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To contribute to the Ranken Jordan junior golf program or to ask any questions please e-mail me at This blog is not affiliated with Ranken Jordan. The views expressed on this blog are those of the author and not those of Ranken Jordan. Thank you for reading!

Monday, March 24, 2014

High-Tech Training Aids

Regardless of the sport you play equipment is getting more and more technologically advanced.  Custom fitting of golf clubs has become the most important aspect of buying clubs (and it should be).  Major League Baseball hitters watch video between at bats to try and pick up a tendency from the pitcher that will tip off what pitch they are about to see.  Golfers use launch monitors to maximize distance and improve accuracy by changing the specifications on their clubs as well as providing information to their teachers that dictate necessary swing changes.  Whatever sport is played people are willing to spend crazy amounts of money in order to improve and enjoy the game more.

This is readily evident in the world of golf.  Every year companies roll out new $400 drivers that are supposed to be longer and straighter than last year's model.  New irons that cost $1000 per set are released and marketed as the most forgiving or best feeling iron ever made by that particular company.  Many golfers who decide to buy a new driver or new set of irons will be custom fit for them on a $20,000 simulator.  As I mentioned above, whatever amount of money is spent the goal is the same:  play better and enjoy the game more.

Dakota & Mikey T. perfecting their putting strokes

Many times I have been asked about the equipment we use at Ranken Jordan.  People assume that because many of the kids are in wheelchairs or even hospital beds that we must use some type of adapted equipment that costs a fortune.  This thinking is completely incorrect.  The junior golfers use standard U.S. Kids golf clubs and do exceptionally well with them.  Since we use standard golf clubs we have to use fancy, expensive training aids and targets, right?  Nope, sorry.  Inexpensive putting greens and pop up target nets are two of the favorite items for the kids to use.  However last week we may have found one of the best training aids that led to some of the biggest smiles we have had.

Cooper loves golf!
This past week we held our golf clinic in a hallway.  Hey, who says we need to be outside or in a large, open area inside in order for the kids to play golf?  In the days leading up to our most recent clinic I received e-mails and text messages with requests from the kids saying they wanted to work on putting.  What is it that we used that they enjoyed so much?  The high-tech training aid we used was a fancy styrofoam cup.  Yes, you read that correctly.  We used a styrofoam cup.  One thing that is often overlooked in sports is the importance of keeping things simple.  The kids at Ranken Jordan do not want a shiny $400 driver or $20,000 simulator to help them enjoy the game.  All they want is to have fun, smile, laugh, and enjoy time with their friends.

This is one of the things we focus most on with our program (and if you have read many of my blog posts you know that).  Each week we want the kids to have fun, improve their game, and want to play golf again.  Along the way they enjoy the benefits golf brings as a healing tool both physically and emotionally.  The game of golf is very powerful in this way and nowhere is it more evident than a pediatric hospital.  The next time you think you are having a bad day do this:  find a local pediatric hospital and take in some putters, golf balls, and styrofoam cups.  Give the kids an hour of your time and show them the basics of putting.  You will make a difference in the lives of the kids and the game of golf will make a difference in their lives.  And along the way you will forget that you were having a bad day.

1 comment:

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