By Bert Jones USGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional, Loomis, California
St. Francis High School Girls Golf Team with head coach, Bert Jones.
Last season I had a chanceto coach my first girls highschool golf team. It was a suc-cessful season, and needlessto say there was a lot I didn’tknow. The purpose of thisarticle is to relate some in-formation so you can decidewhether or not you want tocoach high school golf.
First and foremost, you need to decide why youwant to coach. Hopefully you want to mentor youthand give back to the sport. Be sure to build andwrite down a coaching philosophy for all to see!
If you want to supplement your income, youneed to know the pros and cons of that decision.High schools pay by stipend, with a range of $2,100to $3,300 for a season that lasts 10-12 weeks. Youcan expect to spend about 20+ hours a week work-ing with the team, coordinating play and matches,and completing paperwork. Some high schoolsrequire the head coach to fundraise. If so, be pre-pared to spend additional hours to raise the money.
You may or may not have an assistant coach. Ifso, you will need to manage the assistant, and en-sure that they implement the schedule and plannedpractices. My school has a provision that supple-ments my pay by $450 if I have at least 10 playersand no assistant coach.
Once you start, you need to make arrangementsfor uniforms and embroidery. Team uniform order-ing, fitting, embroidery and collections for the uni-forms took up a lot of time! You must be preparedto account and manage a budget.
How many players will you have on the team? Iwas blessed to have had 13 last season. I am bettingthat I will have 15 to 18 players try out this sea-son. So, will you have cuts or no cuts? I favor cutsbecause the traveling team is limited to six play-ers. My experience showedthat only eight of the 13 everreally had a chance of playingin a match. Therefore, the otherfive were confined to the rangeand some on-course play. Iplan to limit the team to a min-imum of 10 and a maximum of14. Depending on the scoresand the numbers seeking tojoin, I would like to see no more than a 10-strokespread between the number six player and the num-ber 10 or 14 player. It is my hope to create greaterintra-squad competition. Other limiting factors arebudget and school athletic director philosophy.
There are highs and lows to coaching highschool golf. You will enjoy watching the growth ofthe team, winning matches, and individual achieve-ment. You will also enjoy working with the otherhigh school coaches; however, I was stunned attheir lack of credentials and overall golf knowledge.The lows that you will deal with are centered onaberrant parent behavior. Yes, the parents! I callthem helicopter dads or moms, those that want tohover, watch, and even coach their kids on everylittle moment. You will also experience parents thatjust want their child to play in the sport and arepretty much indifferent.
Players can be classified into three groups.Group one – the really talented, some of which arecoachable and some of which are not coachable.Some of these kids even have their own swingcoach! The second group is those that are coachableand have some talent. These kids have the abilityand just need one-on-one lessons. The last groupis those that are there for pure entertainment. Theywant to hit golf balls, listen to their iPod and havea good time.