1st Annual United States Golf Teachers Cup®

1st Annual United States Golf Teachers Cup® EDWARD LEE WINS FIRST PLAYING OF UNITED STATES GOLF TEACHERS CUP ST. AUGUSTINE, FL • 1996 1996 – Edward Lee wins the inaugural event with 74, playing out of the Senior division.

2nd Annual United States Golf Teachers Cup®

2nd Annual United States Golf Teachers Cup® SHAWN CLEMENT WINS SECOND PLAYING OF UNITED STATES GOLF TEACHERS CUP SAN DIEGO, CA • 1997 1997 – Playing both left- and right-handed, Canadian Shawn Clement takes first place at San Luis Rey Downs Golf Course.

4th Annual United States Golf Teachers Cup®

4th Annual United States Golf Teachers Cup® BRIAN LAMBERTI WINS FOURTH PLAYING OF UNITED STATES GOLF TEACHERS CUP PORT SAINT LUCIE, FL •1999 1999 -Brian Lamberti wins the only US Cup contested over three rounds, played during World Golf Teachers Cup week.

5th Annual United States Golf Teachers Cup®

5th Annual United States Golf Teachers Cup® MARK UMPHREYVILLE WINS FIFTH PLAYING OF UNITED STATES GOLF TEACHERS CUP MONTALTO, PA • 2000 2000 –Mark Umphreyville from California heads east to win at Penn National.

6th Annual United States Golf Teachers Cup®

6th Annual United States Golf Teachers Cup® MARK HARMAN WINS SIXTH PLAYING OF UNITED STATES GOLF TEACHERS CUP JENSEN BEACH, FL • 2001 2001 – High winds and firm greens make the scores high, as Mark Harman wins his second title with a two day combined score of 152. The championship adopts a permanent format of two rounds.

7th Annual United States Golf Teachers Cup®

7th Annual United States Golf Teachers Cup® MARK HARMAN WINS SEVENTH PLAYING OF UNITED STATES GOLF TEACHERS CUP MOORS GOLF & LODGING PENSACOLA, FL • 2002 Take two days of beautiful weather, a course where the Senior Tour plays, one of the South’s premier vacation destinations, great golf and friendships, and what do you have? Why, the 7th annual edition of the United States Golf Teachers Cup, of course. The Moors Golf & Lodging, just outside Pensacola, Florida, is home to the annual Emerald Coast Classic on the Senior PGA Tour, which showcases some of the greatest names in professional golf. This past November, it featured some of the greatest teaching names in the USGTF in competition.Two days of 75-degree weather and cloudless skies only made the tournament that much…

The Commonality of All Teaching “Systems”

By Mark Harman USGTF Level IV Member and National Course Director, Ridgeland, South Carolina I’ve been teaching golf for nearly 20 years now, and over the years I think I’ve just about seen it all when it comes to teaching beliefs. Of course, as soon as I say that, something new and out of the blue will pop up. The most recent “hot” teaching trend is the stack-and-tilt method as developed by Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett. These two fellows have a stable of over 20 touring professionals using their system. Basically, stack-and-tilt is a belief that the weight should remain on the forward foot during the swing. Plummer and Bennett believe that it makes no sense to transfer weight to the back foot when, according to them, it is…

The Basics of Todays Modern Equipment

By Jeff Jackson PowerBilt Golf www.powerbiltgolf.com As a golf instructor, you’re likely to see students whose bags contain a myriad of equipment – and oftentimes it’s not a pretty picture! Some players will have the latest in high-tech, high-dollar equipment, while others may have hand-me-downs from their grandparents. When it comes to instruction, you have the skills to make any student play better with whatever equipment they may have, but by educating your students to the benefits of modern-day equipment, you will not only help them immediately play better, you will be able to better teach them as a result of equipment that is matched to their game. Your students look to you as their “golf expert” due to your teaching ability. Even if you are not all that equipment…

Etiquette necessary on golf course

As teaching professionals and ambassadors to the game, please be aware of golf etiquette. Each course may have its own special rules, but practicing the following customs should help you set an example. • Please be aware of other golfers outside your group. It’s easy to get so involved in your game or your teaching that you forget others on the course. That loud cheer when your client sinks a long putt may disturb somebody teeing off an adjacent hole. • Please replace all divots. The next time you find your ball in a rough spot on the fairway, remember that you might have had a better lie if someone else had followed that advice. Don’t be afraid to replace divots other than your own, as well. • Please don’t…

Leftover Chicken Wings

By: Paul Devore For a number of players who have worked hard to improve their swing, eliminating residual or “leftover” faults can be a frustrating process. One such fault or tendency is the dreaded “chicken wing.” Of course, “chicken wing” refers to that uncomfortable post-impact feeling of the lead elbow (the left for right-handers) separating from the body and pointing skyward in the follow through. This is usually accompanied by a cupping or flipping of the left wrist in order to square the club face. This “chicken wing” move, inevitably, leads to an inconsistent face angle at impact, costing the player accuracy, and deceleration of the clubhead; costing the player distance. One remedy to this devastating fault is downward extension through impact. Ben Hogan used to say he liked to…

What The Public Should Expect From Golf Lessons

Peter Kessler, former Golf Channel personality and now the host of his own program on XM satellite radio, said that he believed the optimal length for a golf lesson was 10 minutes. He said this because there was time to give the student only one thing to work on, and that any more might be overkill. While Kessler is not a golf professional, he has a valid point. One of the worst things we can do as golf teachers is to pass out too much information. A common refrain that new teachers hear from their students is, “I have so much to remember.” Hopefully, as time goes on, this teacher realizes that when he or she hears this phrase, the student has been given too much information. A trend in…

Identifying A Student’s Learning Style

By Dr. Tom Kubisant, CSP USGTF Contibuting Writer Connecting with each student is the most important thing you can do. If you can develop an individual relationship with each student, you will be more efficient in your teaching. And, students will learn more, better enjoy the experience, and come back to you. Students I talk to say they like to feel like an individual. Even though they may have the same issues as dozens of other golfers, they like to be treated as if their problems and goals are unique. Taking the time to personalize a lesson plan is one of the best things you can do to develop an ongoing relationship. This implies two things: asking questions and listening. I have presented speeches and seminars to teaching pros for…

The Skill of Putting People at Ease

By Mark Harman USGTF Level IV Member and Course Examiner, Ridgeland, South Carolina One of the biggest reasons a golfer may not take lessons is one that many golf teachers may not have thought of. That reason is intimidation. Yes, many people, especially women, are intimidated at the thought of taking lessons and putting their game in front of someone to judge. Part of the problem is the old stereotype of the grumpy old pro who has little patience for beginners and novices who seemingly (to him) can’t walk and talk at the same time. Unfortunately, there is some ring of truth to this, as golf traditionally has more than its fair share of course employees and “professionals” who are condescending, sour, and ready to rip your head off. Now…

What is the Best Putting Grip?

A Panel of Our Teachers Share Their Views It seems, since golf began some 600 years ago, players have argued whether the straight back-straight through putting stroke, preferred today by putting expert Dave Pelz, is better than the inside-square-inside stroke recommended these days by another short game guru, Stan Utley. Well, surely these arguments will go on for a long time, yet one thing will stay the same: most USGTF and WGTF members believe the Pelz type stroke works better on short putts while the Utley-type stroke rolls the ball more purely on long putts. Something else that’s been getting a lot of attention lately is the putting grip, probably because there is such a wide range of grips, including the highly unorthodox claw popularized by PGA Tour pro Chris…

The DRIVER and The STUDENT

It is the most glamorous club in the bag. It can send the ball soaring much farther than the longest home run Hank Aaron or Babe Ruth ever hit. Along with the putter, it is the most rewarding, frustrating, fulfilling, and anger-inducing club we use. Of course, we are talking about the 6-iron. Just kidding! Over the past 10 years, the driver has been the most talked-about and scrutinized weapon in a golfer’s arsenal, due to the rapid evolution of the technology of the club. Pro golfers are hitting the ball 30 yards farther, on average, than they did with the old persimmon drivers. It seems no one has a neutral opinion on the longest, yet lightest, club in the bag. Students either love or hate their drivers – there…

UNIQUE RULINGS IN GOLF

Recently, in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Steward Cink was disqualified for testing a bunker prior to hitting a shot from a bunker, and failing to add the two-stroke penalty to his scorecard. What made this ruling unique is that Cink not only didn’t know initially he violated a Rule, but that the bunker he “tested” was a completely different bunker than the one from which he hit his next shot! His ball was just outside a fairway bunker, but in order to hit the shot, he had to stand in the bunker. He then proceeded to hit the ball into a greenside bunker. Cink’s caddie then raked the fairway bunker. Such a procedure was deemed a violation of Rule 13-4, which states in part that “Except as provided…

Golf Course Management – Basic Operations

Club Professional and Club Manager / Resort Manager Certification The following subjects will be taught during the course of the week: Customer Relations In our customer relations training section you will learn how to properly interact with your customers in a professional manner. In golf management, this is very important because the typical golfer has several options as to where they play. A good golf management experience gives the client all the more reason to select your facility for their next outing. Management Expectations In this section you will learn exactly what’s expected of a golf management professional and what tasks are involved in expanding your particular golf course facility. The Common Sense Factor It is not necessary in golf management to have a degree in business, agronomy, accounting or…

Teaching the LOB SHOT

By Bob Wyatt USGTF National Coordinator, Port St. Lucie, Florida   DEFINITION The “lob” shot, sometimes referred to as the flop shot, is a high-flying pitch shot which, upon landing, has very little if any roll. The lob can be used anywhere when this flight characteristic is required.   For example, a player might be just off the green by five or six yards, but a pot bunker stands in his/her way. Running the ball through is not an option due to the severity of the front lip of the bunker, and the pin is tucked only a few feet behind the bunker, giving the player no option but to put the ball into the air with a steep enough angle of flight to ensure a minimum degree of roll.…

Slice Solutions

by Bob Wyatt, Jr. USGTF Course Director, Port St. Lucie, Florida   According to a conversation I had with the late great USGTF teacher Babe Bellagamba, there are two foolproof ways to cure an over-the-top swing fault and a resulting pull slice shot. In this article, the first in a two part series, I talk about how swinging like legendary golfers Tommy Armour and Seve Ballesteros did during their heydays can put your student’s faulty swing back on track.   Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to observe the golf swings of thousands of amateur golfers. Wherever I am, without fail, I’ve noticed that the majority of high handicap players hit a pull-slice shot off the tee.   I’ve spoken to numerous USGTF/WGTF members about this common problem and…

Wisdom of Golf Management

If you gathered 100 experienced golf managers together and asked for their advice, this is what you might hear. “No task is beneath you.” Don’t think you are above anything. Be the good example and pitch in — especially if the job is one that nobody wants to do. “Ask for Help.” If you think you’re in over you’re head, you probably are. Before it gets out of hand, ask someone for help — most people enjoy giving a hand. Besides saving yourself from embarrassment, you’ll make a friend and an ally. “When you don’t like someone, don’t let it show.” Especially if you outrank them. Never burn bridges or offend others as you move ahead. “When you are right, don’t gloat.” The only time you should ever use the…

Managing with questions.

The art of golf management often involves asking questions, lots of them. Here are several questions to ask as you manage your facility. If you ask these questions as part of your routine, you’ll teach your staff that their opinions matter. • What caused complaints today? • What was misunderstood today? • What cost too much? • What was wasted? • What was too complicated? • What job involved too many people?

Tactics to boost morale

One of a golf club manager’s most important jobs is to keep spirits up in the work place. With stress levels sometimes high on busy days at golf facilities, this is not always easy to do. However, there are some strategies that a good golf manager can use. Liven up your memos. Find a book of one liner’s, and include a joke at the bottom of your memos. Take pictures! Every office has an aspiring photographer. Ask that person to take candid shots of employees, and add them “Humor Corner.” Bring your smile to work. You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes especially in the golf industry. If the manager consistently has an upbeat attitude, the staff will as well.

A good golf manager plans his week in 30 minutes.

Photo by chispita_666It is a well known fact that to manage a golf facility takes a certain amount of planning. Simply ask yourself these questions • What results do you want to see by the end of the week? Write them down and rank them according to importance. • What do you have to do to achieve your goals? List the necessary activities, and put them in sequence. • How much time will each activity require? To plan realistically, allow yourself more time than you think you will actually need. This gives you flexibility if unexpected problems develop. Take a look at your calendar and decide when you can accomplish each activity. Most people underestimate the power of a schedule, but you won’t get much accomplished in the golf management…

Praise employee’s effectively.

Photo by rsepulveda A golf club manager’s most powerful tool is the ability to praise your staff effectively. “The sandwich technique,” in which you couple a piece of praise with an item of critique is a good way of getting the results that you want. For more information on “the sandwich technique” please refer to Golf Teaching Pro magazine, Summer edition at usgtf.com Try to be specific in your praise. A vague statement like “You’re doing a great job,” is less meaningful then a precise description such as “The pro shop has never looked better, keep up the good work.”

A Golf Management Primer on Golf Course Design

It’s no insult to today’s golf course architects – who as a group are exceptionally talented and knowledgeable in the fields of art, science, and design – to point out that for all of the technology, financing and modern earth moving equipment at their disposal, they seldom are able to match Mother Nature when it comes to crafting golfing rounds.

100 Tips for Golf Managers Book “Coming Soon”

Photo by longhorndaveThe purpose of this book is to present to you thoughts and ideas on golf management in order to motivate, encourage and guide you in the industry. Here are a few excerpts from the upcoming book. Golf management provides a great opportunity to learn and grow personally. Therefore, take advantage of this. You will be the same today as you will be in five years except for two things: the books you read and the people you meet. Many golf club managers have earned their way to the top by actually doing many of the jobs that need to be done. Good golf management is rooted in meaningful experiences relating directly to the golf facility you are managing. One manager from the factory is worth ten from law…

Defining Today’s Golf Teaching Professional

Photo by borisvolodnikovBy Andrew Penner USGTF Level III Member, Calgary, Alberta, Canada I know a famous golf writer (sorry, I can’t divulge his name) who has never, and I mean never, sat down in front of a computer. To this day, still writing for some of the top golf magazines, he hand-writes every single sentence. Then, he painstaking bangs out the final drafts of his work with his two index fingers on an old typewriter. I said to him the other day, “You’re a relic, you know that, don’t you? Nobody does it like this anymore.” He just laughed and kept punching away. He’s one of the finest writers I know. His three books are all amazing and beautifully written travelogues on UK golf courses. (By now, some of you…

Marketing Your Teaching In Todays Economy

Photo by danperry.com By Dr. Tom Kubistant, CSP Contributing Writer, Reno, Nevada The economic collapse has affected many business enterprises. There are fewer and fewer services which are seen as “essential” anymore. Basic services like haircuts, auto repair, and even dentistry are increasingly being seen as elective. So, where does that leave us in the golf teaching profession? We all know that people need golf now more than ever, but how do we convince golfers to invest their precious resources in lessons? The key marketing strategy is to convey that playing golf is an investment which reaches far beyond the lessons. Simply put, we need recreation more. In essence, golf provides “re-creation.” Now, many of our courses and clubs have been implementing their downside marketing strategies and tactics. For the…

Golf Swing Slow Down Tips

Photo by foxypar4By John Andrisani USGTF Level III Member and Contributing Writer Vero Beach, Florida Tiger’s former teacher Butch Harmon, taught me unique drills for smoothing out an extra-fast swing tempo. Any one of these is ideal for curing a student’s speedy swing problem. One of the greatest pleasures of my long career in golf was getting the chance to work with Tiger’s former coach Butch Harmon on the bestselling book, The Four Cornerstones of Winning Golf. What better way to “research” a book and “work” than to converse with Butch about golf swing technique and play golf with him at my former golf club, Lake Nona in Orlando, Florida. Butch is a true teaching guru, namely because he has a great eye for spotting faults and helps amateur and…

Golf Words of Wisdom

Photo by danperry.comWORDS OF WISDOM By Geoff Bryant USGTF and WGTF President, Port St. Lucie, Florida PART 1 Major championship winners comment on TEMPO, TIMING, and RHYTHM Over the last few years, I’ve noticed that the golf world – teachers and amateurs alike – have gotten caught up in talking about Tiger Woods’ technique. Hopefully however, we have not forgotten about the impact of Jack Nicklaus, still the major championship record holder, and other major winners; as well as the tremendous contributions other talented teachers have had on the great game of golf. In light of what I’ve just said, I’ve decided to present this two-part series on golf’s legends, in the hope that you will share their somewhat lost or forgotten words of wisdom with your students. These thoughts…

4 C’s That Can Turn Your Student’s Game Around

Photo by Monster. By John Andrisani USGTF Level III Member and Contributing Writer, Vero Beach, Florida “Ive been playing golf for 50 years, and what never ceases to amaze me is how, from time to time, I’ll meet a player who, though not great by any sense of the imagination in any shotmaking category – from driving to putting – manages to bring home the trophy in both the club’s match play and medal play yearly championships. These days, when I watch this type of golfer in action, I’m reminded most of Padraig Harrington. Not one department of Padraig’s game seems to stand out. For this reason, until his more recent major victories at the British Open and PGA, he was one of those players who never really got mentioned…

Keeping Pace with Modern Golf Technology

Photo by Somewhat Frank HERE’S WHAT TODAY’S EQUIPMENT CAN DO FOR YOU By Jeff Jackson USGTF Level III Member, Columbus, Ohio, Powerbilt Golf They say you can’t buy a better game. That certainly is true to some degree. Being golf instructors, we know that instruction and practice are the keys to game improvement. But, even with all the lessons and range time in the world, if a player’s equipment doesn’t include current technology, they’re likely giving away a couple of shots a round. Let’s go through the bag and see how modern technology can help your students play better golf. Today’s drivers are arguably the most technologically- advanced clubs in a player’s set. Virtually all drivers max out at the current USGA size limitation of 460cc’s. This large size allows…

Scoring Eagles

Photo by cmikedDriving Results in Golf, Business, and life. The great game of golf teaches us exceptional lessons to improve our performance in the games of business and life. Scoring Eagles! is an entertaining book for business leaders who like to play golf. It is a unique tale that helps business drivers apply lessons from golf to improve their results in business…told on the golf course! It shares strategic insights to improve their golf games, achieve business success, and even improve their personal lives. Max Carbone is the author of Scoring Eagles! He has been a CGTF and USGTF member since 1998, and was the 2000 North American Golf Teachers Federation champion. Max works as a strategic planning expert who helps businesses develop and execute winning game plans. Max is…

Boosting Your Teaching Business

Photo by Steven WilkeYou’ve done it. You’ve passed the USGTF certification course, you get hired at a driving range or golf course as the head teaching professional, and you can’t wait to get started. You hang out your shingle and wait for the students to come… except that they don’t come in the numbers you envisioned. What’s going on here?. There are certain locations where all you have to do is hang out the proverbial shingle and students will come. If you are teaching at such a place, you are fortunate. However, most teachers will have to pursue students to maximize their lesson revenue. The most obvious place to start is with the hometown newspaper. Most of them have a golf column in the sports section. Contact the golf writer…

Shareable Quotes

Photo by nsaplayer“The World Golf Teachers Federation, especially here in Holland, has become too strong a force to continually be denied its progress of growth by many of the game’s monopolistic entities of the past.” – Edward Verstraten, Dutch Golf Teachers Federation, on the DGTF’s recent court victory over NGF Holland, which only permitted PGA members the right to teach the Dutch public in order to achieve golf’s mandatory “green card.” This card allows golfers in Holland official permission to play at public and private courses. “It fills me with an enormous sense of well-being, plus I discovered a long time ago that I enjoyed being good at something.” – Deiter Lang, president, German Golf Teachers Federation, when asked why he enjoys the golf teaching profession. “One of my keys…

Strategies On The Lesson Tee

Photo by robotographyBy John Savage USGTF Level IV Member and Course Examiner, Langhorne, Pennsylvania There are a lot of unspoken expectations when a student first comes to you for a lesson. The student sees you as the golf professional, teacher, and expert. How you use your expertise is very important in developing success for your teaching profession. Students expect that people who have developed expertise in particular areas (such as the golf swing) are, by definition, able to think effectively about problems in those areas. Understanding expertise is important because it provides insights into the nature of thinking and problem solving. Research shows that it is not simply a series of general abilities, such as memory, intelligence, or the use of general strategies, that differentiate experts from novices. Instead, experts…

The Four Stages of Learning

Photo by Brett L.By Robert W. Erickson USGTF Level III Member, Oakmont, Pennsylvania You’ve probably had the occasional student protest after a few lessons with a statement like, “I seem to hit the ball a lot better when I don’t think about the things you are teaching me!” I’ve had this happen many times, and at that point I usually take a few minutes to explain about the process of learning a new technique. It doesn’t seem to matter whether it is a sport, a new job function, or virtually any new activity. Change or learning can be difficult. The first thing I typically point out is that change, especially positive change, doesn’t happen without some thought! And, they probably wouldn’t be taking lessons unless they recognized they needed to…

The Worst Shot in Golf

By Andrew Penner USGTF Level III Member, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Photo by judemat Skull, slice, yip, yank, top, pop, tug, chunk, whiff, shank, clank, hook, smother, flub, duff. Indeed, as teachers, our student’s mess-ups come in all shapes and sizes. If only we could smite them from the earth (and, along with them, the gimmicky pop schlock recordings of Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and Jessica Simpson). Chances are, when Flanders is breathing down your neck in your tension-filled grudge match, one of these saboteurs will be your nemesis shot. Our downfall. Our demise. The reason why we’re not making millions on the pro tour. (Of course, life as a teaching pro isn’t half bad, is it?) But, which do you think of the aforementioned villains is the worst? Like beauty,…

Honored Master

Photo by O’BrienDigitalBy Jim Perez USGTF Level IV Member and Examiner, Fresno, California I received a letter from a retiree, and every sentence started with, “If it wasn’t for you, I would not have played golf,” “If it wasn’t for you, I would not have had the courage to tee it up with the ladies group,” “If it wasn’t for you, I would never have been able to travel and play with my husband.” The letter continued like this, “If it wasn’t,” “If it wasn’t,” and on and on. I was so pleased that I could make a difference in someone’s life like this, so I am passionate when I teach the USGTF certification courses, imparting the knowledge that has been imparted to me, and imparting information that I have…

What to Expect From Golf Lessons

Photo by dnkbdotcomWhile Kessler is not a golf professional, he has a valid point. One of the worst things we can do as golf teachers is to pass out too much information. A common refrain that new teachers hear from their students is, “I have so much to remember.” Hopefully, as time goes on, this teacher realizes that when he or she hears this phrase, the student has been given too much information. A trend in modern teaching is the use of high-tech video and training aids. Use of these items can be of great benefit to some students. The one drawback to training aids, specifically, is that the student is not likely to have such a training aid to use in between lessons. If a lesson is based solely…

Moore Takes Less Strokes Than Anyone, Wins Cup

They say some things get better with age. You can now add Jerry Moore to that list. Photo by jhaveMoore, from Raritan, New Jersey, fired rounds of 71-67 for a 138 total that set a new tournament record for lowest 36-hole score. His final round 67 bettered his age by one and also established a new 18-hole record. He earned $2,600 for his efforts. Jim Perez from Fresno, California, won the Senior division with scores of 74-71 – 145 and finished second overall. Mark Harman won the Open division and finished third overall with 74-73 – 147. 2004 US Cup champion David Belling finished fourth at 78-71 – 149, while newcomers Mike Henry and Robert Green finished fifth, both with 76-74 – 150. Melody Robinson captured the Ladies title in…

Why an 8,000-Yard Course Will Soon be a Standard

Photo by SideLongBy Mike Stevens USGTF Level III Member, Tampa, Florida It was a simple enough game, requiring a sturdy four-and-a-half foot tree branch, with six inches bent at about a 45 degree angle on one end. The branch, when swung in a downward motion from shoulder height, would propel a round stone along the ground to a target in the distance. The person reaching the target in the fewest number of strikes was Photo by SideLongthe winner. At first, the target was a tree or large boulder, until one day, after considerable searching, Lord William McPark found his stone at the bottom of a rabbit hole. From then on, the object became to intentionally knock the stone into a pre-selected hole, meticulously dug to a depth from which the…

You May Not Be Tiger Woods, But You Are A Golfing Brand!

Photo by Keith Allison By Jack Sims USGTF Level III Member – Miami, Florida It sounds too good to be true, right? But, I can assure you that while you may not be a big brand like Tiger, Ernie, Jack, or Arnie, you still are a brand! You see, if you give one golf lesson to one student, you are a brand. And, your brand is probably the single biggest financial asset that you have! The result of this one lesson can range from as far as “It was a terrible lesson,” to “It was a good lesson,” to “Wow, that was awesome. I have never hit the ball like that before.” But, the net result can be totally different because the whole process of branding is based around the…

Swing Changes

Photo by mhofstrandRequired Commitment By John Savage USGTF Level IV Member and Examiner – Langhorne, Pennsylvania Maybe I’m a little old fashioned, but I find “crash courses” a little mind-boggling. We are a society which demands pills to fix just about everything, and now we are into crash courses that attempt to teach us a great deal in a minimal amount of time. There are crash courses on how to start an exercise program, how to lose weight quickly, how to use your newly purchased computer in two easy lessons, and the list goes on. Have we become a lazy society? Do we think everything can be solved quickly? Has instant breakfast and online banking had that much effect on us? People today don’t want it now – they want…

PART 2: Tiger’s Modern Backswing and Downsizing

Photo by Keith Allison By John Andrisani USGTF Level III Member, Vero Beach, Florida Previously, I brought to your attention something that had previously gone unnoticed by golf experts, yet it is something so groundbreaking for the world of golf instruction and how the game is likely to be taught in  the future. It was the discovery that Tiger Woods changed his swing once again, likely this time forever, since the new Modern Swing he employed helped him hit the ball so powerfully, so accurately and, moreover, on such a super-controlled consistent trajectory, that he re-entered the winner’s circle at the 2007 PGA championship, his 13th time in a major championship. I had heard from good sources, prior to the PGA, that Tiger was working on modernizing his swing, only…

PART 1: Tiger’s Modern Swing Setup

PART 1: Tiger’s Modern Swing Setup By John Andrisani USGTF Level III Member, Vero Beach, Florida tiger woods Photo by Keith Allison I consider myself a golf historian, though admittedly my interest leans mostly toward the realm of golf instruction. In fact, in my library I’ve got over one hundred how-to books, my at home office walls are covered with swing sequence photographs of golf greats, and my desk drawers contain golf videotapes and electronic media of all types, plus binders containing instruction articles cut out of major golf magazines. On top of that, I’ve attended approximately 25 golf schools around the world, and when not attending a golf tournament, constantly watch golf on television. I live golf instruction! In searching all these years for the answers to the perfect…

The Changing Face Of Golf Instruction

By Dr. Gerald Walford, Professor USGTF Level III Member, Pippa Passes, KY Photo by The Newb PART I INTRODUCTION Over the years golf instruction has changed. This is really no surprise to anyone who has kept up to date through the years. The following article will give some insight into the many changes, subtle and obvious, over the years. Some may surprise you. The changes in instruction have occurred in the physical, mental, video and apparatus areas. Instruction is designed to develop learning. No learning – no teaching. If learning is not taking place then the method or style of instruction must be changed. It is amazing how many teachers teach their same method student after student, year after year. Naturally, this may not work with all students so some…

Angle Of Attack

Photo by c.a.mullerBy Jim Moffitt CGTF Member, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Of the five aspects to the ball flight laws, angle of attack often receives short shrift from most teaching professionals. The other four aspects – clubhead path, clubface angle, clubhead speed, squareness of strike – receive much attention from both players and teachers alike. However, all five are important in determining the quality of the shot, and that includes the angle of attack the clubhead takes into the ball. The longer the club, the shallower the angle of descent will be. Of course, this means the shorter the club, the steeper the angle of descent will be. With a driver and the ball teed up, the ideal angle of approach is actually a slight ascent of the clubhead into the…

Get Real With Your Students

Photo by Al_HikesAZPsychology By Dr. Gregg Steinberg USGTF Sport Psychology Consultant – Nashville, Tennessee Many students have unreal expectations about what you can do for them, as well as how good they should play and score after their lessons. When students have unreal expectations and you do not meet these expectations, your students will be dissatisfied, and perhaps not return. However, when students know what to expect from you and the game of golf, retention increases and so does satisfaction with the product. Thus, you want to communicate realistic expectations with your students. The following are some unrealistic expectations and how you may fix them: 1. Students who believe the game should be easy. Instructors throughout the world have heard, “It looks much easier on TV.” Many beginning students come…

Ernest Jones: Remarkable Teacher, Remarkable Man

By Brian Woolley USGTF Contributing Writer, London, England Photo by Rob Inh00d A slightly built man, Jones is remembered for the understated elegance of his swing and a hand action able to generate considerable club head speed. He played creditably in four English Open championships without ever threatening to win, and won a loyal following at Chislehurst for the quality of his teaching and the skill of his club-making. Following the outbreak of the First World War, Jones, alongside thousands of his generation, decided to enlist and at the end of 1915 he found himself in the trenches of Northern France. In March 1916 he was badly injured at the Battle of Vimy Bridge. He returned to England with sixteen pieces of shrapnel in his head and body and without…

Renovating… Golf Clichés

Photo by kevindooleyBy Dr. Tom Kubistant USGTF Contributing Writer Reprinted by permission from Golf Today One sure sign that the science of human performance has become more accepted is the emergence of playing clichés. From over-inflated announcers to self-appointed mental gurus to even your playing partners, it seems we cannot talk about playing good golf without using stock clichés. A cliché is an overused word or phrase which has become trite and commonplace. The impact of the concept has become cheapened by its constant repetition. In an effort to have the phrase more commonly understood, it has become diluted. However, here is the kicker: even though they are overused, CLICHÉS ARE STILL VALID. Beyond the veneer of obfuscation, the core concepts of clichés are still true. Good performers know this…

Opportunity Abounds For US Golf Managers Assocation, USGTF Members

A couple of years ago, Golfweek magazine printed an article on the state of the golf business, and specifically highlighted the concerns of the PGA of America. It seems the PGA was concerned because more and more golf courses were not hiring PGA professionals to run their operations. And just who were these golf courses hiring instead? Business professionals. In response, the PGA went on a marketing campaign to make the golf courses aware that PGA professionals, at least in that organization’s eyes, were the most qualified to run a golf course. What has been the response of the golf industry to that campaign? Well, if Crosswinds Golf Club in Savannah, Georgia, is any indication, the campaign didn’t do much, if anything, to help PGA professionals. Crosswinds, an upscale 18-hole…

Know Your Turf

A Review of What Every Golf Manager Should Know About Golf Course Turf By: Thomas T Wartelle, WGTF Examiner & Agronomist Objective  As a golf course manager, it is necessary for you to have certain knowledge of the golf course turf and maintenance practices at your facility.  This knowledge will help you communicate with you clients, members and golf course superintendent about the conditions of the golf course.  Golf course maintenance is a big part of every facility’s budget.  Therefore, it will be a major topic in business operations. Your location greatly affects which type of turf grass is best suited for your facility.  Therefore, for this discussion, we will categorize turf grass types for different climate zones. Northern Climates  Northern cooler climates are best suited for grasses such as…

Take the Challenge of Refining Feedback

Motivation By Carl Swanback USGTF Level III Member – Colchester, Connecticut Whatever you do, don’t touch the roof of your mouth with your tongue! Hmm. Chances are you just did touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth and might continue to do so for some time as you read this article. This plays into the theory, as outlined by Horst Abraham in Skiing Right (Johnson Books, 1983), which says if you ask some-one to avoid a behavior, that behavior often becomes magnified. The same logic can be applied to feedback presented in the context of a lesson. If you frame the feedback in terms of what the student should not be doing, he or she just might do the very thing you’re trying to prevent. Need proof? How…

Michelle Wie’s Power-Swing Technique: An Analysis

PART 2: The Power-Draw Downswing By John Andrisani USGTF Level III Member and Contributing Writer, Gulport, Florida Michelle Wie has reached the top of her wide, well-coiled, and majestic top of backswing position. What happens next to get her started in delivering all this power to that teed up ball? I will answer that question shortly. Right now, I think it is crucial to first present the three popular theories or arguments about what happens to complete the backswing and start the downswing. Theory #1 There is no overlap movements in the two halves of the swing. As the player has just about but not quite finished turning his or her body, while the hands and the club have not quite reached their highest point in the backswing, the player…

Developing Teaching Skills

By Thomas T Wartelle USGTF Master Teaching Professional Washington, Louisiana Teach Correct Warm-up Techniques Fitness research has shown that proper warm-up technique does not start with stretching.  This goes against traditional thinking.  Stretching is the same as activating or using a muscle.  Just as in lifting a dumbbell, when stretching a muscle group the muscles must expand and then contract to complete the task.  Imagine walking into the gym and curling a 60-lb. dumbbell without warming up. The correct technique is to warm up slowly before stretching.  This could include a slow jog, but more realistically for the golfer it means simply striking a few short shots with an easy swing.  The best way is to make short 20-30 yard pitch shots, then slowly working into three-quarter pitch shots.  After…

How to be a Great Golf Club Manager

Fulfilling the minimum requirements of a golf club manager is not nearly enough these days, especially if you want to rise in the industry. Here are a few strategies for distinguishing yourself in the golf management industry: • Think like an owner. Many golf club managers are tempted to say, “That’s not my job.” They might be right, but the best club managers—the ones who survive layoffs and continue in the industry—thrive on additional responsibilities. • Beat deadlines. Most club managers settle for accomplishing certain goals by the assigned time. Accomplishing results ahead of schedule will enhance their value at the golf club facility. • Help others. Great golf club managers encourage employees to think independently—to find solutions to daily problems that occur and to learn from their mistakes. •…

Lesson Rates From Around The World

Photo by dnkbdotcomTo a certain extent, the slowdown of the world’s economy has affected many of us in the golf industry, but not to the degree of some businesses. It seems people still want to get out and enjoy themselves recreationally, so most of us are lucky in that regard. As golf teaching professionals, we can still make a very handsome living if we get into the right situation. In the United States, it’s not uncommon for some full-time teachers in bigger cities to work a full eight-hour a day, earning $50-100 per hour. Even part-time teaching, where someone might teach 2-4 hours per day, can bring good revenue. In the USA, teaching fees vary considerably, depending upon the area and reputation of the teacher. Most big-name teachers in the…

So You Wanna Play Pro Golf?

Photo by nsaplayer Pebble Beach, TPC Sawgrass, Doral’s Blue Monster, and Harbour Town.  These are just some of the famous courses that the top tour professionals play year in and year out.  Ah, the good life, right? Well, yes.  But the journey to get to the top of the mountain of professional golf is far from easy.  The fact of the matter is it takes a lot of time, effort, and money to even attempt this journey.  And, that’s assuming the player has the talent and ability in the first place. More than a few times per year, USGTF examiners hear a candidate in his 40’s say that he plans to “chase the senior tour” when he gets near 50.  Then, some of these same candidates fail to break 80…

Genuine Improvement Requires an Investment in Time

Among the thousands of stories about Moe Norman, the late eccentric genius of golf, is a nugget that exemplifies just how precisely he could hit a golf ball. Moe was playing with the late Ken Venning one morning in Florida. Unable to hit balls before they teed off, they hit three balls each off the first tee. As they made their way down the fairway, Venning said it looked like he was walking toward a mushroom in the middle of the fairway. As he walked on, he was shocked to see Moe’s three balls – touching. So, how did Moe become arguably the best ballstriker in the history of the game? Between the ages of 14 and 19, Moe worked obsessively on his swing, hitting upwards of 1,000 balls a…

A Game Of Controlled Emotions

Photo by sparktographyBy Bob Wyatt USGTF National Coordinator, Port St. Lucie, Florida This article was first printed in Golf Teaching Pro in the Spring 1995 edition when the magazine was known as American Golf Pro. This is another in a series that looks back through the archives of our member publication. How many times during the course of your golfing experiences have you been tempted to throw a club? I’m sure there are not too many of you that answered “never.” I’m not a doctor of psychology, but I do feel that after 25 years teaching golf, together with 40 years of playing this great game, I understand human nature. As a junior player, I was determined to become the best player I could as quickly as possible. This immature…

The South African Golf Experience

Photo by Arno & LouiseNot five meters from my tent the resident King of the African Bush roared again. I reached for my torch, flicked it on and looked around my tented abode, thinking of an exit strategy. The big male lion rubbed himself against my tent for the next thirty minutes before wandering into the dark night. The next day, after a delicious farm-style breakfast, I headed to Bushman Sands for 18 holes on their Gary Player-designed golf track. That evening, I took a boat cruise on a nearby dam, and then headed back to my tented lodge for a fireside dinner. This, ladies and gentleman, is my work! A warm greeting from sunny South Africa! It is my pleasure to be contributing to Golf Teaching Pro magazine, and…

Historically Speaking

THE SWEDES WERE GREAT, THE LINKS WERE GOOD, AND HICKORY GOLFERS ARE NOT CRAZY By Mike Stevens, Level IV member, Tampa, Florida

Mike Stevens, Rob Alschwede and Jay Harris of Team USA

The headline, paraphrasing a popular country song, aptly describes my trip to Sweden to participate in the Hickory Grail matches and the Swedish Hickory Championship. It all began in June, 2008, at White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, where I finished second in the National Hickory Championship. An invitation was proffered to join the United States team that would compete against the European team for the coveted Hickory Grail cup. In the world of hickory golf, this is quite an honor. The matches are held every two years on our soil or in Europe, and…

Pre-Shot Routine

Photo by proforgedAll athletes seek consistency, especially golfers.  And, all golfers will tell you that consistency in their game is a fleeting thing.  However, one of the best ways to improve consistency is to employ a pre-shot routine. A pre-shot routine is a sequence of repeated actions which readies the mind and body for the upcoming shot.  A pre-shot routine has many important features which promote consistency. First, it helps relax the golfer, because during this routine, the golfer takes a couple of deep, relaxing breaths.  Relaxation promotes a consistent, rhythmic swing. Second, a pre-shot routine helps with concentration.  Once the pre-shot routine starts, the golfer focuses on only one thing – hitting the golf ball. Third, it builds confidence, because the golfer will use positive visualization at the start…

Developing Optimal “Muscle Memory”

By Mark Harman Photo by nimeckOkay, I know what some of you purists are saying:  there is no such thing as “muscle memory” because muscles don’t have memory.  Strictly speaking, this is obviously correct, and “motor memory” would be more accurate.  However, the phrase “muscle memory” is so commonplace and the meaning so descriptive that I believe it does have its place in our golf teaching lexicon. Traditional teaching goes something like this:  the student hits a few balls, the teacher diagnoses the problem and cure, and then has the student try the new movement.  All of this is well and good, but is this truly the best way for a student to learn? There have been some fine motor learning articles published recently in Golf Teaching Pro, and certainly…

Sports Hypnosis: The Key to a Winning Game

Photo by StonehouseGolfBy Dr. Errol Gluck My name is Dr. Errol Gluck, and for 33 years I have been helping people to transform their lives through the integration of Medical Hypnosis and Executive Life Coaching. Hypnosis was once a tool mainly used to cure addictions, phobias, and various emotional conditions, but over time, scientific discoveries have shown that hypnosis can be a powerful tool used for achieving success in sports. I am one of the most experienced and well-known Medical Hypnotists in the sports industry, with more clinical hours than most professionals reach in a lifetime. My work with PGA Tour players, as well as the countless individuals who have sought my services, are a testament to my practice and my knowledge of hypnosis. Golf is a highly strategic game…

Golf Club Management

Learning and Applying Management Skills in the Golf Business By Patrick J. Montana, PhD USGTF Master Teaching Professional, Scarborough, NY Recently I received a telephone call from a friend who asked if I would be interested in teaching golf at a major year-round golf facility in my geographical area. Since the golf facility where I have been teaching for the past three seasons closes at the end of October, I decided to explore the opportunity. I met with the General Manager who said she was looking for a Head Golf Professional to give all golf lessons, clinics, golf camps, and to assist her at times in managing the facility because the current teaching pro did nothing but stay in the office and rarely spent time interacting with customers and staff.…

Teaching Beginners Just got Easier!

And A lot More Enjoyable Take away the frustration of learning and replace it with immediate, positive achievement. T-Golf® allows the student to initially stand tall with no spine tilt and hit the ball at waist height. The golf club is only 2 ½ feet long with a specially designed huge hitting face. The ball always gets airborne and the thrill of immediately hitting the ball is fun and builds confidence.  After success at this, the adjustable tee is then lowered slightly and more spine tilt is introduced. This continues until the student eventually replaces the T-Golf® Club for a regular 7 or 8 iron. The following testimonial is one example of what teaching professionals are saying: “Over the past six years, T-Golf® has been phenomenal for all areas of…

Introduction to Golf Club Management

By Dr. Patrick Montana USGTF Level IV Member and U.S. Golf Managers Association Course Director Scarborough, New York I have been teaching management to business executives at all levels in profit and nonprofit organizations for almost 50 years.  Futhermore, as a certified golf teaching professional, I believe strongly that the process I describe in this article will better enable you to meet your golf club management expectations. There are many similarities in management and golf as well as in teaching management and golf.  Both require strategic thinking, planning, execution, control, evaluation and feedback. Let me begin be stating that at the heart of a system of managing for results is managing expectations.  More often than not managing expectations seems to be the missing link in business practice.  However, it occurs seldomly in golf,…

Golf Management Education

By: Ken Kramp, Warren, Ohio USGTF Level III member As a golf course manager you are always expected to look for ways to increase your bottom line and explore opportunities to promote your facility. My question to you is this, “Have you looked at all types of golfers to reach this goal?” I would like to introduce to you a larger growing group of golfers that has visited your facility at least once a week for years. This foursome is made up from one family and includes a grandfather, father, son and daughter. Over time you may have noticed the foursome went to three, then two, and then one. One day you asked the daughter what happen to your grandfather, father and brother. The daughter informed you that her grandfather…

Financial Planning For Golf Managers

By Ron D. Platz, MBA, PhD. USGTF Level IV Member Introduction As golf managers, we spend much of our time at our golf course facility ensuring things run smoothly. There is the other side of our lives where we deal with the issues of everyday life, including financial matters. This is the first of several articles I intend to develop pertaining to financial planning issues you may be dealing with now or in the future. Since US Golf Managers Association  membership covers a broad spectrum of ages and occupational arrangements, I will endeavor to keep the articles general but informative. For more specific information, I will always suggest you contact your advisor, in whatever discipline the question involves (i.e. investments, insurance, taxes, etc.). However, due to the significance of 2010…

Golf Course Design: What makes a Good Test?

By Mark Harman, USGTF Level IV course examiner At the risk of having any future invitations to Augusta National revoked, I wanted to point out what I consider a flaw in the current design from the championship tees: there are too many holes that are too similar in length. Take the yardage of four of the par-4’s on the first nine: 455, 455, 450, 460. Not much variety there, wouldn’t you say? The two par-5’s measure 570 and 575 – again, not much variety. The second nine at the National, the most famed nine holes of golf in the world, does have a little more variety in the yardages, and that’s part of what makes it perhaps the best nine in the world. Still, there are two par 4’s that…

How Golf Came To Europe, America, And Beyond

It has always been accepted that golf was invented in Scotland, but more recent research has thrown that belief into question among some quarters.  In 2006, a Chinese professor named Ling Hongling said that the Dongxuan Records, written in the years 960-1297, describe a game called chiuwan, where players would use 10 clubs to hit a ball, with the purpose of getting the ball into holes that were dug into the ground.  The Dutch also played a game that apparently started in the 13th century called “colf,” which resembled golf, and the French played jeu de mail.             Given the similarity of the words “colf” and “golf,” and given that there were close trading ties between Holland and Scotland, it seems reasonable that the Dutch indeed had a major influence…

Byron Nelson on Teaching Golf

This article first appeared in the Spring 1996 edition of Golf Teaching Pro, and is another in a series of looking back through the magazine archives. This interview with Byron Nelson was compiled by USGTF contributing writer Russ Pate and has never appeared in any other publication except for Golf Teaching Pro. The article is Nelson’s fistperson account on his thoughts on teaching golf. By the time I got my first pro job in Texarkana, I had learned how to play really well, but I hadn’t done any teaching at all except for myself. After I was hired, I began to think, “Oh boy, if someone comes out and wants a lesson, I’ll have to give it.” I was a little nervous about the prospect, but I just studied what…

The Evolution of The Golf Swing as Dictated by Equipment

From wooden golf balls to modern urethanecovered rockets, from tree branches to graphite- shafted aerodynamic titanium clubheads, the golf swing has evolved along with changes in the equipment used throughout the years. Here is a primer of how the golf swing has changed in response to the equipment being used at the time. Feathery golf balls The feathery was made by stuffing wet goose feathers into a leather pouch, sewing the pouch up, and the drying feathers expanded to make a fairly hard, useable golf ball. Since the feathery didn’t have the aerodynamics we are familiar with today, it was best to keep the ball low to the ground. To achieve this, the top players would swing in a relatively flat, roundhouse manner known as the “St. Andrews swing.” This…

How I Teach Golf

By Thomas T. Wartelle USGTF Level IV Member, Washington, Louisiana At my golf academy, our teaching philosophy and methods are innovative. We use a combination of “old-style feel” with the latest in technology. We specialize in golfers who are serious about moving to the next level. Training includes all aspects of the game with a focus on: Swing Mechanics Short Game Tournament Preparation Techniques Mental Focus for Tournament Golf Fitness Training The goal of my academy is to create a positive learning environment. We divide practice sessions into different segments: mechanics, feel, and playing the game. Students see results. They enjoy the learning process and see positive results with each session. The Learning Process: Mechanics, Feel, & Playing the Game A typical session involves a segment where mechanical issues are…

Balance is The Key To Great Ballstriking

By Todd Graves with Tim O’Connor Edmond, Oklahoma and Ontario, Canada Before driving ranges, most pros shagged their own balls. They would hit balls from one end of a field, walk to the other end, and hit them back. Pros needed endurance and accuracy. An unintended benefit was that they’d focus on most of their shots so they didn’t have to go all over hell’s half-acre picking up balls. From the ages of 14 to 19, Moe Norman shagged more than one million golf balls, most of them in a 225- yard field at Rockway Golf Club in Kitchener, Ontario. The field at Rockway helped forged one of the most powerful and accurate golf swings in the history of the game. Forty years later, Moe didn’t talk about working hard…

Teaching Amputee Golfers

By John Savage USGTF Level IV Master Teaching Professional and Course Examiner Langhorne, Pennsylvania One of the most important things to an amputee is to fi nd some sort of physical activity. It lifts their spirits and gives them the feeling that they can accomplish more than just being able to walk. They must fi nd a place where they can have fun. Some have found golf. There are many associations they can join, should they seek a competitive outlet. There are numerous clinics conducted across the United States that are sponsored by the Amputee Associations. These clinics are geared towards hospital and rehab organizations. The clinic basically introduces and demonstrates the devices that have been invented to accommodate various amputee situations, such as arms, hands, and legs. Golf pros…

Fixing a Students Golf Hook

Most of the time, we find ourselves teaching beginners and novices, or intermediates who have typical problems such as over-the-top, slicing, etc. From a technical viewpoint, teaching beginners and novices isn’t that difficult, because we mainly focus on the basics of setup and a good rudimentary swing motion. Teaching intermediates with typical problems is still not overly strenuous from a technical viewpoint. Their problems tend to stem from the setup, and/or a lack of doing something correctly in their motions. For example, slicers tend not to release the club, so getting them to release properly is getting them to do something they are not already doing. By contrast, fixing a hook is a tremendous challenge for many teachers. The problem for the golfer who hooks is often that they are…

Jack Nicklaus Golfs Golden Bear

Mention the name Jack Nicklaus to a golfer, and so many different things come to mind: champion, architect, businessman, family man, and statesman are just a few of the adjectives that would be appropriate. When it came to winning, no other golfer in history, as of this writing, has won more major championships than Nicklaus’s total of 20, which includes two US Amateur titles. As an architect, his designs are among some of the best, including Muirfield Village, Castle Pines, and Shoal Creek. Nicklaus was always the consummate family man, trying to never play more than two weeks in a row when his children were growing up. He and his wife, the former Barbara Bash, continue to have close relationships with their fi ve children: Jackie, Steve, Nan, Gary, and…

Five Strategic Questions Every Golf Club Manager Should Know

By Dr. Patrick J. Montana USGTF Level IV Member and U.S. Golf Managers Association Course Director, Scarborough, New York Today, there are approximately 17,000 golf clubs in the United States and an equivalent number worldwide. With many golf facilities and courses being constructed annually and the industry continuing to grow, there is a need for more qualified and effective golf club managers in the golf industry. The United States Golf Managers Association is dedicated to training and certifying golf club managers nationally and internationally to effectively perform as golf club or golf resort managers. In addition to learning the skills for implementing a Results-Oriented Management System, participants are first asked to think seriously about the five basic questions that are strategic in nature for their organization. Peter Drucker, the late…

New Golf Managers

Whether you’re a brand–new golf manager, or you’ve just been promoted to a level of higher responsibility, please consider the following:  Early mistakes can create an avalanche of resentment that will bury your potential and good intentions.  Try not to commit the following unforced errors:  Change for the sake of change. “Things are going to be different now that I’m in charge.” Certainly some things are going to be different, but some things got the way they are for good reason. Immediately sweeping away all the old rules and procedures is a mistake.  Careless Promises.  Never promise anything you aren’t absolutely certain you can deliver.  Remember that you cannot buy loyalty — rewards should be handed out only for what people have done in the past and what they are…

TIME FOR USGA TO RETHINK AMATEUR STATUS RULES

Is it just me, or does anyone else think it’s past time that the USGA revises and modernizes its Rules of Amateur Status? After all, just what is the purpose of making someone who is a golf teacher compete as a professional? This might come as a shock to some of you, but if I could play as an amateur again, that would be my preference. Yet, as the Rules of Amateur Status currently read (and probably will be for the rest of my life), anyone who takes compensation for giving lessons must forfeit amateur status…for PLAYING PURPOSES! Now, in this day and age, this makes absolutely no sense. Maybe years ago it did. The USGA’s position was (and is, for some reason) that a golf professional who teaches has…

YOUNG GUNS MAKING STRONG STATEMENT

When Harry Vardon left the scene, undoubtedly there were those who said that golf would never be the same, that no one could replace him. Enter Bobby Jones. And surely, the same thing was said after Jones departed competitive golf, and also after the departures of Byron Nelson, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus. Each time, though, new blood has infused the game and created new interest. The year 2010 was quite a year for majors and European Tour golf. Three out of the four majors winners are exclusive members of that tour across the pond, and all are relatively young. In years past, European-based players were probably at a disadvantage at the majors because three out of the four (except for the British Open) are played…

Teacher Talk

In the past month, we’ve seen Paul Goydos and Stuart Appleby each shoot 59. In addition, you had a couple of 60s and assorted low-60s scores thrown in. Some pundits are saying this is proof that the equipment has gotten out of hand, that it is making the pro game too easy. Or, they say that the courses are too “short.” These same pundits need to look at history. Sam Snead shot a 59 in 1959 at the Greenbrier, although the course played 6,475 yards back then. Still a great score. Al Geiberger shot his 59 at Colonial Country Club in Memphis, and it played over 7,200 yards that day. Mike Souchak held the record 72-hole score on the PGA Tour for the longest time, a 257 in 1955. Interestingly,…

TEACHERS, GET OUT AND PLAY!

One of the unfortunate aspects of the golf business is that you will probably play less golf than you think you will. For many teachers, a full teaching schedule precludes getting out and playing very much. Yet, it’s still important to tee it up on at least a semi-regular basis in order to keep your skills sharp, among other things. More importantly, playing golf can and does help your teaching. How is this, you may ask? Very simple. It might be hard to believe, but if you stay away from the golf course any significant length of time, it will in all likelihood diminish your skills as a teacher! You should learn something about the game each and every time you play, and it doesn’t matter whether you played great…

Tiger Woods Try’s To Regain #1 Ranking At Chevron World Challenge

Tiger Woods will host the Chevron World Challenge, and the noted golf enthusiast will have a chance to reclaim the No. 1 ranking he has lost during a sub-par 2010. The field will be made up of 18 golfers, including Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, and Rory McIlroy. The Chevron World Challenge counts toward the world rankings even though it isn’t an official PGA Tour event. Woods has designs on winning at Sherwood Country Club this week: “That hasn’t changed. I love winning,” Woods said Tuesday as he spoke with reporters at the elite 18-man tournament. “Coming down the stretch on the back nine with a chance to win — that’s the rush, that’s the thrill of why we practice. “That’s why we train, why we hit all those balls tireless hours,…

Happy New Year

On behalf of the entire staff at the USGTF National Office, we would like to (more…)

US CUP A GREAT EVENT

For the 15th time, I was fortunate enough to be able to play in our national championship event, the United States Golf Teachers Cup. From modest beginnings in 1996 at Ponce De Leon Resort in St. Augustine, Florida, as a one-day event with approximately 40 players, the event has blossomed into an extravaganza with over 100 participants regularly. Originally, the event was simply called the USGTF Members’ Tournament. Like the Masters, which was called the Augusta National Invitational for the first few years, the original name didn’t adequately convey the stature of the tournament. In time, the name United States Golf Teachers Cup was adopted for the 2001 version of the event, which took place in Jensen Beach, Florida, as part of World Golf Teachers Cup week. In fact, it…

GOLF ON TELEVISION

In our modern iPad, iPhone world, it seems that information overload is everywhere.  This also seems to apply to golf on television. (more…)

Golf Management

The field of golf management has grown throughout the years to include more than just golf professionals. Golf management has evolved into an industry all its own, making it necessary to be well-prepared in several areas of expertise. Those in golf management are expected to know marketing, budgeting, sales, accounting, human resources, and, of course, golf and management. Golf is a multi-billion dollar industry, with over 16,000 facilities all across the USA. Many golf courses no longer look solely to a golf professional to run their operations. No, they are looking to hire true business professionals who are knowledgeable in the areas outlined above. Golf management is a unique career on its own, and the United States Golf Management Association recognizes this and is helping to prepare these individuals for…

Golf Management Companies

If you research golf management companies, the first thing that sticks out is their attention to their bottom lines. As golf is a multi-billion dollar business, golf management companies make it a point to hire businesspeople who are familiar with the business of golf. Golf management companies range from the high-end, such as Troon Golf, KemperSports and Marriott Golf, to the moderate end such as American Golf Corp. and Billy Casper Golf. Whatever level, these golf management companies have the same common interests in mind: To increase awareness of its portfolios and bringing in increased revenue. Since participation in golf has been flat for a few years, mainly due to the struggling economy, golf management companies are turning to creative ways to attract new customers. Business professionals who love golf…

Professional Golf Management

When one thinks of the phrase “professional golf management, ” one might have the vision of managing a professional golf event. While that is certainly the case, professional golf management is much more than that. The business of golf continues to thrive in these difficult economic times. While the participation rates have leveled off in recent years due to the economy, people who play the game are some of the most ardent participants of any recreational sport. Professional golf management becomes vital in order to make these participants happy. Golf courses know that they have to put out a good product in order to retain the customers they have, because if they don’t, they will simply patronize the course that does put a great deal of care into their facility.…

Golf Management Jobs

The business of golf is quite varied. It might be thought that the general manager or director of golf at a golf course have the only golf management jobs in the industry, but the fact is that golf management jobs come in all sorts of varieties. Your off-course golf shop retailer also comes into play when discussing golf management jobs. How about the lead superintendent of a golf course? Certainly, it might be said that he has one of the best, but perhaps also one of the most stressful, of golf management jobs. How does one get started in working their way into upper golf management? Well, one way is to start at the bottom. The old-school method was to land a job as an assistant professional, or even as…

Golf Course Management Companies

Managing a golf course is a very specific activity, and various golf course management companies have sprung up throughout the years in order to satisfy a demand. Perhaps the owners of a particular course are not in a position to manage the course themselves. Perhaps they are looking to outside experts to improve the bottom line, or maybe they simply don’t want to run the course. This is where golf course management companies can provide a valuable service. Those who own golf course management companies know that they have to do an outstanding job and provide great service, or else they will find that they will not survive in a very competitive business. Golf course management companies are looking for candidates who are well-trained and qualified, often seeking out candidates…

Golf Course Management Schools

Back in a simpler time, golf courses were run by the owner/owners of the facility, and golf course management schools weren’t on anyone’s radar. As the game grew into the 20th century, the golf professional became the mainstay of the operation, and golf course management schools still didn’t exist.. Fast-forward to the 21st century, and the business of golf is one that would not be recognized by those of 100 years ago. Receiving training in all facets of the golf business has become necessary for those who wish to work in the industry, and golf course management schools have cropped up in order to satisfy this demand. Golf course management schools first gained traction in 1975 at Ferris State University, and the success of that program has led to others.…

Teaching Students How To Be More Proficient With The Driver

By Bob Wyatt, Jr., USGTF National Coordinator In past issues of Golf Teaching Pro, the driver swing has been discussed using tour stars Tiger Woods and Michelle Wie as examples. Now, it’s time to focus some thoughts on ways to communicate the basic fundamentals of the driver to your students. As a golf teaching professional, you must keep in mind just how sensitive the subject of the use of the driver can be. Everyone seems to want more distance, which tends to result in an overly aggressive, out-of-balance lunging at the ball. I typically see a student who is so concerned about creating clubhead speed that the proper techniques required are often forgotten. If I run into this situation, I often find a simple explanation on the design of the…

The Future of Golf is Alive and Well in St. Lucia!

My name is Peter Trevor David, a United States Golf Teachers Federation and International PGA golf teaching professional with 27 years experience. In 1979 my father passed away, which was a shock to my family, he being the only breadwinner. It made life very difficult, so at the age of 12 decided to find a way to help my mother with my two younger sisters and went looking for some kind of employment. But, being 12 at the time, no one wanted to hire me, so I decided to go find a caddy job part-time at the Cunard Hotel Golf Course, which was only minutes away from my home. The professional there at the time was from Great Britain and he gave me a test in math and English, which…

Customized Putting

To stay ahead of what golf insiders tell me is the newest putting trend on the PGA Tour, it may be time to prepare your students to play a round of golf with two different putters and two different strokes. Special Edition “Insider Instruction” By John Andrisani There’s a new putting trend coming in golf, and since it truly is revolutionary, it promises to help the largest percentage of the 30 million golfers who play golf in America and whose handicaps remain high owing to poor putting skills. This new system for teaching putting will also come to the rescue of Golf Magazine’s 3.5 million subscribers, who I’m told putt just as poorly as they did when I was senior instruction editor, and surveys back then showed that 60 percent…

The Golf Club Manager and the Club Superintendent

By: John C. Fech University of Nebraska-Lincoln Introduction A lot of knowledge, time, and effort are necessary to keep the golfscape functional and aesthetically pleasing. As a golf club manager, you must ensure that your superintendent has a well-organized yet flexible maintenance schedule and reports to you weekly in this regard. The Value of Scheduling As with most tasks at hand, it’s best not to rely completely on your own memory for the details of what, when, and where. Notes from previous years to supplement your recollections should be the foundation of assembling a quality schedule. Information gathered from weekly meetings with staff can supplement, providing detailed information, recollections, and history. Involving golf maintenance crew members is not only an informational step; it gives recently hired workers a sense of…

Golf Strategy as it Pertains to Business and Vice Versa

Introduction It has been my observation that many golfers who stumble their way around the golf course in a haphazard manner could improve simply by applying principles of business strategy to their game. In like manner, business leaders who stumble through daily business happenings could likewise improve their “business game” by observing and applying proper strategic golf practices. To this end, I will discuss four basic concepts with you: Strengths/weaknesses, long-term planning, short-term planning, and the streetlight concept. I hope you will find this enjoyable and thought-provoking. Strengths and Weaknesses Prior to playing a round of golf, it is important to understand your game and its inherent strengths and weaknesses. Each of us has certain parts of our total game that stand out. And, we should capitalize on this whenever…

IS THERE ANY WAY TO CHANGE INCORRECT BELIEFS?

One of my great frustrations as a long-time teaching professional is the proliferation of wrong information that is taken as gospel in the golf world. For example, the belief that high humidity produces “heavy” air and a shorter ball flight. In fact, as highlighted in Golf Teaching Pro, humid air is actually less dense than dry air, and will thus produce a couple of extra yards instead of a reduction. Yet, ask any golfer about the effects of humid air, and 99% will say that the air is heavier and the ball will carry less. Or, how about incorrect Rules beliefs? Twice in competition my fellow competitors tried to penalize me for holding onto the removed flagstick while tapping in a putt. This is not a penalty, as Decision 17-1/5…

Teaching Your Students About Patience

It’s a fast-paced world out there. Information and communication are at our fingertips. We can board a plane and be on the other side of the planet within 24 hours. In fact, technology has bred a whole new generation of “I want it now-ers!” Fortunately for mankind, however, the game of golf seems to be the only holdout. There’s no magic wand to becoming a good golfer, and you can’t buy an instant reputable golf game. The ability to play well takes time, effort, guidance, and perseverance. It involves frustration, for some even tears, and I may add a thousand humbling experiences. What becoming a competent golfer does require, and as Sherlock Holmes once said, is “Patience, my dear Watson!” Being in the personal service business, I believe it is…

Golf should challenge not humiliate

I was fortunate to attend the Players Championship for the final round. When I entered the grounds, I walked into the bowl of the famous 17th green. They were still finishing up the third round because of a weather delay. The hole was playing 137 yards and the pin was situated on the front left. It was my first on site view of the hole and the green is in reality pretty large. That is not apparent on TV, but where they place the pin makes it a tiny target. Anyway, Mark O’Meara was up and he hit a shot that landed about 12 feet past the pin and then started rolling back toward the hole, went right on past and off the green into the water. He walked up…

USE A LESSON PLAN TO KEEP STUDENTS ON TRACK

When you have students that don’t seem to want to practice or they are not quite getting what you are teaching them I have found that writing out a lesson plan for each student really helps. Over the years I have developed a five part program that puts the major aspects of the golf game into a format that students can understand. I call each program a Box and I use the idea to combine practice programs with on the course pre shot routines and swing thoughts. Box 1 – Driver ( I give each student a swing thought, an idea on what we are working on and a plan on how to practice) They can take the swing thought to the course and they can evaluate if what they…

I am not a teacher, but an awakener

These are the words of Robert Frost, the great American poet. I can think of nothing better to describe the men and woman who toil daily helping average people learn a game that is never really mastered. Somewhere I once read that nine tenths of teaching is encouragement. Much of our time is spent cultivating, bolstering and saying “you can do this.” Would the game be enjoyed by so many without the guiding hand of teachers willing to share their knowledge and experience? Not likely. We do it with little fanfare. Our student’s thanks are enough recognition. For this is our passion and sharing it is the motto of the United States Golf Teachers Federation.   This summer the USGTF will honor golf teachers with a National Day of appreciation.…

Teacher Talk

Jack Nicklaus once said, “A strong grip, a weak swing”. There is no doubt Jack’s grip was considered to be neutral leaning toward weak. To this day I can’t say I agree with Jack as we have witnessed countless players reach the highest levels of competitive golf whilst employing a strong grip such as Paul Azinger, Fred Couples (top hand),David Duval and Zach Johnson to name a few. This is not to say a neutral grip is not ideal but is it a prerequisite to play good golf? I don’t believe it is and therefore it should be considered an option in the same way overlap, interlock, ten-finger, double overlap (Jim Furyk), reverse overlap (Steve Jones), intermesh (Greg Norman) and countless other finger formations are chosen by a variety of…

Do You Have What it Takes to be a Golf Club Manager and Leader?

By Dr. Patrick J. Montana USGTF Level IV Member & National Course Director US Golf Managers Association OBJECTIVES 1. To learn more about the skills required for being a leader and manager. 2. To assess your own leadership and managerial ability INTRODUCTION Managers cope with complexity: They look at what needs to be done (planning and budgeting), pull together the people needed to get the job done together (organizing and staffing), and ensure that people do their jobs (controlling and problems solving). Leaders, however, cope with change: They look at what needs to be done by setting a direction rather than planning and budgeting, pull people together to do the job through alignment rather than organizing and staffing, and ensure people do their jobs through motivation and inspiration instead of…

Where should golf be spending its marketing efforts?

Anytime someone asks, “What is the best way to grow the game of golf,” the answer is almost always on junior programs. I respectfully disagree, and I have been operating junior golf programs for 15 years. There are all kinds of junior initiatives that have been around for several years. They have not lived up to expectations. From my own experience about one in ten stay with the game once they reach their teens. Not that we shouldn’t be supporting the effort, it’s just that there is little monetary benefit for golf courses. Junior golf is a labor of love, a way to give back to the game. For teachers, it can provide decent cash flow, but for courses, it does little for the bottom line. Think about it. You…

Teaching Student’s About Patience

By: Mike Levine USGTF Level IV Member Port St. Lucie, Florida Golf is a game of a lifetime… and you as a teacher of this amazing game need to bear the torch for its disciples. Create awareness in your students that there is no easy way. No real shortcuts. Enjoying practice and having an understanding of the steps necessary in order to advance is the only “secret.” One must learn and truly grasp fundamentals that are time-honored in order to advance and prosper with this game. The commitment is similar to learning a musical instrument. The formula is the same. Fundamentals well-rehearsed lead to sound technique, and followed with a commitment to improve continuously leads to achieving your potential. Once a student gets hookedby the game, whether from a drive…

Clubfitting Basics For The Driver

No club in the bag gets as much technology put into it as does the driver. For some golfers, bashing the long ball is the most fun they have on the course. A lot of emphasis is put on driving the ball long these days, and it seems to have overtaken the short game in importance in the minds of many golfers. Actually, driving distance is somewhat important. If the average course length that the average golfer plays is around 6,200 yards, and they hit the ball around 220 yards off the tee for the typical 14 drives, that means that the driver is responsible for 3,080 yards, or about half of the yardage. So, you can see that the driver is a pretty important club. Too many of our…

Perceptual Swing Changes

By Dave Hill Contributing Writer, USGTF Level IV Member, Montreal, Quebec Has instruction gone full circle? As golf professionals, our golf swing instruction paradigm is often tested, and very much so of late. Some instructors whom I happen to know personally have taken a leap (I’m not so sure it was a leap of faith but rather blind faith) towards a complete paradigm shift. We can blame multi-media and the information age, we can blame society’s need for instant gratification, or we can blame ourselves. Ourselves? Yes, ourselves, the community of golf teaching professionals for succumbing to what some objective viewers see as the outrageous circus that is golf instruction. Harry Vardon and Bobby Jones were not immune to offering sage advice for the rank amateur. Jones’ formal education facilitated…

Business Results in Golf Management

By Dr. Patrick J. Montana USGTF Level IV Member and National Course Director U.S. Golf Managers Association Golf is a powerful business and social tool. The interest in integrating one’s golf skills in business and one’s business skills in golf has grown significantly in recent years. There is a reciprocal relationship. If you can improve your productivity on the golf course, it’s going to help your business and, likewise, if you can improve your productivity in business, it’s going to help your golf game. Any careerminded individual who has taken advantage of the game’s business benefits can easily explain why. One of my former students who is CEO of his own Manhattan-based law firm commented, “I think the thing about golf is that you have a captive audience for four…

The Future of Teaching Golf

It wasn’t too long ago that teaching golf consisted of having a teacher telling a student to “swing like this,” and then demonstrating a move for the student to copy. If the ball fl ight was satisfactory, then the mission was considered accomplished. Today, the use of computers, videos, and training aids is common among those who are full-time practitioners of teaching golf, but what will the industry look like a decade and beyond into the future? What avenues of imparting instruction have yet to be explored? The advent of the portable video camera in 1981 changed forever the face of golf instruction. Teachers were able to take a moving picture of their students’ swings and then show them immediately what their swings looked like. Not only was this valuable…

Teaching Women Golfers

By Wayne Mills Contributing Writer Nashua, New Hampshire There is a rumor going around that men and women are actually quite different. For the sake of this article, we will leave the social and political arguments aside and just focus on the real and practical experiences of two golf instructors, one woman and one man, on teaching women golfers. Seth Dichard, owner and operator of the Seth Dichard Golf School in Hudson, New Hampshire, a Top 100 Teacher in the World Golf Teachers Federation, has had a lot of experience in teaching women golfers and with substantial success. His prize pupil is Alison Walshe, born in Galway, Ireland, but raised in Westford, Massachusetts, who became a student of Dichard’s while in high school. Alison went on to play on the…

At last someone is thinking clearly

The new mantra this summer is “Play it forward.” By doing this golfers can speed up play and have more fun according to USGA and PGA. Hello, where have you guys been for the past five years? Unfortunately, the response to hitting the ball longer has been to lengthen courses and make them tougher with forced carries, more water hazards and narrow fairways. For some reason protecting par has become the be all and end all of course set ups. As if it is some sacred cow that if threatened would bring on world disaster. The term itself as used in golf did not come about until 1911. It simply described the score an expert player was expected to make on a hole at a given distance. The USGA actually…

A FRESH LOOK AT MARKETING GOLF COMPETITIONS

Back in the 1980s when I still lived in Northern Indiana, I can remember that the South Bend Metro Golf Championship made a big announcement that the tournament was so popular that it had to limit the number of participants to 300. Last year, just 104 played. Also in Indiana, I used to play in the Monticello Open, which had a long and storied history. They have pictures on the wall at Tippecanoe Country Club from the 1950s showing dozens of spectators viewing the action. Even a few touring professionals would tee it up. The last time I played in the event several years ago (it no longer welcomed all comers after that year), it was poorly run and only lasted one round. I recently played in the Valdosta Open…

USGTF SUMMER TOURNAMENT ACTION

The Central Region Championship will be held Saturday and Sunday, August 20-21, at Renwood Golf Course in Round Lake Beach, Illinois.  The first day is a pro-am with three amateurs and one USGTF pro.  Entry fee is (more…)

TIMELESS TEACHING ADVICE…

KNOW YOUR STUDENTS’ NAMES AND USE THEM We’ve all had it happen.  Someone comes up to us and says, “Hey, Tom, how are you doing?” (more…)

USGTF MEMBER PENS NEW BOOK

USGTF Level IV member Michael Wolf has written a new book titled The Driven Golfer – Building Your Method for Scratch Golf.  Michael is the head professional (more…)

CALLAWAY GOLF BENEFIT REVIEW

The USGTF and Callaway Golf have had a long mutually beneficial partnership. Starting with founder Ely Callaway, Callaway Golf has always been a (more…)

PEREZ SIGNS ON WITH CBS STATION

USGTF Master Teaching Professional Jim Perez has signed with CBS47 in Fresno, California, to provide weekly on-air instruction. The spots are taped at the prestigious Copper River Country Club and are sponsored by (more…)

Are we getting mixed signals from the USGA?

Last month I applauded the “Play it forward” initiative backed by the USGA and other golf industry organizations. Then I run across an article that discusses how the golf course hosting the United States Amateur will be the longest in history at 7,760 yards. So what kind of message does that send? Certainly seems to be at odds with the thinking that most golfers are playing from the wrong set of tees. Besides, the amateur is a match play event, why should distance and par even matter. I’m confused. Our protectors of the game say if people played from a shorter distance they would enjoy the experience much more and play more. More enjoyment, more players. Sounds logical. So why would you then go completely opposite your initiative when showcasing…

SECRETS OF SPIDER CLOCK PUTTING

When you are trying to get your students to learn how to read putting greens better I use a method that I have discovered that works great!   Try to get your students to imagine the putting green like the face of a clock with the hole as the center of the clock. (more…)

NEW DVD – GOLF PSYCHOLOGY FOR TEACHING PROFESSIONALS

USGTF sport psychology consultant Dr. Gregg Steinberg’s expertise is on display in a new instructional DVD titled Golf Psychology for Golf Teaching Professionals, the latest in the USGTF instructional series.  In the DVD, Dr. Steinberg gives golf teaching professionals insights (more…)

WORLD GOLF TEACHERS CUP UPDATE

Entries for the 10th biennial World Golf Teachers Cup and the 16th annual United States Golf Teachers Cup are coming into the USGTF National Office at an increasing pace.  If you would like to participate in these two outstanding events, please click here to register. You may also register by contacting the USGTF National Office at (888) 346-3290 or (772) 335-3216.  The entry fee is $795 and includes (more…)

WORLD GOLF TEACHERS CUP – NEW WEBSITE

The USGTF has launched a new website called www.WorldGolfTeachersCup.com. This tournament site will feature a live leader board and blog as well as up to date photos, videos and interviews along with archives from previous events. (more…)

UPCOMING USGTF LEVEL IV COURSES

Each October the USGTF conducts two Level IV courses. One is conducted in Phoenix, Arizona and one in Port St. Lucie, Florida. These courses are the highest level of certification in the golf teaching industry. (more…)

A Fresh Look At Marketing Golf Competitions

By Mark Harman Back in the 1980s when I still lived inNorthern Indiana, I can remember that the South Bend Metro Golf Championship made a big announcement that the tournament was so popular that it had to limit the number of participants to 300.  Last year, just 104 played. Also inIndiana, I used to play in the Monticello Open, which had a long and storied history.  They have pictures on the wall at Tippecanoe Country Club from the 1950s showing dozens of spectators viewing the action.  Even a few touring professionals would tee it up.  The last time I played in the event several years ago (it no longer welcomed all comers after that year), it was poorly run and only lasted one round. I recently played in the Valdosta…

PROMOTE YOUR PRODUCT

Many USGTF members seem to come up with great golf related ideas and products. If you have developed a specific training aid, written a book, created a training video or something similar and would like to advertise or promote your product among our membership, please contact Jennifer Russakis at the USGTF national office at 1-888-346-3290.

If 12 holes becomes the new 18, then it’s time to bifurcate the rules

Several people in golf are calling for golf to become a 12 hole option to adapt to changing lifestyles. Jack Nicklaus is one. He recently conducted a 12 hole event at his course in Columbus which included a larger diameter cup. As a traditionalist the idea goes against my nature but I am also a realist and making the game more friendly for the average Dick and Jane is not a bad idea. Let’s be honest, the professional game now is so far removed from what everyone else plays that the time for a bifurcated rule book has come. People should be able to play golf any way they like. Serious players are always going to play by the USGA rules. Most people however, just want to escape the office…

Teacher Talk

I recently played one of those relatively new championship courses in town and all four par 3 holes ranged in distance from 220 yards to 247 yards. That’s from the white tees. Considering that on my best day I carry the ball about 230, I had to hit driver on each tee. That I don’t mind, but in addition to the yardage each hole had hazards that were easily entered if the tee shot missed the green by the narrowest of margins. One of the holes required a 220 yard carry over a marshy lake in order to get home. I barely made it, but my playing partner did not. His drop required a 180 yard approach over the same lake. After another watery grave, he just stayed in the…

Teacher Talk

I recently played one of those relatively new championship courses in town and all four par 3 holes ranged in distance from 220 yards to 247 yards. That’s from the white tees. Considering that on my best day I carry the ball about 230, I had to hit driver on each tee. That I don’t mind, but in addition to the yardage each hole had hazards that were easily entered if the tee shot missed the green by the narrowest of margins. One of the holes required a 220 yard carry over a marshy lake in order to get home. I barely made it, but my playing partner did not. His drop required a 180 yard approach over the same lake. After another watery grave, he just stayed in the…

STACK & TILT (PART 2) stripped down

Stack & Tilt aficionados regard the technique as the “holy grail” to golf enlightenment. They are devout followers of Plummer and Bennett, Mac O’Grady and “The Golfing Machine”. The techniques are based on physics, biomechanics and kinesiology and are espoused by its proponents like the gospel. As I mentioned in my previous article the main premise of the technique is to strike the ground in the same place every time with the club. Let’s put this in perspective. One of the most difficult elements for golfers of most levels is to strike the ball consistently without striking the ground before the ball or missing the ground all together or in other words hitting fat and thin shots. The main concepts of Stack & Tilt to help rectify the problem are…

STACK & TILT (PART 1)

When discussing uniformity in golf instruction we cannot ignore the now famous if not infamous “Stack & Tilt” swing techniques introduced to the golf world by Mike Plummer & Andy Bennett with a huge splash on the June 2007 cover of Golf Digest. No other technique has had such an impact in golf instruction. It is considered revolutionary, controversial, cutting edge, gimmicky and all of the above. Without a doubt it received everyone’s attention from playing professionals, teaching professionals and amateurs alike. The main premise behind the technique is to strike the ground at the same place every time and according to both Plummer and Bennett this is most easily performed by maintaining the weight over the front foot (left foot for “RH” golfer) throughout the swing. This of course…

THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT

Keegan Bradley won a major with it. Bill Haas won the FedEx Cup with it. Webb Simpson had a career year with it. Of course, we’re talking about belly putters. And, they’ve caused quite a stir. Many of golf’s greats and other observers make the case that using a belly putter isn’t a “real” golf stroke because the end of the putter is anchored against the body. They also decry the use of the long putter, where the left hand anchors the putter near the sternum. Bernhard Langer is the most noted user of this method. Are these putters really a problem? If you look at the year-end statistics for the PGA Tour, no one who uses a belly or long putter is in the top eight of the “strokes…

As Teaching Professionals

As Teaching Professionals we should be able to help our students improve their games with proper equipment. As many of you know there are many types of products on the market but a good full package set can have a dramatic effect on the improvement of players trying to get better if they don’t have clubs. A full package set has a driver, fairways, hybrid, irons, wedge, putter and bag.  For years I have been working with Tour Edge golf, and I recommend a lot of full package sets to my students who are starting the game. For a little more then price of a top brand driver I can get a student into a full set of life time warranty clubs that will give the confidence to get better.…

THE HIDDEN REWARDS OF TEACHING

At the end of a long day of golf, Zack was caught in a three way tie for first place.  In order to win the class 4A district tournament and advance to the regional level, (more…)

GREAT AMERICAN TOURING PROFESSIONAL – CHARLIE SIFFORD

He lost some of his best years to the PGA of America’s “Caucasians only” clause.  But, he did not let that stop him from making a historical mark in the golf world.  Charlie Sifford became the first black player to compete as a member of the (more…)

GOLF TEACHING PRO COMING TO YOUR MAILBOX SOON

The Winter 2012 edition of Golf Teaching Pro will be mailed beginning December 9 to all USGTF members.  Please also remember that if you move, please keep the USGTF National Office updated with your current contact information so you can receive the magazine on time.

WILSON GOLF OFFERS NEW VIP PROGRAM

Wilson Golf, a longtime industry partner and supporter of the USGTF, is now offering a new Wilson VIP program (www.WilsonVIP.com) to allow USGTF members (more…)

A DISCUSSION OF STACK & TILT

When discussing uniformity in golf instruction, we cannot ignore the now-famous, if not infamous, “Stack & Tilt” swing techniques introduced to the golf world by Mike Plummer and Andy Bennett with a huge splash on the June 2007 cover of Golf Digest. (more…)

2012 USGTF DUES WINNER

USGTF Member, David Delcastillo from Nipomo, California was the winning recipient in the dues renewal giveaway. (more…)

In My Opinion….. Narrow Mindedness

I have a good friend named Perry Somers, an Australian who resides in Germany. Like me he has embraced playing golf with hickory shafted clubs. An excellent player he has competed in the Australian Open and Australian PGA Championship. This year he returned to his native land to participate in the Senior PGA tournament and as a tribute to the game, he planned to play with his hickory clubs. Nice touch, most would say. Not the PGA however. They deemed Perry’s clubs illegal and refused to let him play. The reason? It would be unlikely that grooves made by hand would be exactly parallel and thus they would not conform to the rules. Are you kidding me? I read somewhere that those who think themselves wise are the greatest fools.…

STACK & TILT (PART 3)

The Deception When Stack & Tilt first appeared as a cover story on Golf Digest in June 2007, it made claims of it being the way most past champions move their body when swinging the club. In December 2009, Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer also appeared on the Charlie Rose show espousing their technique further by showing pictures of past champions. This is where the deception starts. Many may recall their (Bennett & Plummer) marquee student Aaron Baddeley in the article, demonstrating in photos the leaning of the spine toward the target. Two years later on the Charlie Rose show, the two showed photos of past greats Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller at the top of their respective back-swing positions. They claimed the photos accurately demonstrated…

9,000 MILES FOR USGTF CERTIFICATION

Rupak Prasad Acharya of Kathmandu, Nepal, recently completed his Level III certification at the Indian Hills Golf Course in Fort Pierce, Florida, under the watchful and competent eye of (more…)

IN MEMORY OF DON OVERSTREET

USGTF Level III member Don Overstreet, 54, of Locust Grove, Georgia, passed away on November 5.  He was a participant in the recent US and World Golf Teachers Cups in Orlando, Florida. (more…)

NEW INSTRUCTIONAL DVDS

Since the creation of our new production studio at the USGTF national office in Port St. Lucie, Florida, we have created three new instructional DVDs specifically designed for golf teaching professionals. (more…)

Should the PGA Merchandise Show Open its Door to more People?

In a few weeks the golf industry will hold its annual gathering of merchants displaying their goods and services. Every possible item from tees to range rovers will be on display. Golf pros, retailers and service providers with proper credentials are admitted to show floor to view the extravaganza. The folks manning the booths greet their buyers and troll for new customers in hopes of increasing their market share and growing their particular business. I have been attending for about ten years and not much has changed. To be honest it has gotten a bit stale. The main reason I go is because I run into many friends I have made over the years. I’m sure a lot of attendees feel the same way. That in my opinion does not…

Let the Belly Handle the Pressure

In the last issue, Mark Harman insightfully illustrated in his article “The long and Short of it” that the incredibly popularly belly putter did not sink more putts than the conventional length putter when yielded by a PGA pro. While it looks like most pros are turning to the belly putter, Mark statistically proved that Keegan Bradley did not fare any better than Steve Stricker from 10 feet. While putter length may not matter at the professional level, I do believe the belly putter will help any amateur sink more putts under pressure. The reason is simple. Our core big muscles (such as our trunk and abdominal areas) are less susceptible to anxiety than our small muscles. The core big muscles are primarily used with the belly putter whereas the…

CANADIAN GOLF TEACHERS CUP

The prestigious Canadian Golf Teachers Cup will be held September 16 – 17, 2012, at Crosswinds Golf & Country Club in Burlington, Ontario.  (more…)

KNOW YOUR RULES

It’s an unfortunate fact that many professional tour players don’t know the Rules of Golf all that well. Unfortunately, it’s also a fact that many teaching professionals aren’t up to speed on them, either.  (more…)

The Value of a Knock-down!

Just got through watching Kyle Stanley triple bogey #18 at the 2012 Farmers Insurance Open, and it reminded me of Greg Norman during an extended portion of his career. Greg found it very difficult to get close to back pins, because he had the habit of bringing the ball into the greens with too much spin. It was very common to see him fly the ball past the hole and then see it spin back to the front of the green. Later, after working with Butch Harmon, he learned how to hit a knock-down with a little more expertise, although he never really learned to hit it with talent that was comparable to the rest of his game. Some people said Kyle choked his guts out, while others said that…

THREE RULES I WOULD DEFINITELY CHANGE IF I WERE IN CHARGE

Rory McIlroy was penalized two strokes for wiping away sand from just off the green that was in his line of play at a tournament in Abu Dhabi recently. He finished one shot behind the winner, Robert Rock. A few years ago, several gallery members lifted a boulder out of the way so Tiger Woods could play a shot. No penalty. The rules of golf allow loose impediments to be removed from one’s line of play or around the golf ball. Size of the impediment should not matter. A grain of sand should not be considered any differently than a stick, pebble, or boulder. Here’s another rub. You can wipe sand from your line of putt if you are on the green, but not if it is in your line…

US GOLF TEACHERS CUP SURVEY

We would like your input as to the format of the United States Golf Teachers Cup. From 1996 – 2003, only those in the Open division were eligible to be declared Overall Champion.   (more…)

NO BETTER SPORT THAN GOLF TO REVEAL A PERSON’S CHARACTER

There’s an old saying, “It’s not what happens to you but how you react.” Kyle Stanley reacted in a spectacular way to failure. On the 72nd hole of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, Stanley had a 3-stroke lead when he put his third shot on the par-5 into the water. After a penalty and a 3-putt, Stanley found himself in a playoff with hardened veteran Brandt Snedeker, who won on the second playoff hole. The defeat was all the more crushing because Stanley earlier had a 7-stroke lead during the final round. You might expect Stanley, being a young guy, to take weeks or even months to recover from such an event. Nope. Stanley promptly won the following week at the Waste Management Open in Phoenix by overtaking…

From the Teacher’s Desk….

The Demise of the Custom Clubmaker One of the great life lessons may be that everything changes. Golf is no different than life. The days of the skilled custom clubmaker are slowly coming to an end. What once was a thriving sub-industry of the golf equipment business has taken a steady nosedive since 2005. Although there is still a market for knowledgeable and skilled equipment professionals, the market is becoming very small. The demand today is more for adjusting or altering and reshafting name-brand equipment. Even in the day of very easy and affordable access to custom clubs from the big OEMs, golfers still buy ill-fitted clubs, so there will always some business for the custom shop. A small percentage of clubmakers saw the inevitable, and adjusted quickly enough to…

Your Golf Course in an App

These are challenging times and golf clubs are increasingly looking at ways to ensure they stand out from the crowd in what is a competitive market. It wasn’t so long ago that having a professional web site became essential for all golf courses, in the same way that you need to ensure your club house menu is refreshed regularly or your resort’s hotel insurance remains appropriate for your needs. Now that over a third of all adult Americans have a smartphone it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the opportunities a smartphone brings in marketing and promoting your course to new and existing customers. Apps for Smartphones A smartphone is a cell phone with advanced capabilities such as Internet access and the ability to download and install software applications typically called “apps”. Users of Android…

MEMBER PROFILE – JEFF VIGEANT

Jeff Vigeant has played golf his entire life. Beginning at age 12, he was “playing against” Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.  Of course, Vigeant always won- at least in his 12-year-old mind.  (more…)

NEW BOOK ON ARNIE NOW AVAILABLE

From his first steps onto the public stage, Arnold Palmer captured fans’ passionate loyalty, and his substantial record – 92 titles worldwide, four Masters championships, a U.S. Open crown, and back-to-back British Open victories – speaks for itself. (more…)

EUROPEAN GOLF TEACHERS CUP ANNOUNCED

There’s no better place to play golf than in the home of golf, Great Britain.  The European Golf Teachers Cup will be held Wednesday through Friday, October 3-5, 2012, at Selsdon Park Golf Club (more…)

What Stokes Your Passion?

Several years ago, I was asked if I could go watch the Special Olympics participants that I had been working with for a few years at their state golf meet. The group that I worked with was called the Spring Panthers. There were about eight regular participants, but sometimes up to 15. I took my wife with me and was surprised to see several hundred people at the golf course who were from all over the state of Texas. They had several different competitions such as putting, chipping, pitching, and for those who were more advanced, they could participate in a nine-hole championship. Our most advanced player, Kevin, competed in that event and did very well. I watched as Tracy was competing in the putting contest. The competition was to…

It is our job to create more golfers

On a National Broadcast of the World Match Play Championship, PGA Tour Commissioner, Tim Finchem, said more people are playing golf, just less of it. Does that even make any sense? Let’s see, I have a business with 100 customers who patronize me 10 times a month. If I do my math correctly, that is 1,000 purchases. Now I hire the commish and he sends me another 100 customers. Two hundred new customers, I’m jumping for joy and business is booming. I get greedy and service starts to suffer. My customers are only visiting me 4 times a month. But hey, I have more customers, they are just coming less. So instead of 1,000 purchases, I am now sending out 800 products each month. Does this sound like the way…

What We Can Learn from Kyle Stanley – A Tour Winner

The saga of Kyle Stanley on the PGA Tour this year provides us with a teachable moment. First, let’s recap. Stanley had a three-shot lead coming into #18 on Sunday at the Farmer’s Insurance Open in San Diego. He proceeded to hit his third shot onto the green, but it spun back into the water. He took a penalty stroke, hit his fifth shot onto the green and then proceed to three-putt, making a triple bogey. He then lost the playoff to Brandt Snedeker. The very next week, he went on to win the Waste Management event in Phoenix. The question is, “What can we learn from Stanley’s exploits?” First, Stanley admitted that he was very nervous during the playoff. Many amatuers believe that the players on the PGA Tour…

Building Your Method

The first professional golf lesson I ever gave was with “Mr. Golf Channel Know It All.” He decided to contest every statement I made. Because of that, I made a commitment: always follow “how” with “why.” Now, the statement is, “This is what I would like to see you do, and this is why I would like to see you do it.” Hopefully, the student says, “That makes sense, I see why you do that.” From that point on they have ownership of that knowledge and have begun to build their method. My students know they will be asked to share, show knowledge, and actively participate in the discussion. Every aspect of their method must match so that a ball flight pattern can develop. Even at a tour level, you see players sometimes chasing…

Good For Bubba – And For Golf!

Wasn’t that a blast! Louis Oosthuizen making his albatross on number two, and then Bubba Watson with his four birdies in a row on the back nine that kept most of us on the edge of our seats. Then to have Phil Mickelson lurking…and most of us knowing that it would be just like him to pounce on the leaders, adding to our anticipation. Bubba then demonstrated in sudden death that golf, like life, is about realizing our mistakes, reassessing our predicament, and having a commitment to recover. The 2012 Masters will be considered a classic for a long time! Not only that but it was very good for the game of golf. There is another star on the PGA Tour. Oh sure, Bubba has been around for awhile, and…

When The Price Is Right, People Will Respond

There is a lot of talk about the state of the game these days and what needs to be done to create growth. Not many talk about reducing their prices, however, to attract more people. I have been on a few forums lately, and you would think that lowering the price of a lesson or a round of golf is akin to selling your soul to the devil. Let’s be realistic for a moment, however. People are always looking for a deal, and in a tough economy even more so. I know I do. I play with a regular group of guys once a week, and we generally go to the course with the best rate. Amenities only go so far. My friends are not going to pay $75 or…

Teaching Simple Pitch Shots

The technique used for pitching the ball is basically the same as with other full shots with a golf club.  The only changes are a smaller swing, a slightly opened stance, and an open hip position that most good wedge players use.  This is done because the smaller swing of the wedge.  By opening the stance and hips, it gives the body a little more room to clear through the shot. The length of the backswing and speed of the downswing influence the distance control on pitch shots.  A longer backswing increases the potential speed of the clubhead. There are several different theories on how to control distance.  Some advocate the length of backswing dictates the distance hit.  Others control the distance by swing speed.  Personally, I think that is…

Golf Needs New Thinking

Many of us have been lucky enough to make a living in the great game of golf. At a time when the game has taken a beating from the economy, it is the duty of all of us in the industry to give back to the game to make it healthy and growing again. As I sat in the front row of the audience at the January PGA show in Orlando listening to the great Jack Nicklaus speak, I couldn’t help but be moved by his words. It wasn’t only his words, but the tone in his voice and the obvious concern you could see on his face. Here was this die-hard traditionalist talking about how he had to revisit his beliefs and attitudes in order to realize that the…

PEAKS & VALLEYS

A vital lesson for anyone who aspires to play golf at a high level is understanding the “Peaks and Valleys.” It’s human nature to grasp the moments that give us pleasure and to hope that we could live in that feeling. Unfortunately, our journey in golf is likely to have as many down moments as moments of brilliance. The key is to learn to enjoy the bad as much as the good. I teach my students that the “valley” they will experience is the real opportunity to learn what our weaknesses are. Honest self-analysis is the greatest talent we can have in golf (or life, for that matter.) A slump is an opportunity that will allow us to rise to a peak we have never known. Tour pros understand this…

Spinal Compression Angle

You owe it to your students to teach them about proper posture. You can divide the spine into three segments: Lumbar (lower back), thoracic (mid to upper back) and cervical (neck). Dynamic posture is very important, but you establish predispositions with static posture, so let’s focus on static posture for now. Using concise terms that are clear to your student is essential, so if you will indulge me, I will use the terms that I use when referring to posture. The primary spine angle is best seen from down the line; the secondary spine angle from the front or face on. Looking from down the line, if you have software capabilities with video that you have taken of the student, start a line from the farthest that their bottom sticks…

JOIN THE USGTF ON LINKEDIN

In a recent survey by Skill Path, one of the nation’s top network training companies, LinkedIn has been identified as the most prominent business-oriented social (more…)

WGTF TOP 100 TEACHERS

The World Golf Teachers Federation determines its Top 100 Teachers every two years. Factors leading to this determination include (more…)

Where I Think Golf Is Off-Base

British golf writer John Huggin recently penned an article detesting the fact that the R&A has spent £10 million renovating all the Open courses to combat technology advances in golf. His point primarily was that courses previously provided holes with several strategic ways to play, but now are made into one-dimensional options. There is no question that the distance people are now hitting the golf ball has altered the way many of our early golf courses were intended to be played. Courses are now toughened up by narrowing fairways, adding forced carries, or growing rough that only people with blacksmith forearms can hack through. If a person can hit the ball 30 more yards, they should be rewarded for the effort. Instead, oftentimes the greens committee or tournament setup group…

A Tough Spring For Golf Instruction

2012 hasn’t started out as a banner year for the business of golf instruction. The biggest stories in golf gave golf instruction a big blow to the midsection, with the first story being the continuing saga of Tiger Woods attempt to return to the king of competitive golf. The second story is the great win posted by Bubba Watson at the Masters in April. In the case of Tiger, many still believe his insistence on continuing to rework his golf swing has led to his struggles on the tour. Some blame Hank Haney and some blame Sean Foley, his current coach. In either case, it is interesting listening to the anti-instruction segment proclaim he should have never messed with his swing. Apparently, those people ignore his success at rebuilding his…

A Gift From Albert Einstein To All Teachers!

Do yourself and your students a huge favor and memorize a quote from Albert Einstein, and then apply what he said to your teaching so that you can not only understand more about cause and effect in the golf swing, but also learn how to communicate with your students more effectively.  This quote is regarding his first postulate (assuming something is true because of a preponderance of evidence) of his Theory of Special Relativity.  Sound too intellectual?  Really, it is not difficult to comprehend once you can assimilate the basic meaning. I memorized what he said back in 1998, and I can tell you emphatically it has made me a much more effective teacher.  In my opinion, what he said applies to every single facet of life.  I wish I…

BUSHNELL GOLF RELEASES NEW GPS WATCH

Bushnell Golf recently introduced its latest industry-leading rangefinder – the NEO+ Golf GPS Watch. The NEO+ Golf GPS Rangefinder Watch is an easy-to-use GPS (more…)

THE PERFECTION SYDROME TAKES A HIT

I stated a couple of months ago that the bashing of Sean Foley by the likes of Brandel Chamblee (Golf Channel), and the statements by Bubba Watson and Lee Trevino that Tiger Woods did not (more…)

FROM THE GERMAN GOLF TEACHERS FEDERATION

ANTALYA, TURKEY – GOLF PARADISE IN THE WINTER   Antalya, Turkey, in ancient times had an important role. Tradition says that King Attalos, when he saw the area of Antalya for (more…)

CONE WINS INAUGURAL US MATCH PLAY TITLE

Dustin Cone, from Port St. Lucie, Florida, topped Mark Harman, Ridgeland, South Carolina, in a thrilling final match, 2&1, to become the first winner of the United States Match Play Championship, (more…)

SKIN CANCER AWARENESS

The American Academy of Dermatology, the medical association helping to lead the fight against skin cancer, has a new public service ad on the airwaves. It features a (more…)

GOLF TEACHERS APPRECIATION DAY

Sunday, July 29, has been designated this year’s Golf Teachers Appreciation Day. Golfers from around the country are encouraged to show their appreciation for these (more…)

The Importance Of Interaction By The Professional Instructor

Of the many components that make up good golf instruction, the most overlooked has to be the instructor’s ability to key in on the way people learn. A vast majority of golfers try to learn verbally. In the worst-case example, they listen to their friends and relatives spew out “tips” and try to take the spoken word and translate it into a physical movement. Many years ago I heard a great quote from the Hall of Famer Kathy Whitworth, winner of an amazing 74 LPGA tournaments: “Golf, unlike most sports, has a number of clichés, often disguised as ‘tips.’ My advice is, watch out!” I never hear the word “tip” without thinking of her. Unfortunately, most golfers don’t apply every day common sense to golf. Can you really learn any…

Keeping Juniors in the Game

By Imogen Reed, Contributing Writer, United States Golf Managers Association As a golf club manager, you will be aware of the boom in junior golf memberships, and while some children are wielding clubs at the age of three (Tiger Woods was allegedly only nine months old when his father cut a golf club down to size, allowing him to swing the ball into the net, http://www.gardenofpraise.com/ibdtiger.htm), it is probably only from age five onwards when lessons will be able to add real value (http://www.todaysgolfer.co.uk/Golf/Forums/Forums/Categories/Topic/?&topic-id=11614).   Golf provides juniors with a grounding and understanding that it is a social game with solid rules of conduct and proper etiquette. Being part of an established club, mixing with adults, and learning how to respect other people is a fundamental challenge in today’s society, where…

The Game Doesn’t Need Better Golfers – It Needs Better Putters

The saying in the headline is attributed to humorist Will Rogers. He could not understand how a person could hit a ball from 150 yards and end up three feet from the hole, but then miss the ensuing putt. He must not have been a golfer. Putting has been the bane of golfers for centuries. Has there been any club more invented, re-invented, and discarded than the flat stick? For such a simple tool, there has also been plenty of controversy. In 1904, Walter Travis won the British Amateur using a center-shafted Schenectady putter. Shortly after, the R&A banned the putter from use, although there is no proof that the putter was responsible for his win. More likely, it was the fact that he was the first American to capture…

MEMBER SURVEY

“Golf teaching professional,” “professional golf coach.” These two descriptive phrases have often been used interchangeably to describe the golf teaching profession.   (more…)

USGTF MEMBER PENS GOLF NOVEL

USGTF member Steve McMillen has written a golf novel titled Murder on the Front Nine. The story meanders down the coast to Little River, South Carolina, (more…)

USGTF YOUTUBE CHANNEL SUBMISSIONS

USGTF members who wish to showcase their teaching prowess to the world have their opportunity through the USGTF’s YouTube channel.  Submissions should be (more…)

USGTF MEMBER PROFILE – RICK SAXBY

Hello, my name is Rick Saxby and I have been a Level III USGTF Certified Golf Teaching Professional® since June 2005. I am now currently the general manager of (more…)

The “Open” Championship Should be re-named

It’s the oldest championship in golf – The Open Championship, or, as informally known, the British Open. It has been played since 1861, when the Civil War first took hold in America. Throughout the years, the qualifying procedure was fairly open. Not too long ago, American professionals (even club and mini-tour pros) were exempted through the first stage of qualifying and they could go directly to the finals. British professionals, rightly, didn’t like this, so this special exemption was changed a number of years ago, and more American professionals had to go through both stages of qualifying. Fast forward to today. Most people consider the US Open and The Open to be the two most democratic tournaments in the world. This designation does apply for the US Open, but to…

Random Musings

…I pulled out my old 1961 Walter Hagan laminated driver the other day and compared it to my modern high-tech titanium/composite driver. Guess what? I hit the modern driver all of 10 yards farther than my old one when both were hit solidly. …Speaking of distance, the median driving distance on the PGA Tour in 2012 at the time of this writing is 288.4 yards. In 2000 (beginning of titanium era), 273.2; in 1990 (beginning of metal era), 263.1; and, in 1980, firmly in the persimmon-balata era, 256.7. Let’s use 1990 as the benchmark, because at that time few thought distance was a problem in the pro game. Over the course of 14 drives, today’s players have a 354.2-yard advantage over their counterparts of 1990…so someone please explain to me…

The Olympic Mindset of Golf

Everyone gets nervous: You, me, and even Olympic athletes, including the great Michael Phelps. We all get butterflies when the situation is important to us. That is human nature. The difference is how we view this nervousness. There is a wise saying in sports psychology: “It is okay to have butterflies; just make sure they fly in the right formation.” Successful Olympians in London this past year needed to have command over their butterflies. All it takes is reframing the situation. When you help your students to develop this skill, they, too, can take home the “gold.” Case in point: Aly Raisman, part of the USA’s “Fab 5” on this year’s gold medal women’s gymnastic team. On the night of the finals, the pressure was immense. The women’s team was…

WINNER OF PHOTO CONTEST ANNOUNCED

Level III member Michael Taylor of Spring Hill, Florida, is the winner of the recent golf teaching photo contest. Taylor’s photo was picked for its relevance, (more…)

KEEPING A LEAD HARDER THAN IT SEEMS

The year 2012 in golf is one where it seems no one wants to keep the lead on the final day. The tone was set early in the season, when Kyle Stanley blew a 6-stroke lead (more…)

USGTF TOURNAMENT ACTION HEATING UP

Northeast Region Championship – Saturday, August 11, at Jack Frost National Golf Club in Blakeslee, Pennsylvania, close to Wilkes-Barre and Scranton. (more…)

NEW USGTF WEBSITE UP AND RUNNING

Come check out the new USGTF website at www.USGTF.com. The site has been updated to give it a cleaner, more contemporary look. At the bottom of the page, (more…)

WORLD GOLF TEACHERS TOUR NEWS

The World Golf Teachers Tour was formed to give WGTF members a chance to compete against their peers from around the world. This tour was formed (more…)

Why I Teach Golf

When I was 21, just after I began my studies in education, I had a brief conversation with a close friend that altered my life. A couple of years earlier, with a small degree of enthusiasm, I decided to pursue a career as a schoolteacher. It ran in my family and it was a profession that did hold some appeal: summers off, decent benefits, significant opportunity, reliable income, etc. But in my heart I knew it wasn’t really what I wanted. The game of golf had been a passion of mine since I was a young teenager. My appetite for the game showed up in a number of ways: reading whatever I could about the best players, daydreaming about golf, playing as much as possible (mostly in a field outside my…

From Humble Roots We Have Blossomed In Our Profession

As golf teaching professionals we have it pretty good. Our students put us on a pedestal just because we can hit a little ball straight. We’re thought of as highly as their doctor, financial adviser or lawyer (well maybe not lawyer). Let’s just say we hold a pretty lofty position in the public eye. Ah, but it wasn’t always the case. In the 500 years that golf has been played, it has only been about 70 years that professionals have been allowed to enter the clubhouse of a private course. In the early days of golf, pros were considered to be less than second class citizens. To trace the roots of our profession, we must return to the year 1740, a period of relative prosperity in Scotland. Many a merchant…

FAIL FORWARD LIKE RORY MCILROY

Everyone has blundered, including the new king of golf, Rory McIlroy, winner of this year’s PGA Championship. In fact, his was a monumental meltdown at the 2011 Masters. (more…)

Maybe a little reverse psychology should be used to grow the game

Every year a golf organization comes up with some type of initiative whose intent is to grow the game of golf. This year it is Golf 2.0. Last year was Play it Forward. We have also had Play Golf America, Link up to Golf, Get Golf Ready, and a myriad of other catch-phrase programs. Yet, the number of people playing golf has declined over the past five years. Maybe this type of approach is wrong. There is an old saying regarding golf that goes “less is more.”  Maybe that approach should be applied to marketing the game. Instead of trying to make it easier for people to take up golf, perhaps a forbidden-fruit philosophy or grass-is-greener on the other side mentality is the way to go. I just read a…

Fedex cup good but, but it can be made great

Several years ago, the PGA Tour instituted the FedEx Cup to give an exclamation point to the end of the season.  The Cup was based on the NASCAR system, which determines the champion of that racing circuit.  The Cup has done some of what it’s supposed to do, namely keep fan interest alive and provide some drama at a time when interest in professional golf starts to wane. Still, in 2012, the FedEx Cup has somewhat of an identity crisis:  What, exactly, is it supposed to determine?  The major championships all have their long-established niches, and the Player of the Year may well be someone other than the FedEx Cup champion.  Contrast that to other sports, where there is a clear-cut champion at the end of each season.  The NASCAR…

Diversify your life’s portfolio to increase your happiness and productivity

Brandt Snedecker won the 2012 Tour Championship as well as the FedEx Cup for a whopping $11.4 million. When we see his victory from a distance, we might come to believe it was his ability to hit fairways and fantastic putting that made the difference (Brandt was #1 for both in this tournament). I say it is Brandt’s attitude which makes him a champion. I had the wonderful opportunity to work with Brandt when he played at Vanderbilt University.  My impressions of him were that he was quite insightful and bright, well beyond his years. When interviewed at the Tour Championship this past week, Brandt stated that he has learned a powerful lesson as he got older:  Having balance in his life gave him a better golf game. Brandt mentioned…

Equipment and balls have not changed the game significantly… oh, really?

The USGA continues to say that equipment and ball improvements have had little effect on how the game is played. Are you kidding me? If that were the case, then why is it they are adding 500 yards to the Merion Golf Club for next year’s US Open? The original layout of the East Course measured just less than 6,500 yards. For the Open next year, it will be stretched to a whisker under 7,000 yards. I’m sure they would have made it longer if there was room. Merion is situated on a mere 128 acres. As it is, one tee is being moved almost off the golf course for added length. The fact of the matter is modern equipment and balls have significantly altered how the game is played.…

WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A GREAT COACH

“You want me to coach swimming?”  That was the question I had for my new principal.  I had just been hired as a high school teacher and they needed someone to coach the swim (more…)

ARE YOU A GOLF CLUB MANAGER?

The United States Golf Managers Association is always looking for writers to share with us their knowledge and experience in golf club (more…)

MICHIGAN HOLDS ON TO KEEP KELLY CUP

Team Michigan took an early two-point lead, 5 ½ – 3 ½, on day one of the ninth annual Thomas Kelly Memorial Cup, and held on during the individual matches (more…)

Teachers should be the best learners

I believe that it is important that we always hunger to learn. Think of the many changes throughout our careers. I’ll begin with EQUIPMENT. Over the years, golf instruction has been based on the equipment of the day. Much of the “old school” teaching was based on feel. The player had to harmonize with his equipment, and there were no guarantees of consistency from club to club. The way we swing the club today is a direct reflection of the equipment, which has been frequency-matched against much tighter controls. Next, think about TECHNOLOGY. The use of video, launch monitors, TrackMan, and other advances have given us more information than ever before. At some point, though, a student will still need to know what causes their problems and what path they must take to find…

Golf in the olympics

After a 112-year absence, golf returns to the Olympics in Rio in 2016. The push for golf to be returned as an Olympic sport has been a longtime goal of the golf establishment, but the success and effect on the game is a point of debate among many experts and the golf media. There are also many open questions about the format, course, and the competitors. Several factors contributed to the acceptance of golf back into the Games, the most important being golf’s increasing international appeal and popularity. There is no question that this is also another after-effect of Tiger Woods’ dominance, popularity, and international appeal. The recent push for golf back into the Games started during the height of Woods’ perch as the king of golf. There is no…

The heart of matters

Another Ryder Cup has come and gone. It is difficult to quantify the reasons for the devastating defeat the American squad endured. There is no doubt fingers are being pointed in a variety of directions. Media pundits have countless theories, but the answer lies at the heart of matters. When I first met Geoff Bryant, he spoke of his “modus operandi,” which was to have fun, and to this day he has never wavered from this philosophy.  Having fun is a pure concept, but it is the most basic fundamental and one that encompasses in its entirety why we play golf. This holds especially true for players who compete at the pinnacle of the sport, the Ryder Cup.  Not one of these men picked up a club in their respective…

Is it time for the Ryder Cup to change its format again?

Prior to 1979, the Ryder Cup was not a competitive event and the public had little interest in it, save for some die-hard golf fans in Great Britain and Ireland.  All of that changed that year, when Jack Nicklaus’ suggestion to Lord Darby for GB & I to include all of continental Europe was put into action. The first three editions of the USA vs. Europe did not pay immediate dividends, as the US squad triumphed.  In 1985, Europe won on home soil for the first time, and in 1987 the unthinkable happened – the US lost at home. Far from being catastrophic, at the time it was seen as a healthy development for the matches, because it created interest in 1989 that the matches had never before seen. Fast-forward…

Learning And Teaching Golf

There are two very general concepts when it comes to how to control the golf swing: (1) Control is achieved via the large muscles of the shoulders, chest, torso and hips, and (2) control is achieved via the smaller muscles connected to the hands and arms. We hear all the time on Golf Channel about the large muscles of the chest controlling the turn and the hips producing power. While this might be the case for a few tour professionals, it certainly isn’t the whole story, and, in most cases, isn’t that much of the story. We hear a lot less about case (2) because it is no longer very fashionable. However, if an amateur golfer only uses the large muscles in (1), there will be little resembling a golf swing and…

USGTF or PGA? The truth may surprise you.

If you go to the Internet and search for “USGTF” and “PGA,” you inevitably will come across some discussion boards and blogs debating the pros and cons of each organization.  And, also inevitably, some of these opinions are rendered by PGA professionals, who, of course, tout their organization as the superior one when it comes to teaching. Does perception meet fact?  Well, let’s look at the facts and see what they are. The PGA has been around since 1916, with no competition whatsoever and the USGTF’s position has always been that the PGA is a fine organization.  Their members do a great job running the nation’s pro shops and serving the public.  They also promote themselves as teachers of the game.  But, it might surprise you to know that, prior to 1994, PGA professionals had NO REQUIREMENTS to learn anything…

USGTF HALL OF FAME HISTORY

USGTF’s national Hall of Fame is dedicated to preserving the history of the organization, inspiring and encouraging the development of young teaching (more…)

Helpful Tips for Students…continued

In continuation of the series “Helpful Tips for Students”, we move on to” around the green & putting”. Around the Greens Distance Control on Pitch Shots:  Control the distance of your wedges by swing speed, shortening the club and length of swing. The best wedge players rely on their tempo or swing speed when hitting wedge shots under pressure.  Copy the great wedge players such as:  Bobby Jones, Lee Trevino, Chi Chi Rodriguez and Seve Ballesteros. Soft Lob Shots:  Feel as if there is a quarter on the face of the club through impact.  Don’t let the quarter fall off.  The secret to high soft lob shots is to never let the face turn over through impact. Sand Shots:  Practice with the club grounded about one inch behind the ball. …

In Middle Tennessee

In Middle Tennessee, we are now in the season of transition. The leaves are bright orange and yellow. and all will soon leave their branches and fall to the earth. Nature is making its transition into winter. Transition is a desirable state for many in the workforce. Many individuals are unhappy in their current state. They would like a higher paying job or just a more gratifying job. Some are fortunate enough to make that leap, while others have too many obligations to even think about making a change, despite being miserable at work. Joe Moglia was one of the fortunate ones. He began his career as an assistant college football coach. He loved his job. But, he was only making $33,000 at the time and needed to feed his…

Whatever happened to “for the love of the game”?

Appearance fees…Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy just got a big bunch of change for playing in a tournament overseas. Tiger and Phil, it is said, got a lot of money to appear at the Greenbrier Classic. I understand it, but that does not make me happy about it. On the one hand you want to attract the largest crowd you can, but if there are no marquee players, attendance suffers. Big-name players don’t necessarily want to play in the middle of nowhere, even if it is an historic course. Golf is big business. Gone are the days when players barnstormed the country in efforts to expose people to the game or raise money for worthy causes like the war effort. Money is what it is all about now. It is…

Helpful tips for students… continued

To finish the series “Helpful Tips for Students,” we conclude with trouble shots. Trouble Shots Stand tall when the ball is above your feet: Stand taller than normal when the ball is above your feet and expect the ball to draw. Because the ball is above your feet, you have to adjust your stance accordingly. Standing tall helps you sweep the ball. It also helps to imagine hitting a baseball off of a tee. Sit down when the ball is below your feet: Feel as if you are sitting down more when the ball is below your feet and expect the ball to fade. Try to lower yourself until you imagine you have a level stance. If the ball is three inches below your feet, then sit down three inches…

Hiring a new Teaching Professional?

As a club manager, when it comes to hiring a teaching professional, there are a number of areas you must consider. First and foremost does the candidate have a pleasant personality? Of course the candidate must process numerous teaching skills and look the part of a true professional. To assure the qualifications of any candidate, have them show you their USGTF, WGTF, PGA class A or LPGA card. In this market place, potential students need to know they can trust the judgment of the instructor as well as yours for hiring him or her in the first place.  

Golf and the PGA tour are alive and well!

I remember at the start of this year that many sportswriters were saying that we need Tiger Woods back on his game, because golf has taken a big hit since he fell from his perch atop the golfing world.  Just take a look, however, at what has emerged in the last nine months or so. We’ve had two very solid golfers (Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy) from the UK that have dueled it out for the top ranking this entire year.  McIlroy has pretty much established himself as the best golfer on the planet now, and has in fact proven that his top ranking is something that he can handle, as he has played extremely well since becoming number one in the world. Except for Woods, there have been times…

USGTFMEMBERS.COM WANTS YOU!

If you’re looking for a way to stay in touch with your fellow members and share your thoughts and ideas, then USGTFMembers.com (more…)

Definition of a golf coach: Defining their roles in the industry

By: Geoff Bryant,  WGCA President   “There are two kinds of golf:  Golf and tournament golf” – Bobby Jones. Years ago when I was the ski school director at Mount Snow in Vermont, I had achieved the highest certification available from the Canadian Ski Instructor’s Alliance.  I was extremely proud of this achievement, because it signified that I was a dedicated teacher as well as a very proficient skier. In the mid-1970s, however, the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation was created, indicating another level of certification than what I currently possessed.  At first, I felt somewhat insulted that there was now a new level of ski teaching competency to achieve, and that somehow my current certification was now no longer sufficient to be regarded as a professional ski coach.  As time…

Golf…the team game

After 40 years of playing and watching golf, I am not fazed by much of what I see. But, the recent Ryder Cup was amazing. Watching talented athletes that were programmed to be independent from childhood become so emotional about a team competition was fascinating. They may have been playing for their country, but I think just as much or more they were playing for each other. These guys play against each other intensely all year, battling every week. Here they are, pulling so hard for each other, you could feel the tension and drama through the TV. It may not have turned out the way you wanted, depending on your nationality, but the competition was something to savor and appreciate. Most all of us that play or played the…

To anchor or not…

We have come to the point that has been building for almost two years regarding whether belly or long putters will remain legal, or to be more specific, what constitutes a stroke according to the rules of golf. As has been the case with other rules changes, this is a reactionary change. It could be Sam Snead dropping putts from everywhere while straddling his putting line, or Johnny Miller going on and on during a broadcast about how much spin the tour players are getting out of the rough with the old grooves. Because of the recent success of a few tour players that use the longer putters anchored to the body, once again the USGA and the R&A have responded to the publicity. After over 120 years of golf…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

The entire USGTF office staff wishes you a Happy New Year!  We trust 2013 will bring continued or newfound success to each (more…)

What it takes to be a great coach

By: Ben Bryant, WGCA contributing writer “You want me to coach swimming?” That was the question I had for my new principal. I had just been hired as a high school teacher and they needed someone to coach the swim team. Since I was low man on the totem pole, that job fell to me. The fact that I had never swum competitively didn’t seem to matter. The expectations for the swim team at the inner-city high school where I worked in Tampa, Florida, were not very high. That was good, because it meant I couldn’t screw things up too badly. We didn’t win too many swim meets that year (none, as a matter of fact), and the next year I ended up switching schools, where I was able to take over…

Who is really to blame for slow play?

An issue that comes up constantly when the talking heads discuss the state of the game is slow play. I can understand when two professionals playing for millions of dollars take their time to complete a round of golf, but five to six hours for the rest of us seems a bit extreme. When I was a young lad caddying for my dad’s group, we always finished in 3 ½ hours. The last round I played with my regulars took 5 ½ hours. I’m not talking about guys who score in the 100s, either. The highest score was 83. So, what’s happened and who’s to blame? The knee-jerk reaction from most is always people are imitating the pros, taking numerous practice swings, or standing over a two-foot putt forever. In…

Teach your students to make every course be thier favorite course

There’s an old saying in golf: “Different horses for different courses.” Some players just think and play better on certain courses.  This mental game principle fits Steve Stricker to a tee. Defending his crown, Stricker raced to a strong second-place finish at the 2013 Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.  Stricker stated, “This is a special place to start the year.” Clearly, his enjoyment for the Plantation Course at Kapalua has propelled his play to great heights. Even with a pain racing down his left leg due to a pinched nerve, Steve proceeded to shoot a 69 on Sunday, and impressively, hit every green in regulation. But Steve Stricker is not unique in having a playing affair with a certain course.  Ben Hogan played so well at the Riviera Country…

Play the front tees to go low

All players have a comfort zone when playing the game.  However, when you stray from the zone, say when you’re on pace to break 100 for the first time, or when you’re several under par early during a round, it’s easy to get nervous.  These emotions are natural, and it takes visualization and training to keep them under control.  There are several ways to do this when playing great golf.  One very successful drill I use with my students, to ensure a sense of calmness when entering the zone, is to play a few rounds from the front tees. When students play from closer tees, it helps them hit more greens in regulation, getting to par-5s in two and maybe driving some par-4 greens.  I want my students to have…

PGA SHOW UPDATE – 2013 TECHNOLOGY

I just got back from the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, and I wanted to share with all USGTF members something that I think will be very important for 2013 and (more…)

TIGHTENING THE V’S!

This is one of the most basic and yet advanced positions in the golf swing.  Basic, because it is something that should be taught to beginners, and advanced, because if a person is to reach advanced levels of golf, they need to employ tight V’s.  We can call it a position because it involves the positioning of the hands, but also because it is best observed at the address position.  However, this fundamentally essential principle should be maintained throughout the golf swing. Look at every single player on the PGA Tour and you will see tight V’s.  I say every single player, because I’ve not seen one yet that doesn’t have tight V’s.  Maybe there is one out there, though!  The only player that I can recall in past years…

Lower Your Score by Working Back from 100 Yards

I wanted to share with you a great way to get your game sharp in a hurry.  This is one of the games that we play on my golf teams in Florida. Find a course that allows you to practice on a hole, or find a golf center that has practice holes.  Start at 100 yards with your 100-yard club and use five golf balls.  Your goal is to hit the middle of the green with all five balls and two-putt.  If you miss the green, you have to get up and down.  You goal is to make three shots on four out of the five balls.  If you make four out five from 100 yards, you can move back to your next club.  If you start with a wedge at 100, your next club…

Boost your student’s mental games with situational similarity

Aaron Baddeley came out blistering hot in the first round of the 2013 Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation to shoot a 64 (eventually finishing T27).  It was an amazing start for someone who has not played competitive golf for three months, and for most of that time was just playing Mr. Mom to his children because his wife was pregnant and under bed rest. To get mentally ready for his first competitive round, Baddeley arrived to the tournament site a week early and played highly competitive games with his mate, Geoff Ogilvy. These high stake games were getting him mentally prepared for the intense pressure on the PGA tour. In actuality, Baddeley was getting mentally tough by practicing what sports scientists have deemed “situational similarity.” Put simply,…

True potential

How many times have you heard, “I play 14 holes really well, but there’s always four holes that kill my score”?  Or, “If I could only play to my full potential.”  Even better, “My mulligan shots are so much better than my first shots.”  We’ve even felt that way ourselves.  There is always something to improve upon during a round: A misplayed chip shot, wrong club selection, or even where we left our ball to play the next shot.  One way to learn from these mistakes (among others) is to play a three-ball scramble by yourself. By playing a “solo” three-ball scramble, your students learn from their mistakes: Poor swings, bad course management, and wrong club selection.  If you are able to accompany your students while they are playing the scramble, you…

USGTF – Stewards of the game

I have a bone to pick. It’s with us, the golf professionals. There was a time when we were the stewards of the game.  The first golf professional, Alan Robertson of St. Andrews, was the best player of his era, although his young apprentice Tom Morris was not far behind.  Mr. Robertson ran St. Andrews and a clubmaking company. “Old Tom,” as he was to become known, took on a position at the newly-formed Prestwick Club upon being fired for playing the new guttie ball. His boss was manufacturing the feathery and obviously did not take kindly to his young assistant embracing technology. It was at Prestwick where Tom plied his trade and became the true founding father of the modern game. He designed, laid out and maintained the course,…

Pre-shot routine

By: Gregg Steinberg, WGCA contributing writer For the hottest player on the PGA TOUR, lucky No. 13 provides great fortune to Brandt Snedeker, the 2013 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am champion. Recently, the Golf Channel illustrated that Snedeker’s pre-shot routine takes a consistent 13 seconds. Amazingly, this pre-shot time was exactly the same for his driver swing, his mid-iron swing, and for his putting.  Nothing changed, regardless of situation. Of course, it is not the ominous “13” that is helping to produce such great results.  Rather, being consistent is giving Snedeker greater emotional control. Think about your life. Do you take the same route to work every morning? Do you go to the same restaurants? Consistency is vital to our lives. We need consistency. Being consistent gives us peace of mind.…

The rules and etiquette for the golf instructor

The golf teaching professional should teach and set an example of the proper etiquette on the golf course.   In the USGA and Royal & Ancient Golf Club of Saint Andrews rulebook, the section on etiquette is only a few pages.  But, conduct on the golf course is much more than just two pages in a rulebook.  As golf instructors, we should never assume that a student already knows proper etiquette on the golf course.  Often, simple etiquette issues like pace of play, where to stand, or how to repair a ball mark are often overlooked. The professional should know and play by the rules.  Frequently, we are asked to answer a rules question.  The key is to have knowledge of how to use the rulebook.  It is not necessary to…

The age of adjustability

With the debut of the 2013 golf clubs, the golf equipment industry has fully embraced the adjustable golf club. Altering the original state of a golf club is nothing new. The concept of changing the club may seem new to new players and young professionals, but golfers and club repair professionals have been doing it since a clubhead was attached to a shaft to hit a golf ball centuries ago. The goal for the manufacturer may be to produce more sales, but adjustability is an age-old concept that definitely helps golfers of all abilities. Most golfers are afraid of the idea, which is really a shame. The problem lies in bad education of the golfer from not only the manufacturer, but also the golf professional. Sadly enough, too many golf…

TEACHING GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT

Understanding golf course management and playing to our strengths is something that comes second-nature to most of us, simply because of the time we have spent at the game.   For many of our students, however, this is not the case.  They have not been taught how to play on the course or to learn to play to their golfing strengths. There are many things that need to be taught regarding course management, but two of the most important are ball flight and a player’s natural golfing strengths.  Course management can be discussed on the range, but playing lessons are the best way to teach course management.  Being able to see the angles you are teaching during a round will help your students have a better understanding of course management. Every…

What a country…you can buy a game

I was watching one of the recent tour events on TV and couldn’t help but notice all the golf commercials touting how great a particular club was. One club hits it farther than any other on the market, or so the claim. Phil Mickelson says his driver is a game changer. Seems modern equipment is all you need to tool around the course under par, and not one mention about whether any skill is required when swinging said utensils. I have been around golf a long time. I have never seen a club that did not require the individual to have some proficiency regarding proper technique. Remember when they created the offset driver and fairway woods that were guaranteed to cure the average person’s slice? Seen any of those clubs…

The anchoring debate – a contrarian view

Okay I guess it’s time to chime in:  To ban or not to ban? The R&A and USGA‘s question/comment period regarding their proposed ban on the anchored stroke ended Thursday, February 28.  Not surprisingly, the PGA Tour is against the ruling, and many players who were initially pro-ban have now done an about-face. Many former players and media pundits claim a ban would drive droves of people from the game. This is simply not true. We have seen decreases in the numbers of people playing the game in the last decade, and the anchored stroke has increased in popularity. That being said, an interesting statistic to determine would be the amount of people who have returned to golf due to the popularity of the anchored stroke. Probably very few. Time,…

Learn from the legends of the game

As we look towards the Masters and the opening of the golf season in the northern part of the country, I think now would be a great time to set some goals about your golf game and to learn a few lessons from four of the great players of all time! Recently, I have been able to spend some quality time around some of the game’s best older players like Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Lee Trevino.  What I took away from my conversations can be a great asset to most players.  Some of what I heard has nothing to do with the swing or technical part of the game, but more of what they believe made them the best players they could be.  Here is what I…

Everyone loves the long ball

As we get ready for the spring season, I think now is the time to start working on your swing and getting your lesson plans prepared to start teaching golf. Over the last few weeks, my attention has been placed on the secrets of developing more distance and power in the golf swing. Ever since I started playing golf, I have been able to hit the ball a long way. People have always asked me how I do it.  For the longest time, my response was simple – swing hard!  Now, that I am a little older, I don’t have the same speed that I had in my 20s and 30s, but I still hit the ball a long way, so I decided to start writing about getting more distance.…

Tiger’s fire inside

By: Gregg Steinberg, WGCA contributing writer One of the hardest mental skills to possess is to stay motivated to practice and compete, day in and day out. Tiger Woods has had this skill since he joined the PGA TOUR in 1996. How does Tiger keep that fire inside him to burn so brightly? One of the main factors is his pursuit of the golden idol: He wants to break Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors. However, another key ingredient to his amazing motivation is his mastery orientation. Although Tiger wants to be the best in the game, he also relishes improvement. He constantly tinkers with his game in his continually pursuit to get better. Case in point at this week’s World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship: Tiger worked with Steve Stricker on his…

Focus on the process

By: Gregg Steinberg, WGCA contributing writer Kevin Streelman stated that his mental strategy for this past week was to not think about winning and let go of results. This ironic approach worked as Streelman won the Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank by not worrying about winning. Thinking about outcome, such as your score or winning a tournament, creates higher levels of anxiety in our games. Take the analogy of a construction worker who works 1,000 feet in the air and must walk across a plank to get from one site to the next.  If the construction worker looked down and thought about how high he was (the outcome), he would get extremely nervous and be more inclined to fall. However by focusing on placing one foot in front of the…

You’re no longer alone

By: Ben Bryant, WGCA contributing writer Seven years ago, while I was attending the University of Florida to earn my Master’s degree in Education, I attended the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) annual conference in Sarasota, Florida.  It seemed like a good idea to get involved in an organization dedicated to what I was about to jump head first into – teaching high school social studies.  Furthermore, the supervisor of my program, Dr. Paul George, had made it a requirement to attend, so all in all, it was a good idea.  The weekend-long event was not only a lot of fun, it was also wonderfully useful. I was able to meet hundreds of people who had spent their lives doing what I was about to start. I was…

Get into the ‘feel zone’

By: Gregg Steinberg, WGCA contributing writer Martin Laird won the Valero Texas Open with his putter. He needed only 22 putts in the final round to tie the course record with a blistering 63 at the TPC San Antonio. If you watched Laird during this week, you would notice a key component in his pre-putting routine. As he looked at the hole, he would simulate the movement of his stroke with his right hand. He is getting into what I call “the feel zone.” You need to accomplish only two factors to make a putt-hit the correct line coupled with the correct speed. Of course, those two factors are very difficult to get matched up, but when you do, you will see yourself sinking one putt after another. The problem with…

SLOWING DOWN THE GOLF BALL

Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and even Tiger Woods have all advocated creating a golf ball that flies shorter instead of making courses longer or completely redesigning classic layouts to keep them from becoming obsolete. Balls today go crazy distances. Pros oftentimes are hitting drives 350 yards or more. Manufacturers are putting out balls all the time that go farther and farther. Yet, ask them to create a ball that goes shorter and they act like putting a man on the moon is easier. Check out this quote from a USGA official: “Developing a new ball to substantially different specifications like that is almost like starting over for the ball manufacturers,” said Dick Rugge of the USGA. All the major companies have multiple ball lines, each with different characteristics intended for…

SELLING YOUR TALENT!

As golf teaching professionals, it is important to have highly developed technical knowledge and teaching skills.  However, we must be able to sell that skill (lessons) to be financially successful.  Therefore, it is important to market yourself as a golf teaching professional.  The USGTF provides numerous resources that are available from the National Office.  Here are some often-overlooked points that will help you become a better and more successful instructor: Your professional experience and talent are valuable assets.  Therefore, do not be afraid to sell your talents.  Often, golf instructors charge too little for their time, talent, and experience.   Try to sell a percentage of your lessons as a program such as group lessons.  If you charge $75 per hour for an individual lesson but charge $30 per group…

SLOW PLAY: ARE WE RESPONSIBLE?

There is a weekly money game at one of the local country clubs in Kansas near my home.  There are a lot of great players in the game, including mini-tour players.  A few months back I was paired with two mini-tour players, along with a top local college player.  We were the fourth out of six groups to tee off in the money game.  Five hours later we finished, at least two holes, if not three, behind the group in front of us. During the round, I mentioned that we were falling behind the group in front of us, and we needed to pick up our pace.  I guess my opinions went on deaf ears because we never sped up at all.  After our round, I wasn’t very happy with…

FUNDAMENTALS ALWAYS WORK!

As the spring season makes its way into many parts of the northern US and Canada, players that have been dreaming of playing golf on their favorite courses are now getting really excited about the 2013 golf season.,,   For those of us that live in the Sun Belt, we have been in full golf season for almost six months and are starting to see our winter friends leave for their homes in the north. A few weeks ago, I started my middle-school golf program and was thrilled to have almost 30 young players show up for golf from grades 3 to 8. As we started out training programs, we were spending a lot of time on the chipping and putting greens working on our short games. On one afternoon, as we…

LOFT IS YOUR FRIEND

As the spring season makes its way into many parts of the northern US and the Masters starts to loom on everyone’s must-watch golf radar, I wanted to write about the new technology that has come out in the driver market for 2013. There are some really great new products from all the major manufacturers this spring, many with new technology that allows players to adjust their clubs to fit their games with changeable hosel and new weight systems. For many low-handicap players, the ability to adjust the clubhead just slightly can make a big difference in the shot patterns and launch angles of any new driver. As many of you know, I make a living selling golf equipment, so I wanted to share with you some information that I have been finding though our demo days in South Florida.…

PERFORMANCE REVIEWS

Marc Gelbke, Contributing Writer, US Golf Managers Association Conducting performance reviews with your employees is an important part of a manager’s responsibilities. It is a great tool to see where you are in terms of productivity, knowledge, and performance. Additionally, you get the opportunity to see how each of your employees thinks they are doing during their self-evaluation, which usually leads to an “in-the-middle” balance of where they actually are, and you the manager can now prepare a plan for improvements. Employees often see performance reviews as a session of criticism, but in actuality, it is used to discover ways in which an employee’s skills can be better utilized to fulfill your facility’s goals and objectives. When administering performance reviews, plan in advance and schedule specific appointment dates with your…

McDowell’s focus

By: Gregg Steinberg, WGCA contributing writer Inspiration flows from many places. Graeme McDowell, the RBC Heritage champion, was inspired from his failure. According to McDowell, missing the cut at this year’s Masters got him extremely motivated to excel on the Harbor Town Golf Links. Good came from the bad. Inspiration can greatly influence our play on the course. To the field of sports psychology, inspiration impacts our intensity level. When you are inspired, your intensity level is high. You are motivated and extremely focused on the task. Whereas, being uninspired will cause low intensity levels. Or in other words, being uninspired feels as if the “fire in the belly” has burnt out. Given, we are all unique, and we are all inspired by different motives. I am inspired when I play…

TEACHING CORPORATE GOLF

For the past 10 years, I’ve been asking my #1 golf rep and consultant for a sand wedge especially for high handicaps and beginning golfers.  (more…)

NATIONAL GOLF RADIO UPDATE

National Golf Radio, the USGTF’s latest media project, is off the ground!  Please tune in every Wednesday evening at 9:00 p.m. EDT (6:00 PDT) to hear USGTF (more…)

USGTF COMPETITION NEWS

The 2nd annual United States Match Play Championship will be held September 23-27 at Indian Hills Golf Course in Fort Pierce, Florida.  The championship is open to all golfers (including non-USGTF members), professional and amateur, male and female, and offers a guaranteed $5,000 first-place prize.   (more…)

THE IMPORTANCE OF BALL POSITION AND STANCE WIDTH

Ball position and stance width are two key fundamentals that can have a great effect on a golfer’s impact position.  The following data is an average of the measurements for these positions from over 100 Tour players.  How do you measure up?  Ball Position For the driver, the ball is positioned directly in line with the lead foot instep. The ball slightly moves progressively back in the stance with each club. From the driver to the 9-iron, the ball moves back 2.7 inches for Tour professionals. For individuals with extremely wide stances, the ball can move slightly further back but not more than 5 inches or past the center point. Stance Width The stance width with a 5-iron should be shoulder width. The driver stance is the widest, with averages…

PLAYING BETTER GOLF IS UP TO YOU

In many places around the country, the golf season is just getting underway. Clubs are coming out of their hibernating places such as garages or attics, club lockers, or car trunks. And, the quest for the perfect golf swing begins again. It seems like each season there is a new theory on how to do something that people have been doing for hundreds of years. It is often easy to become over-reliant on the words of a golf teacher to the point of forgetting that golf requires time and repetition. Not to say that a teacher isn’t relevant, but understand that the teacher/student relationship is really a journey in self-discovery. Unfortunately, golfers good and bad will try anything that even hints at being the one thing that they think will…

WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM ADAM SCOTT

This year’s Masters tournament provided a lot of great lessons we can learn from and teach our students.  The one that stands out the most in my mind is the patience that the winner, Adam Scott, exemplified during his final round.  Patience is something many of us preach to our students, or even try to work on in our own game, but it is more difficult to integrate than other skills. During the final round, Scott began his round with a bogey on the first hole.  His demeanor walking off the green was very calm; one couldn’t tell if he made a par or worse.  He parred the next hole, which is a par-5 that many players think is a birdie hole.  Again, he walked off the green very calm,…

THE PROBLEM WITH TOO MUCH BOUNCE ON A WEDGE

One of the biggest faults I see in intermediate and advanced golfers in their short games is they create too much lag in their pitching and chipping swings. That is, they lead with the hands too much and the clubhead lags behind.  This usually stems from a powerful swing which compresses the ball. This golfer often struggles with touch around the greens and often struggles with taking too big of a divot. The problem I see stems from the selection of wedges that they are using. I teach my students to use low-bounce wedges, which help to get the leading edge under the ball without having to lead with the wrists. Leading with the hands through impact creates a low punchy style of a shot that is often inconsistent, and…

NEW USGTF SECOND PRO SHOP

From our home page, when you click on the “Member Merchandise” link you’ll see our NEW “Corporate Store & Closeouts” link to our new (more…)

WILL THIS YEAR’S US OPEN TELL US ANYTHING ABOUT MODERN GOLF?

Many people in golf believe that the distance people are hitting the golf ball these days is detrimental to the game. Yet, the governing bodies don’t seem to be overly concerned about it. Even though they acknowledge that the pros are hitting the ball farther, they counter with statements that the scoring has not changed very much. Rarely do they point to the fact that golf courses have gotten much longer to offset yardage gains. This year could have been a perfect opportunity to compare just how much modern equipment has changed the game, or not. The US Open is being played at the Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. In all previous Opens, the course ranged from 6,480 yards to 6,550 yards. That is what Merion played to in…

ARE WE KEEPING IT SIMPLE?

I was on my way to the lesson tee a few weeks ago, and one of the other teaching professionals was giving a lesson to a six-year-old boy.  Glancing at the boy’s swing, I would classify him as a beginner.  I overheard the pro telling the youngster and his dad that his clubface was too closed at the top of his swing.  Walking to my lesson I kept asking myself, “Do I keep things simple for my students . . .  especially children?” When teaching children or even beginners, we can often over-complicate things.  Many of us speak a language very few understand.  Swing plane, clubface angle, forearm rotation and spine angle are everyday terms in our world, but not many students know what they mean or how it applies…

Action-emotion relation

By: Gregg Steinberg, WGCA contributing writer It was not lost on Justin Rose that the final round of the U.S. Open was played on Father’s Day. Rose was 21 when his father passed away. Rose said poignantly, “A lot of us come from great men and we have that responsibility to our children to show what a great man can be”. Furthermore, Rose stated that his goal was to carry himself proudly regardless of what happened during the final round. Acting with pride and a deep sense of responsibility helped Rose to be confident and stay mentally focused to win the U.S. Open. Our actions can greatly affect our emotions.  According to Self-Perception Theory, we infer our emotions from our actions. Our brain gets the message how to feel. When we…

CHECK OUT THE USGTF ON FACEBOOK!

In our ever-changing digital age, it is becoming increasingly important for any business person to have a web presence. This is especially true for golf teaching (more…)

Haas’ look-and-go

Bill Haas makes birdie on No. 10 during the final round of the AT&T Classic. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR) By Dr. Gregg Steinberg, official WGCA sports Psychologist.  This is the season for great putting advice from the veterans. At the WGC-Cadillac Championship, Steve Stricker suggested to Tiger Woods that he should square his stance a bit and weaken his left hand. This helped lead to a victory that week for Woods. This week putting guru Brad Faxon recommended that Bill Haas get less mechanical and just “look and go” with his putting routine. The new reactive putting method was key in Haas’ win at AT&T National. The look-and-go method can greatly benefit your game as well. Here are a few reasons how this method can greatly help you make more putts: 1. Many…

“GOLF IS A GAME OF HERITAGE AND TRADITION”…REALLY?

I love baseball. Here is a game rich with tradition and time-honored practices. Over the years, I’ve seen my share of well-executed double plays or a bullet thrown from deep short to beat a runner by a single step. Year after year, and yet I never tire of it. Golf claims to have such a legacy, but today’s game is nothing like the game that first took hold in this country or the game I played growing up in the 1950s and ’60s. In fact, if golf does have a tradition, it is one of constant change. The driving force behind all of it is one thing – distance. Everyone is obsessed with it. Just about every new lesson starts with, “How do I get more distance?” It has spawned…

HAVE YOU TAKEN A LESSON LATELY?

As teaching professionals, we must continue to learn.  We have to better our skills and possess the desire to learn more.  There are many ways to learn:  Read books written by the top teachers, visit with other teaching professionals (at events like the USGTF’s US Cup), and take lessons. By taking lessons from accredited teachers, it will help you learn to communicate with your students better.  We have all had lessons when the student didn’t understand what we were trying to convey.  This didn’t mean we didn’t know what we were talking about, but it meant we weren’t communicating properly with this particular student.  Listening to other teachers describe a problem or how to perform a certain drill helps you learn other ways to speak with your students. This spring,…

THE VALUE OF TRAINING AIDS

With some students, words, demonstrations, and even drills aren’t enough. In these cases, the use of training aids can provide the teaching professional with an additional option to help improve a student’s understanding. Training aids are just as the name implies: An aid to assist in teaching and to assist the student in learning. The myriads of training devices available seemingly address every aspect of the golf game. These aids come in all types, from inexpensive and homemade (such as a cut-down broom, a towel under the arms) to expensive and elaborate. In the minds of some, teaching devices fall in to the category of gimmicky, running from questionable to worthless. True, there are some bad teaching aids, which tend to drag the good ones down. In using a training…

Phil’s resiliency

By: Gregg Steinberg, WGCA contributing writer After being so close at Merion and not winning the U.S. Open, Phil Mickelson should have been deflated. Mickelson should have had a difficult time bouncing back from his sixth runner-up finish and another disappointment at the U.S. Open. As Mickelson stated, “losing is such a big part of golf. It could have easily gone south”. But Mickelson did the opposite. Instead of getting down and rejected, he mentioned that he used that disappointment as a springboard for his motivation. The loss at the U.S. Open pushed him to practice harder on his game. Mickelson’s resiliency paid off. In a month’s time he played one of the best final rounds of his career to capture the Claret Jug at Muirfield and win The Open Championship.…

Snedeker’s perspective

By: Gregg Steinberg, WGCA contributing writer Family first was the theme at this year’s RBC Canadian Open. Hunter Mahan, the leader after two rounds, withdrew from the tournament when he discovered that his wife Kandi had gone into Labor. While many of the fathers on the PGA TOUR acknowledged and agreed with Hunter’s decision, Brandt Snedeker put it into perspective concerning how important family is to his game of golf. Since his daughter was born two years ago, Brandt has won five times on the PGA TOUR. He said that before her birth, he would take his game far too serious and was all-consumed by his play. But being a father put it all into perspective for him. Now, he knows that hitting bad golf shots do not matter so much.…

Mental Game: Finding the zone

By: Gregg Steinberg, WGCA contributing writer Unbelievable. Incredible. Amazing. Words pale in description of Tiger Woods’ second-round performance at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. Anyone who was lucky enough to see that round in person or on television witnessed some of the best golf ever played in competition. Woods was hitting prodigious drives, lazer-like irons and making putts from everywhere. Through 14 holes, Woods was 9 under with 59 as a possibility. Unfortunately, he could not muster another birdie coming down the home stretch and finished with a brilliant 61 on a very difficult course at Firestone Country Club. During Friday’s round, Woods was in the zone. The zone, also known as flow, is that magical time on the course when we have complete confidence in our game, the hole gets…

WHO DETERMINES THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY?

We all want it: The right to be free from someone telling us what we can and can’t do. As long as it is within the law and does no harm to someone else, it should be no one’s business what we do in our daily lives. The Open Championship was held at Muirfield this year, a private men-only golf club. A lot of people in the press and public office decried the fact that the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, which runs the championship, held the tournament here.  How can you put on such a public event at a location that discriminates against women, was the cry! I think sometimes people read into the meaning of words a bit too much. To discriminate means simply to differentiate between things.…

TEACH CORRECT WARM-UP TECHNIQUES

Fitness research has shown that proper warm-up technique does not start with stretching.  This goes against traditional thinking.  Stretching is the same as activating or using a muscle.  Just as in lifting a dumbbell, when stretching a muscle group the muscles must expand and then contracts to complete the task.  Imagine walking into the gym and curling a 60 lb. dumbbell without warming-up. The correct technique is to warm up slowly before stretching.  This could include a slow jog, but more realistically for the golfer, simply striking a few short shots with an easy swing.  The best way is to make short 20-30 yard pitch shorts then slowly working into ¾ pitch shots.  After a few minutes, begin stretching out the muscles focusing on the major muscle groups for golf. …

PUTTING LESSONS: THE LESSONS THAT ARE OFTEN FORGOTTEN

For the longest time, I didn’t understand why people ask for putting tips, but never ask for a putting lesson.  Many people don’t understand the importance of putting, and if they do, they can’t rationalize spending the money for a putting lesson.  About a year ago, I started offering putting lessons for $20 for 20 minutes. I found out a few things by doing this.  I increased my hourly wage, and I was able to generate a lot of lessons from people who weren’t taking lessons prior.  My hourly lesson rate is $45 per hour, and at three putting lessons per hour, I increased my hourly wage to $60 per hour.  Obviously, more money is never a bad thing, but the extra students gained and having my name associated with…

PRACTICE LIKE YOU PLAY

So often I see golfers on the practice range just beating balls – scrape-hit, scrape-hit, scrape-hit – with little to no attention (more…)

Emphasizing The Extreme Importance of a Proper Setup!

By: Steve Williams, WGCA contributing writer You might think that the setup is so fundamentally simple that it comes natural to a touring professional. With some of them, that’s true, but with the vast majority, it has to be stressed constantly. Although there can be problems with grip and stance width, these are not usually the trouble areas. My experiences have shown me that the first thing to falter is usually posture, followed closely by alignment and ball position. Posture usually falters because the golfer gets lazy physically and lazy with his discipline. Alignment usually falters because the golfer gets lazy mentally. Ball position will usually gravitate to the most advantageous spot, depending upon the errors and compensations in the golfer’s swing at present. Regarding posture, I find it most…

KEEPING UP WITH TECHNOLOGY

For anyone in the golf business, especially an instructor, it is imperative to keep up with the latest golf technology. Sometimes it concerns golf clubs, but more often than not, it is the technology related to improving the golfer’s game that is constantly improving. To illustrate my point, if we wrote a book on technology related to teaching the game just five years ago, the book would already be very obsolete. Some of the best products to hit the market heavily this year are the instant golf swing feedback devices. Most of these devices hook onto your golf club. There are even products that are placed in your golf glove. Products like this fall into the same category as video or training aids – they need a professional to interpret…

CHARITY GOLF TOURNAMENTS

We have all been asked by a friend or colleague to play in a charity scramble, one of those six-hour tournaments where you swing out of your shoes to kill every drive.  Many golf professionals hate playing scrambles, especially ones that take up the entire day.  If you have to spend an extensive amount of time playing in a tournament such as this, consider it a great opportunity to build your business, and at the same time, benefit the tournament without playing a six-hour round. When I hear about charity tournaments, I call the tournament director or organizer, explain who I am, and that I would like to donate my time and skills to the tournament by giving free five-minute video lessons to the players.  100% of the time, the…

I LIKE THE IDEA OF GOLF PLAYOFFS, BUT…?

I have been watching the FedEx Cup playoffs the past couple of weeks, but for the life of me, I can’t really understand what is going on. I have to rely on the announcers to let me know who is in what place and who is winning, even though the guy in first place might be in tenth place. Go figure. In every other sport, the playoffs are pretty simple – win and you move on, and the clock, so to speak, starts all over again. Every team or individual in the playoff has a chance to win – even the ones that barely sneak in at the last moment. I’m not sure that is true for the golf playoffs. Let’s see. They play tournaments from January until the Wyndham…

SPACE COAST GOLF TOUR UPDATE

The Reunion Resort is hosting the inaugural two-day golf tournament Oct. 21 & 22 that will re-ignite the Space Coast Pro Tour (SCPT) in Central Florida. The winner is (more…)

USGTF SOCIAL MEDIA UPDATE

The USGTF has a presence in several venues on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and through its members web board. You can like us on Facebook (more…)

USGTF LOOKING FOR VIDEO PROFILES

USGTF members have been very generous in the past in providing written profiles for our member publication Golf Teaching Pro as well as our monthly e-newsletter. (more…)

CENTRAL REGION RESULTS ARE IN

The USGTF Central Region Championship was conducted September 30 at Quail Meadows Golf Course outside Peoria, Illinois. Nate Deakin fired a 74 to claim the title, (more…)

STAYING IN CONTROL OF YOUR GOLF LESSONS!

Have you ever felt yourself losing control of a golf lesson? I see it happen quite often, and in all honesty, it has happened to me more than once. Maybe you think you have never lost control of a golf lesson in the past. I’m not talking about the entire lesson being in disarray with you and your student hollering at each other. Hopefully, if you do lose control, it will be much more subtle than that. What can we use as criteria to determine losing control of a golf lesson? How about a breakdown in communication, to the point of your student saying that he/she doesn’t understand what you are saying to them? What about you and your student disagreeing on the objective of that lesson? What if your…

REFINING YOUR GOLF TEACHING SKILL

Three simple elements that will make you a better golf instructor: Positive Communication  Make sure you introduce the skill in a clear and concise way.  Use language that the golfer can understand.  Try to be as brief as possible and create a positive learning environment. • Get the golfer’s attention. • Make sure that the golfer can see and hear everything about the skill that they need to. • Give a reason for learning the skill. Demonstrations Every picture is worth a thousand words.  Shapes you see affect shapes you make.  Show more and talk less.  Ask players to mentally rehearse the movement after they have seen the demonstration.  For your own credibility, it is important that you use demonstration.  If you cannot perform the skill, use the best available…

KNOW YOUR YARDAGE

I have the pleasure of working with some great high school student-athletes who want to play at the college level.  Tournament golf is very different from recreational golf, and scoring average is very important.  As many of you know, the short game is the most important component of scoring, which makes it the place we need to focus most of our practice time. When I begin working with a new student, I walk off 20 or 30 yards, drop a head cover, walk another 30 yards, and drop another head cover.  I will ask them how far the head covers are and after their guess, we shoot the head covers with a laser range finder.  More often than not, they are far off with their guesses.  This exercise is a…

Tips for soggy play

By: Gregg Steinberg, WGCA contributing writer The Presidents Cup this year had many exciting, yet soggy, days of play. On Saturday, many players went around Muirfield Village Golf Club in 34 holes in very wet conditions. Such days can wear out players, both physically and mentally. To be fresh physically, you must be in top shape. This takes a steady diet of working out, with weights and cardio training. The same principle goes for the mental game, particularly your concentration. You must develop a stead diet of focus to stay fresh throughout a round of golf. To accomplish this, think of concentration as a reservoir of mental energy. To perform at your best, you must let your concentration flow when you are hitting your shot. However, if the flood gates are…

SPACE COAST PRO TOUR

USGTF helps to sponsor the new Space Coast Pro Tour. The original Space Coast Tour was played throughout central Florida in the 1970’s & 80’s. (more…)

Find comfort first

By: Gregg Steinberg, WGCA contributing writer When Ryan Moore stepped up to his four-foot putt on the 18th hole to win the playoff against Gary Woodland at the CIMB Classic, he backed off. He was visually disturbed. He looked at his putter, wiped the face and started his routine over. Then, Ryan got into his putting stance and sank that pressure-packed putt for his third win on the PGA TOUR. Afterwards, Moore admitted to his nerves and stated that he felt uncomfortable when he first got over that putt to win. Importantly, Ryan proclaimed that any time he feels unsure, he will back off his putt and start his routine over again. Starting over allowed him to reset his mind and greatly contributed to his sinking that winning putt at the…

PRE-ROUND ROUTINE

Many of our students don’t practice enough, but then again, that can apply to many of us as well.  An average golfer may rush from his car to the course.  They might take 20 minutes to warm up prior to teeing off; typically, they will hit some shots, maybe putt a few balls, then off to the tee.  It is important to teach our students how to properly warm up for a round of golf, especially when they are rushed for time. To me, it is more important to have a good feeling regarding your short game versus the long game.  Too many players think they need to hit a lot of drivers on the range, because that is the club they will most likely use off the first tee. …

REACHING THAT NEXT LEVEL

Do you want to reach that next level as a golfer?  Tour players have consistent practice routines that they follow to prepare themselves for “playing the game of golf” on the actual golf course.  The following are some tips to help you improve your full swing practice routine. Warm-Up Always start with a warm-up routine such as making slow swings with a shorter club such as a 9-iron.  Hit a few easy shots and then stretch your back, shoulders, and wrists.   Mechanics About 5 -10 balls with every other club starting with the 9-iron or wedge.  Use a guide or training aids for alignment and path.  Work your way up to the driver using every other club in the bag.  Then work your way back down to the short…

REACHING THAT NEXT LEVEL (PART 2)

Do you want to reach that next level as a golfer?  Tour players have consistent practice routine that they follow to prepare themselves for “playing the game of golf” on the actual golf course.  The following are some tips to help you improve your short game practice routine. Putting Mechanics Straight 3-foot putts on chalk line.  Make a set number such as 18, 25, or more. Use guide or training aids for alignment and path.   Distance Control Hit five or more long putts only working on feel. Work on 15-foot putts using a 14-inch arc behind the hole   Playing the Game Three-putt game – go nine holes, and each time you three-putt you must return to “Q” School, where you must return to the 3-foot chalk line and…

Learning to breathe can really help your golf game

By: Arlen Bento, WGCA contributing writer I have been teaching and coaching golf to skilled junior players for many years, and one of the things that I always want to keep learning about is how to get my players to play their best went it really counts.  I like sharing these lessons, because it can help many players and coaches to play their best golf. For years, I have tried all types of motivational talks, ideas and game plans, and it seems that under pressure, most players struggle and shoot higher scores than they would in a practice round or internal team match. Over the past four years, my high school team has been fortunate to win three state district titles but no regional titles.  Each time we advance to…

Helping each player to find the tempo that is right for them

By: Steve Williams, WGCA contributing writer Everybody has a tempo that is right for them individually. There are those who have had great success with a quick tempo. Players such as Chad Campbell, Nick Price, Lanny Wadkins, Hubert Green, Tom Watson, Arnold Palmer, and Ben Hogan come to mind. Then, there are those with slower tempos, players like Payne Stewart, Fred Couples, Davis Love, Tom Weiskopf, Jerry Heard, and Julius Boros. All of these players have been successful! So, which is better…a fast or slow tempo? The answer is, the tempo that is right for that individual. The observant teacher will gain insight into which tempo is right for their student as they watch them practice and play. How do you get the golfer to swing with the tempo that…

Failing Forward

By: Gregg Steinberg, WGCA contributing writer When Dustin Johnson lost the lead to Ian Poulter during the final round at the WGC-HSBC, he did not force the issue and get too aggressive, leading to a blow-up hole or two.  The wiser and more seasoned Johnson has learned from his past mistakes.   He said he must be patient and stick with his game plan and let the scores happen. It worked, and DJ found the winner’s circle to what he called “the biggest win so far in my career.”   We all make mistakes. We all fail at times in our golfing life. We have all had a few terrible holes and many horrendous rounds. We have all seen the greatest golfers in the world fail, as well. However, the most…

Golf Managers Must Understand and Manage Marketing

Pat Montana, Contributing Writer, US Golf Managers Association One of the biggest concerns of golf club managers today is retaining current members or customers and attracting new members or customers. This is a marketing problem and golf club managers must understand and manage marketing in our changing world. Marketing in its broadest sense is a concept for running the entire business. It puts the customer at the center of the business universe and not the organization. In other words, we must start in the marketplace and work backward from customer needs to develop our products and services – not the other way around. This so-called “marketing concept” is based not only on being customer-oriented, but also on doing it profitably. We are not interested in volume for volume’s sake, but…

TECHNOLOGY OR TRADITION – WHICH IS BETTER FOR TEACHING GOLF?

Legendary teacher Bob Toski never got on board.  Nor did the late USGTF teaching professional Julius Richardson, a member of Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Teachers list.  There are a number of other teachers who didn’t, either.  To what am I referring? Technology.  Things like video, computers, the K-Vest, etc.  “Old school” teachers like Toski rely on their eyes to tell them everything they need to know about what’s going on in the swing – even finely honed swings like a tour player’s. So, we see it’s possible to teach at a high level without technology.  This brings up a question:  Which is better, old school or new school? A few years ago in one of the golf magazines, they attempted to answer the question of which school was “better.”  The writer…

PRINCIPLES OF PRACTICE

The following are solid principles to follow that will help to develop your teaching skills: Only perfect practice makes perfect Golf is a skill; therefore, practice golf in pressure conditions.  This is the major difference between learning a skill and learning a technique.  Keep practices sessions short and frequent when working on a new skill.  Use practice time efficiently.  Students should experience a reasonable amount of success at each practice session.  Make practice fun as well as challenging. Positive Attitude towards Learning No matter what the standard of the player, a good instructor will make him or her better. It is important that any learning situation should focus toward success. The attitude of the teaching professional and student should be characterized by two qualities: An open mind to receive new…

IS IT TIME TO ALLOW YARDAGE MEASURING DEVICES ON THE PGA TOUR?

They are everywhere these days and they come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. GPS yardage devices are common among the crowd I play with, and it has helped speed up the overall time of our weekly round. No more hunting for the nearest sprinkler head or pacing off from the 150 post; just push a button or read a meter, then select a club. Our high school golf association allows devices in matches and tournaments as long at they give distance only. It has definitely sped up play, in my opinion. In a time when just about everyone in the golf industry is lamenting slow play, maybe it is time to relax the rules against such devices. The USGA and PGA Tour do not allow yardage devices in…

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

This time of year, many of us will reflect back over the past 12 months, thinking about the good things that happened, as well as what we would like to change for the upcoming year.  Hopefully, our students are doing the same thing for their golf game:  Analyzing their rounds, possibly worrying about things that could go wrong, and wanting to do better in 2014. As golf teaching professionals, we should encourage our students to focus on the positives for the upcoming year and provide them with a plan to make their resolutions become reality.  The most important thing to do is make them aware of your presence, even if you’re not physically there working with them on the course.  As their instructor, it is our duty to provide encouragement…

Practice your strengths

By: Gregg Steinberg, WGCA contributing writer The duel at Sherwood Country Club was reminiscent of the tale of David and Goliath. Compared to the monumental Tiger Woods, the stature and resume of Zach Johnson was quite diminutive. But that had no bearing on the end result. After an amazing hole-out from the drop area to tie Tiger in regulation play, Johnson went on to win the playoff and the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge. Like David and his mighty foe, Johnson could never keep up with Tiger’s power game. In 2013, Johnson ranked 153rd on the PGA TOUR in driving distance at 278.8 yards per drive. However, Johnson ranked 19th in scoring average (70.10). The secret to Johnson’s success in golf is not the power game. Rather Johnson focuses on his strengths.…

POWERCHUTE TEAMS WITH USGTF

Powerchute® has signed on with the USGTF as an industry partner. This is your opportunity to be part of the Powerchute® revolution. The greatest golfer who ever lived, Jack Nicklaus, (more…)

WHAT MAKES A GOLF COURSE GREAT?

By Marc Gelbke, Contributing Writer, US Golf Managers Association As golf course managers, we have to ask ourselves, “What makes a golf course great?”  You can ask around, and some will no doubt say it is the location of the course, the layout, the condition, etc.  While there is no question that these are important, in my opinion, the main reason a golf facility is great and has golfers come back is YOU AND THE STAFF. Time and time again, you hear from golfers and guests that they would come back because of how the staff makes them feel. You can have the best-kept secret, most beautiful facility, but if you don’t have a staff that sincerely cares about the players, members, guests and facility, they will inevitably find fault. Service…

TRAINING AIDS

As golf teaching professionals, we constantly look for ways to help our students get better.  We read books, attend continuing education classes, watch videos, and visit with other golf teaching professionals, all the while trying to learn more and become a better instructor. For anyone has been to a large golf store chain like Edwin Watts or watched  Golf Channel, we have seen numerous training aids.  Ironically enough, each piece of equipment or technique boasts that it can cure every fault in the golf swing.  Now, while it would be nice, we all know there is no quick fix or miracle pill you can take to attain the perfect golf swing. How often do you try these training aids?  Do you research the new training aids as they come into…

The Essence of Golf Club Management

By Geoff Bryant, Contributing Writer, US Golf Managers Association Have you ever entered a pro shop facility where the staff barely gives you the time of day, does not make you truly feel welcome or could care less about any idle, friendly chit chat? I’ve always known that the way employees treat customers, reflects the manner in which they’re being treated by management. The pro shop staff for instance can truly set the mood for the facility itself. They can in fact, give any customer “a good feeling“  about the facility. Customers want to be recognized, they want to be greeted with a warm friendly smile along with eye contact and they want to feel as though they’re special.   Which of course they are. A golf club manager therefore has to…

Self image and competitive golf

By: Geoff Bryant, WGCA President In a recent study, as individuals, we average hearing seven criticisms to every one compliment. And most of us remember the negative comments far longer than the positive statements. As we often see ourselves through the eyes of people who discourage us, many of our limitations become self-imposed. This is why Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote: “Most of us die with the music still in us.” The World Golf Coaches Alliance challenges all competitive golfers to remove those self-imposed limitations in order to play your best golf. Believe that you can win. Work to make it happen.

Proud of Your Accomplishments? We’d Like to Hear About Them

We are always happy to showcase our members and their accomplishments, either through our monthly e-newsletter or through our member publication, Golf Teaching Pro.  If you would like to be featured in an upcoming newsletter or magazine, please submit a brief biography (half a page or less), along with a picture (no hats or sunglasses, and a smile works great) to info@usgtf.com.

National Office Undergoes Renovations

If you happen to be in the Port St. Lucie, Florida, area in the near future, stop by!  The USGTF national office has undergone some renovations to better utilize the space in the office, as well as making some cosmetic changes for aesthetic purposes. (more…)

“PRO” File – Touring Professional Zach Johnson

He wasn’t the best player on his college team.  He wasn’t even the best player on his high school team. Most players in this situation would not be dreaming of success as a professional golfer, but Zach Johnson has always been somewhat of an underdog. (more…)

Emotional Toughness Training For Coaches

Is your teaching or coaching one-dimensional?  Dr. Gregg Steinberg, the USGTF’s sports psychology consultant, will be hosting a free webinar on Wednesday, February 26, at 7:00 p.m EST. (more…)

PROVIDING CUSTOMER SERVICE

Teaching golf is a service industry.  It falls in the same category as restaurants, tourism, and entertainment.  The client does not have to take a lesson; he wants to take a lesson.  It is important to remember this, as golf lessons are basically luxury items. As a teaching professional we should: • Promote the game of golf. • Provide superior teaching techniques. • Deliver excellent customer service. Some interesting statistic concerning customer service: • 96% of customers who feel they were served poorly do not complain. • 90% of those who feel they were served poorly will not return for a lesson. • Each poorly served customer will tell at least nine people and some will tell over twenty. • 95% of customers will return if their problem is resolved…

LEAVE IT TO THE GOVERNMENT TO LOOK A GIFT HORSE IN THE MOUTH

The business consultant Peter Drucker said that what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done. If I were to apply this to government, I could say it consists of making it difficult to conduct business. ESPN recently did an exposé on the charitable giving of the PGA Tour and noted that a watchdog group gave them a zero rating because they don’t give enough to the charities they support. The basic issue comes down to the fact that the PGA Tour gets tax-exempt status, and according to the report, they have been able to avoid $200 million in taxes over the past 20 years. The fact that the tour has raised over $2 billion for charities appears to mean nothing. Now, some…

THE IMPORTANCE OF A GOLF CART FLEET

By Marc Gelbke, Contributing Writer, US Golf Managers Association Often overlooked by golf course managers is the importance of a golf cart fleet at our facilities. Fleets directly relate to revenues and budget, and must be successfully managed. Most managers are not aware of the fact that our fleets are the second-largest source of revenue (after golf fees), and often the largest profit center. This article is designed to explain in some detail and point out the importance of a cart fleet and how it could be viewed from a manager’s point of view. I will touch on other aspects of cart fleet management in future editorials, such as:  How to make a fleet program successful; the responsibilities of a fleet manager; how to determine fleet size; and, maybe even how…

SOCIAL MEDIA: IT’S A MUST

As golf teaching professionals, most of us are independent contractors. Some of us might work for a golf club, driving range, or golf school.  Like most businesses, we are always looking for ways to grow our business, gain new clients, and solidify our trade.  Social media is a great way to advertise, reach new clients, and stay in touch with current students. Websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are free to use and efficient, as many of your students are most likely already using these sites.  By accessing these forms of marketing, you can stay connected to your students and grow your business for free.  Free is always good for small business owners! When you start a Facebook page, it will help you expand in many ways.  You are able…

GOLF IN THE OLYMPICS?

In the spirit of this month’s Winter Olympics, it is imperative we in the golf industry – and all golf fans worldwide – voice our opinion about the individual format for golf at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as recently decided upon by the International Golf Federation ( IGF).  I know I’m not alone in espousing an anti-individual format and would highly revere witnessing a team competition for a host of reasons. I am not going to mince words. The IGF got this wrong, in my opinion. I’ll prelude my position by also stating I don’t even believe golf should be in the Olympics in the first place.  However, since it is a “fait accompli,” a team competition should take precedent over an individual one. I’ll digress. First, to remove a…

Mental Game: Make every course your favorite, Like Phil

By: Gregg Steinberg, WGCA contributing writer Do you know why Phil Mickelson does so well at the Masters? Bones McKay, Mickelson’s caddy, has remarked many times how Phil has declared his love and admiration for Augusta National. Phil states that he gets goose bumps every time he drives up Magnolia Lane. With the Masters coming up in a few months, this is a teachable moment for your students. A declaration of love (or great admiration) for a course can help your play. Like Phil does at Augusta National, you are psyching yourself up to play well—regardless of condition or difficulty. Joy of a course can help expel any excessive feelings of anxiety. Ultimately, you are transforming adversity into an enjoyable challenge. Let’s take the flip side. You can talk yourself into…