Esther Cannizzo Junior Golf Foundation

Jackie Cannizzo began her golf instruction career in 1988 after a successful competitive career including playing on a golf scholarship at UNC-Wilmington.  Currently, Jackie is the Director of Instruction at Country Club of Roswell successful junior program.  She teaches private lessons, clinics, tournaments, and organized golf teams.  Her work catches attention of a number of longstanding golf associations, as her accolades include: Top-10 Golf Digest instructor in Georgia, PGA North Chapter Assistant of the Year, PGA Education Achievement Award, National PGA Junior Golf Leader, Golf Magazine’s Top 100, and Golf for Women Top Teacher.  With all of her accolades, Jackie built a reputation as a recognized leader in golf.

Unfortunately, Jackie’s mother, Esther Cannizzo, lost her battle with lung cancer in 2008.  In the years leading up to her passing, Esther facilitated growth in the junior golf program at her home golf course.  Upon Esther’s passing, her children, including Jackie honored their mother’s aspirations and began raising money for what would become the Esther Cannizzo Junior Golf Foundation.  The foundation’s mission is to help junior golfers in Syracuse, NY and Atlanta, GA.

In addition, the Esther Cannizzo Foundation provides select junior golfers with the resources needed for them to take their golf games to the highest levels.  These select juniors receive financial assistance for coaching, tournament play, golf programs, and equipment.  Golf leaders and pros often make great use of their influence in the game by raising money, but the Esther Cannizzo Foundation is innovative.  Some golf growing initiatives operate to introduce young people to the game.  Others aim to provide the bare essential golf resources needed for kids programs, such as the Boys and Girls Clubs.  The Esther Cannizzo Foundation helps junior golfers who exemplify the commitment, passion, character, and desire needed to excel at the game.  A number of juniors possess the necessary attributes to be successful in junior golf, but also possess the resources.  Lastly, without the Esther Cannizzo Foundation, a hidden future Tour star may go without the opportunity to harvest their golf talents.

Finally, two events a year take place, which contribute to the efforts of the Esther Cannizzo Foundation.  One event takes place in New York at Lakeshore Yacht and Country Club.  The other is played on October 17th at Country Club of Roswell.  Non-playing donations are accepted, but supporters can compete in an enjoyable afternoon while helping a great cause.  For a 3 year-old event, the tournament has progressed far and fast.  With high-level corporate sponsors, hole-in-one cars, and a million dollar shot shoot out, this event has all the makings of a wonderful day on the links.

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Great Junior Golf Program – Southeastern Junior Golf Tour (SJGT)

In 1994, Todd Thompson, a former All-SEC golfer at the University of Georgia, started the Southeastern Junior Golf Tour (SJGT).  Junior golfers of the early-mid 90s played all of their competitive golf in the summer largely due to a lack of options during other seasons.  The SJGT offered an offseason schedule with 6 spring and fall events in its first year.  Thompson had recently exited the golf club professional world having gained solid relationships with respected golf clubs around the southeast.  These relationships paid off as these golf clubs held the first SJGT tournaments.  Today, holding SJGT events is a way for clubs to attract more customers and members.

Shortly after its inaugural season, word got out and the SJGT took off.   Summer seasoned junior golfers didn’t have to hang up their spikes until November, because the SJGT offered an almost year round schedule.  36-hole tournaments allowed juniors to arrive late Friday afternoon after school for practice rounds and be home with enough time for homework (or TV) on Sunday.  Based in Atlanta, most SJGT events were within 5 hours of the Tour’s headquarters. 

 As more members joined, more SJGT tournaments took place and competition got better.  With better competition, the SJGT helped players gain access into American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) tournaments.  Winners of certain SJGT events gained exemptions into AJGA events.  Without these exemptions, the SJGT players had to go through a much less appealing application process to gain entry to AJGA tournaments.  The AJGA served, and still serves, as the national proving ground for junior golfers looking to gain Division-1 college golf scholarships.  This pipeline was great progress for the SJGT.

Coupled with opportunities to gain Division-1 college golf scholarships, players derive multiple other long term benefits from playing on the SJGT.  Golf connects people better than almost any social networking tool available today.  SJGT players may spend an average of 10 weekends a year together making it difficult not to develop strong off the course friendships.  Imagine a networking tool that brings 144 people to the same place for 10 weekends a year and requires them to take group walks outside for five hours at a time.  For most SJGT players, opportunities to receive golf scholarships are far secondary to the long term personal relationships gained on the SJGT.  Most working professionals would pay much more than an entry fee for such effective networking tools.

Today, the SJGT continues growing with 43 tournaments and 1000 members in 2011.  On top of its notoriety in junior golf, well known corporate sponsors such as Nike, Auto Trader, and Synovus Bank all contribute to moving the Tour’s efforts forward.  Players not only enjoy well funded events, but also gain wider notoriety than ever before by winning on the SJGT.    Oh yeah, and there is still the relationship building factor.  In sum, the Southeastern Junior Tour came from a 6 tournament series in 1994 to one of the best junior golf programs in the United States today.

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How to Practice

Most golfers use the driving range as an excuse to be outside for a few hours with a small focus on improving their games.  A player will drive anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, pay the shop clerk for a bucket, set up a station at the range, and swiftly hit every ball in the bucket without so much as thinking, “how’s my tempo?”  Unfortunately, this is as structured as range practice ever gets for some.  Driving ranges have and will remain profitable businesses as long as golfers choose quantity over quality when working on their games.

An understated and underadvertised section of Golf Genie’s Practice Drills guide lays out 8 simple ground rules for an easy-to-follow practice plan.  Those steps are:

1. Conduct pre-swing warm up.

2. Reference “Full Swing Checkpoints” and check swing setup and fundamentals.

3. Set up alignment station.

4. Loosen up and establish tempo and short chip and pitch shots.

5. Practice full swing mechanics with select practice drills for 4 shots.

6. For next 4 shots, incorporate practice drills mechanics into normal swing emphasizing fluid swing motion.

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8. Work on short game for half of session.  Incorporate practice games for variety and challenge

Implied in these steps are principles often ignored by the majority of the golfing world.  First of all, perfect practice makes perfect.  That’s right.  Just because you spend 20 hours hitting range balls does not mean you automatically get 20 hours better.  In fact, some golfers spend those hours reinforcing poor swing habits and, dare I say, get worse.  The solution; plan your practice and practice your plan.  Golf Genie’s Practice Drills guide offers a general plan, which could help structure a successful practice session for a player of any level.

Second, hit each shot with a purpose.  A large bucket of range balls can cost $15 at an expensive range.  In return, golfers may be allowed to hit 100 mostly dimpled balls.  This averages out to $0.15 per shot.  Each shot may take a grand total of 20 seconds, so that’s $.45 per minute for a practice session.  The last time I used something at that rate occurred before cell phone plans offered unlimited monthly calls.

To get a better return on the money you invest in a large bucket, plan on hitting each ball with a specific thought or purpose in mind.  Steps 5-7 on page 57 of Golf Genie’s Practice Drills guide recommend this mindset.  By switching between thinking about specific swing mechanics and thinking about tempo, players ingrain techniques and improve a little bit on every shot.  To take it a step further, players should switch targets every four shots as well.  Naturally, if a player hits too many balls at the same target, their mind will eventually wander to something outside of the specific purpose of the shot.    To ensure getting the most out of your practice, hit every ball with purpose and change that purpose often.

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Fall Series Preview: Kevin Kisner

PGA Tour players accumulate FedEx Cup points all season based on performance.  The Top-125 in the FedEx points standings after the Wyndham Championship are invited to the first Playoffs tournament.  Rookie, Kevin “Kiz” Kisner, finished the pre-Playoffs Tour season ranked 195th in the FedEx Cup standings.   He will pick back up on the PGA Tour at the first Fall Series event in Vegas in late September.  Until then, Kiz is staying sharp on the Nationwide Tour.  He played in the Knoxville Nationwide event last week and plays this week in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania where he is defending champion.   After that, he will have a few weeks off before The Fall Series, which will present a timely opportunity for him.

Last year, Kiz gained his PGA Tour card through a successful year-long campaign on the Nationwide Tour.  He won the Nationwide Tour’s Mylan Classic and was runner-up at the Miccosukee Championship.  These, and other notable finishes, landed him at 11th on the final money list and comfortably qualified him for the 2011 PGA Tour.  His money list position put him ahead of now recognized players, such as, Keegan Bradley.  This year has been a different story, but the year is far from over.

A number of players use the Fall Series to turn an average year into a great year, or even a bad into a breakthrough year.  This turnaround effect is made more possible by a number of the highest ranked FedEx Cup players foregoing the Fall Series and finishing their seasons at the Tour Championship.  Examples of Fall Series turnarounds include Rocco Mediate’s in 2010.  Last year, Rocco failed to break the Top-10 all year until winning 2010’s penultimate event ( Open).  Jonathan Byrd also salvaged his season in the 2010 Fall Series after missing six straight cuts during the summer.  Most golf fans vividly recall his ace to win a sudden death playoff at Justin Timberlake’s tournament.  Such an end of year success story is waiting to happen at this year’s Fall Series.  Who will be the protagonist?

Kevin Kisner has momentum and a higher comfort level on his side.  As for his momentum, he made more money in his last five PGA Tour starts than in his first eleven of 2011.   Aside from the money, he gained valuable experience in being near the top of the leaderboard.  At the Viking Classic, he started the final round in the Top-10 and finished the first round at the RBC Canadian Open one shot from the lead.  Last week, Kiz played the final round in the second to last group, so he spent most of the week around the lead.  Any expert golf fan could predict that Kiz will use this momentum to continue to trend upward in the Fall Series.

As for Kiz’s comfort level, he seems to have gotten more used to life on tour.  This only comes with experience.  The courses are tougher, the crowds are bigger, and it simply takes time to adjust. Unlike many of last year’s Nationwide graduates, Kiz played in his first PGA Tour event at the beginning of 2011.  For this, much of his competition had a significant advantage over him, but his steady improvement confirms his rising comfort level as 2011 moves along.  On top of being comfortable through experience, one of the Fall Series events takes place on a course Kiz used to play every day.  Sea Island Golf Club, home of the McGladrey Classic, was his home course during the first two years of his career.  Kiz could play it in his sleep.

Overall, the rest of 2011 holds glaring opportunities for Kisner.  Keeping a PGA Tour card, four chances to gain exempt status over the next two seasons, a better position in the World Golf Championships, and, last but certainly not least, money, all give Fall Series players more than enough motivation to treat it with the respect it deserves.  At least one player will transform his season.  My money is on Kiz.

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If you play golf, you should use Nuun

Nuun Optimal Hydration

At Golf Genie, we love it when we come across companies that embrace our principles of simplicity, portability and convenience.  In the past, our music collections needed their own rooms.  Now, all we need is a tiny device that fits in our pockets that stores more music than used to fill up a medium sized residence.  The same goes for our financial lives. seems to have won the convenience race in this category.   On Mint’s website, all of our money appears categorized and organized after signing in.  No more paper statements or remembering 8 different usernames to get a hold of our financial lives.  It all shows up in a single profile.

Nuun has taken these concepts and applied them to hydration.  When we think of sports drinks, a few brands come to mind (Gatorade, PowerAde, Vitamin water, etc.) To everyone’s surprise, none have really simplified their products the way Nuun has. 

Along with its low calories, low sugar, and effectiveness, Nuun could win the hydration war based on its portability alone.  What used to require cooler space, a strong friend (or two), a case of bottled liquids, and a place to dispose of the containers now only requires a pocket to fit in.  Nuun’s 12-tablet case fits almost anywhere a roll of quarters does and weighs in at less than an ounce.  This is less than an ounce of weight to make 12-sixteen ounce sports drinks.

The most user-friendly hydration product on the market first established itself in fitness-related sports.  Its portability is perfect for cyclists who lack the requisite carrying space for more than one bottle of fluid.  Next, Nuun’s popularity soared in golf, where carrying a 40 pound bag is the norm.  Caddies certainly prefer Nuun’s minimal occupancy vs. carrying 4 bottles of sugar filled electrolyte drinks.  On the player side, water coolers have always and are continuing to be the norm on course, so with a capsule of Nuun, players only need to bring a bottle to the course.  Nuun offers those too.

Appealing to another class of golfer, Nuun’s electrolyte replacing system works wonders for players who spend more time at the 19th hole.   

Overall, Nuun helps the competitive golfer as much as the “recreational” golfer.  That’s why tour players like Davis Love III and Lucas Glover have Nuun in their bag.  At Golf Genie, we have jumped on the Nuun bandwagon as well as hydration in the intense southern heat is key at all times.  Whether on or off the course, Nuun keeps us at the top of our game.

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Led Zeppelin Live at the Royal Albert Hall 1970 So give a Nuun a try.  We’re sure you will agree that Nuun provides optimal hydration in a convenient package.  What’s not to like about that?

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Rooting for John Daly

As the Travelers Championship is underway, one of my buddies noticed John Daly on the scoreboard and that he appeared to be playing pretty well.  “Look,” he said, “Daly has two birdies in his first 7 holes….he may make the cut this year.”  I too was surprised, not so much that Daly was playing relatively well, but that frankly, that he was even still playing the game.

Despite Daly’s well-documented on and off course issues, I have always been a fan.  In fact, I would love nothing more than for John Daly to get his act together and actually win another major.

Golf fans still care about John Daly because his life emulates real life, which serves as both lessons of inspiration and tales of caution.

On the inspirational side, Daly did not come from a privileged background and toiled relentlessly in rural Arkansas with fierce determination to learn and excel at golf.  After turning professional in 1987, he soon became the youngest active player at that time on the PGA Tour with two major championship titles. 

On the cautionary side, Daly soon hit a wall as his personal and professional life spiraled downward faster than his rapid ascent…alcohol, gambling, adultery, etc.  How many times have we heard or seen this happen, whether with celebrities, family or friends?

But the main reason I am still a fan of John Daly  is that despite his issues, he still soldiers on.  On the course, he has some good days and mostly bad days and must rely on sponsor exemptions to keep playing.  But he loves his fans and keeps hitting the course, trying to stay positive in search of that elusive next victory.  This determination and grit to continue on day after day despite lack of confidence and often public ridicule is something to be admired.  It takes guts.

To be clear, John Daly’s prospects of a successful return to golf are not promising.  He ranks in the bottom 600’s in the public golf rankings. 

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So, I am rooting for John Daly and hopes he continues to re-build his game and life.  But first, here’s hoping that he makes the cut at the Travelers Championship.

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Ready to get serious about your game? Consider golf school!

In 2005, when it came time for me to get “serious” about my golf game and accelerate my development, I decided that attending a multi-day golf school would be the best option.  I wanted a “boot camp” that would help me work on all aspects of my game under a focused and dedicated instructor.

 When researching viable golf schools, one name came popping up – the Mel Sole Golf School with its home base in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  The Mel Sole Golf School has other locations in Georgia, New York, Colorado and Mexico. 

What attracted me to the Mel Sole Golf School was first, its reputation.  I researched golf schools online and saw that the Mel Sole Golf School had been consistently ranked in the “top 25” by Golf Magazine for the last decade.  In addition, the reviews that the golf school received from actual students were overwhelmingly positive.  Check out “TripAdvsor” or Google “Mel Sole Golf” and you will see what I mean.

The second criterion that attracted me to the Mel Sole Golf School was its rates which are about one third of other competitive golf schools.  This is part of their philosophy, to provide outstanding value.

The third criterion I liked was the Mel Sole approach.  What I didn’t want was somebody to come in and try to wholesale change my swing.  The Mel Sole approach is to work with “what you got” and simplify the swing movements.

A huge benefit (and money saver) was that Mel had a golf school in Atlanta, my hometown.  Since all the golf schools utilize the same teaching style and methodology and since I would save a bundle in travel and lodging costs, I opted to go to the Atlanta Golf School as opposed to the Myrtle Beach location.  Of course, there are pros and cons to either stay in your hometown or travel elsewhere if you are thinking about a golf school, but it worked out well for me.

So, what was the verdict?  Did the golf school improve my game?  I can say unequivocally, absolutely.  It was one of the most sound investments I have ever made.  Mel’s Atlanta instructor, David Olberding broke down the game an easy to understand fashion and removed all the golf jargon and clutter that infiltrates our mind.  We focused on the basics and really honed the fundamentals.  Within a year, my handicap dropped about 5 strokes, primarily due to the sound basics, repetition and drills I learned.

And you better believe it that, four years later when I started putting together my instructional team for Golf Genie that Mel Sole and David Olberding where the first pros I called to contribute.  Our belief in simplifying the game of golf and focus on the basics readily transfers to our Golf Genie content.  Drop me a line at if you agree.

Regardless if you use Golf Genie products or not, check out the Mel Sole Golf School based in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  I’m a lifelong fan.  When you are done with your lessons, check out the areas myriad of fantastic golf courses and Myrtle Beach tee times.

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Mashable names Golf Genie Practice Drills Pro for iPhone top golf mobile app

We are honored that, one of the most read and respected social media sites with 40M monthly page views has named Golf Genie as top golf mobile app pick for 2011.

Click this link for the full review.

The full text is below:

The pro golf season has kicked off with the heralded Masters Tournament in Augusta. Golf enthusiasts can rejoice in another season of watching the best players drive, chip, pitch and putt their way to victory.

Golfing is one of those addictive yet highly frustrating sports that can leave you feeling like a PGA pro one day and a novice the next. In golf, practice sometimes makes perfect, but any round can have a mind of its own regardless of how many hours you’ve put into the range. If anything though, true golfers are dedicated to the craft and will doggedly continue on their quest for the perfect swing. 

These eight mobile apps might not get you to the Masters, but they may at least make you feel like you’re worthy of playing at Augusta.

1. Golf Genie Practice Drills PRO

golf genie image 

This app acts like your virtual golf instructor and provides a whole slew of practice drills for your full swing and short game. Designed by PGA Tour pros, it also provides specific solutions and drills to address common swing faults like hooking, pulling, pushing and slicing. You can use the customization features to pick and choose which drills you’d like to focus on and then create your own personalized practice routine. It’s also available for BlackBerry phones.

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Nice review of Golf Genie golf apps by SDGolfTV

Here is the link:

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Golf Genie Review by WAM GOLF

Thanks to the good folks at WAM Golf for their review our Tee to Green and Practice Drills Pocket Guides.  Here is the link to the review.

The full review is also below.

Golf Genie Pocket Guide Review

I know what I’m supposed to do when I practice at the driving range. Pick out a point in the distance, take my preshot routine and play my shot as though I’m actually out on the golf course. I hear this all the time but when I’m hitting off a turf mat with a perfect lie, it couldn’t be further from reality. I actually only hit about 25% of the fairways I take aim at. I need practice from the rough, not perfect playing conditions. 

As the 2011 golf season approaches, I made a commitment to go from a 12 handicap to a single digit by the end of the season. This will require time at the driving range but it has to be spent properly. I decided I needed something to keep me focused while at the range. I did my Google searches online and came across the Golf Genie™

(The Golf Genie™ offers a Practice Drills Guide and Tee to Green Guide for on the course)

 Golf Genie™ features apps for the iPhone and Blackberry. Since I don’t have either of those, I went with the pocket guides. While they do fit in pocket (they are 5.8″ x 3.6″), I prefer carry them in my golf bag. They barely take up any space and are easily accessible. 

The Practice Drills Guide

The Practice Drills Pocket Guide (blue in the picture above) is exactly what I was looking for. It’s small, easy to read and is broken down by section. For example, The “Pre-Swing” section of the guide offers stretches to prepare you for practice while the “Back Swing” tab offers four drills with pictures for you to work on. 

The guide offers over 60 useful pages broken down into four sections: Full Swing, Short Game, Swing Faults and Practice Routines. It’s in full color and broken down with bullet points to make it easier to follow.

(A look inside the Practice Guide. It’s easy to read and follow with the tabs on the bottom.)

The Best Feature

In my opinion the best feature is the Practice Routines section. This section gives you tips to plan and mentally prepare before you go out and practice. To help you plan it offers sample 30 minute and 1 hour routines to help guide you. It also gives examples of “games” you can play to make practice a little more tolerable. 


In my opinion these guides are worth picking up for $14.99. The Practice Drills Pocket Guide is perfect for anyone who wants a sense of purpose when they practice. It’s not only allowed me to develop practice routines, it’s given me drills to help me improve on specific aspects of my game. It’s exactly what I had in mind when I began my search. 

The Tee to Green Pocket Guide is great for specific shots. I don’t know if I’ll use it much on the course but I know I’ll use it when I work on my game from a bunker or out of a bad lie. The tips on hitting over trees, out of fescue, and even reading putts will come in handy for more advanced practice sessions. If you’re in a cart during your round, it might not be a bad thing to have on hand if you encounter a shot you don’t regularly face.

There are plenty of guides available to help your golf game. I personally like the Golf Genie™ tools because they’re small, easy to read, and helpful. 

Who: Golf Genie

What: Golf Genie Pocket Guides

Where: Available on their website, iPhone, and Blackberry

Cost: $14.99

Why: To help you at the driving range, during practice, or on the golf course


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