I approach golf education from the perspective of first coaching individuals on how to “Play The Game” and then sharing some “Technique” that is needed in order to play better. Over the past 44 years, I have found that by helping players…juniors and adults alike…increase their commitment to the process of learning and by decreasing their attachment to swing technique and outcome, players have more fun, and perform better.
The following six areas provide the framework to my coaching philosophy:
Golf is easy. I believe at a basic level that golf is an easy game and, regardless of skill level, golf can be equally rewarding to all players. Players from the age of 4 to 104 can enjoy the game. Without question it’s mental and physical requirements can be developed by anyone. I also believe that playing golf, or doing anything for that matter, to the “best” of our individual ability takes dedication, practice and support.
Golf is fun. I feel that the process of learning and playing golf should be fun. I am often asked about “Burn Out” in golfers. All I can tell them is I have never had a child or adult quit playing golf when they were having fun. “Fun” and “Simple” are key elements for the success of my coaching programs.
Golf is about relationships. I feel that golf is about developing relationships. For me, the coach student relationship is most important. The interest I take in the student, and the trust that develops because of that interest, helps the student learn quicker. In general, I feel golf provides a venue where relationships can be developed with people of all ages, regardless of social or economic position. The relationships developed on the golf course are special because we can experience fellow player’s emotions while they challenge their individual mental and physical skills. I truly believe that golf is a beautiful walk enhanced.
Golf demands our best effort. Golf tends to pull out of us the desire to do our best and by learning to give each shot our best effort we actually learn the skill of giving any activity our best effort.
The student is the expert on the student. Because I feel my job is to support the students in developing their golf game, I call myself a “coach” instead of a teacher. Helping students become better at playing golf is not about what I know, instead, it’s about how I can help create a learning environment that allows the student to increase their self awareness and maximize their individual golf skills.
Players Learn through small doses repeated. I feel it is important for students to experience the whole game when they practice or are being coached, so they are more prepared when they arrive on the first tee. I feel it is the complete training of all disciplines (From full swing to putting) in small amounts, and delivering that information in a positive environment, that gives students the tools necessary to develop the best game they can within their ability, desire, and time to play and practice.
My Philosophy for working with the parents
I believe coaching junior golfers is as much about providing an environment where the student can develop as it is about coaching golf technique. Consequently, the parents are receiving a lesson in coaching at the same time the juniors are learning how to improve their golf skills. When the juniors are working on their golf skills, at the same time I coach the parents on how to coach the juniors. The parents are not only coached to understand what golf skills the child can work on, but they are also trained to better deliver the golf information in a way that encourages and excites the child. Some of the specific topics that I share with the parents include:
- Reward the process
- Keep instruction simple
- How to give feedback
- Help children set effective goals
- Provide an environment for real learning
I am not attempting to make parents “golf professionals”, but I do want to help the parent learn to provide an environment where the child can develop and be excited about the game. This process would include identifying, when they return home, a go-to team that could help with the ongoing golf skill development of the child.