Jordan Spieth donning the storied green jacket for the first time immediately after winning the 2015 Masters Tournament.

Role Model

How you can prepare your juniors as they pursue on-course dreams fueled by Jordan Spieth and his Masters win

BY LOUIS MARROQUIN | Photo by Robert Beck/Getty Images

When Jordan Spieth slipped on the champion's green jacket after his historic Masters win in April, Brookhaven Country Club head teaching pro Joey Anders beamed with pride. Anders coached Spieth when the future star was growing up playing golf at the Dallas-area club, from ages 8 to 12. "There's something extra when it's someone you've mentored - you see his dreams, you see him work toward those dreams, and you see him realize those dreams," Anders says of the win he traveled to Augusta to see firsthand. "It was special."

Since this year's Masters, Anders says he has seen a sharp uptick in interest in the club's junior golf program, with many members - both kids and adults - summoning Spieth's name in their enthusiasm. "Obviously not all of these kids are going to accomplish what Jordan has, but if you don't give your kids the possibility, they're not going to get there at all," says Anders, named one of the country's top 50 kids golf teachers by the U.S. Kids Golf Association the last two years.

"Physically I get a lot of people who are gifted, who can hit the ball a long way and are coordinated," he says. "But mentally and work-ethic-wise, there was something different about Jordan."

Anders' three best tips for setting junior golfers on the right track:

1. Make golf fun and competitive at a young age.
"Don't get consumed with swing mechanics. Kids learn by experimenting and experiencing. Play rounds with them and compete with them as much as possible."

2. Make them aware of what really matters.
"Jordan having a sister with special needs has grounded him to what is truly important in life. As much as you can with an 8- to 10-year-old, teach them there is more to life than just winning a tournament."

3. Develop a well-rounded athlete.
"By playing numerous sports, your child learns to play with a team and how to deal with pressure. Kids don't develop muscularly and speed-wise and with mental fortitude by only playing golf."

COULD THE NEXT JORDAN EMERGE FROM CLUBCORP'S JUNIORS PROGRAM, TOO?

For the second year in a row, ClubCorp juniors made a statement at the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship, a contest affiliated with the Masters that pits the best qualifying juniors, ages 7 to 15, from across the country. This year, 80 juniors competed in the competition. ClubCorp boys took the top spot in two age divisions: Jay Leng Jr. of Morgan Run Club & Resort in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., won the 7-9 age division, and Jake Peacock of the Manor Golf & Country Club in Milton, Ga., won the 10-11 age bracket. Ariana Saenz of the Clubs of Kingwood, in Kingwood, Texas, was a finalist in the girls 14-15 division. Last year, in the contest's inaugural season, Leo Cheng of Porter Valley Country Club in Northridge, Calif., won in the boys 10-11 division.

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