Golf School Trains Teens in Swings Life

By Associated PressNovember 8, 2005, 5:00 pm
One by one, they file off the bus with their backpacks and school books, smiling and pushing each other like any group of high schoolers finished with class for the day.
However, these teens have hours of course work left this afternoon - along with sand shots, drives and reading putts.
They are enrolled in the International Junior Golf Academy, a facility that blends college preparatory courses with intensive, high-level golf instruction from former pro golfers. Not that there's much choice but to practice and train; the mainland is a half-hour ferry ride away through the Calibogue Sound.
'It might sound like Alcatraz, but it's not that,' said Charlie Hoyle, a 17-year-old student from England in his second year at the academy.
The school was founded in 1995 by Brooklynite Ray Travaglione, who grew up playing and caddying on city courses such as Dyker Beach. He had a successful career on Wall Street before sinking much of his savings into the longheld dream of a golf school. How much did he have to invest? 'Let's just say it took everything I had at one point,' he said.
Travaglione modeled the school after the success of tennis academies, such as Nick Bollettieri's, which has developed Grand Slam winners including Andre Agassi and Maria Sharapova.
Travaglione liked nearby Hilton Head Island, one of the country's top golf locations and home of the PGA Tour's MCI Classic at Harbour Town Golf Links. So began the slow, time-consuming process of convincing parents to send their children to an island off the coast of South Carolina to become scratch golfers.
'At the time it was fairly innovative, fairly risky,' Travaglione said.
He says he started with a handful of teens whose parents 'believed the story.' By the school's fifth year, the academy had earned a viable reputation of combining academics with golf - not necessarily to scorch the PGA or LPGA tours, but to earn golf scholarships to college.
A year ago, Gary Gilchrist, a former professional who taught rising stars Michelle Wie and Paula Creamer at the David Leadbetter Golf Academy, became the IJGA's golf director.
Gilchrist liked the focus on the total person: helping to train a student's mind as well as their swings. 'The thing is it's so exciting to do this,' he says.
There are about 125 students from 24 states and 16 countries. Full-time students are housed in guest cottages along Daufuskie Island's shore. They attend class at the Heritage Academy, then work on their golf for three hours each afternoon.
Along with stance and grip, come lessons on health and life.
Sports psychologist Stephen Russo helps the teens on mental issues such as blocking out distractions and making smart choices. 'Some of you have been here two or three years,' he tells about three dozen students, 'and you've gotten tremendously better.'
That's been the case for Hoyle, who has lowered his handicap from an 11 to a 3 during his time at the academy. 'It's just a really good sort of atmosphere,' said Hoyle, who hopes to earn a golf scholarship to college.
All the tools to improve are on the island. The teaching staff includes former pros, including Hugh Royer III, who spent several years on the PGA Tour. Royer says if someplace like the academy existed when he was a teen, 'I wouldn't be here, I would be a multimillionaire playing on tour.'
The students disperse to two island courses after classes. There are instruction weeks to work on technique and style and competition weeks as students prepare for events on the International Junior Golf Tour, in which academy students play tournaments at Harbour Town and the Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass.
Gilchrist showed one group the proper backswing, while Royer worked with another group by the putting green. 'Come on, concentrate people,' he called as teenage minds wandered.
Ana Johnson, 17, of Oconomowoc, Wis., is in her second year at IJGA. She says she would like to design courses or take part in the industry some other way.
Her game, though, might force her to think again. Shooting over 100 on her high school golf team, Johnson has brought that down to the high 70s here.
She likes the secluded spot to train and study but admits the academy 'was a lot of sacrifice because I gave up a normal life.'
There are supervised outings to malls and movies. 'We do things like paintball,' Hoyle said.
Ben Lasso, 16, of Falls Church, Va., thinks the students mesh well since they share same goal of improvement. Lasso has brought his high handicap down to a 3 in his two years at the school. 'This is a great place to be since golf is everything I do or want to do,' he said.
The academy is not for everyone. A full-year's tuition is $34,000, and the seclusion does not suit everyone, Gilchrist says.
'I think personally, it has been a sacrifice,' Lasso said. 'But to me it's worth it.'
Students have accepted scholarships from college powers such as Georgia, Purdue and Clemson. Johnson, a senior, says she's discussed scholarships with golf coaches at Virginia, North Carolina and William & Mary.
'That's certainly part of our mission,' Travaglione said.
Its scope could be growing. The academy is building a practice facility and dorm space for 200 students on the island. Travaglione says he's in negotiations on a West Coast satellite school and to bring other instruction in baseball or soccer to his campus.
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Pepperell among co-leaders early in Qatar

By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 5:06 pm

DOHA, Qatar – Eddie PepperellGregory Havret, and Aaron Rai made the most of calm early morning conditions at Doha Golf Club to set the pace in the opening round of the Qatar Masters at 7-under-par 65 on Thursday.

Havret went bogey free, Pepperell made one bogey and eight birdies, while fellow English golfer Rai eagled his last hole to add to five birdies.

One shot behind the leaders were four players, including former Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari of Italy and former champion Alvaro Quiros of Spain.

Defending champion Jeunghun Wang of South Korea started with a 68, and Race to Dubai leader Shubhankar Sharma of India shot 69 despite a double bogey on the 15th hole.

Full-field scores from the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters

Pepperell, who is fast gaining a reputation on the European Tour for his irreverent tweets and meaningful blogs, showed his clubs can also do an equal amount of talking after missing cuts in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Malaysia.

Pepperell birdied Nos. 10, 11, 14, 16 and 18 with a single blemish on 13 after starting on the back nine. He made three more birdies on his back nine.

He was joined on top of the leaderboard by Havret, who made five birdies in six holes from the sixth, and Rai, who eagled the last.

''I surprised myself, really,'' said Pepperell, who finished third in Portugal and Netherlands last year.

''I've made some changes this week with personnel, so I've been working on a couple of new things and I surprised myself out there with how well I managed to trust it.

''I hit some quality tee shots, that's the area I feel that I've been struggling with a bit lately. We had a good time.

''It's definitely a bigger picture for me this week than tomorrow and indeed the weekend. I'm not overly-fussed about my early season form.”

Molinari, a three-time champion on the tour including last year in Morocco, started with eight straight pars, and then made seven birdies in his last 10 holes, including a chip-in for birdie on the last.

''I hit every green apart from the last one. I hit a lot of fairways, I had a lot of chances for birdie,'' said Edoardo, the older brother of Francesco.

''Last week in Oman, I had a decent week, I had a bad first round and then three very good rounds. It's been the case for the last few weeks so my focus this week was to try and get a good start.''

Oliver Fisher of England was the best among the afternoon groups with a 6-under 66, joining Molinari, Quiros and Germany's Marcel Schneider in a tie for fourth.

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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 22, 2018, 4:45 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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Honda Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 22, 2018, 2:15 pm

The PGA Tour heads back east to kick off the Florida Swing at PGA National. Here are the key stats and information for the Honda Classic. Click here for full-field tee times.

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream:

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream:

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream:; CBS, 3-6PM ET

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream:; CBS, 3-6PM ET

Purse: $6.6 million ($1,188,000 to the winner)

Course: PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (par-70; 7,140 yards)

Defending champion: Rickie Fowler (-12) won by four, picking off his fourth PGA Tour victory.

Notables in the field:

Tiger Woods

• Making his fourth start at the Honda Classic and his first since withdrawing with back spasms in 2014.

• Shot a Sunday 62 in a T-2 finish in 2012, marking his lowest career final-round score on the PGA Tour.

• Coming off a missed cut at last week's Genesis Open, his 17th in his Tour career.

Rickie Fowler

• The defending champion owns the lowest score to par and has recorded the most birdies and eagles in this event since 2012.

• Fowler's last start was at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he failed to close a 54-hole lead. Fowler is 1-for-6 with 54-hole leads in his Tour career, with his only successful close coming at last year's Honda.

• On Tour this year, Fowler is first in scrambling from the fringe, second in total scrambling and third in strokes gained around the green. 

Rory McIlroy

• It's been feast or famine for McIlroy at the Honda. He won in 2012, withdrew with a toothache in 2013, finished T-2 in 2014 and missed the cut in 2015 and 2016.

• McIlroy ascended to world No. 1 with his victory at PGA National in 2012, becoming the second youngest player at 22 years old to top the OWGR, behind only Woods. McIlroy was later edged by a slightly younger 22-year-old Jordan Spieth.

• Since the beginning of 2010, only Dustin Johnson (15) has more PGA Tour victories than McIlroy (13). 

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Lexi, J. Korda part of four-way tie in Thailand

By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 1:01 pm

CHONBURI, Thailand – Three-time tour winner Minjee Lee of Australia finished with a superb eagle putt to be among the four leaders after Day 1 of the LPGA Thailand at Siam Country Club on Thursday.

Lee sank a 45-foot putt on the 18th hole to card a 6-under-par 66 to tie for the lead with 2016 champion Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, and local hope Moriya Jutanugarn.

''I just hit the collar. I didn't know if I was going to have enough. Such a big break there. I'm glad it caught the hole,'' Lee said.

''It's a second-shot golf course. Your approaches are really important, and obviously being in the right spots with the undulation. And if you have a hot putter that's going to help.''

Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand

Lee won the Vic Open near Melbourne this month and opened her 2018 LPGA tour account last week at the Women's Australian Open, finishing fifth.

Thompson, who won this event in 2016 by six shots with a 20-under total and tied for fourth last year, started her latest round in style with an eagle followed by a birdie only to bogey the third hole. She carded four more birdies.

''It definitely helps to get that kind of start, but I was just trying to keep that momentum and not get ahead of myself,'' Thompson said.

Her compatriot Korda had a roller-coaster round which featured eagles on the first and 17th holes, five birdies, a double bogey on the sixth, and two bogeys.

Jutanugarn was the only player among the four to end the day without a bogey.

''I had a good start today, it was better than I expected,'' said Jutanugarn, who was seventh here last year.

She's trying to become the first Thai winner of the tournament.

Two-time champion Amy Yang and world No. 2 Sung Hyun Park were among six players at 5 under.