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Team Elite Integrate Yoga into Training

Three-Generation Golf Academy’s (TGGA) initiative to present and integrate yoga into its junior golf "Team Elite" program has proven to be a complimentary alternative to their golf fitness training. Incorporating yoga basics into their golf game coincides with TGGA’s instructional values and beliefs; stay fit mentally and physically and your game will improve.

Team Yoga Team Yoga

By incorporating a small amount of yoga into their lives, it is our hope that the players, at a minimum, will find improved flexibility and relaxation on the golf course. With longer-term training the players should begin to experience the greater benefits yoga can provide to their golf game, such as improving their posture, learning to stay focused without tension, learning to read and feel their body making the right swing, strengthen and tone muscles needed for their swing, increase flexibility for turning motion, help them stay balanced, release negative thoughts and help them develop a positive state of mind.

The team trains bi-weekly at the fitness centre located next to the Golf Academy, with a one-hour yoga plan taught by Casey Gramaglia, certified Jivamukti yoga instructor.

"Yoga is an ancient discipline dating back over 4,000 years.  Its benefits are endless, most noticeably for developing strength and flexibility, but even more so for cultivating concentration which leads to deeper states of meditation," says Gramaglia.

"In September 2012 Coach Spike asked me if I'd be willing to teach a select group of talented junior golfers at the Three-Generation Golf Academy. I was thrilled with the idea and agreed.  If we can instil a sense of discipline in young people from an early age, then they are more likely to follow through with such practices as yoga and meditation later on in life.  Golf is like meditation. It requires physical and mental skill.  Yoga is a perfect discipline to cross-train for golfers.  A common complaint from older golfers is ‘I was about to go pro, but I ruined this joint, and now I can hardly play at a competitive level.’  It's a shame that this happens to athletes: if only they knew about the restorative and healing benefits of yoga, such incidents could be prevented."

"When I began working with this group of fine young men, they quickly noticed how limited their range of motion was, and this is often enough incentive to continue practice!  Here I am more than twice their age, effortlessly moving in and out of certain postures, where they were struggling.  They saw this and in my heart I believed it was the driving force that brings them back to me each week. After our first class at the start of the school year they immediately contacted Coach Spike and asked if they could practice with me two days a week instead of one!  I was thrilled.  Most young men feel that lifting weights is what's necessary to develop strong muscles, bones and tone the body.  In the world of fitness there is a place for weights, but flexibility coupled with strength is something we all benefit from as we move into old age."

Since the Elite Golf Team has been training with Gramaglia their progress has been exponential and they are able to complete difficult postures that seemed unattainable to them at first.  This was a group of boys who could barely touch their toes, now most of them can not only reach their feet, but are working on headstands!

"It is a pleasure and an honour to work with the golf team at TGGA and if any of you are questioning the benefits of what it means to have a yoga practice, simply ask my golf boys."

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Junior Dobson - Golf Prodigy

Junior Dobson, a former Prem student and TGGA’s youngest Team Elite player, makes a cover page splash in the UK’s Northeast Golfer Magazine.

Junior and his family recently returned to their homeland in Northumberland, UK, and Junior is already turning heads at his new home course and showing potential as a young golf prodigy recognized by local media and UK training coaches.

Read more about Junior in Issue 9 of the Northeast Golfer Magazine.

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TGGA Student Wins Three in a Row!

Congratulations to Chayutpol (Smart) Kittirattanapaiboon, a Division 'A' player who begins this year’s junior golf season with three first-place wins and one third-place finish out of four consecutive events.

Smart’s upcoming 2012 - 2013 tournament schedule consists of an array of national qualifiers in which he is striving to be champion. 

The popular TGA-CAT Junior Golf Ranking Tournaments are spread throughout the 2012 and 2013 seasons and open to all junior players who wish to compete. These events offer top performers the chance to qualify for the Singha Junior World Championship Qualifiers, the Asia Pacific Junior Golf Championship Qualifiers and the Junior World Golf Championship Qualifiers. Smart made a terrific comeback to take a third place finish in his July tournament at the Santiburi Country Club with a final score of 150 (80, 70). On 22 - 23 September he tightened his ranking with a first place win at the Royal Chiang Mai Golf Resort with a very impressive final day score of a three under par 69!!

Smart’s string of championship wins began at this year’s Thai National Students Golf Championship Qualifier held at Stardome Golf Club on 27 – 28 August with a final round score of 145 (71,74). This event opened the door for him to qualify for the final National Students Golf Championship.

His second championship trophy was brought home at the Youth Nationals Qualifier held at Inthanon Golf Club & Resort on 10 September, marking yet another opening to the Youth Nationals Golf Championship.

"Smart’s ability to self-motivate has allowed him to build an organized and powerful golf swing. In managing this process he has developed the ability of intense focus inachieving his goals of power and precision. I could not be more proud of Smart, not only as a golfer, but also as a person," says Coach Spike.

Smart is a Grade 11 Honor Roll student studying the World IB curriculum at the Prem International School in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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Wittayakom secures two 2nd place finishes in USA’s International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT)

Es Wittayakom and Smart Chayutpol, two talented young golfers attending Prem on golf scholarships as part of the Three-Generation Golf Academy’s Team Elite squad, travelled to the United States last April to follow their dreams of playing on the prominent International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT).

During a gruelling three weeks of travel across the USA’s eastern seaboard, these two determined players teed it up in three separate tournaments fraught with inclement weather, formidable courses and seasoned competitors. The tough test proved to be both a rewarding and an eye-opening experience. For Es it also proved to be a victorious journey as he returned to Thailand me with two top-two finishes.

Es commented, "Playing tournaments in the USA was a great experience - and most importantly I had fun!  After a long exhausting flight from Thailand I finally got to Washington DC. It was about 11.00 pm and we immediately headed to the hotel. We had one rest day and then we played our first practice round at the Duke University Golf Club. The temperature was a pretty cold 10˚C."

"The first tournament, the College Classic in Durham, North Carolina held at the Duke University Golf Club, didn’t go very well. I wasn’t used to the conditions there at all.  The greens were very fast, the grass was different and the wind was the main obstacle. I shot 78 on the first day and 79 on the second day finishing fourteenth out of over sixty competitors."

"The second tournament, The Jelly Bean Open, held in Hershey, Pennsylvania at the Hershey Links Golf Course, went quite well even though my shots were not really that great. I had my game planned out and I played pretty much on-plan. I was able to keep my score quite consistent. The course was rather difficult with 30 mph winds, but I shot 76 on the first day and 75 on the second day finishing in second place."

"The third tournament, the IJGT Major Championship, held in Havre de Grace, Maryland, at the Bulle Rock Golf Course.  This match also went well. Even though I threw away my chance of winning the event, I learned a lot from it. I was even par, just one stroke behind the leader going into the 18th hole when I drove my tee shot into the water. I finished the hole with a double bogey six, losing my chance to play in the play off and winning the tournament."

Es is currently ranked eighteenth out of 193 players on the IJGT, whose goal is to provide a platform for juniors to increase their tournament results in a format that college coaches will notice.

The tour provides exceptional junior golfers representing forty-five USA states and forty-three countries around the world with the opportunity to develop and showcase their competitive skills while setting high standards to preserve the traditions and integrity of the game.  As a tour that operates throughout the academic year, the IJGT hosts approximately sixty tournaments annually and three international events.  Each event provides multi-day competition for junior golfers of all skill levels ages 9-19.

On his return to Chiang Mai, Es said, "My time in the States made it obvious to me that the mental part of my game is still my weakness when it comes to tough situations. This is what I will be working on now that I home again.  I learned a lot during my time there. The most important lesson is that I don’t have to hit the ball the furthest to score well - I just have to keep it on the fairway!"

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Prem, home to a special sports student - the academic golfer
Lucas Geiger TGGA

Thailand’s Prem boarding and day international school offers a golf and education program for talented junior golf players from around the world.

Focus on Lucas Geiger - TGGA Team Elite Player

It’s a long way from the beautiful German city of Wiesbaden to Chiang Mai, Thailand, but that is a journey Grade 11 student Lucas Geiger chose to make, to follow the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program and to continue his specialized training in golf - a sport about which he is passionate.

Lucas is the Club Champion of Germany’s oldest golf course, the Wiesbadener Golf Club, and he used to play its nine holes regularly, as well as playing the two longer 18-hole courses to be found in Wiesbaden.

Academic golfer

While Lucas currently has a golf handicap of ten, he wants to reduce that to five in the next few months and eventually to be a scratch golfer on a zero handicap. His coach, "Spike" Collier at the Three-Generation Golf Academy (TGGA), is a great teacher, according to Lucas, who adds, "I realized several months ago just how good he is! I thought my old technique was fine but he has been slowly changing everything and I was asking myself – Why? Now he is starting to put it all together again and I am now playing much better than I was when I first arrived."

Lucas is balancing five days of training each week at the TGGA’s golf driving ranges or at the many golf courses in Chiang Mai with the demands of his academic work. "The golf academy is a first rate institution where our Team Elite players such as Lucas are trained to practice and compete with a positive, winning attitude that carries over into their tournament play, collegiate ambitions and in every day life. Combined with an IB education young golfers now have a complete package to enhance their future," says coach Spike.

Although he had studied English for many years in Germany, applying that knowledge proved difficult in the first few weeks at Prem International School, where all the lessons are in English. Lucas realizes that golf is unlikely to be his ultimate career, and has chosen a particularly demanding program of studies in the IB, aiming for a career in business. "The IB is the greatest certificate in the world, so it will help me get to one of the best universities," he said.

"The world’s future markets are likely to be in Asia, so I chose to come to Chiang Mai to learn more about the people and the cultures that we will soon be doing business with," Lucas said. He has already come a long way along that path, as he points out that some of his friends at the school are Thai or Vietnamese, American, Cambodian, Chinese, Australian / New Zealand, Dominican / German or Bhutanese!

Lucas is a boarder at Prem and it is in the boarding residences that he has made these multi-national friendships. He says that being a boarder is both good and bad – it allows him to meet lots of new friends but it is also not quite the same as being at home! But "home" recently came to Chiang Mai when Lucas’s father Thomas recently spent a few days with his son at the school and on local golf courses. Their favourite was the Highlands Golf and Spa Resort. Set in the foot-hills east of Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai Highlands was designed by Schmidt-Curley Design and gives golfers the distraction of magnificent views on every hole; although Lucas points out that all the water hazards make playing this course a real challenge.

"I am an ambitious golfer," said Lucas, "and my motivation to succeed in this sport and in my academic studies comes from within. My dad is a great role model although he tells me simply to do what is best for me." Lucas, a quietly-spoken, courteous young man, is a great ambassador for his home town, a valued member of the school’s residential community – and one who may well set the world’s fairways and business schools alight in the not-too-distant future.

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NTJGF Victory for Team Elite player

10-11 March 2012

At the NTJGF junior golf tournament held at the long and mountainous Inthanon Golf Club, Tapat (Es) Wittayakom (G11), posted a final round 70 to win by four strokes in a field of 40 boys in the 16-18 division.

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Golf Management Course from RU available at TGGA!
RU Golf Management at TGGA

Ramkhamhaeng University’s (RU) golf management program is aimed at creating experts for industry.

The goal of RU Golf is to attract and educate bright, highly-motivated men and women to service all aspects of this developing industry in Thailand.

As a new addition to RU’s comprehensive management course, Three-Generation Golf Academy (TGGA) offers a professionally structured instruction program for their MBA golf management students.

Our expert instructions and a first rate training center has enhanced their golf instruction requirements. Students have found the new prerequisite both informative, fun and beneficial to their development in the golf industry.

Taught in English by Pro Spike and translated in Thai by Pro Nah, students join together every Sunday for 3 hours of morning instruction followed by 4 hours of supervised practice time utilizing all the training resources of the TGGA.

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TGGA sponsors "Family Fun" Golf Tournament

27 November, 2011

"The idea was to have a tournament geared towards the very young golfer with parents participating as caddies. The rules are very relaxed so the kids could just hit the ball and have fun. It was a family-oriented event opened to both TGGA students from Prem International School and the public for the purpose of benefiting golfers new to the game and enhancing international relationships."

- TGGA Director Spike Collier

The Three-Generation Golf Academy (TGGA) sponsored their second Family Fun Golf Tournament on Sunday 27 November 2011. The event was hosted at the Golf Avenue-Sansai Par 3 golf course.

A clear November morning blue sky welcomed a dozen enthusiastic young golfers and their caddies (aka parents) providing the perfect backdrop for a day of fun.

The Golf Avenue-Sansai golf course in Chiang Mai, Thailand is a Par 3 course with a variety of water holes, bunker play, and rolling terrain providing excitement for junior golfers of all skill levels. It is open to the public, and offers affordable green fees and rental trolleys for families who want to learn the "feel" of the game comfortably.

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Smart shoots 1 under par to qualify for IJGT finals
Smart scores 71

23 September, 2011

Smart (GR 10) shot 1 under par (71) at the Hank Haney IJGT (International Junior Golf Tournament) held at Chiang Mai’s Summit Green Valley Golf Club.

He tied for first place with a scorecard count back playoff. Smart parred the 18th hole and the other boy birdied the hole to win the count back.

Smart's great finish has qualified him for the finals to be held in Bangkok December 9-10.

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PTIS student in the Top 24 at the Optimist

28 - 31 July, 2011

Top 24 at the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships

"The Optimist" returned to PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA.  More than 650 junior golfers from thirty-five countries competed in this year’s Optimist International Junior Golf Championships, but only seven boys and girls could walk away as Optimist champions.

Chiang Mai’s Tapat "Es" Wittayakon made an impressive finish during his debut at the Optimist International Junior Golf Championship for boys aged 16-18. The sixteen- year-old fired a steady 75 (+3) in the final round and finished the four-day tournament at 298 (78, 73, 72, 75), tied for 24th place out of a field of 166 boys from around the globe.

Es, who has placed well in several junior tournaments in Thailand this past year, opened the championship on the Palmer Course, with a round of 78 on Thursday 28 July. That left him in 142nd place, twelve strokes off of Zander Lombard of South Africa who fired an impressive five-under-par 67.

Es was back on his terms by the end of Day Two where a one-over par 73 brought him closer to the leaders and standing in 54th place. Day Three he shot a solid even Par 72, moving up the leader board to 21st place heading into the final day of competition on Sunday 31 July.

Teeing off at 07:40 am on the PGA Championship Course along with a trio of international players, Es kept it together, shooting a 75 to emerge with a notable placement in his first ever U.S. International event.

Eighteen- year-old Will Davenport of Palm City, Florida, shot a 71 in the final round to claim the Championship title. Davenport’s four-day total was 281 (72, 72, 66, 71) an outstanding seven under par, one stroke ahead of South African Lombard.

Es is a Grade 11 student at PTIS International School. He has been a player for the past three years on the Traidhos Three-Generation Golf Academy’s (TGGA) Team Elite.

"It was a great experience to be playing in the US. I did my best and it wasn't too bad. I've learned and seen so many new things. I am now looking forward to improving my game and participating in the tournament again."

- Es

"This was very exciting for all of us here at TGGA and PTIS as this was Es’s first time playing in the United States. Es just turned sixteen years old in May 2011 and had to play against older and more experienced players. His four-day battle against two great golf courses shows his ability to learn and adapt his game by progressively shooting lower scores each day. As can happen to anyone, Es had one bad hole on the final day to keep him out of the top fifteen. His time at PGA National will only add to his treasure chest of great experiences and help build his confidence for future events. I am very proud of the player and young man Es has become."

- Coach Spike

The Optimist International Junior Golf Championships is one of the largest and most prestigious junior golf events in the world.  The PGA National’s championship golf courses having hosted such distinguished tournaments as the PGA Championships, the PGA Seniors’ Championships, the Ryder Cup, the Grand Slam of Golf, the World Big Tour Match, the PGA Club Professional Championship, PGA Honda Classic and PGA Junior Championship; presenting an opportune venue for young junior golfers to test their skills.

 Tournament results (Boys 16-18 Division)

 Es’s scorecards

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Are you a Swinger or a Hitter?

What is the difference between being a Swinger and a Hitter? The number one difference is in the concept/mind-set and physical action between the two. That is to say, for a Swinger the club is "pulled" and thrown utilizing the feel of the weight of the swinging clubhead (Centrifugal Force), whereas a Hitter "pushes" against the club stressing the shaft using a straight line Muscular-Thrust of the Right Arm, Shoulder and Back muscles. These are two very distinct and different swing patterns that require very distinct and different components to perform the action.

Far too often I see golfers struggling with their swings because their swing components are not compatible with each other. Some players will start out as a Hitter because it feels natural to them. But 99.9% of the instruction out there is for Swingers, so when these players go for instruction they are told to do something that to them does not feel natural…confusion sets in and handicaps go up. Mixing the components of a Hitter and a Swinger spells disaster. Knowing the difference may very well help you eliminate confusion and give yourself permission to do what is more natural for YOU.

So, let’s take a look at some of the differences between the Swinger and the Hitter. Note that I will be talking about this subject in the Right Handed golfer vernacular. Lefties have to turn it around... sorry guys.

Basically, the difference between Swingers and Hitters is where you go to for power and how the Hands will work in the swing motion. Swingers who are "pulling and throwing" are using the left hand as more of a hinge motion through the ball. The Hitter will utilize the driving motion of Right Arm Thrust through the use of the Right Hand to direct the clubhead on a straight line through the ball. Both are valid and powerful ways to hit a golf ball.

But which one suits you?

In a general sense the physical body and your personal make up can be a determining factor. For example, if you are stockier, muscular and are somewhat aggressive in nature you may very well adapt to the Hitter’s pattern. If you are leaner, have longer muscles and are more laid back you may very well adapt to the Swinger’s pattern. However, this is not set in stone. Anyone can be a hitter or a swinger by choice so; you need not be limited by the general conditions above. Find out which one you like and go after it.

Figure 1 - Hitter's Follow-through

Figure 2 - Hitter's Follow-through

The Hitter uses the Right Hand to direct the force of the Right Arm Thrust (pushing) in a straight line at and through the ball. This has the action of the wrists uncocking simultaneously through the Impact Zone, which happens automatically when the Right Arm becomes fully straight. The Hitter’s grip will be more firm with less rotation through the Impact Zone (Hinge Action). (Figure 1 and 2)

Figure 3 - Swinger's Follow-through

Figure 4 - Swinger's Follow-through

The Swinger will use the Left Hand (pulling) to direct the force to the point where the swinging motion (of Centrifugal Force) will have the weight of the swinging clubhead do the work of uncocking and rolling the wrists through the Impact Zone. The Swinger will have a more relaxed grip pressure allowing for more rotation through the Impact Zone (Hinge Action). (Figures 3 and 4)

Figure 5 - Swinger Left Hand Turn

Figure 6 - Hitter No Hand Turn

Some very important factors that distinguish the Swinger from the Hitter are how the Hands work in the backswing. A Swinger "turns" the hands ¼ turn in the backswing (Fig. 5) where the Hitter will not attempt to turn the hands at all (Fig. 6).

To ensure the best possible Hand Action the position of the Right Elbow at address becomes very important. The Swinger would want to have his Right Elbow "pointing down and pointing in front of his right hip". This will help to ensure the turning of the hands onto the plane of motion. (Figure 7)

Figure 7 - Address Swinger

Figure 8 - Address Hitter

The Hitter would want to have his Right Elbow "pointing down and pointing to the side of his right hip". This elbow position inhibits the turning of the hands. (Figure 8)

Figure 9 - Finish Swinger

Figure 10 - Finish Swinger

Another distinguishing difference between Swingers and Hitters can be found in the Finish of the Swing due to the amount of Hinge Action that takes place. Because the Swinger’s wrists will "roll" further through the Impact Zone and Follow-through the golf club will pull on the player helping to re-ignite his pivot into the finish and the club will finish more behind the players head. (Figures 9 and 10)

Figure 11 - Finish Hitter

Figure 12 - Finish Hitter

The Hitter will not have that much "roll" of the wrists and therefore must rely on a more aggressive pivot where the club will finish more to the side and upward. (Figures 11 and 12)

The golf skills learned at TGGA are based on the fundamental principles that conform to the Laws of Force and Motion. "Action-Definitions" are terms that we use to "understand and perform" the motions that make up a reliable and repeatable golf swing. Each one of the Action-Definitions that we use has a purpose in operating the golf swing. Knowing the differences between being a Swinger or a Hitter and their purpose built Action-Definitions will eliminate confusion and help you build a golf swing for a lifetime.

Mike "Spike" Collier
Director of Golf
Three Generation Golf Academy (TGGA)

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PTIS student qualifies for prestigious golf tournament in the USA

Es and Smart, PTIS students and Team Elite players from the Three-Generation Golf Academy, made impressive finishes at the final 2011 Optimist Championship Qualifier held April 4-7, 2011 in Patana, Chonburi. Es took second place (79, 72, 75, 75) in the Boy’s 16-18 division; the winner of the event was an eighteen year old boy from the Thai National Team. Smart placed fourth runner up in the boys 14-15 Division with a final score of 72, 79, and 72.

Es’s second place finish earned him a personal invitation to participate in the prestigious 2011 Optimist International Junior Golf Championships at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA. The event is set to take place on will take place on July 21-31, 2011.

Commonly referred to as simply 'The Optimist,' the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships is one of the largest and most prestigious junior golf events in the world. The championships will involve 660 junior golfers, ages 10-18, from throughout the United States and from more than 25 other countries around the world. Es is the second TGGA Team Elite player to have been invited to this event.

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