Golf Channel Speaks with LPGA Teaching Professional on Growing the Game

LT:                         Now with someone who makes growing the game her job.

Charlie:                That’s exactly right, LT. Brian and I are joined by Meredith Kirk. Meredith is a golf ambassador here for Myrtle Beach. She’s a former Mrs. South Carolina, and she’s an LPGA instructor. Meredith, thanks for spending a little time with us this morning.

Meredith:            Thank you so much for having me out. It’s a beautiful day.

Charlie:                Were you in charge of the weather?

Meredith:            Yes. Absolutely. I just dialed this in.

Brian:                   Well, you work obviously a ton with junior initiatives. We’re all trying to get juniors more involved in the game, teaching juniors as you do in South Carolina, from all over the country, what do you think we could do to get more juniors involved? What are some points that we could look into to get more juniors involved in the game?

Meredith:            Well, we need to get kids out on the course playing. One thing that we pride ourselves on here in Myrtle Beach, is we’re a very family friendly golf town. We love it when families come here, and they can come out and play golf, and I don’t know if you know this, but a majority of the courses here in Myrtle Beach, with a paying adult, the kids can play free.

Brian:                   Love it. That’s great.

Meredith:            Yeah, so we need to get them back out on the golf course and having those experiences. And you know Charlie, you mentioned something really interesting the other day. You used the analogy of the service dog putting on the bandana when they go to work, and when they come home from work, the bandana is taken off. Right? And you said it’s almost the same thing with golf. When you put on the glove, and then you snap it down, it’s time to play golf. If we can get kids back out on the golf course, experiencing being out here in the sun and in nature, putting away those mobile devices-

Charlie:                Amen to that, yeah.

Meredith:            No more pecking on their cell phones.

Charlie:                As a mother of three, you know all about that.

Meredith:            I know all about it. Okay? And, you know, I’m guilty of it too. It can be a little fun and tempting. But if we can get kids back on the course, and get them out there with their families … I mean Golf is a sport that’s about relationships and connecting. We need to go out there and have fun. Not all kids want to become elite players. And that’s okay. But just getting the kids out there and swinging the club and teeing it up higher. Some practical things we can do.

Charlie:                That’s what we’re going to do right now with you. We’re going to get you to hit a couple of balls for us and demonstrate a couple things for us. The question I’ve got for you is I think as an industry, when new players come in, and they see us talking about Golf on TV, and they say I want go try, we’ve got get them hooked quickly. Like the first time they come out. They first time you work with a new golfer. What are some ways to do that? Because we don’t want them to get frustrated, and then the first time they come out for a lesson and spend an hour with you, and then they never come back again. How do we get them hooked?

Meredith:            Okay. Getting a kid hooked to golf, you have to give them some basic golf fundamentals. And basic golf fundamentals are pretty easy. You can really create a pre shot routine with junior golfers within just a few minutes. First things first with golf, you have to have a good grip. Your hands are the only connection you have to the golf club. The placement of the hands is very important, and also the pressure that you on the handle. You don’t want a child to come up and grip the club really tight like that. All that tension going to ride up, and you know what’s going to happen. They’re going to have that choppy swing when they come down, and they hit the ground.

Meredith:            First golf fundament for kids, grip. Teach them a good grip, right. Second thing, get I na nice athletic position. When you get behind the ball here, you want to be nice and flexed. Two components to that. Knees need to be flexed. Pelvis need to be out. What that does, it creates a good spine angle, right? You can rotate around your body. See with kids, you got to remember, we have to tell them it’s not up and down motion. The golf swing is a rotation around the spine.

Charlie:                Round and round.

Meredith:            Yeah. You’ve got to get them swinging around. If you get in a nice athletic position, and teach them to swing around the body, they’re going to have a better shot. It’s not going to be that up and down, hitting the ground. Tee the ball up.

Charlie:                There you go. That’s what I wanted to get to for the final point. Don’t think when you come out to the driving for the first time, you bring the kid or you’re a beginner, that you got hit everything off the ground. Get it teed up. That really helps a lot.

Meredith:            Right. Exactly. Teeing up here. It can be so intimidating for a kid to come up and try to hit it off the deck, because sometimes they’re going to come and they’re going to have that chunky shot. They’re going get frustrated, and then they’re not going to want to come out and have a great golf experience.

Charlie:                And that’s what it’s all about. Hit one for us if you wouldn’t mind.

Brian:                   That’s a great point.

Meredith:            First things first. Okay. Grip. After you find your intended target, I’m going to try to go for that tree down there, I’m going to get nice and square. I’m gonna line up my feet, my knees, my hips, shoulders. Body alignment, very important. I want to make sure I have a nice square club face. Now I’m gonna put a nice grip on it, and I’m gonna swing around my body, down and through the shot.

Charlie:                Really cool when all that comes together.

Meredith:            Just like that. Yeah.

Charlie:                And let’s just finish up with this, as we toss it back to LT. Don’t even have a problem teeing it up the first time you go to a golf course on the golf course. Tee it up on the practice area and the golf course. Really great stuff, Meredith Kirk. Thanks for joining us. LT, back to you.

Meredith Kirk is an LPGA Teaching Professional and Golf Ambassador for Myrtle Beach Golf Trips