practices Section on pgamagazine.com
Andy Santor on Teaching: Build Up Juniors Through Muscle Development
Andy Santor on the importance of building up juniors through muscle development:
As with most junior golf programs, Mill Creek breaks up its junior golf program into different segments based on age and playing ability. As a Level 2 Titleist Performance Institute-certified instructor, I try to emphasize completely taking mechanics out of the golf swing until they reach an age where they want to learn how to compete on the golf course. The biggest thing early on in our program is trying to steer clear of the short game by letting the kids whack the ball around and use their muscles. In this generation of juniors, being naturally active earlier on in their lives is often an afterthought because of computers and new technology. We want to develop explosive power by focusing on mobility muscles they rarely use, such as hip flexor and pelvic muscles. From ages 4-7, they will mostly learn motor skills in addition to some simple grip and set up techniques. From 8-11, we are trying to transition those motor skills into powerful golf swings before we focus more on the short game. Power can not be taught later on in life; it can only be developed from repeated muscle development at an early age.
Andy Santor on the business impact of building up juniors through muscle development:
Of the 200 kids in our program, the majority of them are involved in other sports and are busy throughout the summer. Because of this, we let them pay by the week so that it adds in some flexibility for how they pay and how many sessions they attend. Through the variety of our junior programming we have increased our participation by approximately 10 percent the last five years. We have also attracted two additional high school golf teams to use our facility as their home course, along with the Youngstown State men’s and women’s golf teams. We also added a Family Fun Night on Saturdays in the summer to meet our increased junior demand.