Junior Invitational: Glover offers advice to players

Lucas Glover speaks to the players at the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley.

Lucas Glover speaks to the players at the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley.

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GRANITEVILLE, S.C. -- Driving through the entrance at Sage Valley Golf Club, Lucas Glover hardly could believe his eyes. Corporate signage? On-site lodging? Valet service?

“We didn’t have any merchandise tents at the junior tournaments I played in,” Glover said, laughing, “but it shows how far golf has come.”

Speaking Friday night to the 54 players at this year’s Junior Invitational, the 2009 U.S. Open champion reflected on his early career and, hopefully, offered sage advice for the brightest prospects in the game.

There was a heavy emphasis on fitness and developing the total athlete -- more to come on that next month from Nike Golf -- as Glover talked alongside his renowned trainer for the past seven years, Randy Myers. They stressed the importance of implementing a consistent warmup routine and coordinating fitness with a swing coach, concepts that may seem foreign to a high-schooler. They worked the juniors through the SPARQ assessment -- strength, power, agility, reaction, quickness -- which included hurling a 2-kilogram medicine ball as far as they could during the downswing. (Glover, it should be noted, flung his a whopping 57 feet.)

“The strides I’ve made in fitness have prolonged my career,” Glover said. “I just don’t see it yet.”

More interesting to the juniors, however -- aside from receiving a custom pair of Sage Valley-themed Nike shoes, of course -- was Glover’s ascension from standout junior player to major champion. Having grown up in Greenville, S.C., about 2 hours from here, Glover said he played mostly local and state events before the AJGA circuit became a suitable option for promising juniors. Merely watching this year’s competitors on the range prompted a fascinating reaction from Glover.

“Technically, they’re definitely better,” he said. “You see their swings on the range, and they all look the same. The golf swings are better. They’re all fit. They’re all wearing nice-looking costumes.

“It’s more technical now than when I was growing up. We tried to get it in the hole as fast as possible and didn’t care what it looked like. You find pretty quickly that when you start playing in college or playing for money, no one really cares what your swing looks like. It could make you more efficient but it doesn’t really matter. Jim Furyk doesn’t care, I assure you.”

In a Q&A session with the players, Glover fielded questions about his aspirations for this season (make the Ryder Cup team), the biggest adjustment in college golf (time management) and why he shaved his beard (“I got tired of it”). Then he detailed his extensive practice schedule: workout at 7 a.m., breakfast, 2 1/2 hours of short-game work, lunch, an hour of wedges and long game, go play 18.

“For me, it’s a job,” Glover said. “It’s how I make a living and be successful. But I still treat it as a game on the golf course.”

Even many of these peach-fuzzed juniors could appreciate that.

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