Every month Golf Digest India in partnership with the International Junior Golf Association (IJGA) and Albatross Junior Golf Tour India, brings you advice to help groom future champions. IJGA is one of the premier academies for junior golfers that aspire to play college golf and later professionally.
Based out of Hilton Head, South Carolina (USA) their objective is to not only develop golfers but also focuses on academics and all-round development. Jared Steger is based out of the IJGA academy.
Post his three-city tour of India, Golf Digest India caught up with Steger to hear from him about his experience as he worked with more than forty Indian juniors in the first week of April 2017. Originally from Chicago, Coach Steger played Division I college golf at Northern Illinois and then at Western Illinois. Prior to this, he competed professionally for five years on the Web.com Tour, PGA Tour Canada, and PGA Tour Latin America.
GDI: This was your first time in India, tell us about your experience?
Overall the trip was great. Everyone was so friendly and the people who do play golf are very passionate about it. The game is continually growing and getting more popular. All of the places we went to were very busy whether it was a weekend or weekday.
GDI: How did the junior golfers you worked with from India compare to the rest of the world?
The top golfers compare very favourably to the best in the world. I was fortunate to work with a few players who are on the national squad and their golf games are very impressive.You are seeing more and more success from Indians at International junior events as well as amateur competitions such as the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championships.
GDI: What do Indian juniors need to do in order to succeed on the world stage?
The common theme I saw with Indian golfers when compared to the rest of the world, is they could improve their short game. Many players had a very good long game, however the short game whether it be putting, bunker play, or chipping or pitching could be improved.
GDI: What is the most important aspect of the game?
Having a growing mindset. Every player I work with, it doesn’t matter what level they are at, each person at some point in their careers will have to learn to deal with disappointment and change.
A player needs to understand that golf is not about good days and bad days, and instead is about understanding the big picture and focusing on the specific task at hand that you are trying to accomplish. Indians need to learn how to practice more efficiently. It doesn’t matter what level you are at. The more a player can practice with a purpose or have a game plan will make them better golfers.
GDI: Why is club fitting so important, especially for juniors?
If a club is too heavy or too long, it will force them to compensate and could lead to improper mechanics and bad habits.In addition to this, too many juniors are in search of distance and use a standard driver when they are not tall or strong enough. This causes them to lose distance as they cannot swing the club efficiently. Another common problem we saw was with shafts, which are the engine of the golf club. If it is too stiff, you will lose distance. On the other hand, if the shaft is too flexible, you will lose accuracy.