The Late Season Lesson – Preparing for Regionals and State High School Finals
by Chris Haarlow

Director Instructor Precision Golf School
PGA Professional

As the important part of the high school season comes into it’s final swing this week with the NC State Regional Tournaments and then culminate next week with the NC State finals, the golfers that we work with throughout the year are under pressure to produce their best scores. I am often asked how I structure my lessons leading up to the key matches.
As the season winds down, the technical aspects of the lessons give way to the “how to get the ball in the hole” lessons. This allows me to go from more of an “instructor role” to more of a “coach’s role”. We will talk about the parts of their game that they feel good about and then delve into the aspects of the game that need attention. I want to ensure that the student leaves the lesson feeling better about their game and themselves in preparation for their key matches.
A typical late season lesson will include three aspects. The first will be a talk about reality of the situation. I make sure the juniors understand that they have eighteen holes to play and not the usual regular season nine holes.  This allows them to settle into their game and hopefully slow down enough to battle through the nerves of either qualifying for the state tournament or playing in the state tournament.
The second aspect of my late season lesson is staying in the present for each shot during the round. This means they need to be concerned only with executing each shot to the best of their ability. If they understand the process of what they have to do to execute from the first tee to the last putt, they will have done all they can to produce the best score they could. This sounds like an easy concept, but it separates golfers on every level from the PGA Tour to the boys and girls playing junior golf. ed to be able to achieve their best results.  
The final aspect of the late season lesson is watching all aspects of the junior’s game to check for basic error tendencies either within their set up or swing. These are easily identifiable from earlier lessons. These tendencies will come out more when the kids are under more pressure. With this in mind, I want to make sure that they understand the things within their set up and swing that they have control over. This allows them to be able to stay in the present and execute each shot as best as possible.
Whether you are the sixth man on the team playing as a freshman, a senior going to play college golf playing in your fourth state tournament or a weekend golfer playing in the yearly company scramble, a “late season lesson” is always a great way to get grounded before the big match.