Thirty Years of Constant Change

There’s an old saying, “The more thingschange, the more things stay the same.” Thatapplies to the golf industry somewhat, but no onecan doubt the seismic changes the golf landscapehas seen in the past 30 years. This year, 2019, marks the 30th anniversaryof the founding of the United States GolfTeachers Federation. But when we think backto the beginning of 1989, things were markedlydifferent, not only in the golf industry as a wholebut also specifically in the golf teaching industry. Golf schools thrived. Nationally recognizedschools such as Golf Digest, Roland Stafford, Craft-Zavichas, Ben Sutton, Mt. Snow, United States GolfAcademy, and of course, The Florida Golf Schooland the Illinois Golf School were attended annuallyby thousands of students from everywhere. Thelatter two were owned and operated by GeoffBryant, who was able to successfully enter…

Harman, Team USA Win World Cup

It took 21 years, but Mark Harman is finally back in the winner’s circle at the World Golf Teachers Cup. Since capturing his second individual championship in 1998 at San Roque, Spain, Harman watched other outstanding golfers like Dave Belling, Christopher Richards, James Douris and Ken Butler hoist the trophy. But this past February at La Iguana Golf Club in Herradura, Costa Rica, Harman emerged victorious by shooting 71-75 – 146 to edge Costa Rica’s Alejandro Duque by two shots. Overcoming an opening-hole double bogey, a four-putt on the third hole and three-putting two of the final three holes during the final round, Harman played the other 14 holes in three-under-par. Belling, the 2003 individual champion, finished third for the overall title and earned the World Golf Senior Teachers Cup individual title…

Florida Pro Wins 2019 US Pro Hickory

February 25, 2019: The Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club, opened in 1922 and laid out by noted architect Tom Bendelow, was described by the Tampa Tribune as a brute of a course, stretching out over 6,400 yards. Probably not worthy by today’s standard, but a stout test for the century-old clubs used back then. The links held up well against some excellent modern-day hickory golfers with Boca Raton, Florida, professional Jeremy Moe carding a 77 to have his name affixed to the John Shippen Cup. Using a 1908-replica ball, Moe shot the same score that Willie Smith did the first round at Myopia Hunt Club in the 1908 U.S. Open. The winning average for four rounds in that Open was 80.5. The USPHGC is sponsored by the United States…

USGTF Regional Tournament Schedule

Southwest Region – The USGTF Southwest Region Championship will be held Saturday and Sunday, May 4-5, at Ridgeview Ranch Golf Course in Plano, Texas. Region director Bruce Sims is the host. A practice round is available Friday, May 3, for a cart fee, and a dinner will be held that evening. The entry fee is $225, and an optional $20 skins game is available. For more information and to enter, please contact Sims at (214) 475-5168, bsimspro@hotmail.com. Northwest Region – USGTF Northwest Region director Nathan Guerrero has scored a real coup with his securing historic TPC Harding Park in San Francisco for the 2019 USGTF Northwest Region Championship, to be held Wednesday and Thursday, May 15-16, 2019. The entry fee of $295 includes two days of golf and prize money,…

Pro Shop Closeout Sale

USGTF logoed solid short sleeve shirts by Nike with Teaching Professional on the sleeve. Available in red, white or navy – $40.00. Can be purchased by contacting the USGTF National Office by phone or email only at (888) 346-3290, suzy@usgtf.com.

New – USGTF Member Benefit

Request your free “Golf Business” website speed test and evaluation! As a member benefit, we have made arrangements with Weaver Enterprises Business Services to provide one free “Golf Business” related website speedtest and evaluation for any USGTF or WGTF member who desires this free service. We realize that there are elements to your golf business that go beyond being a golf teaching or coaching professional. In order to stay ahead of your competition in your business, you need to place yourself on the cutting edge of technology in how you present your business services to potential clients/customers. A vital element of this is to be certain that your website is professional not only in appearance but in function, as well. In light of a recent algorithm change by Google, website…

“PRO” File – Touring Professional Dan Pohl

He led the PGA Tour in driving distance in 1980 with an average of 274.3 yards, a distance that would have ranked dead last on the Tour last year. Yes, the game has changed that much. But Dan Pohl’s claim to fame as the first to lead the official driving distance stat is secure. Pohl’s career wasn’t great by professional standards, but he almost won the Masters, losing in a playoff to Craig Stadler in 1982. Pohl did win twice on the Tour, both times in 1986, and won the Vardon Trophy for low stroke average in 1987. Pohl suffered a series of injuries beginning shortly thereafter, and his playing career never again reached such heights. He played on the Champions Tour beginning in 2005, but today is retired from…

USGTF Looking For Golf Teaching Photos

Nothing is more powerful than visual images, and the field of teaching golf is no exception. The USGTF is looking for teaching photographs that embody what the profession is all about. If you believe you can capture the right image, we’d love to see your photos. All photos submitted should be original and specifically be actual golf teaching-related photographs, with well-dressed candidates, a well-dressed teaching professional, and a clean background. Example: No cars, roads, buildings, golf carts, etc. By submitting your picture, you consent to allow the USGTF the rights to use your image for promotional purposes. Please e-mail your photos to info@usgtf.com or send them to the National Office via regular mail.

Editorial – The Gap Hasn’t Just Widened: It Has Blown Open

By Mike Stevens, USGTF Member and Contributing Writer For the average person, baseball, football, basketball and hockey are clearly spectator sports. No guy off the street is going to face a 100 mph fastball, tackle an NFL running back, guard Lebron James, or stop a Sydney Crosby slap shot. In golf, however, there was a time when a decent amateur or teaching pro could hit similar shots to those of a PGA Tour professional. The gap was not insurmountable. Oftentimes, a club pro or amateur would qualify for the U.S. Open, and some club pros could be found on the PGA Championship leaderboard. In the 1980s, the leading driving distance on tour was around 278 yards. Into the ’90s, it went up about 10 yards. Tour players were better primarily…

USGTF Looking for Teaching Photos Copy

Nothing is more powerful than visual images, and the field of teaching golf is no exception. The USGTF is looking for teaching photographs that embody what the profession is all about. If you believe you can capture the right image, we’d love to see your photos. Please send them to info@usgtf.com and the member who submits the winning photo will receive a $500 cash award from the USGTF. Please submit them by September 30.

As a Certified Golf Teaching Professional® Which Social Platform should I use?

By: Kenneth Weaver When you consider the vast array of Social Media Platforms it can be a daunting task trying to decide exactly where your Social Media presence would be best suited. First you need to take a close look at your reasons for having a social media presence. Here are a few of the primary reasons why you need a social presence. Establish credibility with new clients/prospects Networking with consumers & Industry leaders Increase business leads/sales Boost SEO for your business website Competitive advantage SMM Drives targeted traffic to your website Helps you build relationships with your audience Which Social Platform/s should I use? That can vary depending on the focus of your business as well as the time and energy you have available to maintain your social presence.…

Is Golf Too Hard?

By Mike Stevens, USGTF contributing writer In the movie A league of Their Own, Gina Davis, the star player, tells Tom Hanks, the manager, she is quitting because the game is too hard. He replies, “It’s supposed to be hard; if it was easy, everyone would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great.” The difficulty is often cited as a reason golf’s population has declined in recent years or why people don’t take up the game as readily as some might like. I think it’s nonsense. Like anything that is a challenge, few will embrace the challenge, but most won’t. But in a country of 350 million, a few is still a lot. They say 24 million people play golf. Plenty for a thriving industry. Is it too…

The Spring Practice Plan    

By David Vaught, USGTF Master Teacher and Hall of Fame Member With spring comes the excitement of a new golf season. Helping your students prepare for a fun and great ball striking season is a tremendous opportunity to build loyalty and get referrals. One of my core beliefs about the game and the struggle to improve is how poorly and unstructured the average golfer’s practice is. As an instructor, you can make a difference in how your students prepare for success. Let’s lay out some simple solutions and a sample plan to get the wheels turning in your mind about how this can be a success for you and your student. Most all of us know the difference between block practice and varied practice, but we should do a quick review.…

Impact! Understand These Simple Principles

By Thomas T Wartelle, WGTF Master Professional There are five human performance factors that affect distance and direction: Direction 1) Position of clubface at impact to the Intended Target Line: The initial path, the curve of the ball during its flight, and where the ball will finish are all greatly influenced by the clubhead position at impact. 2) Path of the clubhead at impact to the Intended Target Line: The initial direction of the ball is slightly influenced by the clubhead path at impact. Path and clubface position at impact influence the amount of tilt of the spin axis imparted on the golf ball. Direction/Distance 3) Angle of approach: The angle of approach of the clubface at impact influences ball flight, the initial launch angle, spin rate, and true loft…

U.S. Pro Hickory Coming This Month

The annual USGTF-sponsored Unites States Professional Hickory Championship at historic Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club in Tampa, Florida, will take place on Monday, February 25, 2019. The championship is open to male and female golf professionals and hosted by Mike Stevens, USGTF Southeast Region director. This tournament is a testament to the history and heritage of our game as it was first played with hickory-shafted golf clubs. It honors the memory of John Shippen, America’s first golf professional, and the 1925 Florida Open, in which all the prominent pros of the day played. Information and entry forms can be obtained at www.usprohickory.com, or contact Stevens at ams1127@msn.com. Clubs are provided for participants by the tournament committee, if needed.

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USGTF Regional Action Announced

Southeast -This year’s tournament is returning to a USGTF favorite, GlenLakes Country Club in Weeki Wachee, Florida, with a new date of Saturday and Sunday, May 18-19. This private course is challenging, beautiful and impeccably maintained. Mature stands of oak and pine, water features, undulating hills and sand traps provide endless variations of play. A prize fund of $1,000 and the Southeast Trophy is assured with a field of 12 players. It is also a good opportunity to catch up with fellow members and plan future events for the section. Entry deadline is May 10. Questions, contact region director Mike Stevens at ams1127@msn.com. Entries should be sent to the USGTF office at: USGTF 200 S. Indian River Drive, Suite #206 Fort Pierce, FL 34950 If paying with credit card, call…

2019 United States Disabled Open Golf Championship

The 2019 United States Disabled Open Golf Championship is set for May 14th-16th 2019 at the Independence Golf Club in Richmond Virginia. For more information please visit http://www.usdga.net/tournaments/ or call (910) 214-5983.

“PRO” File – Touring Professional Cameron Champ

He’s known for being the longest hitter in professional golf, but if that’s all you have, you can’t become a champ. And that is exactly what Cameron Champ is. The Tour rookie won the Sanderson Farms Championship in late 2018 and appears poised for more success. Champ first burst upon the national scene as an amateur in 2017 at the U.S. Open at Erin Hills, where he was in the top 10 after two rounds before falling back. He then qualified for the Web.com Tour, winning the Utah Championship in 2018, and finished sixth on the money list to earn his Tour card for 2018-19. His win at the Sanderson Farms Championship means Champ will be playing on the Tour for at least two more seasons, but given his talent…

Editorial – Another Unnecessary Black Eye for Golf’s Ruling Bodies

If you haven’t seen or heard it by now, Haotong Li was penalized two strokes on the last hole of the Dubai Desert Classic for having his caddie standing on an extension of his line of play as he was preparing to take his stance for a putt.  A look at the video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psvtcEDvmVA) shows Li’s caddie moving out of the way as Li was walking into his stance to hit a putt on the final hole. The wording of Rule 10.2b(4) states, “When a player begins taking a stance for the stroke and until the stroke is made, the player’s caddie must not deliberately stand in a location on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball for any reason.” The R&A’s Martin Slumbers supported the European Tour’s ruling by…

As a Certified Golf Teaching Professional® – Is a Social Media Presence Important?

By: Kenneth Weaver I’ll cut straight to the point by stating one simple fact: Your business needs a “healthy” social media presence. Having a social media presence has reached the level where it is “expected”. If people search for you or your business and you don’t have a “healthy” presence on social media they often move on to the next business that does. A healthy and viable social media presence should be an essential element of your marketing strategy. There is never a “wrong time” to start building a social media presence. With that being said it is vital that your presence reflects yourself and your business in a professional manner. This is especially important in the golf industry (I’ll address this specific topic in an upcoming article). A consistent…

The Three Swings of Wright Balance: Which One Are You?

By Dr. David Wright USGTF Contributing Writer, Oakland, California Our 25 years of research has yielded the following: In summary, we are able to do simple body measurements, provide a student with stance widths that recruit different “core regions, “and match stance widths, posture and grip to their playing core region for maximum power and consistency. There are three ways to swing a golf club. These swings come out of one of our three core regions. The following is an illustration of nine core regions that are identified by a printout from the results of the measurements of stance widths that recruit precise core regions. Each core region has different stance widths, posture, grip and swing characteristics. The nine core regions within three main core regions These nine core regions relate to one of three golf swings as follows: Lower Core…

We Have A New Set Of Rules…Big Deal

By Mike Stevens What’s the big whoop about new and simplified rules? I guess it’s human nature to resist change, but anything to speed up play is good, in my opinion. I just wonder why it took so long to get these implemented. The process began back in 2012. Remember the Nike ad – “Just Do It.” Heck, if you’re the so-called ruling body, you should be able to make whatever changes are in the best interest of the game. There were originally 13 basic rules, and except for the one saying you must tee off within one clublength from the hole, they served the game well for hundreds of years. Now, there will be 24, down from 34. They’re going in the right direction. But here is the real rub: 90…

Little Things Lead to Big Scores

If you ask golfers what you need to do to shoot low scores, they probably would say things like hit the ball far and straight and make putts, and they would be correct. Shooting low scores requires a certain skill set that is honed through years of dedicated practice. To achieve these skills, golfers everywhere spend countless hours on the range and practice putting green, working tirelessly to improve. They may also receive professional instruction, which focuses largely on mechanical technique. A certain few may further seek out help for the mental game in the form of books or visiting a sports psychologist. All of these skills are necessary in order to play the game and to shoot the lowest scores possible. But often overlooked are the little things that can…

GOLF TEACHING PRO Magazine in the Mail

The latest edition of Golf Teaching Pro magazine is in the mail. The magazine is the official member publication of the United States Golf Teachers Federation, and features news and information pertinent to golf teaching pros. Articles include a look at a “forgotten” aspect of the ball flight laws, launch monitor technology, and an article by Dr. David Wright featuring his Wright Balance system, one of the most important articles to ever appear in the magazine. Look for your copy soon!

Mizuno Golf Increases Discount for USGTF Members

Mizuno Golf, a longtime USGTF industry partner, had increased its discount for USGTF members to 30 percent off the wholesale price. This new pricing structure will provide USGTF members with even more savings from one of golf’s most famous club brands. Mizuno has been known for years for the quality and playability of its irons, but its wedges, drivers and fairway woods feature some of the leading technology available, too. For more information, please contact Jennifer Russakis or Suzy Johnson in Membership Services at (888) 346-3290. ,

Deadline This Month to Enter World Cup in Costa Rica

Wednesday, January 23 is the deadline to enter the 14th edition of the World Golf Teachers Cup to be held February 13-15 at La Iguana Golf Club in Herradura, Costa Rica, approximately a 90-minute drive from San Jose International Airport. La Iguana is a Marriott property, but there are a number of hotel options in the nearby resort town of Jaco, as well. U.S., Canadian and European visitors do not need a visa, but a passport is necessary. To enter, please go to www.WorldGolfTeachersCup.com and register today.

U.S. Pro Hickory in February

The annual USGTF-sponsored Unites States Professional Hickory Championship at historic Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club in Tampa, Florida, will take place on Monday, February 25, 2019. The championship is open to male and female golf professionals and hosted by Mike Stevens, USGTF Southeast Region director. This tournament is a testament to the history and heritage of our game as it was first played with hickory-shafted golf clubs. It honors the memory of John Shippen, America’s first golf professional, and the 1925 Florida Open, in which all the prominent pros of the day played. Information and entry forms can be obtained at www.usprohickory.com, or contact Stevens at ams1127@msn.com. Clubs are provided for participants by the tournament committee, if needed.

“PRO” File – Touring Professional Charles Howell, III

There’s an interesting name atop the FedEx Cup standings as the season is set to resume, and that name is Charles Howell III. Also known as CH3 and “Chucky Three-Sticks,” Howell has been a longtime grinder on the professional golf scene – a fate many did not predict for the one-time prodigy. Growing up in one of golf’s meccas, Augusta, Georgia, Howell attended Oklahoma State and won the 2000 NCAA individual championship. His arrival on tour received much fanfare, but the going has been tough in terms of victories. Howell won early in his career at the Michelob Championship in 2002, but it would be five more years before he won again in 2007. Although a steady money earner throughout the years, victories continued to elude Howell until he broke…

Editorial – New Rules Will Take Time to Absorb

At the golf course where I work and teach in Savannah, Georgia, our men’s league in December adopted the use of the new Rules of Golf earlier than the official start date of January 1, 2019. On one of my rare days off, I signed up to play in the Tuesday individual game and was looking forward to playing under the new rules with official competition on the line. Let me say, it was a weird experience! Now, we’ve all bent the rules somewhat when playing casual golf, but this was a whole different animal when putting pencil to scorecard. In particular, it was somewhat strange to be tapping in a putt with the flagstick in the hole and not receiving a penalty. The first time I did it, it…

The Station

Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long trip that spans the continent. We are traveling by train. Out the windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village hills. But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. On a certain day at a certain hour we will pull into the station. Bands will be playing and flags waving. Once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true and the pieces of our lives will fit together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. How relentlessly we pace the aisles, damming the minutes for loitering waiting, waiting, waiting for the station. “When we reach the station, that will be it!” we cry.…

Virtual Reality Still Searching for a Place in the Golf Industry

By Ben Bryant In early 2016, I wrote about the advent of virtual reality and its potential impact on the future of the golf industry.  Two and a half years later, virtual reality equipment is becoming more and more ubiquitous.  Some of the top holiday season sales are for VR gear from companies like Oculus and HTC.  One of the top movies last Spring was Ready Player One, a film about how VR will soon consume our society.  With VR becoming more and more popular, it’s time to revisit this trend and see how it’s affecting the entertainment industry generally and golf industry. Getting a top-of-the-line VR setup isn’t cheap. First, you’ll need a pretty powerful computer to operate the software.  Next, you’ll need to buy the VR equipment.  The…

Paddles and Oars

By Norm Crerar, USGTF Contributing Writer Vernon, British Columbia I have just finished reading one of the most motivational and touching books I have read in some time. The title of the book is The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown. It is the story of nine Americans and their epic quest for gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Set in the Seattle and Olympic Peninsula area, the lives and tough times of the members of a Men’s 8 rowing team during the Depression are brought to light. The hardships people at that time and in that place had to endure are hard to imagine in this day and age. A nine-member team is made up of eight rowers and a cox. The boat is 62 feet in length; the sweep oars are in the nine-foot range. The team members have to…

2019 World Cup Registration Open; U.S. Cup Announced

Registration is now open for the 2019 World Golf Teachers Cup to be held February 12-15, 2019, at La Iguana Golf Club in Herradura, Costa Rica, about a 90-minute drive from Costa Rica’s international airport. This is the 14th biennial edition of the only global competition for golf teaching professionals, and features both team and individual play. U.S., Canadian and British nationals do not need a visa for entry but must have a valid passport. For more information and to register, please visit www.WorldGolfTeachersCup.com. Scenic Sedona, Arizona, has been selected as the host city for the 24th annual United States Golf Teachers Cup, to be held Tuesday and Wednesday, October 8-9, 2019, at Oak Creek Country Club. This Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Sr. co-design is an old-style course that…

GOLF TEACHING PRO Coming in December

The Winter 2019 edition of Golf Teaching Pro magazine will be mailed in December. The year 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of the United States Golf Teachers Federation, and an article highlights the changes the industry has seen since 1989. There are also other articles pertinent to golf teaching professionals worldwide. Look for it in your mailbox soon.

Entries Now Accepted for 2019 U.S. Pro Hickory

The annual USGTF-sponsored United States Professional Hickory Championship at historic Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club in Tampa, Florida, will take place on Monday, February 25, 2019. The championship is open to male and female golf professionals and hosted by Mike Stevens, USGTF Southeast Region director. This tournament is a testament to the history and heritage of our game as it was first played with hickory-shafted golf clubs. It honors the memory of John Shippen, America’s first golf professional, and the 1925 Florida Open, in which all the prominent pros of the day played. Information and entry forms can be obtained at www.usprohickory.com, or contact Stevens at ams1127@msn.com. Clubs are provided for participants by the tournament committee, if needed.

“PRO” File – Touring Professional Ruixin Liu

The first thing you might ask is, “Who is Ruixin Liu?” That would be understandable. Liu finished #1 on the LPGA’s Symetra Tour in 2018 and earned her card to the big tour for 2019. Grinding away in a developmental tour in women’s golf is not the best way to achieve immediate fame and fortune, but it’s a necessary step for those wishing to play at the top of the sport. Liu is from China but moved with her family to the United States in 2012 when she was 14 years old. She started playing in China when she was six and immediately became infatuated with the game. The move to Orlando in the U.S. furthered her career, and she is coached by Lake Nona Country Club director of golf…

Editorial – They Called it “The Match”

Tiger vs Phil. The hype was all there. As if it was the run-up to a heavyweight fight. Now, I’m not opposed to such events; challenge matches in golf go all the way back to Allan Robertson and Old Tom Morris. Remember Sergio against Tiger several years back? This one seemed a bit contrived, however. There were several putts conceded that might just have been done to keep the match going as long as possible. I have no doubt that both tried their best, but the play was less than stellar, and it did not seem to have much of a grudge factor; more like two good buddies out for a stroll at someone else’s expense. If anything, it did put golf on the front pages at a time when…

USGTF Embracing Golf’s History

By Mike Stevens USGTF Member, Tampa, Florida Teachers in any given field are the protectors and disseminators of history. History is something that has happened and is factual. Is it important? Some would say, “Who cares what happened in the past?” That is especially true in these modern times. History, however, is important to a society. It provides a sense of respect and pride in a given discipline. In sports, baseball comes to mind as a game that truly honors its past. On just about any broadcast, an announcer can immediately cite a statistic from the origins of the game. Stories about the legends of the sport are passed down from father to son to grandson…daughters and granddaughters, too. Why? Because as humans, we are heading somewhere, and the past…

Confidence is a Choice

By Dr. Gregg Steinberg USGTF Sports Psychologist, Nashville, Tennessee This past April, Patrick Reed won the Masters. What impressed me most was his second shot on #15 on Saturday. It was rainy and a bit risky to go for it, but he nailed his shot and his ball just cleared the water. From there, he made a birdie which helped him win the tournament. Patrick Reed has complete confidence in his abilities. Remember, early in his career he said he was a top-five player in the world, although he was not even close to that ranking at the time. The media admonished him for that, but that showed me that this guy is a winner and will be a winner! Patrick Reed gets it. Confidence is a choice. This is one of the most powerful mental-game ingredients that I can share…

The Dreaded Yips

By Bert Jones, USGTF Member, Loomis, California Don’t even say the word, as you might get infected. If you do say the word, say it in a hushedtoned in a quiet place. The yips are deadly and candestroy even the best game of golf. Don’t feel bad. Even professional golfers have theyips. Professional golfers seriously afflicted by the yipshave included Padraig Harrington, Bernhard Langer(thus the long putter), Ben Hogan (maybe it was thecar accident), Harry Vardon, Sam Snead (rememberthe croquet-styled stance outlawed by the USGA?),Ian Baker-Finch and Keegan Bradley, who missed asix-inch putt in the final round of the 2013 HP ByronNelson Championship due to the condition (althoughhe may also have been suffering from strabismus, amisalignment of the eyes). The Mayo Clinic found that 33 to 48 percentof all serious golfers have experienced…

The Snow Board

By Larry Van House, USGTF Member, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania “Hit the small ball before the big ball.” This is the most important skill to achieve to develop a golf swing…period. When a client can learn to do this successfully 90 percent of the time, his or her golf experience will improve drastically. The small ball is, of course, a golf ball. The big ball is the earth. Hit the earth first, followed by the ball, and you will have hit a “fat” shot. Much of the energy of the swing and the speed of the clubhead will just sink into the earth. The ball may advance down the fairway, but it will not achieve the distance or backspin it could have. The fat shot will not stop and hold on a green. I am sure that a very large percentage of our…

2019 Set For February in Costa Rica; Entry Info

La Iguana Golf Club in Herradura, Costa Rica – approximately 90 minutes by car from Costa Rica’s main airport in San Jose – is hosting the 14th biennial World Golf Teachers Cup February 13-15, 2019. This is the first World Cup to be played outside the United States since 2013. The 2nd biennial World Senior Golf Teachers Cup will also be contested. The entry fee is $475 and includes four days of golf (practice round included) and range balls, prize money, and a closing banquet and awards ceremony. The Los Suenos Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort (www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/sjols-los-suenos-marriott-ocean-and-golf-resort) is the host hotel, but there are other quality options in the nearby town of Jaco that are also available at a lesser rate: Oceano Boutique Hotel & Gallery: www.OceanoJaco.com Hotel Mar de…

Ontario Repeats as Kelly Cup Champions

Team Ontario handily won the 15th annual Thomas Kelly Cup 19-11 after taking a one-point lead the first day. The matches were played on extremely wet Canadian soil in early September at The Ambassador Golf Club in Windsor, Ontario. Ontario was captained by Cesare Cisti and George Harris. Other team members were Paul Kelly, Paul Duncan, George Harris, Vito Cisternino, Ben Butler, David Delville, Grant Gulych, Wayne McGrath and Michael Hunter. Michigan was captained by Jack Deming. Other team members were Jack Black, Joel Michaels, Jim Peters, Chris Boka, Brent Davies, Jim Helmke, Charles Henry and Mike Terrill. The Kelly Cup matches have been played in honor of former tour member Thomas Kelly, who died suddenly on the golf course “with the fellas” in 2003. Thomas was very active in…

USGTF & WGTF/Great Britain Members at World Golf Hickory Open

Members of the U.S and Great Britain Golf Teachers Federations were participants in the 2018 World Hickory Open Championship in East Lothian, Scotland, this past October. USGTF Southeast Region director Mike Stevens, and England’s Jason Dolman and John Tinsley teed it up at Longniddry, Gullane #3 and Luffness New golf courses. Dolman won the amateur handicap division while Stevens finished third in the Honors division. Tinsley, a relatively new hickory enthusiast, scored two fine rounds of 82, not bad for his first effort. Stevens also led Team Florida to a third place finish in the Archie Baird International Championship at Kilspindie Golf Club to cap off a successful week.

“PRO” File – Touring Professional Dylan Meyer

He hardly looks the modern profile of a professional golfer, but Dylan Meyer has serious game. The recent University of Illinois graduate, coached by USGTF Master Teaching Professional Michael Wolf, has a promising future. Although he is one of the shortest hitters in professional golf, Meyer finds ways to score besides hitting 300-yard drives. He recently scored his first top-10 finish on the PGA Tour at the Sanderson Farms Championship. Meyer is not the biggest guy out there, and his glasses remind some of Tom Kite. But he knows how to work his way around a golf course and to put up low scores. Meyer also battles ulcerative colitis, a disease that has also afflicted fellow touring professional Heath Slocum. At first, Meyer was down about the diagnosis, but he…

USGTF Announces Prescription Discount Card

The USGTF is excited to offer all members the new USGTF Prescription Discount Card – FREE! Simply print your card and start putting money back in your pocket where it belongs. Your USGTF Prescription Discount card will be accepted at ALL MAJOR CHAINS! Simply present the card along with your prescription and SAVE! While it is not insurance, our program provides up to 75% off the retail prices on everyday drugs and is accepted at all major chains and independent pharmacies nationwide. Visit the USGTF Industry Partners page to learn more about the USGTF Prescription Discount Card program and print your card today!

Editorial – The FedEx Cup Still Has No Identity

Tiger Woods’ victory at the Tour Championship earlier this year was the biggest story to come out of that tournament, while, ho-hum, Justin Rose actually captured the FedEx Cup. Winning the FedEx Cup is supposed to be a reward for season-long excellence, or so the Tour says. But what, exactly, is the FedEx Cup supposed to designate? The Player of the Year? No, that would be Brooks Koepka, who won two majors. Best player in the playoffs? Again no, as that would be Bryson DeChambeau, winner of two playoff events. Winner of the Tour Championship, akin to winning the Super Bowl? Of course, that was Woods. The FedEx Cup still makes no sense as to what it’s supposed to be all about. And next year’s “fix,” where the Tour Championship…

Teaching Green Reading

By Bert Jones USGTF Member, Loomis, California There are four major elements to putting: equipment, the putting stroke, the setup and green reading. Since putting is approximately 42 percent of the game, it deserves more attention. Over the years, I have distilled green reading into three styles: instinctual, AimPoint (invented in the 1990s), and Vector Green Reading (invented in the 1970s). Instinctual green reading lends itself to motor programming over time where the brain learns how the ball will behave under certain conditions. But is it that easy? Let’s take a closer look at how course architects fool your instinctual learning through optical illusions, pin placements and green types. Course architects use four different types of greens: planar, tiered, saddle and crowned. Planar, the most common and which comprise 95…

Coping With Diminishing Skills?

By Mike Stevens, USGTF contributing writer I’m going to bare my soul here. I mean push the door wide open. It might be one of the toughest decisions to make, especially if you are competitive in nature. That is recognizing when your skills are no longer adequate to compete at a high level. I find myself in such a situation. I guess I can blame it on age; after all, I am 68. Or that I play with 100-year-old clubs. Even with them, I was still playing at a high level. Started noticing little things over the past couple of years. My driving distance declined by 10% and I might be fudging that. Reaching par-four holes required more low irons and often a fairway wood. Par-fives, two good woods and I…

Putter Fitting

By Bert Jones, USGTF Member, Loomis, California Putter fitting is a no-brainer. Putting with an off-the-rack putter is like competing in the high jump from a ditch. Getting fitted for a putter allows you not to be disadvantaged by your equipment. There are two options: Have a custom putter built for you. Find a putter that fits your eye and putting stroke, and then have a club fitter tweak it for you. Off-the-shelf putters are not designed for optimal putting, as they are built on the mass-production principle of one-size-fits-all. It is possible to putt the ball straight with an ill-suited putter, but the odds are stacked against you when it comes to consistency. Your equipment should fit your putting stroke. It is important to get custom fitted. Below is some key information to consider: Putter length should fit the player. A more upright stance will yield a longer shaft and…

Remembering Important Golf Events Forgotten With Time

By Mike Stevens USGTF Member, Tampa, Florida 2018 Champion, Dylan Malafronte A distant sound of the High-lands gently wafted in through the grand oaks and morning mist. There must be golf about to commence. Indeed, the thud of a well-struck brassie was in the offing as the 2018 United States Professional and Amateur Hickory Golf Championships were about to get underway. Once again, the game as it was originally played here in 1922 at the opening of Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club in Tampa, Florida, was on display, with gentlemen and gentlewomen in proper golf attire vying for the title of champion golfer. The day is a celebration and remembrance of three historical events that have long since been forgotten with time. From 1895 to 1897, the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open were played concurrently on the same golf course in the same week. Both amateurs and professionals play on this day…

So You Wanna Play Pro Golf?

Pebble Beach, Augusta National, TPC Sawgrass 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 40s say that he plans to “chase the senior tour” when he gets near 50. Then, some of these same candidates fail to break 80 during the playing ability test. This is not to discourage those who want to chase their…

Today’s Golfer

By Cole Golden, WGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional More than 20 years ago when I became a certified golf teaching professional, golf was a different game. Multi-layer golf balls weren’t around, launch monitors didn’t exist and high-tech video systems weren’t available. Many players weren’t focused on being a well-rounded player who focused on fitness for one reason or another. The college or mini-tour level golfers I knew could be described as the “partiers.” Tiger Woods altered the trajectory of the game by making an impact on advertising, the purse of golf tournaments, clothing and the cool-factor – especially with attracting athletes form other sports. But the most noticeable change was emphasizing the importance of a golfer being a well-rounded athlete through nutrition, strength and conditioning. If you look at the…

Harman Wins 7TH U.S., First Canadian Title

Mark Harman of Ridgeland, South Carolina, won his seventh United States Golf Teachers Cup championship and first CGTF Cup title when he defeated runner-up and reigning World Golf Teachers Cup champion Shafiq Masih of Canada by two strokes at the combined event at Ussher’s Creek Golf Course in Niagara Falls, Ontario, October 2-3. Harman’s 75-73 – 148, the highest winning score since 2001, highlighted the difficult conditions on the 6,500-yard layout. Heavy rains soaked the course prior to the tournament, and combined with the cool Canadian weather, distance was hard to come by as the course played extremely long. Grant Gulych of St. Thomas, Ontario, repeated at the United States Senior Golf Teachers Cup champion, shooting scores of 71-73 – 144 to best runner-up Bill Hardwick by five shots. Dave…

World Cup in Costa Rica Set for Feb. 12-15

The 14th biennial World Golf Teachers Cup has been confirmed for February 12-15, 2019, at La Iguana Golf Club in Herradura, Costa Rica, approximately a 90-minute drive from the main airport in San Jose, Costa Rica. The entry fee will be $495 and will cover four days of golf, range balls before and after play, prize money, tournament amenities and a closing banquet and awards ceremony. Travel and lodging costs to and within Costa Rica is on a par with travel within the United States. Practice rounds will be available February 11 and before. Exact details will be set by November 1, so make your plans now to attend. Entries will be handled through the USGTF National Office at (888) 346-3290, and also at 1295 SE Port St. Lucie Blvd.,…

Peters Named Penick Award Winner for 2018

Longtime USGTF member James Peters of Newport, Kentucky, was named the sixth winner of the Harvey Penick Trophy for Excellence in Golf Teaching at the closing banquet and awards ceremony at the CGTF/United States Golf Teachers Cup in Niagara Falls, Ontario, October 3. Peters teaches at Etter’s Golf Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, and gives approximately 1,000 lessons per year. According to Peters, looking and listening are the most important aspects of teaching. “I always liked the saying, ‘You have two eyes, two ears and one mouth; use them in that proportion.'” Peters is also an accomplished player, having in the past won USGTF Southeast and Central Region titles. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Peters has been a longtime member and supporter of the USGTF. The Penick award…

Mental Rules for Teaching Golf

Published by Dr. Gregg M. Steinberg, Ph.D., Mental Rules for Teaching Golf, this book has 61 innovative strategies for unleashing your teaching potential. It has been described as “an entertaining and illustrative interpretation of golf teaching advice.” This is the consummate golf psychology book for teaching professionals. The cost of the book is $12.95. To order, please call the USGTF National Office at 1-888-346-3290.

Gulych Wins Central Region Championship

Grant Gulych from St. Thomas, Ontario, shot 71-76 – 147 at Pine Knob Golf Club in Clarkston, Michigan, to win the 2018 Central Region Championship August 4-5. Gulych took a three-shot lead into the final round over Central Region director Brent Davies and last year’s champion Matt Smith, and was five shots clear of two-time champion Jim Peters. Gulych made several key putts during his final round, none tougher than a very fast downhill slider for birdie on the short but very difficult eighth hole on the Eagle course at Pine Knob, maintaining a one-shot lead over Davies and four shots clear of Smith. Gulych played the first five holes of the back nine on the very tight and tricky Hawk course at 1-under and cruised to a four-shot victory…

“PRO” File – European Ryder Cup Team

Much was made of the touted United States Ryder Cup “task force,” formed in 2014 after Phil Mickelson publicly called for the U.S. squad to “return to the winning formula” of 2008. Much was also made of the “success” of the task force in 2016 after Team USA won the Cup at Hazeltine in Minnesota. Overlooked in 2016 was the relative weakness of the European squad, and the fact that the U.S. and Europe had alternated victories on U.S. soil since 1983, so the winning effort by the U.S. meant nothing changed. The real test would be on European soil. And the United States failed that test miserably, which is the big story in the U.S. But the truth is Team Europe played wonderful golf at such a high level…

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Editorial – Thinking Differently

Golf is a game that doesn’t have to follow a certain blueprint for a player to be successful. Your swing doesn’t have to look a certain way, or your strategy conform to a certain philosophy.  You can be a short hitter, long hitter, straight hitter or a wild hitter and still compete at a high level. In today’s era, players’ swings look very similar versus 20-40 years ago. The use of technology and emphasis on employing golf teaching professionals has definitely aided in this. Now comes along Bryson DeChambeau, a man who does not fit the mold of today’s players. Some call him more of a scientist than a golfer. Several think he’s odd due to his grips and one-length irons. Others might name him a tinkerer for using odd…

Truths Your Students Need To Hear

Golf breeds a certain amount of optimism in just about everyone who plays it, from the junior player who aspires to be a world-famous professional to the everyday golfer dreaming of shooting in the 70s. Some of this optimism is deserved; for others, it’s nothing more than a fantasy when you consider other realities. If you’ve taught golf for a certain length of time, you will run across students who have certain goals and expectations for themselves that may or may not be realistic. They also might have certain expectations of their teacher or coach that also may or may not be realistic. Here are some things that students need to hear and understand, not only about the teaching and learning process but about themselves and how the game actually…

Can’t Give Up

By Cole Golden, WGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional In September, after losing in a playoff at the BMW Championship, Justin Rose gained enough points to take over as the #1 player in the world. Many might remember a young 17-year-old man playing in the 1998 Open Championship as an amateur. Rose holed his last shot from the rough to finish tied for 4th place. It would have been easy for fans to assume that he would be the #1 golfer in the world soon. But it wasn’t. Rose turned pro shortly after the Open Championship, and missed the cut in his first 21 straight professional tournaments. He finally got his European Tour card in 1999 after making it through qualifying school, but lost it a year later and had to…

Nerves Exist But…Anxiety Doesn’t Have To

Can butterflies really turn into full-blown anxiety and create worry, doubt and fear? Years ago, I’d get ready to give a presentation and my nerves would pop up. For me, the nerves start with the physical manifestation and then move to my brain. It would start with butterflies in my stomach and an increase in heart rate. Then it would lead to me thinking all kinds of negative, irrational stuff. What was the outcome? Inevitably I’d get on stage and feel nervous. I’d stumble through the first five minutes stuttering. Yes, stuttering. Recognize Anxiety When I realized what was going on (after much insight gained through my M.A. in sport psychology), I knew I needed to change what was happening prior to my presentations. It was time to develop a…

2019 World Cup Set for February in Costa Rica

Taking the World Golf Teachers Cup outside the United States for the first time since 2013, the WGTF has announced that the 14th biennial competition will be held the week of February 11-15, 2019, at La Iguana Golf Club in Herradura, Costa Rica, a coastal resort town (www.GolfLaIguana.com). La Iguana is a Marriott property, and in addition, there are many other hotels nearby at all sorts of price points to meet any budget. Herradura is approximately a 90-minute drive from Costa Rica’s main airport in San Jose. Travel costs to and within Costa Rica are comparable to traveling within the United States. USGTF member Alejandro Duque was instrumental in securing La Iguana for the tournament, and the WGTF would like to offer its heartfelt thanks. Entry and other event information…

Webinar Education Offered this Fall

The USGTF takes its position as the “leader in the field of golf instruction” seriously, and continues to offer cutting-edge education for its members. Join us for the USGTF Webinar series this fall. Twelve weeks, 12 webinars. Topics covered include: – Teaching Mental Toughness for Coaches – Understanding Today’s Equipment and Proper Club Fitting – The New Rules of Golf and Effective Course Strategy The cost for all 12 webinars is only $299, and this is an educational opportunity you won’t want to miss. For details and signup info, please visit http://www.USGTF.com/usgtf-university-webinar.

USGTF Looking for Teaching Photos

Nothing is more powerful than visual images, and the field of teaching golf is no exception. The USGTF is looking for teaching photographs that embody what the profession is all about. If you believe you can capture the right image, we’d love to see your photos. Please send them to info@usgtf.com and the member who submits the winning photo will receive a $500 cash award from the USGTF. Please submit them by September 30.

USGTF Active in Social Media

Social media has become a huge presence in our society, providing more people with information than ever before. The USGTF is active on these fronts in several venues. Included are Facebook; Twitter and Instagram. In addition, there is a LinkedIn Company Page and a LinkedIn Group. Finally, the USGTF members board can be found at www.USGTFMembers.com. In whatever avenue you wish to connect with your organization, you have the ability to do so. Please visit the site of interest to you and we look forward to your participation.

One Hundred Tips Book on Sale

This indispensable teachers guide is a manifesto of no-nonsense golf teaching advice. One Hundred Tips for Golf Teaching Professionals goes beyond teaching basics. The information herein reflects experience that can only be gained from years on the lesson tee. Sale price – $15.95. To order, please call the USGTF National Office at 1-888-346-3290.

September Deadline for Penick Nominations

Nominations for the 6th annual Harvey Penick Trophy for Excellence in Golf Teaching are now being accepted. Harvey Penick was one of America’s earliest great teachers, and his influence lives today. The award is based on teaching accomplishments, service to the golf community and to the game in general. All USGTF Certified Golf Teaching Professionals and Master Golf Teaching Professionals, except past winners, are eligible. Nominations (including self-nominations) may be made through email at info@usgtf.com or through regular mail to the USGTF National Office at 1295 SE Port St. Lucie Blvd., Port St. Lucie, FL 34952. The deadline for nominations is Friday, September 7, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. EDT.

Littler Wins USGTF Junior National Title

The first annual USGTF Junior National Tournament this past August was a success. In the finals, three boys and three girls squared off at Beekman Golf Course in Hopewell, New York. Devin Littler won the boys division with a score of 78, while Kaylie Klemme shot an identical 78 to win the girls division. Afterwards, the two champions squared off in sudden-death for the overall championship. Playing in front of a large gallery of family and friends, plus a number of Beekman members, the two champions matched pars and birdies, with each golfer -2 through the first four holes. On the fifth hole, Klemme’s birdie putt came up just short while Littler managed to sink his 15-footer for the win. USGTF member Bob Myers organized the event and served as…

Tour Players Reed and Stone Discover a New Golf Passion

While in the quaint town of Gullane, Scotland, Patrick Reed and Brandon Stone wandered into the Jack White Golf Shop. Proprietor Boris Lietzow, a good friend of USGTF Southeast Region director Mike Stevens, sells golf memorabilia, including hickory golf clubs. It began when players participating in the Scottish Open were presented with a hickory challenge on one of the par-3s during a practice round. Reed and Stone enjoyed it so much that it sent them scurrying to Boris’s shop to find out more. Reed was so impressed with Lietzow’s knowledge of the clubs and their history that he bought two sets, one for himself and another for his brother-in-law. Stone enjoyed it so much that after the first round of the Open Championship at Carnoustie, he drove down to St.…

Is Distance Really A Problem?

By Mike Stevens So, the USGA and the R&A have decided to study all aspects concerning the effect of golf ball distance in golf. It includes amateur and professional golfers worldwide, golf course owners and operators, golf equipment manufacturers, golf course architects and golf course superintendents. It wasn’t that long ago that they concluded that distance was not an issue. I wonder what changed. I have no idea how much they are going to spend on this research, but in the end, I’ll bet it comes down to something simple. In fact, I can save them a lot of time and effort. The only issues concerning distance is the added cost of maintenance due to lengthening and toughening up golf courses, plus the hour or so longer it takes to…

Frequency Of Lessons

By Cole Golden, USGTF Member, Wichita, Kansas I was recently asked by a student how often he should take a lesson. I usually let the student take the lead on this type of conversation to get a feel for where their head is at, and how serious they are about improving their game. I carefully considered the student’s question to provide him with the best possible answer. While I would love for a student to take a lesson every week so that I could carefully watch and help them, is that what is right for the student? I told this particular student that I would like him to practice at least twice between lessons. There is a “method to my madness.” It gives a student time to work on the recommended adjustments and comprehend any positives or negatives from the previous lesson. Maybe we are working on…

Everyone’s Obsessed About Distance, Distance, Distance

Turn on Golf Channel or access virtually any golf media source, and one of the main topics of 2018 is “how far the ball is going,” or in other words, how far tour pros are hitting the ball these days. After years of saying there was no problem, the USGA and R&A are now claiming that something has to be done. Jack Nicklaus has long advocated for rolling the ball back, and he was saying this 25 years ago when balata balls were still in use and the median driving distance for tour pros was 260.5 yards. For the most recent completed golf season, 2016-2017, that number is now 292.5. Based on 14 tee shots per round, that means tour venues today effectively play 448 yards shorter as compared to 1993. To keep up, that 6,900-yard course in 1993 must be stretched out to 7,348…

How to Get More Distance In the Golf Swing

By Arlen Bento Jr. USGTF Member, Jensen Beach, Florida If you play golf and love the game, at some point you will notice a loss in distance. Usually, this is due to age, just getting older, losing flexibility and strength. Over years, many golfers just don’t realize how much distance they have been losing, because over time, they have been making adjustments to their equipment, changing shafts, finding better club technologies and switching golf ball designs. Ultimately, the loss of distance reaches a point where the golfer gets discouraged and starts to seek answers. For over 20 years I have been helping people with their golf games, and the number one reason people come to see me is that they want more distance. Here is a plan that can help…

A Look At Old Vs. New Technology

By Mark Harman, USGTF Course Director, Ridgeland, South Carolina “Distance is ruining the game!” cry the purists.“All it is on tour is driver/wedge, driver/wedge every hole! Why, back in the day, pros were actually hitting long irons into par-4s!” It’s helpful if we compare “back in the day” with the modern game in terms of driving distance. The PGA Tour began compiling various statistics in 1980, one of them being driving distance. Comparing the first three years of 1980-82 – when almost everyone used a persimmon driver and a balata ball – to the most recent three years (2015-17), we see that the median driving distance increased from 258 yards to 291, a gain of 33 yards. Some of that is due to the golf ball, some due to the…

Spine Angle at Impact – The Forgotten Fundamental to Good Shots

By Thomas T Wartelle, WGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional One issue I often see in golfers is the loss of spine angle at impact. This problem is often experienced by high handicappers and tour players alike. The flaw can effect several factors of impact dynamics. One such factor could be the the quality of strike (centeredness of contact) resulting in inconsistent contact. We hear people say that they “picked up their head,” but in reality they changed their spine angle from address to the impact position. When loss of spine angle at impact occurs with better players, often there is a compensation to save the shot. This could be saving the impact with excess hand action or another compensation such as curving the spine. The good player can get away…

Ground Forces and Bobby Jones

Robert Tyre “Bobby” Jones Jr., circa 1921, Heritage Auctions By Thomas T Wartelle, USGTF Member, Washington, Louisiana Robert Tyre Jones, Jr., or “Bobby Jones,” was one of the greatest competitive golfers of all times. He won 13 majors (4 U.S. Opens, 3 Opens, 5 U.S. Amateurs and 1 Amateur). He was also a very learned man with a degree in mechanical engineering and a practicing lawyer. Bobby Jones was fond of saying that those who are golf instructors are continuously searching for a new way to say the same thing. I could not agree more! In today’s day and age, we have modern technology to analyze and dissect every movement of the golf swing. I certainly am fond of technology and biomechanical study of athletic movement. However, it amuses me to hear of all…

Taking It From the RangeTo the Course

“I can’t hit the ball on the course as well as I can on the range…I’ve won several U.S. Opens on the range…I’m a scratch golfer on the range but a 15 on the course…” These comments have been made by innumerable golfers over the years. It’s one of the great mysteries of the game: How can someone hit the ball so well on the practice tee and yet so poorly on the course? Why do people lack the consistency on the course that they have on the range? Fortunately, there are solutions to help our students with this most perplexing of problems. We must consider that the game as played on the course is completely different than what is happening on the range. On the course, we hit one…

Developing A Confident Mindset

By Dr. Gerald A. Walford, USGTF Certified Golf Teaching Professional®, The Villages, Florida “Tiger is so comfortable in it because he has done it so much. It doesn’t mean he’s not nervous. It just means he’s able to handle it better.” – Hank Haney, Tiger Woods’ former coach, 2008 Tiger Woods has no distractions, worries, or doubts about his next shot because he has done it successfully so often, he just simply does it. He is extremely confident. His past successes have taught him that that he should be successful again. Continually missing five-foot putts reinforces in your mind that you cannot make a five-foot putt. Do this often enough and it becomes a belief, a strong belief, and a fear for future five-foot putts. You can continually talk to…

Principles, Fundamentals and Preferences

The golf teaching profession has come a long way since 1989 when the USGTF was founded. Hi-tech tools that weren’t even a thought back then are now commonplace in many teaching circles, such as launch monitors and slow-motion replays complete with computer graphics, and the ability to instantly communicate with students electronically. We also have training aids and training programs that are state-of-the-art. What  hasn’t  changed  are  three  aspects  of  instruction  that  are  important  to  differentiate,  and  they are principles, fundamentals and preferences. Before we continue, let’s turn to Merriam-Webster for some definitions: Principle: “The   laws   or   facts   of   nature underlying the working of an artificial device.” In the  case  of  golf,  the  artificial  devices  are  the  golf  ball and golf club, and the laws are what we more commonly  know as…

Does the Traditional Lesson Still Have Its Place?

Golf lessons have traditionally gone like this: A struggling golfer comes to the teaching professional for help, hoping to find a cure for whatever ails his game. The teacher observes the student hitting some shots, eventually diagnosing the problem and prescribing a cure. The student is then expected to practice what was taught and to improve. USGTF Hall of Fame member David Vaught wrote an excellent article in the last edition of Golf Teaching Pro titled “Teaching Outside the Box,” where he detailed four ways to update your lesson repertoire in terms of offering new ways to provide instruction. It is imperative that teachers innovate and evolve with the times, and Vaught’s article reminds us of the value of doing so. Vaught’s description of “Pile of balls, a set amount…

August Last Month to Enter US / CGTF Cup

Entries for the 23rd annual United States Golf Teachers Cup, played in conjunction with the CGTF Cup, are due by September 1. The event will be played October 2-3, 2018, at Ussher’s Creek Golf Course in Niagara Falls, Ontario. On October 1, a fourball tournament will be held prior to the main event, with the objective of getting participants together for a fun day of golf. The entry fee is $395 Canadian (currently approximately $305 U.S.). To enter, you may either call the CGTF at (905) 849-7254, or online at http://www.cgtf.com/2018-cgtf-usgtf-teachers-cup/. We look forward to seeing you at this event, co-sponsored by the USGTF and CGTF!

Hammer Nails Down Southeast Title

Eric Hammer of Melbourne, Florida, fired an opening round 68 which solidified his hold on the top spot at the USGTF Southeast Region Championship at Shingle Creek Golf Club in Orlando. His solid 76 in round two proved too much for the rest of the field to overcome. Going into the day, he held a three-shot lead over former champion Mark Harman, but Harman was unable to make up any ground on a hot and steamy day. Heavy rain overnight made the course that much more of a challenge. Hammer pockets $550 and the Southeast Trophy donated by region director Mike Stevens. It was a great weekend, and special thanks to Dennis Daugherty, who arranged for play and a fabulous dinner at Taverna Opa after the first round.

Central Region Championship Last Region Championship for 2018

The USGTF Central Region Championship will be held at Pine Knob Golf Club in Clarkston, Michigan, on Saturday and Sunday, August 4-5, with region director Brent Davies serving as the host. The first tee time Saturday will be at 12:00 noon and 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. The entry fee of $199 is for two days of golf, cart, range, prize money, and lunch after the Sunday round, with monies paid out on the gross and net two-day totals. Practice rounds will be available after 1:00 p.m. on Friday, August 3, for $40. To enter, please send your $199 entry fee to: Brent Davies, 5223 Parview Dr., Clarkston, MI 48346.

USGTF Logoed Cart Bag From Bridgestone Golf

The USGTF is pleased to have several company affiliations that offer discounts and services to our members. One of which is Bridgestone Golf. Bridgestone offers 25% below wholesale on all of their products to USGTF members for personal use. Members may order items like this USGTF Logoed and Personalized cart bag for only $162.00. Full of easily accessible features, these bags are perfect for use in either a golf cart or a push cart. They include: 14-way divider top 9 easily accessible zippered pockets, including valuables pocket and cooler pocket Magnetic electronics pocket Outer ball & tee holder Weighs less than 6 lbs. Rain hood included For more information, please contact the USGTF National Office at (888) 346-3290.

2019 World Cup Tentatively Scheduled for Costa Rica

The 14th biennial World Golf Teachers Cup has tentatively been scheduled for the week of February 11-15, 2019, at La Iguana Golf Course near the beach town of Jaco in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is a vacation paradise with many activities and amenities, and the cost of traveling to the Central American country is on par with traveling to other cities in the United States. More information will become available as negotiations are being completed.

“PRO” File – Touring Professional Francesco Molinari

Recent Open champion Francesco Molinari joins a long and distinguished list of Italian golfers over the years that include his brother Edoardo and Constantino Rocca and…well, that’s about it. Molinari became the first from Italy to hoist the Claret Jug when he turned back the world’s best at Carnoustie in July, including a resurgent Tiger Woods. Molinari played the weekend bogey-free and continued his recent streak of stellar play. Prior to 2018, he had been a steady if not spectacular player on the world stage. His brother came to prominence first by winning the U.S. Amateur in 2005, but most observers thought that Francesco would have the better professional career, and so far that prediction has panned out. Molinari won his first European Tour event in 2006 and has six…

Editorial – Spine Angle at Impact – The Forgotten Fundamental to Good Shots

One issue I often see in golfers is the loss of spine angle at impact. This problem is often experienced by high handicappers and tour players alike. The flaw can effect several factors of impact dynamics. One such factor could be the the quality of strike (centeredness of contact) resulting in inconsistent contact. We hear people say that they “picked up their head,” but in reality they changed their spine angle from address to the impact position. When loss of spine angle at impact occurs with better players, often there is a compensation to save the shot. This could be saving the impact with excess hand action or another compensation such as curving the spine. The good player can get away with this fault for some shots, but the fault…

Positive Body Language: Five Tips To Attract And Retain New Clients

By Ben Bryant WGCA contributing writerThe first week of school is an important week for all high school coaches.  For me, it’s not only the first opportunity to meet the students I’ll teach all year, but it’s also the beginning of the golf season, with new players and parents showing up at the golf course.  How first meetings go are vital to laying a foundation for a positive relationship between you (the teacher) and your players.  Using positive body language can be a vital component in that foundation. Columbia University did a recent study where participants were placed in a variety of situations where positive body language techniques were used, but the participants discussed negative and depressing topics.  They also created scenarios where participants used negative body language techniques but discussed…

How To Get More Distance In The Golf Swing

By Arlen Bento Jr. If you play golf and love the game, at some point you will notice a loss in distance. Usually, this is due to age, just getting older, losing flexibility and strength. Over years, many golfers just don’t realize how much distance they have been losing, because over time, they have been making adjustments to their equipment, changing shafts, finding better club technologies and switching golf balls designs. Ultimately, the loss of distance reaches a point where the golfer gets discouraged and starts to seek answers. For over 20 years I have been helping people with their golf games, and the number one reason people come to see me is that they want more distance. Here is a plan that can help any player that is looking…

Preparing For Your Tee Time

Thomas T Wartelle USGTF contributing writer We all have been in the situation of preparing for an important round of golf. Many times, I have seen good golfers poorly prepare for the opening tee shot of the day. Getting off to a good start can set the tone for the whole day. Below are some tips to help a golfer get the day started off on a positive note and a successful round of golf: Before You Tee Off How to Prepare Before the Round: Try to make the time before your tee-off stress free. Feel as if you do everything in slow motion without rushing or stress before an important round of golf. The great player Cary Middlecoff was known for a long, slow swing. His play was deliberate…

A Parent’s Perspective On Golf Summer Camp

Ben Bryant USGTF contributing writer It’s that time of the year again when the school year has finished up and parents need to find something for their kids to do during the long summer days. As a golf coach, my first instinct is to brainstorm all the things necessary to organize a successful summer camp; all the nuts and bolts and logistics that go into keeping 30 grade school-age children entertained. Instead, I’d like to put on a different hat for a minute: that of the parent of an energetic six-year-old boy. From this perspective, what would be the important things to look for in a successful golf camp? Building Friendships One of the groomsmen in my wedding was a friend I made at a summer camp when I was…

Summer Edition of Golf Teaching Pro is in the Mail

The Summer 2018 edition of Golf Teaching Pro magazine, the official member publication of the United States Golf Teachers Federation, is now in the mail. The hot topic of distance is a focal point, with viewpoints that study the ramifications and possibilities of USGA and R&A action. Featured writers include Dr. Michelle Cleere, Dr. Gregg Steinberg and USGTF member Bert Jones, among others. Look for your copy soon!

WGTF Releases Top 100 List

The latest iteration of the World Golf Teachers Federation Top 100 Teachers list has been released. Each WGTF president was polled for their input, and nominations from WGTF members were also considered. The updated list can be found in the Summer 2018 edition of Golf Teaching Pro magazine, which will be out shortly.

Petry Captures Northeast Region Title

Frank Petry of Somerset, New Jersey, won the USGTF Northeast Region Championship played this past June 15 at Mountain View Golf Course in West Windsor, New Jersey, shooting an 18-hole score of 76 while playing in the 49-and-under division. Chris Upham and Taiki Miyavaki tied for division runner-up honors at 80. Ingrid Narken took home a two-stroke victory in the Ladies division with an 82, while Richard Perine won the 50-59 division with a 79. In the 60-69 division, Bruce Barnett eked out a one-stroke victory with an 85, while James Peters, who has won multiple USGTF region championships in the past, captured the 70+ division with a 78.

Northwest, Southeast Region Championships Up Next; Central Championship In August

The USGTF Northwest Region Championship is the next USGTF region championship to be contested, and it will be held Thursday and Friday, July 26-27, at Haggin Oaks golf complex’s MacKenzie Course in Sacramento, California, with region director Bert Jones serving as the host. The entry deadline was July 1, so be sure to follow the results in the next USGTF monthly e-newsletter. The USGTF Southeast Region Championship will be played Saturday and Sunday, July 28-29 at Shingle Creek Golf Club in Orlando, Florida, one of the city’s premier courses. Shingle Creek, and Arnold Palmer design, is always in excellent shape and will provide an enjoyable test for all participants. All WGTF members in good standing, regardless of residence, are eligible to play. A prize fund of $1,000 and the Southeast…

Marketing Yourself In The Summer

By Ben Bryant USGTF contributing writer For those of us in the golf business, the summer season can be a challenge. In Florida, the summer months are so unbearably hot that many people can’t imagine being outside at all, much less playing a round of golf for four hours. As a golf teacher, how do I make the most of one of the slower times of the year? Even if you live up north where the summer might be the only time to play and practice, these tips could still make a difference in growing your clientele: Capitalize on the major tournaments If you check out Google search trends for “golf” on a yearly basis, you can see how interest in the sport spikes right around the beginning of April,…

USGTF-Logoed Polos On Sale

The USGTF has USGTF-logoed polo shirts now on sale. They are 100% Polyester, featuring Tri-Mountain UltraCool® Moisture-wicking technology, available in Black, Blue or Cranberry. To order, please call the USGTF National Office at 888-346-3290.

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Special Offers – By Members For Members

Jack McCullars, a longtime USGTF teaching professional, is the founder and owner of International Golf Adventures, a provider of custom golf vacations in the USA and around the world. “I was with Jack on an amazing trip to Morocco more than 15 years ago. The following offers for our members include free places with their groups for Winter 2018-19.” – Geoff Bryant, USGTF president. USA – St. Augustine and World Golf Village * 8 days / 7 nights / 5 rounds of golf * USGTF pro travels FREE with 11 paying golfers * Two lodging options – The Residences villa/condos at World Golf Village or a good 4-star hotel in downtown St. Augustine * Golf including carts and preferential guaranteed tee times at Slammer & Squire GC, St John´s Golf…

“Pro” File – Touring Professional Nasa Hataoka

Her rookie year in 2017 on the LPGA Tour featured more missed cuts than made cuts, and her start in the current 2018 season was relatively slow, but Japan’s Nasa Hataoka has been coming on like gangbusters lately, taking the tour by storm. She won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship and a week later shot a final round 64 to get into a playoff for the KMPGA Women’s PGA Championship, where she was eliminated on the first hole. Hataoka has now finished in the top 10 in five out of her last six tournaments. At just 19 years old, Hataoka is poised for stardom. In 2016, she won the Japan Women’s Open Championship, becoming the youngest person and first amateur to win a major championship on the Japan LPGA Tour.…

Editorial – Mickelson Ruling Exposes Rules Confusion

By now, most of you have certainly seen Phil Mickelson putting a moving ball back up the hill on Shinnecock Golf Club’s 13th green during the third round of the U.S. Open. For making a stroke at a moving ball, the USGA penalized Mickelson two strokes under Rule 14-5, which prohibits such an act. Most people who thought Mickelson should have been disqualified believed he was guilty of a serious breach of Rule 1-2 (which says, in part, “A player must not take an action with the intent to influence the movement of a ball in play” by stopping or deflecting a moving ball). Certainly, Mickelson did stop the ball from rolling. The penalty for the breach of this rule is two strokes, although a serious breach, deemed when a…

Does Golf Need A Shot Clock?

By Mike Stevens, USGTF contributing writer I love watching the European Tour. They are not afraid to try different things. A few weeks ago, I turned on the Austrian Open on Golf Channel one morning and as I watched a player get ready to hit a shot, a clock was ticking down on the television screen. Oh yeah, I remembered this was the tournament where a shot clock was introduced. Each player had 40 seconds to play a shot or incur a penalty of one shot. Players were also allowed to call a timeout twice per round, giving them twice the allotted time to put the ball in play. It was fantastic, and the action was nonstop. No incessant watching a player spend several minutes preparing to hit a shot…

Music…Good Or Bad For Golf?

By Cole Golden, WGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional At this year’s Zurich Championship, the two-man teams started their match by walking out to the first tee accompanied by the music of their choice.  Some players went for old-school rock music, while others selected today’s Top 40 hits.  Most reactions were extremely positive.  Players liked it; fans liked it.  Is this a trend that will continue? About four years ago, I remember hearing music for the first time on the golf course.   A member added speakers to his personal golf cart.  At first I was not a fan at all.  It bothered me for some reason; maybe it was his choice of music!  Now on a Saturday at our club, almost every group has music playing, either through small speakers or…

Be Prepared, No Matter The Forecast!

By, Cole Golden, WGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional Last weekend, I attended the USGTF Southwest Region Championship hosted at Ridgeview Ranch Golf Club in Plano, Texas. The two-day event was held over the weekend. I left Kansas on Thursday afternoon, and prior to packing I looked at the forecast, which called for temperatures in the low 90s and ZERO chance of rain! Saturday’s forecast was spot-on, hot and windy. While at dinner that evening, afternoon showers were added to the weather report; no big deal for our event, since we were teeing off in the morning. Sunday morning, I woke up to the sound of rain outside my hotel window. A few afternoon showers had turned into rain all day. As you can guess, I didn’t come prepared. When I…

National Golf Teachers Appreciation Day This Month

Monday, June 18, is National Golf Teachers Appreciation Day. This is the day that those who impart their knowledge and wisdom and give back to the game are recognized. Teaching golf is a noble profession, and professional instructors know well that to be successful, caring and concern for students is paramount for success. We at the USGTF are proud to recognize all of the hardworking women and men who make this a better game for all of us. For example, USGTF national course director Bob Wyatt has traveled the globe in training and certifying golf teaching professionals, and has sacrificed a lot of home time in order to make the game better. It is for teachers like Bob that National Golf Teachers Appreciation Day is meant for, and for the…

USGTF Regional News: Golden Takes SW Title, Northeast Championship Up Next

USGTF regional action kicked off this past May, with the Southwest Region Championship up for grabs. Cole Golden from Wichita, Kansas, fired rounds of 74-75 – 149 to take the title at Ridgeview Ranch Golf Course in Plano, Texas. Master Lee and SW Region director and host Bruce Sims finished second at 151, with Vito Cisternino another three shots back. Other regional championships are fast approaching: Northeast – The USGTF Northeast Region Championship will be held Friday, June 15, at Mountain View Golf Course in West Windsor Township, New Jersey. The Northeast championship regularly draws the largest number of participants of any USGTF regional event with over 40 players. All WGTF members, regardless of residence or level of membership, are eligible to play. For more information, please contact Northeast Region…

USGTF National Junior Championship Slated

USGTF member Bob Myers is hosting the USGTF National Junior Championships Tuesday, August 21, at Beekman Golf Course in Hopewell Junction, New Jersey. The tournament will be 27 holes with a 9:00 a.m. shotgun start for boys and girls ages 16-18, while 18 holes will be contested starting at 11:00 a.m. for boys and girls ages 13-15. Participants must be recommended by a USGTF professional. The entry fee is $90 for the 16-18 age group and $75 for the 13-15 age group, and includes the tournament, tournament merchandise, range balls, snacks at the turns, awards and dinner at the ceremony. USGTF members are encouraged to hold regional qualifying events at their facilities and have the qualifiers play in the national championship event. For more information, please contact Myers at (845)…

Nominations Now Accepted For Harvey Penick Trophy

Nominations for the 6th annual Harvey Penick Trophy for Excellence in Golf Teaching are now being accepted. Harvey Penick was one of America’s earliest great teachers, and his influence lives today. The award is based on teaching accomplishments, service to the golf community and to the game in general. All USGTF Certified Golf Teaching Professionals and Master Golf Teaching Professionals, except past winners, are eligible. Nominations (including self-nominations) may be made through email at info@usgtf.com or through regular mail to the USGTF National Office at 1295 SE Port St. Lucie Blvd., Port St. Lucie, FL 34952. The deadline for nominations is Friday, September 7, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. EDT.

“PRO” File – Touring Professional Cary Middlecoff

Quick – name the top 10 all-time winners on the PGA Tour. Names like Snead, Nicklaus, Woods, Hogan and Nelson quickly come to mind, with Casper and Hagen not far behind. But sitting there in 10th place is a name that seems to be forgotten among modern golf fans, and that name is Dr. Cary Middlecoff. Middlecoff was, in fact, one of the most dominating players of his era. Three times he won six tournaments in a year (1949, 1951, 1956) and won more tournaments than anyone during the 1950s. He was a multiple major winner, capturing the U.S. Open in 1949 and 1956 and the Masters in 1955. Although he is seemingly lost to history today with hardly any mention by golf pundits and writers, he was, according to…

Editorial – Hooray for Recognizing that Women Might Like Golf

The Royal & Ancient Golf Club just unveiled a new Women in Golf Charter as a drive to encourage more women and girls to play the game and work in the industry. Only a couple of centuries too late, but at least they have acknowledged that their behavior toward the fair sex has been woeful over the years. The new executive director of the R&A, Martin Slumbers, has thrown his full support behind the effort, which is nice to see from an organization that didn’t even allow women into their clubhouse. Men have a right to have their own club as do women, I get it. But there have been too many times when men have purposely discouraged females from taking up the game. If growth is an objective -…

Hooray For Recognizing That Women Might Like Golf

By Mike Stevens, USGTF contributing writer The Royal & Ancient Golf Club just unveiled a new Women in Golf Charter as a drive to encourage more women and girls to play the game and work in the industry. Only a couple of centuries too late, but at least they have acknowledged that their behavior toward the fair sex has been woeful over the years. The new executive director of the R&A, Martin Slumbers, has thrown his full support behind the effort, which is nice to see from an organization that didn’t even allow women into their clubhouse. Men have a right to have their own club as do women, I get it. But there have been too many times when men have purposely discouraged females from taking up the game.…

The Proof Is In – You Can’t Buy A Game

By Mike Stevens, USGTF contributing writer Just ran across a study by a group named ARCCOS, a golf-tracking statistics organization that found over the last three years the average golfer has actually lost distance. Can it be? With all the technology involved in golf these days, from launch monitors to TrackMan to speed slots, the average golfer has lost about three yards. Maybe it is time to refer to that Shakespeare line, “A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Or, as Barnum may or may not have said, there’s one born every minute. Now, I don’t know how many drivers have been introduced over the past three years, but I’d guess in the hundreds. Every club was touted as the longest ever assembled. Yet,…

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USGTFMembers.com Is Your Communication Portal

USGTF members can have their say and communicate with their fellow members at www.USGTFMembers.com. Registration is free and is open to all members in good standing. Topics include instruction, equipment, USGTF events and general discussions. Employees of the National Office will also offer their input on a regular basis so you can see what is happening with your organization in real time. If you haven’t registered, please do so today and get in on the conversation!

Hotel, Practice Round Info For U.S., CGTF Cups

Hotel and practice round information has been released for the 2018 CGTF and United States Golf Teachers Cups, to be played October 2-3 at Ussher’s Creek Golf Course in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Marriott on the Falls has rooms for $279 per night and the Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa has rates beginning at $219 per night (all rates are Canadian currency). The Clifton Victoria Inn has rates of $159 and $209 for Friday and Saturday, respectively, and $92 per night starting on Sunday night. The Skyline Hotel has a rate of $119 for Friday and Saturday night and $79 starting on Sunday night. Practice rounds are $80 prior to 3:00 p.m. and $59 after, and may be booked online.

Top 100 Nominations Close This Month

Nominations for the latest edition of the WGTF Top 100 Teachers are due by May 4. Members may nominate one another or may nominate themselves. All who are currently on the list will automatically be considered, and members must be either a Certified Golf Teaching Professional® or a Master Golf Teaching Professional®. Criteria for consideration for the Top 100 list include number of years in the teaching industry, accomplishments, student success, and activity in USGTF national or regional events. Support materials, such as media stories of teacher and/or students, and letters of recommendation are encouraged. Support materials may be sent to info@usgtf.com or by mail to the USGTF National Office, 1295 SE Port St. Lucie Blvd., Port St. Lucie, FL 34952.

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Brian’s Brain

Excuse the title dyslexia, but we need to power our motor skills…don’t we? Have you ever asked yourself if you are right- or left-brain dominant, and how that might affect your putting? I know what you are thinking: who cares! Well, consider the following: A left-brain dominant student sees lines in a linear fashion. On the other hand, the right-brain dominant player sees the shape of the putt and focuses on the curve. Good news, bad news – you are born that way and you can’t choose. You must adapt as needed, and the teaching professional must be able to recognize what kind of student they have! Now, lets apply this to green reading. Approx-imately 65% of golfers are left-brain dominant. Every putt is straight and breaks at the inflection…

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USGTF Regional Action Coming This Month

Southwest – The USGTF Southwest Region Championship will be held Friday-Sunday, May 18-20, at Ridgeview Ranch Golf Club in Plano, Texas, with region director Bruce Sims serving as the host. A dinner will be held Friday night with the first round of play Saturday afternoon. There will likely be a guest speaker with a topic relevant to all golf teaching professionals. The entry fee is $225 and includes the dinner, all tournament fees and prize money. An optional $20 skins pot that includes both days of play will be available. To enter, contact Sims prior to Sunday, May 13 at (214) 475-5168 and you can provide credit card information at that time. Play will be in multiple divisions with different tee assignments. Northwest – The USGTF Northwest Region Championship will…

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“PRO” File – Touring Professional Robert Landers

He’s long been forgotten by the modern era of golf, but there was a time when Robert Landers was the toast of the golf world. A former department store manager and a farmer, he improbably qualified for what is now known as PGA Tour Champions back in 1994. Using a bag of clubs that were little more than homemade items and wearing muddy Reebok sneakers, Landers surprised virtually everyone when he landed one of the fully-exempt spots for the 1995 season. He came to the game late at the age of 22, but he quickly showed an acumen for it, qualifying for the 1980 U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur. He competed in local events and practiced on his farm among the cows. When it came time to ante up the…

Editorial – Does Golf Really Need A $1,200 Shaft?

Since its inception, golf has always had an air of exclus-iveness. Fortunately, in modern America, municipal courses are in abundance and offer reasonably-priced fees and memberships that are affordable for most people who want to play golf. Equipment – good equipment – can be found at a low cost if one is willing to put in a little research and legwork. Yet, it seems there are always those who want to push the envelope when it comes to price, attempting to convince people that if they aren’t spending a month’s wages on the latest and greatest in new clubs, they are behind the curve and hopelessly at a disadvantage to those who are willing to pony up. PXG founder Bob Parsons (of GoDaddy.com fame) is pushing his line of equipment…

The USGTF and its Global Influence

The year was 1993, and the USGTF was four years into its existence. Certification classes in the United States were sold out, with 50 participants regularly attending each of the then-quarterly sessions. New members were going out and finding or creating employment, a phenomenon that was not going unnoticed. One of those who took notice did not reside in the USA, but in faraway Timmendorfer-Strand, Germany. His name was Achim Picht, a man who owned a chain of golf schools named AMP Golf. Picht’s schools had locations in both Germany and Spain, and while the schools were successful, his instructors had no certification or formal training of any sort. Picht realized that to fend off the growing competition, he needed to bring some added credibility to his operation. So in…

Regional Events

By Cole Golden, WGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional Earlier in April, the Masters golf tournament was contested. For many people in the United States, it symbolizes the official start of the golf season. In the colder parts of the nation – especially those of us in the Midwest or further north – the season is beginning to kick off. With the excitement of a new golf season building, it is time to start planning your calendar for events. First and foremost, you should plan an October trip to the United States Golf Teachers Cup, which will combine with the Canadian Golf Teachers Cup in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Other golfers might also plan on trying to qualify for the U.S. Open, Senior U.S. Open, Monday qualifiers for Web.com events or other…

The Y Solution

By Bert Jones USGTF Certified Golf Teaching Professional® Loomis, California The Y Solution is a new term that I have invented to explain the confluence of three branches as represented by the letter Y: spatial awareness, coherence, and proprioception. Each branch has a unique influence on the game of golf. Before we begin, let’s define each branch so we can better apply teaching our clients. SPATIAL AWARENESS is the ability to be aware of oneself in space. It is an organized knowledge of objects in relation to oneself in that given space. Spatial awareness also involves understanding the relationship of these objects when there is a change of position. PROPRIOCEPTION is the sense of the orientation and relative position of neighboring parts of the body and the strength of effort…

Passing The Torch

By Thomas T Wartelle, WGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional I never saw my Pop play a round of golf. I saw him hit a golf ball only once in my life. He hit a left-handed persimmon wood about 250 yards with a draw. Although he followed me while I played, or caddied for me many times, I never saw him hit another golf ball again. Pop still smiles when I tell him about my golf and loves to hear about my son’s (his grandson’s) golfing achievements. When Pop was with me on the golf course, he was always supportive. He knew the difficulties of the game of golf. I think he saw golf as a parallel to life. When I wanted to turn pro, he immediately said, go do it.…

Common Sense Course Management

Why did you hit it over that waste area on thirteen?” Alan Pate asked me after the round. We were playing a mini-tour event on the Emerald Coast Golf Tour in the early 1990s, and Pate and I had been paired together. He was an All-American golfer at the University of Alabama, had played some on the PGA Tour, and eventually became a winner on what is now known as the Web.com Tour. “I wanted a shorter third shot into the green,” I replied. I had attempted a risky second shot over a waste area on the par-5 13th hole at Shalimar Pointe Golf Club, and was successful in pulling it off, although barely. It gave me an80-yard sand wedge approach to the back pin location, where if I laid…

Nominations Sought for Top 100 List

Nominations for the latest edition of the WGTF Top 100 Teachers list are now welcome. Members may nominate one another or may nominate themselves. All who are currently on the list will automatically be considered, and members must be either a Certified Golf Teaching Professional® or a Master Golf Teaching Professional®. Criteria for consideration for the Top 100 list include number of years in the teaching industry, accomplishments, student success, and activity in USGTF national or regional events. Support materials, such as media stories of teacher and/or students, and letters of recommendation are encouraged. Nominations for the Top 100 list close Friday, May 4. Nominations and support materials may be sent to info@usgtf.com or by mail to the USGTF National Office, 1295 SE Port St. Lucie Blvd., Port St. Lucie,…

National Golf Teachers Appreciation Day

Monday, June 18, is National Golf Teachers Appreciation Day. This is the day that those who impart their knowledge and wisdom and give back to the game are recognized. Teaching golf is a noble profession, and professional instructors know well that to be successful, caring and concern for students is paramount for success. We at the USGTF are proud to recognize all of the hardworking women and men who make this a better game for all of us. For example, USGTF Hall of Fame member Pat Church from Eugene, Oregon, has selflessly devoted herself to the USA Special Olympics golf team the past few years. It is members like Pat for whom this day belongs, and is fitting to recognize all golf teaching professionals who are at the forefront of…

CGTF Cup, U.S. Golf Teachers Cup Update

Excitement is building for the joint CGTF Cup, United States Golf Teachers Cup and the United States Senior Golf Teachers Cup to be held at Ussher’s Creek Golf Course at Legends on the Niagara in Niagara Falls, Ontario, October 2-3, 2018. This joint tournament venture between the Canadian Golf Teachers Federation and the USGTF is the first since 2001. The CGTF Cup will feature play in Open, Senior, Super Senior and Women’s divisions. The U.S. Cup is open to all age groups and also has a Ladies division, while the U.S. Senior Cup is open to players 50 and over. The Senior Cup also has Super Senior and Legends divisions. More information can be found at http://www.cgtf.com/2018-cgtf-usgtf-teachers-cup. Please join us for this unique tournament opportunity!

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Regional Action – Southwest, Southeast, Central, Northwest

USGTF regional events are a great way to stay in touch with your organization, meet other members, and compete. All events are open to all USGTF members regardless of membership level or residence. You can also read about all of the regional events at https://www.usgtf.com/tournaments-for-golf-teaching-professionals. Southwest – The USGTF Southwest Region Championship will be held Friday-Sunday, May 18-20, at Ridgeview Ranch Golf Club in Plano, Texas, with region director Bruce Sims serving as the host. A dinner will be held Friday night with the first round of play Saturday afternoon. There will likely be a guest speaker with a topic relevant to all golf teaching professionals. The entry fee is $225 and includes the dinner, all tournament fees and prize money. An optional $20 skins pot that includes both days…

Stevens Selected to Captain Hickory Team

USGTF Southeast Region director Mike Stevens has been chosen as captain of the North American team that will compete against a European team for the Freedman Cup at Castelconturbia Golf Club, Conturbia, Italy. The Freedman Cup is a Ryder Cup-like competition where players used hickory-shafted golf clubs like players did in the 1920s-era of golf. Sixteen players from each side will compete over the three days of competition from May 3 to 5, 2018. This is the third edition of the event, which has been won both times previously by the North American team, but the Europeans have assembled a strong group for the upcoming matches. The Freedman Cup is named for Lionel Freedman, who founded the World Hickory Open, which is played each October in Scotland.

Teacher’s Corner: Power

Every student I meet wants more power so they can hit the ball longer. Power is great as long as you keep it in the fairway. I would rather be 15 yards shorter and in the fairway than 15 yards longer and be in the rough or the woods. There are several elements of power that we need to examine to ensure that we are optimizing student distance. Clearly, equipment is an easy fix to make sure that the driver matches the player, with special emphasis on shaft flex. In truth, there are 21 items that we can customize on the driver (for more information, read Tom Wishon’s book Finding the Perfect Driver). The player setup consisting of grip, alignment, posture and ball position (GAPP) is essential, and lays the…

“Pro” Files – Touring Professional Jessica Korda

Athletic genes run in the Korda family of Florida. Patriarch Petr is a native of the former country of Czechoslovakia and the 1998 Australian Open winner in tennis, and his wife Regina was also a professional tennis player. They have three American-born children, Jessica, Nelly and Sebastian. Both Jessica and Nelly play on the LPGA Tour, and Sebastian is the #1-ranked junior tennis player in the world. Jessica, the oldest of the three, has won five times on the LPGA Tour, but had been battling facial cramps and headaches due to a severe overbite. She finally had surgery to correct the problem, with doctors having to break her nose and both her upper and lower jaw to complete the procedure. After an extended recovery, she returned to professional golf in…

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Editorial – Now They’re Concerned with Distance…A Bit too Late at this Stage

People say golf is about tradition. Nonsense! Ever since the first sheepherder hit a rock with the crook of his staff, the only constant in golf has been distance, more and more of it. The rock was replaced by wood, wood by stuffed leather. After that, hard rubber, which was overtaken by wound elastic, to finally solid cores with multi-elastomeric covers. The farther the ball went the better, everyone said. That makes the game more fun, according to the experts. So why the fuss lately and by whom? I don’t hear the fans complaining, nor the average golfer. The people who were supposed to be looking out for the game are now concerned after years of stating that distance was not a problem. Seems a bit late. So, let’s think…

The Power Of Three Squared

By Bert Jones USGTF Certified Golf Teaching Professional® Loomis, California Everything that you do in your life will be decided by three words: need, want and desire. If you don’t believe me, take the test and think about its application to your golf game. Before testing, we must define the three words that will be used. NEED –require (something), because it is essential or very important. (These are the essentials that you must have, and should not be confused with want.) WANT – a lack or deficiency of something other than need. DESIRE – a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen. (Your desire should have purpose, which will help avoid anxiety and create alignment between your heart, mind and soul.) Let’s apply the…

Understanding The Motive

By David Vaught, USGTF Master Professional Occasionally we are all confronted with a deep-meaning question from someone that requires quite a bit of reflection. It could be a colleague, peer, student, or family member. As I have progressed through the years in my golf career, I get asked the following question more and more often: “How did you get where you are today in the golf business?” A few years ago, when confronted with this question by a young aspiring golf professional, I was caught completely off guard, but the answer popped into my head unexpectedly. Before I reveal that epiphany, I must say after that day I began to notice a similar motive for almost every successful golf instructor I have come across the last half of my career.…

Rhythm,Timing and Tempo

During the past U.S. Open on the Fox Television broadcast, Curtis Strange remarked that a lot of emphasis was placed on swing positions and movements, but little was placed on rhythm and tempo. Strange had a point. It seems instruction these days has become so technical, so mechanical, that the artistic part of the swing has been lost in the maze of science. Sam Snead once said that he imagined waltz music inside his head in order to get his rhythm right. If we told our students today to imagine this, we would probably get blank stares in this age of hip-hop and rap music. There are ways to get some rhythm, timing and tempo going in our students’ swings, but first we must define what each is in the scheme of the golf swing. Rhythm is the combining of the different parts of…

Positive Body Language: Five Tips to Attract and Retain New Clients

By Ben Bryant, MAUSGTF Certified Golf Teaching Professional®, Tampa, Florida The first week of school is an important week for all high school coaches. For me, it’s not only the first opportunity to meet the students I’ll teach all year, but it’s also the beginning of the golf season, with new players and parents showing up at the golf course. How first meetings go are vital to laying a foundation for a positive relationship between you (the teacher) and your players. Using positive body language can be a vital component in that foundation. Columbia University did a recent study where participants were placed in a variety of situations where positive body language techniques were used, but the participants discussed negative and depressing topics. They also created scenarios where participants used…

Evolution Of Golf Teaching

By Dr. Gerald A. Walford USGTF Certified Golf Teaching Professional® The Villages, Florida Swing The Clubhead by Ernest Jones, 1952 Better Golf in Five Minutes by J. Victor East, 1956 The Golf Swing of the Future by Mindy Blake, 1972 ERNEST JONES Ernest Jones was a British golf pro who came to America, where he became a famous teaching pro. In working with Babe Zaharias, he told her, “I watched you. The day you can stop experimenting is the day you will be a great golfer, maybe the greatest of all.” And it was true. This comment is the basis of his teachings. Jones taught the golf swing as a pendulum, a simple pendulum. Jones lost his right leg during the war and played off his left leg. Four months after his amputation he scored a 38 on the front, and despite fatigue, a 45 on the back nine for an 83…remarkable. His theory was that the swing was everything…

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Florida Pro Wins USGTF-Sponsored US Pro Hickory

Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club in Tampa, Florida, opened in 1922 and laid out by noted architect Tom Bendelow, was described by the Tampa Tribune as a brute of a course stretching out over 6,400 yards. That’s probably not worthy by today’s standard, but a stout test for the century-old clubs used back then. The links held up well against some excellent modern-day hickory golfers at the 2018 United States Professional Hickory Championship held February 26, with Dylan Malafronte from Ocala, Florida, carding an even-par 72 to grab the John Shippen Cup with a margin of two strokes clear of Mark Harman from Ridgeland, South Carolina. This year’s Ladies’ championship goes to Jennifer Cully of Apollo Beach Golf Club in Florida, with an excellent round of 86. The U.S.…

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IGPA Course Offered

The International Golf Psychology Association (IGPA) is pleased to announce the Masters Level Golf Psychology Webinar series with Dr. Gregg Steinberg. The Masters Level Golf Psychology webinar series is a continuation of the IGPA on-line golf psychology certification course found at www.MasteringGolfPsychology.com. This webinar series will cover many essential golf psychology topics and is conducted by Dr. Steinberg, who is recognized by Golf Digest as one of the world’s greatest sport psychologists. Dr. Steinberg has been the mental game coach for many PGA Tour winners, and is the head psychologist for the IGPA as well as the head sport psychologist for the United States Golf Teachers Federation. The Masters Level Golf Psychology Webinar series will be 7-8 p.m. EST on Wednesday nights in March (March, 7, 14, 21, 28). If…

USGTF Regional and National Tournament Action

The 23rd United States Golf Teachers Cup will take place October 2-3, 2018, in Niagara Falls, Ontario, as a joint venture with the Canadian Golf Teachers Federation. CGTF president Marc Ray has announced that Ussher’s Creek at Legends on the Niagara will be the location. Registration is now open at http://www.cgtf.com/2018-cgtf-usgtf-teachers-cup. Dates for the Southwest Region Championship and the Central Region Championship have been announced. Information for the Southeast, Northeast, and Northwest Region championships is pending. All current information can be found at https://www.usgtf.com/tournaments-for-golf-teaching-professionals.

Player Amateur Tour in Full Swing

USGTF member Wayne Player is thrilled to update us that the launch of the Player Amateur Tour has been met with great success. Marketing through the Player Amateur Site and mobile app is reaching millions, Membership in the Tour is increasing daily, and sponsors like OnCore Golf, TeeOff.com, OGIO, NuCalm, Par Bar, Skimp Belts and Easy Belt have all jumped on board to “Go For The Green.” Looking to earn some extra cash? Now it’s your turn to tee off with the Player Amateur Tour. USGTF members have an opportunity to serve as a Brand Ambassador with the tour and earn money along the way. To become a Brand Ambassador for the Player Amateur Tour and start generating incremental income today, please click here.

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Ontal Offers Partner Opportunity for USGTF Members

USGTF members now have the opportunity to purchase discounted golf equipment through their personal Ontal Corporate Golf Wellness account and resell to their students at retail pricing. You are then able to not only set up your students with new clubs and products, but also make a profit on the sale. Setup is easy – simply visit www.Ontalcgw.com and create an account. Once your account has been approved, you will receive a welcome email and may then log on to see your member pricing. You can then set your sale price, order and sell to your students. Please call Dan Webb at 414-614-8488 for more information and/or questions.

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“PRO” File – Touring Professional Luke List

He nearly grabbed his first PGA Tour win at the Honda Classic, but Luke List’s effort in a playoff against reigning Player of the Year Justin Thomas fell just short.  Nevertheless, the long-hitting List seems ready to take the next step in professional golf. List was runner-up to Ryan Moore in the 2004 U.S. Amateur and earned a Master’s invitation the following year, where he finished in a tie for 33rd place. He turned pro in 2007 and made it to what is now known as the Web.com Tour in 2010, and in 2013 he was a rookie on the PGA Tour. However, he failed to keep his card and it was three years later before he finally rejoined the big tour for good. The playoff loss to Thomas was…

Teachers Need To Avoid The Perfection Syndrome

By Mark Harman USGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional In our scientific age where we can measure to the tenth of a degree a golfer’s swing path and clubface angle, it can be addicting to try to reach perfection or near-perfection in results or technique. When you hear gurus on TV break down a top professional’s swing, they often point to most minute details to explain why said golfer is either succeeding or failing. This attention to detail, while on the surface plausible, can actually be detrimental to a golfer, regardless of skill level. One of the truisms of a golf swing is that it is more important to have a repeating swing than a perfect swing. And some of the repeating swings that our students make can often be quite…

Teaching English-Language Learners

By Ben Bryant, MA – USGTF Certified Golf Teaching Professional®, Tampa, Florida It’s been a rough year for Puerto Rico. Two major hurricanes this summer – first Irma in early September, then Maria a few weeks later – devastated the people and infrastructure of the 50-mile wide U.S. commonwealth. Progress to restore the island’s electrical grid has been slow. Six weeks after the storms, as much as 95 percent of Puerto Rico’s 3.5 million residents remained without electricity. With fears that the recovery will stretch into months and even years, many Puerto Ricans have decided to leave the island. Every day, dozens of airplanes leave San Juan filled with Puerto Ricans who may never return. More than 80 percent of those airplanes are headed to Florida, where the governor has declared a state of emergency in order to free up money to help…

Navigating The Golf Ball Product Maze

By Mike Stevens,USGTF contributing Writer One thing the world will never run out of is golf balls. Wandering the aisles of the PGA show, I found no less than a dozen ball manufacturers. I guess it’s nice to make a product that often gets lost with one swing of the crooked stick. I’m all for competition, but what I find most interesting is how each company makes several kinds of orbs in their repertoire. There are soft balls, spin balls, high flight, low flight, weight-balanced or multi-layered. It is enough to make your head explode. Most golfers I know couldn’t care less. What matters most to the average player is price, because they aren’t good enough to feel a difference from one ball to the next. Unless it’s a Christmas…

25 Degree Golf

By Arlen Bento Jr. USGTF Member Jensen Beach, Florida One swing required with 25 Degree Golf! Have you ever asked yourself why golf irons are made the way they are? Why are lofted wedges shorter than the lower-lofted long irons? What if I told you that your traditional sets of irons are wrong and that there is a much better way to play golf? Would it perk your interest? If yes, then you are going to find this article very interesting. Here’s my background, in case readers don’t know me: My name is Arlen Bento Jr., and I am an award-winning golf coach and WGTF Top 100 Teacher. I have been contributing articles to the USGTF for nearly 20 years and I own and operate a golf instruction and internet…

Member Benefits

By Cole Golden, WGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional There are many benefits of belonging to the USGTF and WGTF.  Just a few of the top benefits that come to my mind are the Golf Teaching Pro magazine, regional tournaments, the U.S. and World Golf Teachers Cups, and personal discounts from club manufacturers.  However, my favorite is our member’s forum. USGTFMembers.com is a wonderful forum for our members to post about many different topics.  Whether you are needing an instructor, asking for ideas about a problem with a student, or getting excited about an upcoming USGTF event, the forum has it all. Having met members from all over the world through our different venues, it is also a great way to keep in touch with members who are far away.  This…

Slow Play

By Cole Golden, WGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional By now, everyone has seen or heard what happened at the Farmers Insurance Open in January at Torrey Pines on the 18th hole with J.B. Holmes. For those would like a recap, Holmes was down two shots to the clubhouse leader and needed an eagle to tie. His two playing partners also had a chance to win, one with a birdie and the other with an eagle. J.B. took over four minutes to finally play his lay-up shot (we can discuss this in a later article). J.B. is renowned as a slow player, even though he has worked on speeding up over the course of the past few years. Throughout the day, he would take 5-10 practice swings before each shot. The…

Get Your Students Into The Zone

By Dr. Gregg Steinberg USGTF Sports Psychologist, Nashville, Tennessee Everyone wants to be in the zone. The zone is this magical, mystical place in which you feel so confident, your focus is so sharp and your emotions are completely calm. The zone is being at your best in whatever you are accomplishing. It would be wonderful if we can help our students to get into the zone as much as possible on the golf course. Here are two easy steps to helping students to get into the zone more often: 1) Become aware of their zone experience. Your students need to be aware of which emotions occur during the zone experience. 2) Emotionally prepare for the zone state. Your students will need to develop a personalized routine that will help…

Registration Now Open for 2018 US/CGTF Cup

Registration is now open for the 23rd annual United States Golf Teachers Cup to be played October 1-3, 2018, at Ussher’s Creek Golf Course in Niagara Falls, Canada. This year’s cup will be played as a joint venture with the Canadian Golf Teachers Federation and will be held concurrently with the CGTF Cup. Niagara Falls is one of the world’s greatest vacation destinations and offers many amenities for a complete golf and family vacation. Please visit http://www.cgtf.com/2018-cgtf-usgtf-teachers-cup/ for more information and to register. We look forward to seeing you at this unique and cooperative venture.

US Professional Hickory Championship This Month

The 2018 United States Professional Hickory Championship will be played Monday, February 26 at Temple Terrace Country Club in Tampa, Florida. USGTF Southeast Region director Mike Stevens hosts this USGTF-sponsored event, which honors the game’s heritage, and pays homage to the original Florida Open played at the same site. A purse of $5,000 is offered, and there is also a separate amateur division. Clubs will be provided for those who do not have their own, and may be obtained Sunday, February 25 at Terrace Hill Golf Course and Driving Range near the club. The entry fee is $100. For more information and to enter, please go to www.USProHickory.com or email Stevens at ams1127@msn.com.

USGTF Regional Events

USGTF regional event action is a great way to meet some of your fellow members, compete and help strengthen your region. The USGTF has five regions: Southeast, Northeast, Central, Southwest and Northwest. Southwest Region director Bruce Sims and Central Region director Brent Davies have released the schedule for their 2018 regional championships, and information may be found at https://www.usgtf.com/tournaments-for-golf-teaching-professionals/. All WGTF members, regardless of residence, are welcome at all USGTF regional events.

Jones Named Northwest Region Director

Longtime USGTF member Bert Jones has been named the new USGTF Northwest Region director. Jones, from Loomis, California, has been an active participant with the USGTF and is also a Master Golf Teaching Professional. He is the head professional at DarkHorse Golf Club in Auburn, California and serves as the head coach of the St. Francis High School girls golf team. He may be reached through email at consult1golf@aol.com.

Player Amateur Tour to Tee Off

USGTF member Wayne Player is always on the go, and his latest venture is a boon to amateur golfers everywhere. The Player Amateur Tour is slated to begin play in 2018 with Player serving as commissioner. This revolutionary tour changes the way competition is held, and features a season-ending finale in Las Vegas. USGTF members have an opportunity to serve as a Brand Ambassador with the tour and earn money along the way. To become a Brand Ambassador for The Player Amateur Tour and start generating incremental income today, please click here.

Member Success Stories and Profiles Sought

Golf Teaching Pro magazine, the official member publication of the USGTF, is looking for member success stories and profiles to be featured in the Summer 2018 edition. If you have a story that you believe your fellow members would be interested in, don’t be shy! We welcome any and all submissions, and are glad to highlight our members and bring some attention to their success. Submissions may also be featured in the monthly e-newsletter. To submit your information, please send it to USGTF Membership services at info@usgtf.com, along with a profile picture (no hat or sunglasses, and a smile is always preferred!).

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Editorial – Members Weigh In on Teacher Honestly

By Mark Harman, USGTF Course Director Last month, I wrote about my dilemma on how honest I should be with a student while at the same time not destroying their enjoyment and aspirations for their games. I asked my fellow members to weigh in on how they handled such situations, and a good number of you replied. Here are some of the responses: Joe DeLorenzo wrote, “First, we must clarify expectations; improvements are not likely to happen overnight. Instructors can only provide information for improvements, provided the student is willing to put in the work. Goals must be staircased, so measure gradual improvements over time. If the high-level goal is to improve scores, start with baselines for each course the student will play, and try to break the personal best,…

Same Struggles For PGA Tour Players

By David Vaught, USGTF Master Teaching Professional The common perception, and common sense, frankly, is that the players we marvel at on television each week have this golf thing all figured out. Yes, they hit the ball different than everyone else. If you stood in close proximity to the top players in the world, it looks different, sounds different and appears to be a different game than we play. When attending a tour event in person, I am often reminded of the Bobby Jones quote after observing a young Jack Nicklaus: “He plays a game for which I am not familiar.” But believe it or not, tour players struggle with the same mental issues that average golfers, new golfers and your students do. Recently, I was fortunate to spend a…

A Strong Grip = Slicing… And Other Teaching Paradoxes

By Mark Harman USGTF Course Director, Ridgeland, South Carolina When I’m not executing my duties for the USGTF, I spend my time teaching this great game that we all love. The other day, a student came to me, saying he was hitting his driver all over the lot, but he especially struggled with a slice. It didn’t take but one swing to easily see what his problem was: He was slicing the ball because he had a very strong grip. Wait a minute, you might say. What do you mean he was slicing because he had a strong grip? Everyone knows a strong grip leads to hooking the ball! In most cases that would be true. But there are those golfers who use strong grips and almost never hook or…

Components of Solid Ball Striking

By Thomas T Wartelle, WGTF Master Teaching Professional Great ball strikers all have something in common. They consistently achieve five factors at impact in relation to the intended target line.  I abbreviate “intended target line” as ITL.  The ITL is the benchmark target the golfer is trying reach starting at impact. The five human performance factors at impact are: 1) clubface position to the ITL, 2) club path to the ITL, 3) centeredness of contact, 4) angle of approach, and 5) clubhead speed.  All great ball strikers achieve a high level of each of these components.  However, two really stand out, clubface position and centeredness of contact.   If one does not strike the ball with the center of gravity or sweet spot of the golf club, there can be…

Teaching Outside the Box

By David Vaught USGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional® – Vista, California As often happens in other sports or even walks of life, humans tend to naturally repeat behaviors or actions they see at a young age. Far too often, we accept the “way it’s always been done” as our excuse for continuing to do things the same way we have experienced it or seen it done. As this relates to golf, and more specifically golf instruction, we should ask ourselves why the average lesson looks basically the same today as it did in 1950: Pile of balls, a set amount of time, teacher one-on-one with a golfer hoping to improve, or at least enjoy the game more. For the most part, it is like getting your haircut or getting a…

Balls

By Norm Crerar USGTF Contributing writer – Vernon, British Columbia I am a casual golfer. I was a 10 handicap at one time, but now am a lot older, creakier and crankier; the handicap is now a multiple of what it once was. As I have mentioned before, I have been teaching skiing for 50 years (some of those years with your esteemed USGTF president). I take golf lessons and really enjoy not only fixing my swing, for at least a short period of time, but discussing the nitty-gritty of teaching and how to be most effective in helping people improve. I read too many golf magazine articles and access too many golf tips on the internet. I have to take a break once in a while and “smell the…

Education Of A Golf Teacher

By Mark Harman USGTF Course Director, Ridgeland, South Carolina What does it take to become an excellent golf teaching professional? Certainly, there are a number of aspects that come into play, among them playing skill, a desire to learn and help others, and a motivation to become the best one can be at this craft. USGTF Master Teaching Professional David Vaught from Vista, California, one of the most respected members in our organization, has stated that one of his main motivations for being the best he can be is the desire to never give a bad lesson. In talking with David, you get the sense that he takes what he does for a living very seriously, and it comes through in his interactions with his students. He is undoubtedly one…

The Wisdom of Johnny O

Over the years, as in all walks of life, a wonderful cast of characters has inhabited the USGTF, from both the examining side and the candidate side. These people make indelible impressions on all of us with their uniqueness which makes the fabric of our lives all the more colorful. One such great character was the late USGTF examiner John Nichols, or “Johnny O” to his friends. He always had a positive outlook on life, upbeat even when adversity might defeat a lesser person. His passion for the game of golf was second to none, and he sought to influence each person he met with that same passion. John passed away much too young in October 1994 at the age of 47, but for those of us at the USGTF, he will always be remembered. He was an excellent player, having played the Tour in the early 1980s, and…

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2018! Twenty-nine years ago, the USGTF was founded as an alternative to give those who wanted to teach the game of golf the opportunity to earn certification through a teaching-only curriculum. Throughout our history, the USGTF has been instrumental in giving thousands of people their entrance into the golf teaching profession, and we are proud to have played a part in our members’ success. As we ring in the new year, all of us at the USGTF National Office wish you a Happy New Year and continued success. If there is anything we can do for you, please don’t hesitate to contact our Membership Services division at (888) 346-3290 or (772) 335-3216. You can also reference our website contact page at https://www.usgtf.com/contact.

U.S. Pro Hickory Set for Tampa in February

The 8th annual USGTF-sponsored United States Professional Hickory Championship will take place on Monday, February 26, 2018, at historic Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club in Tampa, Florida. The championship is open to male and female golf professionals and hosted by Mike Stevens, USGTF Southeast Region director. This tournament is a testament to the history and heritage of our game as it was first played with hickory-shafted golf clubs. It honors the memory of John Shippen, America’s first golf professional, and the 1925 Florida Open in which all the prominent pros of the day played. Information and entry forms can be obtained at www.USProHickory.com. Clubs, if needed, are provided for participants by the tournament committee.

U.S. Cup Makes Historic Journey North of the Border

Setting precedents has been a hallmark of the USGTF, and in 2018, a historic first will be realized. Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, will be the host city for the 23rd annual United States Golf Teachers Cup, and will be played Tuesday and Wednesday, October 2-3, at Ussher’s Creek Golf Course at Legends on the Niagara golf facility. The Canadian Golf Teachers Cup will also be played concurrently at the same facility, making this the first joint venture between the USGTF and CGTF in terms of competition. The early-bird entry fee has been set at $350 Canadian (currently $280 American) if entries are received prior to May 15. More information will be made available shortly. We hope to see you at this truly historic happening.

“PRO” File – Touring Professional Sang Moon Bae

Imagine being a world-class athlete at the top of your game, and then imagine having to spend two of your prime years serving in the military. For Americans and others during World War II, this wasn’t unusual, but in the 21st century, it’s quite an anomaly. However, this was the situation facing Korea’s Sang Moon Bae in 2015, when he entered the Korean military after winning an event on the PGA Tour and securing four other top-10 finishes, and winding up 26th on the FedEx Cup points list. Bae returns as a fully-exempt player for 2017-18, but so far his results haven’t been to his normal standard, having made just one cut in his first four appearances in his return to the game. Obviously, his competitive game has some rust…

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Reminder on USGTF Identification Policy

Here is a brief reminder of how USGTF members may be allowed to identify themselves in conjunction with their USGTF membership status: Associate Member – Must always use the term “Associate Member” when identifying themselves as a USGTF member in a professional capacity. Terms such as “USGTF Member,” “USGTF Professional,” “USGTF Teaching Professional,” etc., are not allowed as they do not use the term “Associate Member.” Certified Golf Teaching Professional® – May identify themselves with a wide array of terms such as “USGTF Professional” and “USGTF Certified Golf Teaching Professional.” May not identify themselves as a “Master Golf Teaching Professional®” or any other term with the word “Master” in it. Master Golf Teaching Professional® – May use virtually any term in identifying themselves as a USGTF member. For more information,…

Editorial – Honesty and the Golf Teacher

By: Mark Harman, USGTF National Course Director It’s a dilemma I’ve faced countless times in my golf teaching career, and it’s one that, 28 years later, I still have no good way of handling. I’m referring to how honest I can or should be with some of my students. One of the things that breaks my heart – although only in a teaching sense as this is far from a tragedy – is when a student of mine wants to accomplish something and comes to me for my help, and I can clearly see that they have no hope of doing so. A good example is a former low-handicap older golfer with physical ailments wanting to increase distance and regain their glory days, when it is obvious to me that…

Does Tiger Need A Coach?

By Cole Golden, USGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional Tiger Woods recently announced that, after three years, he is no longer working with his golf instructor Chris Como.  Of course, with this type of decision, the public is ready to critique both the pros and cons.  Tiger has been playing golf at a high level for a long time.  He has had some of the top teachers in the world like Butch Harmon, Hank Haney, Sean Foley and Como.  His longest lasting coach/student relationship was with Harmon, for almost seven years. Between all of the instruction Tiger has had over the course of his lifetime, one would assume his knowledge and understanding of the golf swing in general – not to mention his golf swing – is very high.  Tiger should be able…

Making The Most Of Taking Golf Lessons An Open Letter To Our Students

By David Vaught USGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional®, Vista, California We hear very often how difficult golf is. There is no doubt that hitting a 1.68-inch ball with a flat surface on the end of a stick seems crazy. Add trees, water, weather, and worst of all, the human brain, and it can seem almost impossible. But there is something about golf that is even more difficult sometimes than the game itself, and that is the experience of taking instruction from another person on how to perform the difficult task of hitting a golf ball. So, how do you get the most out of golf instruction? There are several keys to maximizing the instruction you receive. First of all, let’s assume you are taking the lesson from a qualified, knowledgeable…

Drills That Work

By Ken Butler USGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional® Bradenton, Florida One of the hardest things for a student to accomplish is to take what you have been working on with them to the golf course. That’s why I think it is so important to give them a couple of drills that they can take with them to the course. Deciding which drill or drills that they can use will obviously depend on what you have been working on together on the practice tee. Here are a couple of drills that I have found to be very beneficial. To be clear, the player must understand that he must have some swing thoughts, although it would be great to go out there and just swing. I think we all know that’s a…

What Can You Learn from the New Masters Champion, Sergio Garcia

By Dr. Gregg Steinberg USGTF Member and Sports Psychology Consultant, Nashville, Tennessee ACCEPTANCE – this was the key mental game ingredient that lifted the new Masters champion, Sergio Garcia, to victory. In his younger days, Garcia would get upset when the bounces and breaks did not go his way. But as he matured as a person, Garcia stated that he learned to accept what Augusta National gives you and takes from you. This acceptance gave him peace of mind to handle the pressure and win his first major in 74 attempts. Acceptance is key for any profession. There are always going to be bad weeks with a few bad breaks. But there will also be a turnaround with fortunate twists of fate. Life is full of peaks and valleys. The…

Students Finding Their Way With GPS

Nowadays, it seems almost everyone has a GPS to navigate their way to their destination, and golfers are no exception. Students in and around Phoenix, Arizona (the Valley), have access to their own GPS when it comes to learning golf – Golf Program in Schools. USGTF Certified Golf Teaching Professional Larry Gantverg of Phoenix is involved in the program, and he says, “This excellent non-profit organization is bringing no-cost golf instruction to public schools as part of the school’s physical education pro-gram. The program takes five days, and in 175 minutes I am able to teach the pre-shot routine including grip, full-shot irons, full-shot drivers, as well as pitching and chipping. This instruction is accomplished using mats and rubber balls in the gym of the school.” Instruction is primarily geared…

Three Questions That Capture Your Customer’s Attention

By Stu Schlackman USGTF Contributing Writer Richardson, Texas Editor’s note: As golf teaching professionals, we are also in the sales business. This article, while not specifically written for teaching professionals, is pertinent to our profession and provides valuable guidance for furthering your business. You may be asking yourself, “Why didn’t I get the follow-up meeting with that recent prospect?” You asked all the right questions and got the answers you needed to qualify them. You had their budget, knew their goals and needs, and their time frame to make the decision. You knew who the decision maker was, were keenly aware of your competitors that were in play, and felt that you had the perfect solution to meet their needs. So why didn’t it work out? Unfortunately, this happens to…

Golf’s Five Major Body Problem Areas

By Bert Jones USGTF Certified Golf Teaching Professional® Loomis, California It is critical that golf instructors understand the five major body problem areas to prevent golf injuries, and be able to identify swing characteristics that can cause those injuries. The five areas that we will briefly y discuss in this article are the lower back, wrists, shoulder complex, elbow and hips. Consider this: A golfer exerts a compressive force of eight times their weight on the lower back with each swing. So, if you weigh 200 pounds, you exert a compressive force of 1,600 pounds on your lower back each time you swing. Compare that to running, which is considered a high-impact sport that normally produces a compression force of three to four times the body weight. Lower back injuries…

Seasons Greetings From the USGTF

As we head into the holiday season, the entire staff at the USGTF National Office wish everyone Seasons Greetings! We trust that you had a successful season teaching this great game of ours and hope that 2018 will be even better. As always, the National Office is glad to hear from our members, and if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us at usgtf.com/contact.

2018 Dues Reminder

All USGTF members who wish to remain in good standing may do so by remitting dues for 2018 to the USGTF National Office by December 31, 2017. Being a member in good standing allows you the right to continue to call yourself a USGTF member, as well as being able to take advantage of generous discounts from our industry partners. In addition, liability insurance from Bollinger is available at a group rate that is far less expensive than is generally available to non-USGTF members. The ability to play in our regional and national events is also a benefit that many enjoy on an annual basis. Remittances may be made at www.usgtf.com/renew, or you may contact the USGTF National Office at (888) 346-3290.

Winter 2018 Magazine to Hit Mailboxes Soon

Golf Teaching Pro magazine, the printed voice of golf teaching professionals worldwide, is due to hit your mailbox soon with the Winter 2018 edition. Called a valuable resource by a number of industry experts, the magazine is printed twice a year. The USGTF considers it important to provide members with a hard copy that contains relevant instructional, informational and entertaining content. If you have moved since the Summer 2018 issue, please contact the USGTF National Office to update your current address.

U.S. Cup Negotiations Underway

A unique venue and format are being considered for the 23rd edition of the United States Golf Teachers Cup for 2018. Negotiations are ongoing with the Canadian Golf Teachers Federation to hold a joint U.S./Canadian Golf Teachers Cup in the Niagara Falls, Ontario, area for September. More information will be made available at a later date, pending the outcome of negotiations.

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Certification Schedule for 2018 Now Online

Do you know someone who wants to become a Certified Golf Teaching Professional®? If so, you may point them to www.USGTF.com/schedule, which contains the dates and locations of USGTF certification courses for 2018. Becoming certified gives teachers and prospective teachers the tools and credibility they need in today’s marketplace. If you know of someone who wants to become certified and they have further questions, please have them call the USGTF National Office at (888) 346-3290.

International PGA Affirms Relationship with WGTF

Glen Sorensen, president of the International PGA, has affirmed in a letter to USGTF president Geoff Bryant that the two organizations have had a mutually beneficial relationship over the years, and looks forward to continuing the relationship in the years ahead. The International PGA is based out of St. Lucia, in the Caribbean, and serves to unite golf teaching professionals from around the world under one umbrella. Recognized organizations include all countries’ PGAs and every WGTF international federation. Members from those organizations are welcome to join the International PGA, which provides members with worldwide recognition and resources to enable them to enhance their professional profiles and their careers. More information can be obtained at www.InternationalPGA.com.

“Pro” Files – Touring Professional Tommy Fleetwood

With long flowing hair and a scruff of a beard, England’s Tommy Fleetwood looks to be more at home on the beach than on the links. But make no mistake – golf is his game and he’s very, very good at it. Fleetwood won the European Tour’s Race to Dubai in 2017 and will likely be a stalwart on the 2018 European Ryder Cup Team. Fleetwood contended strongly at the 2017 U.S. Open before finishing fourth, and had a runner-up finish at the WGC Mexico Golf Championship, playing against the best in the world. His first European Tour win came in 2013 and he added two more in 2017. With a number of high finishes in other tournaments, Fleetwood entered the Race to Dubai as the points leader and he…

Editorial – Let’s Celebrate the Return of Tiger

I never got to see Michaelangelo or Da Vinci paint. I never got to see Shakespeare write, or Abraham Lincoln recite the Gettysburg Address. But I did get to see Tiger Woods play golf. Yes, I put Tiger in the same category as these other historic greats. His genius is every bit the equal of those Renaissance masters, albeit in a competitive arena. And yet, the artistry Tiger displayed at his best was just as exquisite as any artist in history. Some people don’t like Tiger because of some of his on-course antics (swearing and slamming his club into the ground), and they have a valid point. I don’t have a problem with people who don’t like him because of this. But these same people may be depriving themselves of…

Golf Teahcers And Respect For The Game

By Leo Perlmutter USGTF Member Rochester, New York One of the great things about our game is that it’s different from other sports. In fact, the differences are so great that golf might just be in a category all by itself. In golf, the players referee the game among themselves. Imagine NBA or NFL players playing without referees, and instead calling their own fouls and penalties. It doesn’t take much thought to realize that within minutes, the games would devolve into complete chaos. And yet, golf at the highest levels are largely refereed by the players, even to the point of calling penalties on themselves (at least when they are aware of them). Baseball, football, basketball and hockey have great histories and traditions that are revered by their aficionados, but…

Jordan Spieth Angered By Autograph Seekers

By Ben Bryant, MA USGTF Certified Golf Teaching Professional®, Tampa, Florida In early February 2017, Jordan Spieth had a run-in with some rude autograph seekers after a practice round at Pebble Beach. When asked about the incident, Spieth said the “fans” were actually professional autograph seekers. He became irate, he says, when they dropped an “F-bomb” in front of several children after he refused to sign their memorabilia. This isn’t the first time Spieth has taken autograph sellers to task. In June 2016 during practice rounds for the U.S. Open, Spieth said during a press conference that he had refused to sign autographs for “eBayers” because they were “smooshing” kids out of the way. Few people would begrudge Spieth for condemning child smooshing, but it does seem that professional autograph…

Learning Something New

By Cole Golden, WGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional A month ago at the World Golf Teachers Cup at Boulder Creek Golf Club in sunny Las Vegas, a demo day was held before the tournament started.  Different teaching-aid manufacturers were in attendance to share the latest and greatest in technology to make improvements to one’s game.  Like most teaching professionals, we have our go-to training aids.  I spent almost two hours visiting with the reps of these training aids. During my visits with each vendor, I continuously learned new things.  It made me laugh, because I always feel like we need to grow our skill set as teaching professionals, and an opportunity presented itself to help me do just that.  An even bigger benefit was that I noticed I wasn’t the…

Walk The Walk

By David Hill USGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional®, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada Seldom do I discuss or write about any of my accomplishments in golf because firstly, they are few and far between, and secondly, no one really cares. This past winter, however, I took it upon myself to set a goal to qualify for the MSOP putting championship to be held in late October in Las Vegas. Many have perhaps seen the promotional campaign for the MSOP (Major Series Of Putting) on Golf Channel in certain markets throughout the country. This article is not to promote MSOP, but since they are from my home town of Montreal, it offered a great opportunity to get the competitive juices flowing through season-long events, and ultimately their home base “Tour Championship” in which…

The Putting Assessment

By Bert Jones USGTF Certified Golf Teaching Professional® Loomis, California Many have said that putting is nothing more than line and speed. If so, then we would see more players making their putts. Putting deserves more attention from teaching professionals to help their students understand that it is more than just line and speed. Why should you place so much emphasis on putting? Putting is statistically 50 percent of your score, providing that you have hit every green in regulation and two-putt. But let’s say you shoot 72 with 30putts, yielding 41.6 percent of strokes being putts. It is still a large percentage of the game, and that is why we need to be better at teaching and assessing our students. Before you assess a player, ask some questions to better…

A Revolutionary Approach to Putting

By Dr. Gerald A. Walford USGTF Certified Golf Teaching Professional® The Villages, Florida Take a golf ball and pick a target, either on a golf green or your carpet at home. Crouch or bend over as you would in rolling a bowling ball. Roll the ball to the target. Chances are you rolled the ball accurately. You have just executed the way you should putt. You stood facing the target, looked at the target and rolled the ball with your dominant arm. You did not use two hands, because if you used two hands it would be difficult to roll the ball accurately. The roll is a one-arm swing. You did not tell yourself how hard to roll the ball. You looked at the target and your eyes told your…

Something’s Wrong Somewhere

By Bob Mullen USGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional, Wichita, Kansas The year was 1975, and golfing legend Sam Snead had just read a Golf Digest report on the average score of the male golfer; he was dismayed to learn it was 100. He considered all the improvements he had witnessed over the years in equipment, course maintenance and availability of instruction, and concluded there was no reason the average golfer should be scoring that high. He wrote, “Something’s wrong some-where.” With his book Simple Key Approach to Golf, Sam set out to provide simplified instruction to address what was “wrong.” This book was one of eleven books Sam wrote, believing in his books somewhere would be the answer that would help the average golfer. Snead was not alone: almost every…

Making The Most Of What You Have

By Mark Harman USGTF Course Director Ridgeland, South Carolina When Sally J. Sportsman interviewed me for her article in this magazine, “Teaching and Modeling a Winning Mindset” (page 17), she asked me a question that took some thought on my part to answer: “How do you know when you’re as good as you’re ever going to get?” It’s a question that has undoubtedly bedeviled golfers for centuries, and we see its effects on golfers today, including those in the professional ranks. It’s a question that is difficult to answer without some contemplation. One of the allures of golf is the intermittent reinforcement nature of the game, which researchers have found is a lynchpin of addiction. Gambling also offers such reinforcement, so it’s no stretch to say that golf can become…

Coaching High School Golf

By Bert Jones USGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional, Loomis, California St. Francis High School Girls Golf Team with head coach, Bert Jones. Last season I had a chanceto coach my first girls highschool golf team. It was a suc-cessful season, and needlessto say there was a lot I didn’tknow. The purpose of thisarticle is to relate some in-formation so you can decidewhether or not you want tocoach high school golf. First and foremost, you need to decide why youwant to coach. Hopefully you want to mentor youthand give back to the sport. Be sure to build andwrite down a coaching philosophy for all to see! If you want to supplement your income, youneed to know the pros and cons of that decision.High schools pay by stipend, with a range of $2,100to…

World Cup Recap: USA, Masih, Harman Win Titles

Team USA shot a record 9-under-par 711 to win its eighth team title out of 13 attempts at the World Golf Teachers Cup at Boulder Creek Golf Club in Boulder City, Nevada, October 18-19. Mark Harman fired a 6-under-par 66 and Kacey Tyler a 5-under-par 67 in the final round, leading the USA the final day to edge Team International 1 by five strokes. Canada came in third at 724, followed by International 2 at 765 at Great Britain & Ireland at 792. Shafiq Masih from Canada claimed the individual title with scores of 67-70 – 137 to defeat runner-up and defending champion Rebecca Samuelsson by two strokes. Newly-crowned United States Golf Teachers Cup champion Matt Smith finished third at 70-70 – 140. Pam Montgomery won the Ladies title with…

An Alternative to Tee It Forward

Several years ago, the USGA got on board with a movement called “tee it forward,” a concept developed by Barney Adams (of Adams Golf) and supported by none other than Jack Nicklaus. The gist of the idea was for golfers to play from the 18-hole yardage that best corresponded to the distance that they hit their driver so that they would play roughly the same irons into the greens as do the pros. The concept received much fanfare and publicity, but soon vanished from the scene as most golfers either ignored the concept, didn’t know about it, or lost interest. It was a noble idea, but asking a golfer who averages 200 yards off the tee to play from around 5,300 yards (as “tee it forward” recommends) is a tough…

U.S. Cup Recap: Smith, Gulych Emerge Victorious

Having won two Open division championships in the past only to be denied by players in other divisions for the overall title, Matt Smith of Columbus, Ohio, finally realized the pinnacle of USGTF competition as he won the 22nd annual United States Golf Teachers Cup with scores of 75-69 – 144 to take a three-stroke win over Shafiq Masih and Rebecca Samuelsson. Smith, one of the toughest and most mentally-ready competitors in USGTF history, birdied three out of the first four holes to seize the lead over first-round leader Tom Alley, and he held on the rest of the way with steady play as his opponents couldn’t keep up. Grant Gulych of St. Thomas, Ontario, had a goal to be the first to put his name on the new United…

USGTF’s Stevens-Led Team Retains Hickory Cup on World’s Oldest Course

Mike Stevens, USGTF Southeast Region director, captained a team of North American golfers to victory in the annual triangular match that ends the Linked Golfers World Hickory Open Festival, played October 3-7. Competing against a team from Europe and a select World team, the North Americans outpointed the Worlds by 11 Stableford points. The Stableford format lends itself well to a three-team competition, which matched the best eight scores of the twelve players on each squad. This was the third time Stevens has captained a team to victory. Especially rewarding, according to Stevens, was retaining the Hickory Cup on the Musselburgh Old Golf Club, the oldest golf course in the world and host to eight Open Championships. Golf has been played at Musselburgh for over 600 years. The Hickory Cup…

Follow USGTF on Social Media

The USGTF has a presence in several venues on social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can like us on Facebook by clicking at Facebook.com/USGolfTeachersFed, become a follower on Twitter Twitter.com/USGOLFTEACHERS, or follow along on Instagram at Instagram.com/officialusgtf. Also by visiting the members web board at USGTFMembers.com. The web board allows USGTF members to interact and share ideas with their fellow members, and is a great resource. Whatever avenue of social media you wish to pursue with the USGTF, please take the time to do so and get involved!

Carnoustie Pro is World Hickory Champion

Battling winds gusting upwards of 50 miles per hour, Fraser Mann of Carnoustie, Scotland, bested a field of 108 golfers in winning the Linked Golfers World Hickory Open at Kilspindie Golf Club in Aberlady. Mann’s rounds of 71-70 – 141 were four strokes clear of Musselburgh’s Rick Valentine, a past champion. This was the 12th playing of the tournament, which attracts players from across the globe. All competitors play with original wood-shafted clubs or authentic replicas of clubs produced between 1900 and 1930. After five highly successful years in Carnoustie Country, the Championship moved to Kilspindie, an East Lothian favorite, to help celebrate its 150th year in operation.

Insurance Offered to all Members

My family’s NEW USGTF Member Accident Benefit “It covers all our doctors, hospitals, plus any ER, 24/7, ANY ACCIDENT QUALIFIES, on the Golf Course or at home, school or athletic field, ANYWHERE… It has paid me CASH for our medical out of pocket costs up to my policy limit of $15,000 per injury/per person. My two boys collected, Tyler for a collision on the soccer field and Jordan for a slip, and fall on our boat. I recovered $11,000 cash. “The Wayne Player family is YOUNG and HEALTHY and ACTIVE.” “We don’t worry about getting sick, but turning over a golf cart is another story. ACCIDENTS HAPPEN, cover your whole family for as little as $35.00 a month. I bought it online, but if you need help call my man…

“PRO” File – Touring Professional Pat Perez

More known for his temper than his golf game in the past, Pat Perez has re-invented himself in both personality and game. The 41-year-old Perez is moving from the ranks of career journeyman to established veteran and player, having won twice within the span of one year. He broke an almost-eight-year victory drought when he captured the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in November 2016, and followed that up with a win at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia this past October. He currently sits at #1 on the FedEx Cup points list. Perez gained a reputation as a hothead earlier in his career after some questionable on-course behavior, such as smashing his club into the ground after poor shots. Many speculated that his temper cost him several victories and limited his…

Special Event and Workshop Available to USGTF Members

“How To Sign Up MORE Golf Students & Increase Your Income By 30-55%… WITHOUT Being A Marketing Expert!” This SPECIAL Event & Workshop will be taught by Author & Business Coach Robert Vitelli. Robert is a #1 international Best Selling Author of 8 books in the areas of Marketing, Motivation & Creating A More Successful Mindset. With 23 years of experience in the field of Success, Robert (and many of his clients) have been featured in True Wealth Magazine, USA Today, CBS Money Watch, FOX, NBC, ABC as well as many other major media outlets. Register for this SPECIAL Web Event at www.RobertVitelli.org. As a SPECIAL BONUS to USGTF members, Robert will be offering a FREE 1-Hour private phone consultation & Strategy Session to any member who attends the full…

United States Disabled Open to be Held in May

Eagle Creek Golf Club in Orlando, Florida, is the site of the United States Disabled Open May 8-10, 2018. The tournament is open to all golfers who have a recognized disability, such as amputees, blind, wounded veterans, stroke, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis, just to name a few. Jason Faircloth founded the USDGA, and in 2011 became the first American to compete in the Disabled British Open. He returned home and started the organization, saying there was no reason that competition for disabled golfers in the United States could not become a reality. For more information on the USDGA and the U.S. Disabled Open, please visit www.usdga.net.

History, Heritage And Preservation Of American Golf

By Mike Stevens USGTF Certified Golf Teaching Professional, Tampa, Florida Bobby Jones once said the finest golf swing he ever saw belonged to Joyce Wethered. There were some exceptional female golfers in the early 1900s, once they were allowed on the courses from which they were previously excluded. Playing with hickory-shafted clubs, they added considerable style and grace to the gentlemen’s game. Some of the early pioneers were Dorothy Campbell, the first woman to win the British, Canadian and American amateur championships; Glenna Collett Vare, who dominated women’s golf in 1920, and the famous Curtis sisters (Margaret and Harriot), Beatrix Hoyt, Lady Margaret Scott and Alexa Stirling, who toured the country with Jones giving golf exhibitions. All these wonderful players had one thing in common: They had beautiful swings and…

Do Not Dummy Down

By James E. “Coach” Robertson, USGTF Contributing Writer – Magnolia, Arkansas Time and time again I hear from coaches and players, “You need to ‘dummy down’ your in-formation for us!” My immediate reaction is, “No, you need to smarten up! One of my mentors use to say “always look for simplicity on the other side of complexity,” meaning that as coaches, we must understand the complexity of the issue or technique and then find the simplicity in training the golfer for competitive play. From my perspective, coaching is not about “dummying down” information or techniques. It is about starting with basics at a level each player can understand, and more importantly implement, and helping those golfers advance the technique or information as their competitive skills progressed. One example of this process is…

Training Aids Are Only Good When They Are Used

By Mike Stevens,USGTF contributing Writer I just got back from the World Golf Teachers Cup gathering in Las Vegas. On the driving range, we were treated to demonstrations of several training aids. Some to increase swing speed, some to improve impact position and some to improve the overall swing motion. Over the years, I have used or recommended certain training aids to students based on their specific needs. I believe there is value in using them if one is committed to getting better. The key word is committed. That takes effort, and effort is not easy because it takes time. No truer words than “Rome was not built in a day” can be applied to learning golf techniques. It takes time and commitment. One of the problems I see when…

Teaching in A Simulator Vs. Teaching Outdoors

By Mark Harman USGTF Course Director, Ridgeland, South Carolina In addition to my duties as national course director for the USGTF, I also teach at two facilities near where I live, one outdoors at a golf course and another in an indoor simulator at a major golf store. The latter is a recent addition to my teaching, and it has been extremely illuminating seeing the contrasts to teaching on an outdoor range. If you’ve been teaching with a simulator or with a launch monitor like TrackMan or FlightScope, some of what I’m about to write won’t come as any great surprise to you. Still, it’s been interesting to see how people learn and perform in the different environments. The launch monitor I use in the simulator is a new state-of-the-art…

Anthony Netto Stands Up And Plays

USGTF member Anthony Netto lives a more active life than most people, even though he cannot walk, much less run. Netto was on his way to play in a professional golf tournament in his native South Africa in 1994 when his car was hit by a drunk driver, leaving Netto paralyzed from the waist down. And all of this happened just several months after attending a USGTF certification course in the United States. Netto was a first lieutenant in the South African army and was a veteran of Desert Storm in the early 1990s. After his discharge, he returned to golf and earned his USGTF certification. But the accident put his plans on hold. It is understand-able if Netto felt the normal reactions after such a horrific accident of despair…

Compliments Complement Our Teaching

According to allpsych.com, “The term rein-force means to strengthen, and is used in psychology to refer to any stimulus which strengthens or in-creases the probability of a specific response.” Psychologists recognize four types of reinforcement: positive, negative, punishment and extinction. In general, positive reinforcement has proven to be the most effective means of behavior modification or to get a certain behavior to be performed. This involves giving a reward upon completion of a goal or speaking in a positive and encouraging manner in an attempt to achieve the desired outcome. Negative reinforcement involves an unpleasantness of some sort if the task is not completed, such as parental nagging of a child. Once the child per-forms the task, for example, the negative reinforcement of nagging is eliminated. Punishment is a term…

The Importance of the First Move Away from the Ball

By Thomas T Wartelle, USGTF contributing Writer A good backswing sets the body into a coiled position ready to return to the clubhead squarely and powerfully at impact. The backswing is a series of motions that set the club in position for a proper downswing. Golfers do not hit the ball with their backswing, but a good backswing is a simple, repeatable movement that starts the sequence of the swing to the moment of truth – impact. Most good players have a starting “trigger move” that signals the start of the backswing. Common backswing starting trigger moves are: • A gentle waggle movement back and forward with the club, hands and wrists, which can ease any tensions in the set-up, and encourage a smooth, rhythmic beginning of the backswing. •…

Moving From A To B

By Bert Jones USGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional Loomis, California Have you ever wondered why some people can move from their current situation to a stated goal and some people can’t? Is it a matter of applied will, or just having enough knowledge? If we reflect on the last 40 years, we have little to no improvement in the average golf score. In fact, professional averages are relatively stagnant, also! How can this be, even with the advent of new equipment, better agronomy, and the state of instruction using space-age technology for analysis? Perhaps we can start by looking at how goals are developed. When developing a goal, it should follow the acronym SMART. The SMART acronym stands for specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic and time-based. Every goal will be…

Gifts From Golf

By Cole Golden, WGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional Friendship can develop in many different areas of your life: family, church, school, work, hobbies and even competitors. I’d like to focus on the latter. In 2010, I played in the United States Golf Teachers Cup at Primm Valley, just outside of Las Vegas. One of my playing partners in the first round was Matt Smith, who hails from Ohio. To say I had a rough start to my game is an understatement. A cart came flying over a hill to our tee box to see me teeing off, and then proceeded to lock up their brakes, squealing across the cart path. Then my 3-wood went about 40 yards to the left into a pond. That triple bogey, plus another three bogeys…

2018 Membership Renewal Now Available Online

Online membership renewal is available for those who want a quick and convenient way to remain a USGTF member in good standing. USGTF membership offers many benefits, including continuing education opportunities, member communication via our monthly e-newsletter and Golf Teaching Pro magazine, as well as our online community at www.USGTFMembers.com. Equipment and other discounts, liability insurance, networking opportunities at our regional and national events are also features of USGTF membership, as well as the right to continue to call yourself a USGTF member. To renew your membership for 2018, please click here.

US, World Cup Deadline Fast Approaching

Wednesday, October 4, marks the deadline for entries into the 22nd annual United States Golf Teachers Cup and the 13th biennial World Golf Teachers Cup at Boulder Creek Golf Club in Boulder City, Nevada, October 16-19. These premier events bring teaching professionals from around the world together to enjoy a week of competition and camaraderie. Teaching professionals Bruce Sims, Matt Smith, Michael Wolf and David Belling will be on hand to conduct a teaching seminar during the week. In addition, vendors will be onsite on Sunday, October 15, to showcase teaching aids and products. Although the deadline is near, if you haven’t yet made plans to attend, there is still time to enter. For more information and to enter, please visit www.WorldGolfTeachersCup.com. You may also call the USGTF National Office…

Refresher Course Opportunity For All Members

Has it been several years since you achieved your teaching certification Since the art of learning is an ongoing process, a refresher course could be just what you need to “freshen up” those skills. We are pleased to now offer a refresher course on the core training topics covered during your USGTF certification process. The online refresher course includes the following: • Teaching the Full Swing video • Teaching Faults & Cures video • Teaching the Short Game video • Clubfitting for Teaching Professionals video • How to Teach Golf – The American Golf Teaching Method – 2nd edition The course is available to current USGTF members only and membership must be verified before course access is permitted. You may go to click here to enroll in the course.

2017 Canadian Golf Teachers Cup Results

Shafiq Masih took home his first CGTF Cup championship when he bested a stellar field this past September at Bay of Quinte Golf & Country Club in Belleville, Ontario, firing a two-round total of 140 to run away with the title. Conor Hache and Brandon McLean finished a distant second at 149. Bill Hardwick and Peter Jaklic rounded out the top five. In the Ladies division, Lisa Fleming was a three-stroke winner over runner-up Jennifer MacKendrick, with Donna Dunbar placing third. Greg Salazar won the Senior division, also emerging victorious with a three-stroke win. Paul Duncan and Vito Cisternino tied for runner-up honors, with Don Sugden finishing fourth. The event was held September 18-19 at the Bay of Quinte Country Club in Bellevue, Ontario. The CGTF Cup is an annual…

Son of WGTF/USGTF Professional Wins National Title

Gabriel Augustin Wartelle, son of longtime WGTF/USGTF member Thomas T Wartelle, won the USSSA 11 & under National Championship. Gabriel also garnered the Tour’s Leading Points Winner award for this age group. The national championship was held at the TPC Louisiana in Avondale, home of the PGA Tour’s Zurich Classic. Gabriel held the lead from day one of the three-round event. However, he had to hold off two surging competitors during the final round. He sealed the win with a 10-foot putt on the last hole. Gabriel’s solid play during the week provided him the advantage to overcome the other competitors, as he lead the field in driving accuracy and ball striking. In addition to his recent win, Gabriel was named to the Louisiana Golf Association’s River Cup team, which…

“Pro” File – Touring Professional Anirban Lahiri

Golfers from India have yet to make their mark as a superstar in the game, but Anirban Lahiri may be out to change that. He has played on the last two Presidents Cup teams for the International team, and is growing more comfortable on the American tour. Lahiri, nicknamed “Ban” (pronounced bon), learned the game when he tagged along with his father, a doctor. He began his professional career on the Asian Tour in 2008 at the age of 20 and scored his first win in 2011. He continued to do well on that tour with several more victories before moving on to the European Tour. A two-time winner there, Lahiri made his way to the United States after working his way into the Official World Golf Ranking’s top 50.…

Editorial: Do You Have A Good Caddie Or A Bad Caddie?

This past Labor Day weekend, Justin Thomas won the Dell Technologies Championship for his fourth tournament win of the year, which includes the British Open. (He would also later win the Tour Championship for his fifth win.) When asked what had changed this year, Justin emphatically stated it was his caddie, Jimmy Johnson. Justin’s caddie keeps him focused on the present shot at hand, which keeps his emotions under control regardless of situation or score. While most people do not play golf with a caddie, you really do not need one to perform at your best. Ultimately, you must be your own best caddie. When the pressure hits, you must tell yourself to stay in the moment, be positive, forget the past, focus on the present and remain calm. This…

Teaching And Modeling A Winning Mindset

Sally J. Sportsman USGTF Contributing Writer, Orlando, Florida What makes a winner? Competition is as old as humankind. As civilization has evolved, the types of contests and the means by which victory is achieved in any given endeavor have changed, but the will to win is as strong as ever. From the classroom to the board room, from Little League to the World Series, from the lesson tee to the PGA Tour – winning is the objective of people everywhere. The desire to emerge victorious from any challenge seems embedded in our nature. The intensity of this desire varies according to one’s disposition, personality, experience and motivation, yet our instinct is to give it our best shot, allowing ourselves the optimum chance to come out on top. “The biggest thing…

Let’s Get Rid Of The Tour Championship

By Mike Stevens, USGTF Contributing Writer The FedEx Cup is golf’s answer to playoffs, which is supposed to keep up interest after the fourth major is completed. In the past, most people did not care much about golf after the PGA Championship. They even called it the silly season. Enter the FedEx playoffs, a good idea since most people look forward to the playoffs in other sports at the end of their seasonal run. The only problem is that when you get to the finals, there is this Tour Championship which may or may not be won by the playoff champion. It’s all a bit strange. Even the playoff format is a bit weird. You can miss the cut in the first playoff round and still advance. I think you…

Fond Memories Found In-Of All Places –A Range Basket

By Mike Stevens USGTF Contributing Writer I love it when I stumble across something that instantly floods my brain with fond memories of youth. In my basket of range balls, I came across an old golf ball. People are always hitting their old balls on the range trying to get in a few extra shots for free. Just looking at the dimple pattern, I knew it was old, a Wonderball #4 from the Worthington Golf Ball Company of Elyria, Ohio. Now, I doubt that many players today would recognize this brand. However, to a young lad who had to scour the woods and ponds of local muni courses be-cause he was forbidden to raid his father’s golf bag for those precious white orbs, they were a blessing. But that is…

A Closer Look At The Three Main Grips

Before we go any further, let’s acknowledge the obvious: You’re probably wondering why an article on the grip is appearing in Golf Teaching Pro. After all, it’s the first thing taught at USGTF certification schools, and besides, all golf teaching pros should know how to teach the grip. Actually, you may be surprised to learn that a number of golf teaching professionals (mainly non-USGTF members) do not know how to properly teach the grip, nor do they have a firm understanding of the cause and effect associated with the three grips. Our USGTF examining staff has found more than one teaching professional who has been teaching without certification or who belongs to another organization who doesn’t know as much as they should about teaching the grip. So if you’re comfortable…

Friendship VS. Competitors

By Cole Golden WGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional Recently, after Jordan Spieth’s and Justin Thomas’ major wins, much has been said in regards to their friends being part of the celebration. It just so happens that these “friends” are other players on the Tour and can be found on the 18th green cheering on their buddies to victory. This has been a hot topic within the golf community. Is it good or bad for the game? Some might say this behavior is abnormal. We never saw Tiger waiting around to congratulate Phil, or vice versa. I don’t think we ever will. The media wanted to play a “villain vs. hero” during that era. We don’t know if there was bad blood between them or not; it’s purely speculation. With the…

New Times, New Terms

The past two editions of Golf Teaching Pro have featured articles on whether golf instruction is getting too complicated. The consensus by the authors was a “yes,” but that doesn’t mean that we should shut out all new learning and technology in favor of sticking only with what we first learned. As golf teaching professionals, we have an obligation to keep up with the latest trends and methodologies so that we’re not left behind. The trick, of course, is to impart this information in a way that our students understand. Many of them just want to hit the ball better and aren’t interested in the latest theories or arguments on the minutiae of every little bit of the golf swing. With the advent of high-tech gadgets and increased knowledge, different…

New Videos Featured Online as Part of Refresher Course for Current USGTF Members

Continuing in our role as “Leader in the field of golf instruction” and maintaining a cutting-edge teaching philosophy, the USGTF is proud to announce that “Teaching the Short Game” and “Faults and Cures” are two new videos which will be part of a special $99 online Refresher Course available to all USGTF members in good standing. “The Full Swing” and “Clubfitting” are also included in the course, as well as the 2nd edition of How To Teach Golf – The American Golf Teaching Method. The course is available under the Member Services tab or by clicking here. For more information please contact the USGTF National Office at (888) 346-3290.

Smith Wins USGTF Central Region Championship

With solid ballstriking and even better putting, Matt Smith of Columbus, Ohio, won the USGTF Central Region Championship August 6-7 at Lake Forest Golf Club in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Smith birdied the first two holes of the tournament, wound up with a 68 on the day and never looked back. He fired a 71 the final round for a two-day total of 5-under 139. Smith made nine birdies in 36 holes, successfully navigating the fast greens and difficult back nine at Lake Forest. Grant Gulych from St. Thomas, Ontario, finished in second place with a fine showing of 74-72 – 146. Fellow Canadian Dan Estevan from Georgetown, Ontario, finished third with scores of 82-69 – 151. Estevan’s final round featured six birdies as he had the low score of the…

Harvey Penick Award Nominations Being Accepted

Nominations for the 5th annual Harvey Penick Trophy for Excellence in Golf Teaching are now being accepted. Harvey Penick was one of America’s earliest great teachers, and his influence lives today. The award is based on teaching accomplishments, service to the golf community and to the game in general. All USGTF Certified Golf Teaching Professionals and Master Golf Teaching Professionals, except past winners, are eligible. Nominations (including self-nominations) may be made through email at info@usgtf.com or through regular mail to the USGTF National Office at 1295 SE Port St. Lucie Blvd., Port St. Lucie, FL 34952. The deadline for nominations is Friday, September 15, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. EDT.

Hotel Deadline for US, World Cups this Month

Thursday, September 28, marks the cutoff date for guaranteed discounted rates at the Fiesta Henderson Hotel & Casino for this year’s United States and World Golf Teachers Federation Cups. Featuring all newly remodeled rooms, the Fiesta Henderson is a 15-minute drive from both the tournament venue, Boulder Creek Golf Club, and the Las Vegas Strip. The nightly tournament rate for Sunday through Thursday nights is $45 plus tax, while Friday and Saturday nights the rate is $89 plus tax. To book call: 1-888-899-7770 and use group code: RCIGTF7 or click here to book online. Please note that the hotel cutoff date is different than the tournament entry deadline, which is Wednesday, October 4. For more information and to register for both events, please visit www.WorldGolfTeachersCup.com.

USGTF Announces Cobra Golf as a New Member Benefit Partner

Cobra Golf is the newest golf equipment partner of the USGTF. USGTF members in good standing can participate in a 20 percent personal use discount from Cobra. Cobra Golf, based in Carlsbad, California, is known for making high-quality and innovative golf equipment. King Cobra, one of the more iconic names in golf, is alive and well at Cobra. Cobra Golf became one of the biggest golf brands when it was acquired a few years ago by Puma. Featuring state-of-the-art drivers, fairway woods, hybrids and irons, Cobra has products to help any player’s game. Tour staff player Rickie Fowler, Lexi Thompson and Bryson DeChambeau lead a young group of professionals promoting Cobra. Please visit the Cobra website at www.cobragolf.com to check out the latest equipment. If you are interested, please contact…

Stevens Honored by the Society of Hickory Golfers

Longtime USGTF member and Southeast Region Director Mike Stevens is this year’s recipient of the Mike Brown Award, given annually by the Society of Hickory Golfers. Brown was an avid hickory golfer who died suddenly in February 2010 in his hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana. His passing left a void in the hickory golfing community and a sense of personal loss to everyone who encountered him. He worked tirelessly to promote hickory golf and was constantly bringing in new people into the hickory community. He was exceedingly knowledgeable about the history of golf and was a strong voice in maintaining the ancient traditions of the game. The Mike Brown Award honors his memory and many contributions to hickory golf. It is presented annually to a hickory player who shares Brown’s: 1.…

“Pro” File – Touring Professional Sung Hyun Park

The pipeline from Korea keeps producing winner after winner on the LPGA Tour, and the latest to take the tour by storm is Sung Hyun Park, winner of the recently-completed Canadian Pacific Women’s Open. After dominating the Korean Ladies Professional Golf Tour the past two seasons with 10 wins, she came to the LPGA Tour full-time in 2017 and quickly made her mark. Park scored four top-10 finishes the first half of the 2017 season before her breakthrough victory at the U.S. Women’s Open in July. She followed that up with another top-10 finish the very next week at the Marathon Classic, paving the way to another victory in Canada. She is currently number one on the LPGA money list, quickly surpassing such luminaries as Lexi Thompson, Lydia Ko and…

Editorial: Jordan Spieth’s Secret Weapon

By Dr. Gregg Steinberg, USGTF Sports Psychologist Jordan Spieth was in low gear until hole 13th at The Open Championship. He had just made five bogeys and had just lost the lead to Matt Kuchar. But then he turned it on and finished 5-under for the last five holes to win the Claret Jug for the first time. How did he do this? It is called intensity level. Jordan plays by it. He plays his best when his intensity level is high, but for the first 13 holes, it was clearly on a lower level. When he fell one back to Kuchar, he cranked it up, and we all saw greatness in action! However, you may not be like Jordan Spieth. You may play your best when your inner flame…

The Language Of Teaching

By Norm Crerar USGTF Contributing Writer Vernon, British Columbia I have been teaching skiing for 50-some years. I have been playing the bagpipes for 10 years and have just started teaching beginners. I take golf lessons. I speak English, of the Canadian variety, but have to admit that I become stumped and agitated with the language of teaching. It was traditional to teach bagpipes through canntaireachd (pronounced can-ter-act). This is a Gallic word meaning “chanting.” Before music was written as it is today on paper, with lines and notes, the instructor would sing the notes using distinct sounds for the different notes, grace notes and embellishments. Master and pupils would spend hours sitting together singing tunes to each other. Nowadays, people learn with sheet music, and canntaireachd is still used…

What Are Your Teaching Ambitions?

At a USGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional certification course last year, one candidate posed an interesting question to his fellow classmates, along the lines of this: “Don’t you want to teach the best players in the world?”He asked this because he was teaching and coaching some professional players, including those on the LPGA Tour, and found his calling in teaching these high-level players. The question posed is a valid one, because it brings to light the subject of ambition in the golf teaching profession. It’s a subject that is often overlooked, but one that is important to those of us in the teaching and coaching profession. Motivational speakers and sports psychologists often refer to goal-setting as a critical tool to accomplishment. An article in Success magazine in 2015 stated, “The…

USGA, R&A Blow Up The Rules

WOW. Double wow. In a move that can literally be described as a game-changer, the USGA and R&A decided this past March 1 that many of the rules by which we play are to be jettisoned, sent to the scrapbook of history. The proposed new rules are to take effect January 1, 2019. Knowledgeable observers say this is the most drastic rules development since the original 13 rules were drawn up in 1744 by the Gentlemen Golfers of Leith, now the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, at Muirfield in Scotland. To be sure, the gist of the game will be the same: to play the course as you find it and play the ball as it lies, and if you can’t do either, do what’s fair. But what constitutes “fair”…

Pressure

By Cole Golden, USGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional I recently had a student who was going to play in one of the largest amateur golf tournaments in the state. He had been working on his game and playing really well. He was excited and ready to show off his golf game. This was the biggest tournament and best field he had ever played against. The evening after the first round, I received a phone call from him. He told me how nervous he was and he could barely breathe prior to teeing off. His hands were shaking and sweaty. He had a hard time thinking positive thoughts versus thinking only the worst. His first tee ball? You can guess it: he came over it so bad he barely hit the…

Blair Takes Southeast Crown

Melvin Blair of Tampa, Florida, opened with a 73 and cruised home with a final-round 76 as he captured his first USGTF Southeast Region Championship played July 29-30 at GlenLakes Country Club in Weeki Wachee, Florida. Defending champion Carlos de Barros of Lake Worth, Florida, and Mark Harman of Ridgeland, South Carolina, tied for second, four strokes back at 153. Blair began his final round with two solid pars, only to birdie the third hole with a spectacular approach from almost 200 yards after his tee shot hit a tree. He carded a front nine 36 under threatening skies, and shot a back nine 40 as heavy rains plagued the field after the turn. Harman, who opened with a 75, struggled all day and limped home with a 78, while…

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Central Region Championship Coming Soon

The USGTF Central Region Championship will be held Sunday and Monday, August 6-7, 2017, at Lake Forest Golf Club in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The event will also be held as part of a weekend of golf which includes the Michigan/Ontario Golf Teachers Tour event on Saturday. The Central Region Championship will be the final regional championship conducted in 2017. For complete information, please click here.

US Cup History Flashback

The year was 2006 and the venue for the United States Golf Teachers Cup was Boulder Creek Golf Club in Boulder City, Nevada, site of this year’s United States and World Golf Teachers Cups. After battling to a 36-hole draw with each golfer shooting a 3-under 141, Australia’s James Douris and Trinidad & Tobago’s Christopher Richards engaged in a two-hole playoff that decided nothing. Moving on to sudden death, Douris’ approach shot on the par-4 third playoff hole found the desert over the green. Faced with needing a difficult up-and-down from 90 feet away to keep the playoff going, Douris chipped the ball from the desert scrub into the slope, ran it up to five feet, and drained the putt to stay alive. He then parred the fourth playoff hole…

USGTF Spring Junior League a Success

The USGTF Spring Junior League was operated by the Mercer County Golf Academy in Princeton, New Jersey, this past year and consisted of 60 kids that participated on four teams at four different golf courses in the county. It was directed by USGTF Associate Member professional Larry Baldasari and coached by four additional Associate Member professionals: Kelly Platt, Dan Virgil IV, Dan Virgil III and Haiyan Wang. Players competed in six matches, playing a two vs. two scramble match-play format. Coach Haiyan’s Purple team won the league title with a record of 4-0-2. The league concluded with a stroke-play invitational on July 16. The winners were Eddy Ye (11-14 age group) and Teddy Plimpton (10 and under age group). For nine holes, Ye shot a 47 and Plimpton a 42…

Member Profile – Jim Kearney

Thanks to a celebrity’s interest in him, Jim Kearney of Carson, California, began a lifetime journey in the game of golf in 1955 that continues to this day. The celebrity was James Garner, for whom Kearney caddied back then. While on the course, Garner would show Kearney the basics of the grip, stance and swing, and allow Kearney to take a few swings when no one was around. Kearney was able to gain a measure of proficiency at the game, which eventually led him to teaching. But prior to that, Kearney served in the military and today is a retired military and aerospace division specialist. During that time, Kearney is credited with inventing a device that saved the armed forces collectively over $1 million per year. Kearney had been a…

“Pro” File – Touring Professional Robert Wrenn

Music has its one-hit wonders, such as Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Kajagoogoo and Vanilla Ice. Golf, too, has its share, but unlike the music of the one-hit wonders – which lives on due to the popularity of the songs – golf’s one-hit wonders tend to get lost to the annals of time, forgotten by all but the most diehard of golf fans. One of the more remarkable one-hits wonders in golf is Robert Wrenn, who captured the 1987 Buick Open with a four-round total of 26 under par, destroying the field and beating runner-up Dan Pohl by seven shots. It’s a mystery how a player is able to conjure up such a dominating victory and yet could never find the winner’s circle ever again, but such is golf. Wrenn played the…

Editorial: Why Chastise the Person Who Didn’t Break the Rule?

Yes, it was an unfortunate incident at the U.S. Junior Girls Golf Championship. Elizabeth Moon missed a short putt that would have won the match and proceeded to rake the ball back before her opponent Erica Shepherd had a chance to concede the tap-in. Not legal. Loss of hole and the match. Tough luck, but you don’t just assume a putt is going to be given. In all the years I have been playing, when in match play I missed a putt, even if by half an inch, I always looked to my opponent to hear him say good before I proceeded on. That is the rule. You never assume anything. A lot of people are criticizing Shepherd. She did nothing wrong. In a situation like that, sometimes you are…

Ireland: Trip Of A Lifetime

By Cole Golden USGTF Level IV Member I recently had the good fortune to take the golf trip of a lifetime to Ireland (thanks to my lovely bride who surprised me for my birthday).  There were eight of us who made the trip across the pond and spent seven days playing some of the most beautiful courses in the world.  While the trip was planned through a travel agent who specializes in these types of adventures, I want to share some of the tips and tricks I learned along the way.  I highly recommend traveling to Ireland, which I know is on many of your bucket lists. Pre-Trip Preparations       While using a travel agency increases the cost, they handled all logistics:  transportation, lodging, restaurant recommendations, course reservations,…

“Free Info VS. Personalized Instruction”

By Bob De Caro, USGTF Certified Golf Teaching Professional, Wyckoff, New Jersey I’m upset! Recently, while listening to some instructional segments on PGA Tour Radio, I heard the pro thoroughly explain the swing sequence. Yet, why are there so many listeners repeatedly asking the same fundamental questions about swinging over the top, slicing the ball and not being able to deliver the club from the inside? I can’t help but visualize the pro tightening his jaw before answering once again. It’s apparent to me that the listeners do not actually realize that the problem lies in understanding how the swing sequence is executed. I’m upset, not because the pro isn’t doing a good job of explaining the correct swing sequence, but because the player doesn’t seek out what is really…

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Pierson Takes NE Tourney Title

Andrew Pierson from Camden, NJ, claimed the USGTF Northeast Region championship played June 9 at Mercer Oaks East Golf Course in West Windsor, New Jersey, firing a 77 to edge runner-up Taiki Miyazaki of Hicksville, NY, by two strokes. In division action, Kelly Platt took home the women’s title with a 90; Doug MacMillan fired an 80 to take the 50-59 title over runner-up Alan Brown; Peter Palmisano shot an 87 to win the 60-69 division over Bruce Barnett, and John Ray edged Preston Browning in a playoff after both shot 87 in the 70+ division. Bob Corbo serves as the Northeast Region director. He can be reached at bcgolfcoach@gmail.com.

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SE Tourney on Tap for this Month; Central to Follow

The USGTF Southeast Region Championship will be held July 29-30 at GlenLakes Country Club in Weeki Wachee, Florida, approximately 45 miles north of Clearwater. The entry fee of $175 includes two days of golf, range balls and prize money. Dinner at an area restaurant will be held after the first round on Saturday. The recommended hotel is the Quality Inn Weeki Wachee, which is approximately 10 minutes away from the golf course. For more information, please contact region director Mike Stevens at ams1127@msn.com. Entries are being handled by the USGTF National Office at (888) 346-3290 (a 3% service charge will be added for credit card entries by phone). The Central Region Championship will be conducted in conjunction with another great event (Brent Davies, Director) – The USGTF Central Region Championship…

Avis, Budget Offering World Cup Deals

USGTF industry partners Avis and Budget rental car companies are offering special rates out of McCarron International Airport in Las Vegas for the upcoming United States and World Golf Teachers Cups, to be played October 16-19. Both Avis and Budget are offering exclusive group rates for the tournaments. These rates not only offer discounts on rentals, but also offers greater discounts on SUVs and luxury cars. The discount codes are: Budget – BCD# D815198 and Avis T525898. The rates are good for seven days prior to and seven days after the tournaments only. Reservations may also be made by clicking on the company logos found on www.WorldGolfTeachersCup.com.

USGTF Launches Re-Designed Site

The USGTF’s website at www.USGTF.com has been re-designed, taking on a more contemporary look to better reflect current trends in web design. In addition to a sleeker look, the site offers the USGTF National Office staff the power to make timely changes more quickly. If you know someone who is interested in becoming a USGTF member, please direct them to the site, and if they have any questions, they may call the National Office at (888) 346-3290. In addition to the main organization site, the USGTF has a site devoted exclusively to its members at www.USGTFMembers.com. The site is divided into two sections, one public and one private. To use the private section, members need to register and then have their registration validated by the USGTF Membership Services department. If…

Summer Edition of Magazine Now Out

The Summer 2017 edition of Golf Teaching Pro® magazine has been mailed out. If you have not received your copy, please contact the USGTF National Office at (888) 346-3290. Also, we welcome member submissions to the publication. Teaching or playing tips, drills, articles and member profiles are always a wonderful addition to each issue. The deadline to submit material is September 15, and may be done so by emailing Membership Services at info@usgtf.com.

“PRO” File – Touring Professional Brian Harman

It may only seem like it, but golf professionals with the last name of “Harman” tend to be a little on the, shall we say, vertically-challenged spectrum of height. Reigning United States Golf Teachers Cup champion Mark Harman stands just 5′ 7″, as does a tour golfer with the same last name who is making his mark on the professional scene, Brian Harman. The latter Harman gained notoriety for taking the 54-hole lead into the final round of the 2017 U.S. Open, only to be overtaken by Brooks Koepka’s sterling 66 (see “PRO” File – Touring Professional Brooks Koepka). Earlier this year, Harman won the Wells Fargo Championship when his 28-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole found the bottom of the cup to edge no less than world number…

Go Slow Like Brooks Koepka

What can we learn from the new U.S. Open champion, Brooks Koepka? Here is one important lesson: Go slow when you are under pressure. If you watched Brooks during the final round of the U.S. Open, he never walked fast. In fact, the TV commentators on a few occasions commented that he was walking slower than usual. How did this help Koepka win the Open? And how can it help you play better under pressure? We tend to get anxious in competition. When we are anxious, we typically do everything a little faster. We walk faster, talk faster and even think faster. This nervousness also increases the speed of our swing rhythm. This increased speed in our actions is in response to a release of hormones from our brain. When…

U.S. OPEN

Like most people, I spent part of Father’s Day weekend watching this year’s U.S. Open at Erin Hills. While there is much debate on whether it was a successful U.S. Open for the USGA, I clued in on a different feature of the game. Fox Sports’ utilization of the ProTracer technology on a majority of the shots made it easy to watch the shape and trajectory of the player’s golf shots take form. Brooks Koepka plays a left-to-right ball flight, a fade. Hole after hole, I was impressed to note that he hardly ever went away from it. Even when the hole might have been better suited for a draw, he continued to play his go-to golf shot. While I admit I didn’t watch every shot, of the ones I…

An Organized Pro Equals Happy Students

Hap Hazard is a golf teaching pro at Bucket O’ Balls Driving Range. He’s normally on time for his first lesson of the day, but as the morning wears on and morphs into afternoon, Hap is far behind on his lesson schedule. Mr. Smith arrives for his noon appointment, only to find that Hap can’t see him until 12:20. Mr. Smith decides to cancel the lesson and leaves. Hap is actually happy to see this, because he can now get to his 12:30 lesson on time. The client, Mr. Jones, is someone to whom Hap gave a lesson two months ago. Mr. Jones keeps referring back to what Hap told him at that time, but Hap has no idea what Mr. Jones is talking about. At the end of the…

Common Sense Teaching vs Modern Technology

By Douglas Gray- USGTF Certified Golf Teaching Professional, Fife, Scotland Whilst playing the Eden Course at St. Andrew son a fine spring day in Scotland, I was introduced to a prominent R&A member of some more years senior to me. He was in our four-ball, and his good friend informed me that George had been to every golf teacher under the sun, except Mr Leadbetter. A slight exaggeration, until I learnt more as our game progressed. During an enjoyable nine holes, I listened to talk of ‘Trackman’, ‘Hogan Fundamentals’ and lots of teaching theories, as George had been trying to find the theory for many years. I distanced myself from this chat as I only ‘input’ when asked. Eventually, George asked, “Could you do anything for me, Douglas?” I replied very calmly,…

No Trackman? No Problem!

One of the perks of living in the 21st century is that improved technology has made many aspects of our lives more convenient. From using your smart phone to lock your car doors to computers that give us the entire body of accumulated knowledge at our fingertips, technology has made things easier in ways unheard of just 20 years ago. Golf instruction has benefitted from the technology explosion, too, as teachers invest in the latest video, launch monitors and training aids, all in an effort to provide their students with the best possible learning environment. These devices also give the teacher information that may not have been possible to glean without their use. Yet, if we go to any typical driving range and golf course and observe teaching professionals in…

USGTF Class Schedule

If you’re a USGTF Certified Golf Teaching Professional® and have been so for the past 12 months or longer, there is no better way to (more…)

Summer Magazine Coming Soon

The Summer 2017 edition of Golf Teaching Pro magazine has gone to press and will be in your mailbox this month. The magazine has garnered many accolades from (more…)

Recalling Long Jim,The First PGA Champion

By Mike Stevens USGTF Certified Golf Teaching Professional® Tampa, Florida One hundred years ago, the PGA Championship was inaugurated at Siwonoy Country Club in Bronxville, New York. Thirty-two players qualified for the tournament at sites around the country. One qualifier, Jack Pirie, failed to arrive, so a blind draw was set up, allowing one player to get a first-round bye. The PGA Championship began as a match-play tournament. It wasn’t until 1958 that it became a stroke-play event. It was quite grueling, requiring 36-hole matches over a five-day period. Jim Barnes, a native of England, defeated Jock Hutchinson on the 36th hole to win the title. Barnes, known as Long Jim because of his long, booming tee shots, was born in Cornwall, England, on March 8, 1886. Jim was also…

Golf Teachers VS. Golf Coaches: Differences And Similarities

When the USGTF formed the World Golf Coaches Alliance (WGCA), there wasn’t a distinction between teaching and coaching that had much coherence. Some people tried to define the differences, but such definitions were sorely lacking. Sean Foley said on the Charlie Rose’s PBS show, “I teach kids and I coach adults.” Another difference was said to be that teachers teach basics while coaches teach more advanced concepts. Still another claimed that teaching was refining technique while coaching was in how to use the techniques. All are plausible, but miss the mark. Think of our traditional team sports such as football, basketball and hockey. The leader of the team is not the “head teacher.” No, he’s called the “head coach.” Baseball has a manager leading the team, but even that sport…

Putting Your Students in…The Best Learning Environment

Imagine you’re about to take on a great adventure with many unknowns. You’re probably looking forward to it with a mix of excitement and trepidation, and everything in between. You think about how much you’ll get out of it and the benefits and joys, but you may also be thinking about any potential negative aspects and pitfalls that could arise. Students, especially beginners, who are taking golf lessons for the first time may experience all of these emotions, since for them, the beginning of their golf career may well be that great adventure on which they are embarking. Unfortunately, there are too many true stories about intimidating instructors and unfriendly golf staff which only serve to turn people off from the game which we all know to be wonderful, one that provides lifetime memories and friendships. As golf teaching professionals, it’s our responsibility to make sure that students enjoy…

Intentional Reflection

The new school year started a few weeks earlier than normal this year in Tampa, Florida, where I teach high school and coach the boys’ golf team. I was a little worried, because our team lost two of our top players to graduation and the previous season had not gone well. I had spent a great deal of time thinking about what had gone wrong last season. Were the players getting what they needed out of our practices? Was I giving the feedback and support each player required? Was I pushing the team too much? Whether I realized it or not, I was engaging in reflection. Reflection is a process that has helped me look back on experiences and apply that knowledge to my instruction. It has helped me improve what I do and how I do it. Great…

Something Old, Something New…Something Borrowed, Something Blue

It is what every bride is told to wear on the day of her wedding – something old, new, borrowed and blue. It can very well apply to the gentlemen and gentlewomen who assemble each year at the USGTF-sponsored World Hickory Open in Scotland. Some take to the links with clubs that have been aged for a century. Others wield modern authentics crafted by companies that still make clubs in the old tradition. Some have to borrow clubs to compete as they are entering for the first time, and many are blue when a wayward mashie shot finds the gorse or pot bunker. It is all part of the challenge we refer to as hickory golf. I would dare say that the mention of Panmure Golf Club would just pass over the heads of most golfers these days. But the layout just minutes…

Partner Events

The Zurich Classic was held this past April on the PGA Tour.  The event changed its format from a normal stroke-play, individual event to a two-man team.  Both four-somes and four-ball formats were put into play.  This was a great move by the tournament committee for a number of reasons, the major one being that it increased participation by top-notch golfers, thus boosting viewership and sponsorship. In the past few years, the overall field had declined for the Zurich.  In my opinion, the top players in the world were skipping the event because it didn’t fit their schedule, or they didn’t enjoy the course.  The “buzz” was not there, a nightmare for any tournament committee and sponsors.  As a result, the committee decided they needed to make a change to…

Why Golf Will Never Die

“Today’s kids just want to spend their time playing video games,” say the naysayers about golf, “and on top of that, the game takes too long to play and is too expensive. In addition, with the course closures the past few years, golf is definitely in decline.” Well! That’s a lot of negativity there, so we have to ask ourselves if there’s any merit to what some people are saying. While it is true that the number of courses and players have contracted over the past decade in the United States, all signs point to a leveling out, especially in terms of participants. The National Golf Foundation reports that in 2015 (the last year statistics are available), 2.2 million people took up the game, with the biggest group of beginners coming from…

REGIONAL EVENTS REMINDER

First up is the Southwest Region Championship (Bruce Sims, Director) – The USGTF Southwest Region Championship will be held (more…)

Transition: The First Move Down

Of all the aspects of teaching the swing, one stands out for its lack of attention…and ironically, most accomplished teachers consider it the most important part of the swing. It’s the transition, the change of directions from the backswing to the forward swing, and a lot of misinformation and trepidation in teaching it exists among the golf instruction world. One reason for this may be the difficulty in teaching it. Performed correctly, it’s a highly athletic move and the basis of everything that happens from that moment on. Before the move can be taught, the golfer must be in the correct position to execute it; otherwise, the teacher will be teaching out of sequence. And let’s explain that concept before we go further. Teaching out of sequence means addressing an aspect of the swing that happens after the true root cause of a problem. A simple example would be alignment. A golfer who is lined up…

Let’s Put These Old Myths To Rest For Good

What do the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, and the importance of keeping your head down in golf all have in common? Of course, they are myths, seeming to have some elements of plausibility, but in the end have yet to be demonstrated as true. Here we are, a number of years into the 21st century, and many golf myths that have been debunked are still taken as gospel by countless amateurs, and unfortunately many golf teachers, as well. In the teaching and coaching professions, it is our responsibility to base our instruction on information that has proven to be true and scientifically sound. Let’s take a look at some of the more prevalent myths that are still believed by many in the golf world. EQUIPMENT “Slow swing speeds don’t compress a ball as much as faster swing speeds.” Tests of different swing speeds…

Getting Ready

As spring begins to present itself to most of the country, golf season is on a lot of people’s minds, from students to teachers alike. It’s important to shake off the cobwebs that might have developed by getting back to the basics and working on fundamentals. As golf teaching professionals, this advice applies to us as well. As teachers, we might not play as much as we would like; however, our students look to us as good players and examples of how to master the sport. Our golf game doesn’t have to be of tour quality, but it does need to be good enough to demonstrate certain areas of the swing. Too often, golf teachers don’t work on their games as much as they should, and it is visible to…

2017 WORLD GOLF TEACHERS CUP

Boulder Creek Golf Club in Boulder City, Nevada, will host the 22nd annual United States Golf Teachers Cup and the 13th biennial World Golf Teachers Cup (more…)

LONGTIME MEMBER, EXAMINER PASSES AWAY

Joe Bernat, 76, from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, passed away this past March due to complications from cancer. Bernat was a popular figure among USGTF members, (more…)

The Changing Face Of Set Makeups

There was a time – maybe until the mid-1980s or so – that a normal set of golf clubs consisting of 14 clubs had the following:  a 1-wood (driver), 3-wood and a 5-wood; 2-iron through 9-iron, a pitching wedge, sand wedge and a putter. Among better players, it was not out of the ordinary to see a 1-iron thrown into the mix, usually replacing the 5-wood. Occasionally, you would see novelty clubs such as a 2-wood, a 6-wood, or a chipper in some-one’s bag, usually in place of the 2-iron. Fast forward to 2017, and this set makeup is history. You would be hard pressed to find a golfer with the same make-up as his counterpart from 30 years ago. The first change occurred when Dave Pelz came up with the…

Continuing Education Key To Teaching Sucess

Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.” These words by the great American librarian and museum director John Cotton Dana are incredibly profound, even given their brevity and seeming simplicity. They are particularly true for golf teaching professionals and coaches, and more relevant today than at any time in history. In our modern 21st century, golf instruction has seen an explosion of great thinkers, theorists, and practical applications that Bobby Jones and Ben Hogan could only dream about. Today, we have universities getting involved in studying golf in terms of mechanics, technique, the mental game and motor learning skills needed for success. It also seems every other teacher who makes their presence known on the Internet is deeply into the science of golf. All of us like to think of…

Evaluate The Student And Yourself

The Student You are in your office, or behind the counter of the pro shop, or maybe on the driving range finishing your lesson and waiting for the next lesson. Wherever you are, your lesson starts when you immediately see your student, or students, approaching you. You are now in teaching mode. No words are used as you are analyzing the visual aspects of the approaching student. The student is giving you signals, or body language, as to their personality and emotional state. As the student approaches, you study the following:   The walk: Is their walk smooth or jerky? Do they move athletically? Is their stride long or short and jerky? Smooth walkers usually will have a smoother flow to their body movements, and perhaps their golf swing. Short-stride walkers will usually take a short backswing and rush the swing.   How is…

Dream Foursomes

USGTF members identify their ideal foursomes and imagine the resultant teaching applications. “As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.” – Ben Hogan Everyone who loves golf strives to master it, alife long pursuit. Somewhere along the way, discoveries are made: customized equipment for one’s game, favorite courses one has played and others one longs to experience, prominent players whose techniques one respects and tries to emulate, and determination of how best to teach others the skills one has learned – a way of passing the torch. Yet what these objective factors overlook is perhaps the most powerful element of all: imagination. Visualizing a perfect ball flight, contemplating hitting every fairway, envisioning putting with a deft touch and unwavering confidence…all can lead to greater success on the…

Shorter Driver

There is a new trend in the world of professional golf:  shorter drivers.  I’m not referencing the actual driving distance, but rather the length of the actual club.  Ricky Fowler and Jimmy Walker are two players who have reduced the length of their driver.  If the some of the best players in the world are doing this, should your students do this as well? As golf teaching professionals, one of the most common requests from a student is the desire to hit the ball farther.  From an amateur to members of the PGA Tour, everyone wants the distance.  So why is shortening the length of the driver shaft a good thing? A few things occur when you shorten the driver shaft.  It’s easier to hit the ball more solidly; with…

USGTF REGIONAL SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED

Southwest Region (Bruce Sims, Director) – The USGTF Southwest Region Championship will be held Saturday and Sunday, May 20-21, 2017, at Ridgeview Ranch (more…)

EDITORIAL – PROGRESS REPORT

By Cole Golden, USGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional In school we normally received a progress report every semester. It showed where your (more…)

The Madness of Golf Instruction

The great Bob Torrance, father of European Tour legend Sam Torrance, was once asked by Ernie Els to have a look at his swing. Els had been struggling with his game and had recently missed several cuts. He was certain there was some flaw in his backswing. Bob Torrance had been walking the driving range, a common sight back then at many European Tour events. Mr. Torrance didn’t say a word. He looked at Els’ swing from several different teaching positions. This went on for about 10 minutes. Not a word. Then he said directly and in his stylistic way, “There is nothing wrong with your swing. Now go play golf!” Ernie Els won the British Open the following week. In my opinion, there is a disturbing trend in modern…

Memories From A Lifetime In Golf

Observing my 11-year old son grow up in the game of golf is such a wonderful gift. As I watch him traverse the golf course, it brings back my own childhood memories. My son is lucky; his poppa plays golf and is a golf professional. I did not have such a luxury as a kid. While my son has been playing golf since he could walk, I started relatively late – the ripe old age of 13. It started when I found a broken club in a trash bin. A little duct tape and voila, my journey began. I grew up in a large athletic family; however, nobody in my family really played golf. Later, I found out that my grand poppa had been a scratch golfer in the 1920s.…

Progress Report

In school we normally received a progress report every semester. It showed where your grades were and would give you a good idea of where you were doing well or where you needed to improve. In golf, we need to do this also, but it comes in two different forms. As a player, we need to assess where we are, both good and bad. It can be like a report card with A, B, C, D or F grades. Beyond the grade, we need to add notes that get specific on what needs to be worked on. Once we have our progress report, then we can design our practice routine to help our improvement. This is called self-evaluation, something a lot of us are already doing. Our students need help…

Breaking Out of a Slump

Not long ago, Rory McIlroy was the number one player in the world. With four majors, amazing power and youth on his side, it seemed like Rory would dominate golf for years to come. Then he fell into an amazing putting slump. Rory recently mentioned that he lost his confidence so bad that he only believed that he could make three-footers. Anything longer than that would be a struggle and it was! Then Rory did something very smart to break out of his putting slump. He changed everything. He changed his putting instructor, his grip and his putter. It worked. He went from one of the worst putters on the PGA Tour for the past two years to having one of the best putting performances at the Deutsche Bank Championship.…

Bagpipes and Golf Clubs

As the gentleman left the last green and headed for his golf cart, he was muttering under his breath and whacking his putter into the ground. His playing partner politely asked, “What’s up, Herbie?”“Well, I will give you a hint,” replied Herbie. “The same people that invented golf think that music comes out of bagpipes!” Scots will have you believe they invented golf and they invented the Great Highland Bagpipe. Neither is true, but there is no doubt the Scots have taken possession of the myth and have made each what they are today. We can thank them and curse them, as we often do. Playing golf and playing bag-pipes are equally difficult, even at the beginner stage! I have been playing golf for 40 or so years. I got my handicap down to 10 at one time,…

Forget Trying To Play Like A Pro Unless You’re Willing To Put In The Time

From 1977 to 2013, there were six rounds of 59 scored on the PGA tour. That is a span of 36 years. Already this year there have been two rounds under 60. There was even a 58 shot on the Web.com tour. Professional golfers are overpowering courses of late. Justin Thomas just shot 27 under par to win the Sony Open with the lowest 72-hole total in history. At the recent Tournament of Champions, seven golfers hit drives over 400 yards with Dustin Johnson topping the charts at 427. I would need a driver and 3-iron to get where Dustin did in one shot. I guess this is the future of golf. The question I pose: Is all this good for golf? For the pros, maybe, but for the average…

Current Trends in Teaching and Coaching

Ever since the first golf teachers and coaches emerged hundreds of years ago in Scotland, these professions have continually evolved. From the feathery-era St. Andrews swing to today’s modern action, technique has evolved as more knowledge and data permeate the teaching profession. Coaching practices also have evolved as motor learning techniques have become more refined, and other aspects of developing competitive players have taken on importance. First, a reminder:  Teaching involves imparting instruction on technique and various aspects of the game such as the swing, rules, etiquette, etc., while coaching involves preparing golfers for competition. Some teachers coach, and some coaches teach, but there is a definite distinction between the two. Here are the current trends in each: TEACHING If you watch a televised event these days, you often see players taking what appear to be over-the-top practice swings, with players such as Matt Kuchar and…

The Competitive Player

The Balance Between Practicing and Playing Competitive golfers have to balance many factors when it comes to their golf careers, whether they are full-time professional players, up-and-comers, nationally-ranked or state-ranked amateurs, or those serious about playing in the city championship or winning the weekly Nassau at their home club.  Time spent on the course vs. leisure activities, time spent in the gym vs. rest, and eating healthy vs. the occasional splurge are all parts of the balancing act that these players face. No less part of the equation is the time spent practicing vs. the time spent playing. You will hear advocates on both sides of the debate touting why it’s better to play more or to practice more. Back in the 1990s, there is the case of one Division I college golf team in Florida that spent the vast…

Spring Trip

As I glance out the window, snow is falling along with the temperature.  Playing golf is a ways off in our neck of the woods, just like it is for many of my fellow golf teaching professionals. So, what can we do to bide the time until we can play outdoors?  This is the time to plan indoor teaching, maybe even rebrand our teaching business.  It is also a chance to take a little trip with some students. Students are just like us, they get stir crazy this time of year.  They want to play golf and enjoy some sunshine.  Now is a great time to offer your students a chance to go on a golf vacation with personalized instruction from you.  Done properly, you won’t have to pay much for…

Rule Changes I’d Like to See for Faster Play

Every so often, the USGA will review and make changes to the rule book. I have been less than impressed with the last few efforts on their part. Since slow play is a major source of complaints about golf these days, maybe they should turn their efforts to changes that would speed up the game. I have three suggestions that would help. First would be to change the search rule from 5 minutes to 1 minute. I know that people hate to lose golf balls, especially Pro-V1s that most people should not even be using. But come on, if you can’t afford to lose one, then play a cheaper ball. If you don’t see it within a minute, then move on with your life. That brings me to the second…

Evaluating Technology’s for Your Instruction Program

The beginning of the year is the perfect time to evaluate your instruction program and find the keys to becoming more successful. Thousands of instructors over the last ten years have utilized technology to gain more students and improve the quality of their lessons. But you may have asked yourself what and how you can do the same? Launch monitors, dynamic balance mats, high-tech swing apparatuses, dynamic putting analysis systems and body position feedback vests have vaulted golf instruction into the 21st century. The two main concerns of these high-tech items for any instructor are the ease of use, and of course, the cost. Looking at ease of use, instructors need to be diligent and do their homework. The first step is finding out from the source of the technology…

USGTF SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE

Facebook and Twitter are two mainstays of social media, and the USGTF is active on both fronts.  You can find the USGTF on Facebook (more…)

High School Golf: The Beginning

This past fall I received a call from a local high school coach about helping their freshman team. While some high school programs have experienced players, most don’t, especially when it comes to girls’ golf. Some of the players have never played or even been on a golf course. This particular golf coach wanted me to teach the players about golf course etiquette, rules and course strategy. The first day we all met in the clubhouse to go over Golf 101. Lots of diagrams and basic information. The girls did a great job asking questions. For the next few practices we walked a couple of holes on the course. We discussed basic concepts: where to stand when someone is hitting, who plays their golf shot first, rules infractions, where to…

DUES REMINDER FOR 2017

If you’re a current member in good standing with the USGTF, we want to say “thank you” for being a part of our family of golf (more…)

TECHNOLOGY, MODERN TEACHING

When I started teaching golf twenty years ago, there wasn’t very much technology available to the average player.  If you were lucky, you might have had a video camera to film someone’s golf swing.  You would video your student, take the tape out of the camera, and then go inside to find a television to watch and break down their golf swing.  Times have changed! Today, technology is in every part of golf, from fitting clubs and teaching the golf swing to looking at the putting stroke.  While watching the game on TV, you see the ProTracer technology in use.  Launch monitors have changed the way golf is taught, because they provide instantaneous feedback.  No longer do you have to wait to see your golf swing; each shot can be…

FLEXIBILITY

As winter enters most areas of the country, now is a great time to brainstorm with your students on things they can do to improve their golf games for the spring.  One area most players want to improve is gaining distance.  One of the quickest ways to improve distance is to increase your flexibility. As people get older, they lose their flexibility and have to make a conscious choice to work on it.  As golf teaching professionals, we can recommend programs to them to help improve in this area.  If they work on their flexibility all winter, come spring they will be ready to jump back into lessons and already be on the right track to improve their game. A few years ago, I partnered with a local fitness instructor…

Of Old Golf Clubs And Spiders!

I am Norm’s driver. I am a Callaway FT-9. I know, I am a bit old. But Norm is really old. He is older than some of the dirt that flies in the air when he hits a fat shot with me (all too often, I might add). At the moment, I am in a corner in the basement. I have been here for over a year!  I was put here to “learn a lesson.”  Old Norm thinks that by having me stand in the corner of the cold and dark basement, when I get out I will be so happy I will behave and he will hit straight drives again. Give me a break! This is not the first time I have been down here. This seems to happen more and more…

Belief And The Competitive Player

By Mark Harman USGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional When I first picked up a golf club at the age of 12 in 1974, I immediately dreamed of playing on the Tour and making a living as a professional golfer. I always enjoyed competition, whether it be Little League baseball, golf, or playing in a pickup football or basketball game. That first year I played, I was shooting around 50 for nine holes by the end of summer, so I made double bogey my “par.” I remember playing in “tournaments”as I tooled my way around the course, my imagination running wild as I tried to better my personal par of 54. When I got into high school, I went out for the golf team but wasn’t good enough to crack either the varsity or junior varsity (JV) lineup as a freshman. I kept at it, and as a sophomore I was able to make it as…

GROWING THE GAME

There has been a lot of recent discussion about the game of golf losing golfers.  There have been many theories about why this seems to be happening.  In my opinion, this is a natural ebb and flow that has been exaggerated and misunderstood.  Let’s explore some of these issues. The National Golf Foundation (NGF) numbers are showing a net loss of golfers in America compared to a decade ago.  However, what is hidden in this statistic is that the NGF numbers were greatly inflated by counting “very” occasional golfers who play only a few outings a year.  In the past, these golfers were lumped into the avid golfer category.  This grossly inflates the numbers.  For example, if you ask random people if they have played golf, many will say yes,…

FOLLOW US CUP ACTION ONLINE

If you are unable to make it to Scottsdale, Arizona, this month for the 21st playing of the United States Golf Teachers Cup, fear not, (more…)

RENEW YOUR ANNUAL DUES

Your USGTF membership may now be renewed online, and we once again would like to bring you some special offers! (more…)

His Body Wasn’t Strong Enough To Carry His Heart Any Longer

Words similar to these were once written about Ben Hogan’s legs after his near-fatal crash in Texas. Arnold Palmer was a hero to everyone in the golf world. There have been tons of tributes, all richly deserved. Like many young lads, he is the man who got me interested in golf. I remember watching the Masters with my dad when Arnold rolled in a putt on 17 that propelled him to a win in 1958 or 1960. I can’t remember which, but does it really matter? I instantly became one of his army. I regaled in his victories and agonized in his defeats. I never actually met him in person, but there are two times that he touched my life. The first was when I was in college at the…

TIME FOR A CHANGE

We see it happen on the PGA Tour all the time: a player leaves a golf teaching professional for another teacher.  There can be a number of reasons, such as the player is not improving, there is a difference on what direction the player should go, or the player feels that it is time for a fresh start.  As a golf teaching professional, how do you handle this decision?  When is it time to make a change? Some teachers take it very personal to the point where they hope the student doesn’t have the same caliber of success.  On the other hand, there are a number of teachers who will do everything they can to make the transition a positive one.  I once heard of a top teacher who would…

The Four Stages of Learning and What They Mean to Teachers

Noel Burch worked for Gordon International Training in the 1970s, a company founded by Dr. Thomas Gordon to help train people in various disciplines such as leadership, conflict resolution, personal development, and teaching. Burch came up with a learning model titled “Four Stages of Learning Any New Skill,”and he and Gordon co-authored a book in 1974 titled T.E.T., Teacher Effectiveness Training. The aim of the book was to help teachers to bring out the best in their students and for parents to aid in their child’s learning development. It has been said that great teachers are also great thieves, as they “steal” the proven ideas of others in order to be the best that they can be. Burch’s model works well with teachers in all fields, and golf is no exception – so we’ll “steal” it for our purposes. The…

I WOULD VOTE OUT BUBBA

On a popular website I was browsing, there was a voting question on the captain’s Ryder Cup picks. The choice was which person to leave off among Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, J.B. Holmes, Matt Kuchar, or Jim Furyk. When you place your vote the results are posted, and although close, the man out was Furyk. He would seem to be the logical choice, not having won a tournament for some time in spite of recently shooting the lowest score ever recorded at a PGA Tour event. In world rankings, he is lower than the others, also. If I were the captain, however, he is the guy I would want on my team. So the logical question – why discard Bubba? He certainly would get the gallery hopped up. My main…

TAKING IT TO THE COURSE

Many times, my students talk to me about their inability to score well on the course.  They feel like they strike the ball on the range at a level that would suggest low scores. I take this opportunity to point out the differences between tour pros and everyone else. Tour pros are willing to assess a situation and make the correct decision, based on all of the given circumstances. For instance, in terms of the short game, the pros, the most talented players on the planet, select a club and shot that seems easy to them. They don’t want to use their considerable talent playing hard shots. Instead, they try to play a shot that they are likely to execute 98% of the time. When chipping up a hill, the most accomplished…

EDITORIAL – OLYMPICS GOLF A HUGE SUCCESS

By Mark Harman, USGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional It was met with skepticism, and some of the top male players stayed away, but after it was all said and done, golf in the Olympics made what can only be (more…)

STILL ROOM FOR IGPA MASTERS CLASS

Dr. Gregg Steinberg will be hosting a masters level course for the International Golf Psychology Association on Wednesday, October 12 in Scottsdale, (more…)

USGTF ADDS NEW PARTNER

Ontal is the world’s leading custom golf and athletic apparel company. Now they also own the Corporate Golf Wellness business that has been a huge success for over 20 years. (more…)

Fairways For Warriors Making A Difference

USGTF Certified Golf Teaching Professional Dennis Daugherty from Clermont, Florida, has a passion for giving back. Through his work organizing golf events for the American Cancer Society, United Way, Make A Wish Foundation and others, Daugherty’s efforts reap rewards for those who face life’s difficulties. Most recently, he has worked with a group called Fairways for Warriors, an organization that has as its mission providing golf instruction, equipment, and outings for combat-wounded veterans. This helps with the rehabilitation process through physical, cognitive, social, and emotional health benefits through the game of golf. In addition, families are aided through their participation in the programs. According to its website, “Warriors can’t heal alone, so Fairways for Warriors events and support community is open to the families of wounded warriors, as well. We provide…

Getting Worse Before Getting Better (more to the story)

Golf professional helping young man with his swing“You have to get worse before you get better” is a mantra of golf teaching professionals throughout the years, and is also generally accepted by most golfers. This saying refers to making swing changes, with the belief that a person’s performance will suffer during the transitioning phase from getting rid of old habits and ingraining new ones. You might see someone undergoing a swing change who hits almost every ball poorly, but they stick with it under the guise of getting worse before getting better. However in fact, this person may not actually be on the right path. The question becomes, how can we distinguish between someone getting worse who will eventually get better, as opposed to someone getting…

Is Teaching Golf Getting Too Complicated?

It used to be that a golf student would come to a teacher, explain what was wrong and what the desired outcome was, and the teacher would come up with a simplistic plan to fix the problem. In perusing the Internet these days, some people make it seem like you need a Ph.D. in teaching golf to be effective. Below are some real quotes from golf forums and the like found on the Internet: “External cues and Socratic method teaching.” “Would it be logical to assume that the more v (speed) the more A (centripetal) will line up with the line between the weight and the fulcrum?” “20% Technique, 20% Golf IQ, 30% On-Course Decision Making, 30% Peak State of Performance.” “We have been working to correct his swing plane number…

Feel Is Real…Or Is It?

Healthy human beings are gifted with five senses: sight, sound, feel, smell, and taste. And three of those can be used in imparting golf instruction, unless someone has found a way to also incorporate smell and taste into a lesson. Now, wouldn’t that be interesting! In many lesson scenarios, it’s common to hear the teacher keep up a running monologue for the duration of the lesson. Such teachers are sound-based, or audio-based, where most of the instruction is imparted via the spoken word. Other teachers like to demonstrate often during the lesson by hitting many shots. One has to wonder whether they’re just trying to sneak in some practice on their own games by teaching this way. However, there actually may be some merit in this type of teaching, as it addresses the visual portion of…

A GOLFER’S FEEL

Feel is a part of many sports:  hockey, basketball, baseball, and especially golf, to name a few.  Also common to each sport is the importance of the right mechanics.  When both are executed at a high level, then greatness can be achieved.  There are times, though, that the right feel outweighs the importance of mechanics. Recently at The Open Championship at Royal Troon, Phil Mickelson was in contention from day one.  He was driving it well, hitting good iron shots, putting and scrambling like only Phil can.  During the last round in the now-famous duel with Henrik Stenson, Mickelson did something very few golfers would ever do, especially during in the hunt of the last round of a major. Phil normally putts using a “saw”-type grip.  He moves his lower…

USGTF MEMBER VIDEOS SOUGHT

Have some great information you want to share with the rest of the world? Now is your chance. The USGTF is looking for members (more…)

GRAND CANYON STATE WELCOMES U.S. CUP

Arizona becomes the 10th state to host the United States Golf Teachers Cup, and Talking Stick’s North Course in Scottsdale is the venue. For the past four years, (more…)

TIGHT SHIRTS

Here we go again! During the year’s British Open telecast, Johnny Miller, working his first ever Open, spouted out commentary which once again leaves some raising their eyebrows, while others cheer his candor. Some players despise his brutal honestly, some choose to ignore and laugh, while viewers/listeners are offered the option of tuning out or debating his hypotheses. I fall in the latter. There’s nothing like a good debate. His latest views were directed toward Rory McIlroy’s skin-tight wardrobe’s ability to espouse the benefits of his workout routine, to which we’re all somewhat privy via various social media forums. His comments as follows: “Golf is a game of finesse and touch that requires a certain amount of strength, and Rory has a little too much of the latter.” “I think he…

The Private Lesson

It’s been a staple of golf instruction since the first teaching professional set up shop: the private lesson. The private lesson has evolved over the years, but it still features a student who wishes to play better golf and a teacher plying his or her trade. What makes for a proper private lesson? The answer is an inventory of the student’s desires and a plan of action that the student can accomplish. How this comes about is largely involved in the art portion of teaching, but today’s teacher has an arsenal of scientific hi-tech teaching aids that can help pin point the answer to the student’s problems to a degree never seen before. Most teachers, though, don’t have access to these gadgets, many of them not being cost-feasible. They still…

HONOR

Many discussions have been held regarding Dustin Johnson’s ball moving during the final round of the U.S. Open and the resulting ruling.  For those who might not remember the scenario, Dustin was on the green early in his round and prior to addressing the ball, the ball rolled backwards about a one-half of an inch.  D.J. called the walking rules official over and informed him of what happened.  The official said there was no penalty and they moved on.  A few holes later, a few officials came back onto the course to let D.J. know there was a rules violation and that they would visit after the round. Golf differs from other games in many ways.  One of the major differences is that the golfers will call rules infractions on…

THE IMPORTANCE OF CONTINUING EDUCATION

Golf is a game of conundrums and opposites. This fact is evident throughout all aspects of the game. Nothing is a better example than the contrast between the old traditions of instruction and the new methods and technology of modern-day golf. Watching the old Bobby Jones instructional videos really brought this to light for me. Some of the basic core foundations of teaching are explained and demonstrated by Jones. If you have never taken the time to watch them, I would highly recommend you doing so. Not just for the entertainment value, but as a professional golf instructor. He didn’t need video or a launch monitor. As a contrast, we have ball-flight launch monitors, detection devices that hook on your club delivering incredible data, sophisticated training aids, the 24/7 instruction from cable television, and of course, loads of golf instruction content readily available on…

The Importance Of Continuing Education

Golf is a game of conundrums and opposites. This fact is evident throughout all aspects of the game. Nothing is a better example than the contrast between the old traditions of instruction and the new methods and technology of modern-day golf. Watching the old Bobby Jones instructional videos really brought this to light for me. Some of the basic core foundations of teaching are explained and demonstrated by Jones. If you have never taken the time to watch them, I would highly recommend you doing so. Not just for the entertainment value, but as a professional golf instructor. He didn’t need video or a launch monitor. As a contrast, we have ball-flight launch monitors, detection devices that hook on your club delivering incredible data, sophisticated training aids, the 24/7 instruction from cable television, and of course, loads of golf instruction content readily available on…

WHO JUDGES THE GUARDIANS?

To say I am disappointed in the USGA would be an understatement. The Dustin Johnson decision is just the culmination of several abuses of power I feel have originated from the body in recent years. Sometimes, when organizations get so wrapped up in their so-called authority, they can easily lose perspective. I saw this happen often when I worked in the corporate world. A company or facility would become so enthralled with being recognized as experts in the field that they just brushed aside any new ideas as not worthy of recognition. They just felt they knew best, and if you didn’t like it, too bad. When it comes to golf, rules are important, but they should be cut-and-dried. Play the ball as it lies…out of bounds…stoke and distance. It…

Rule Changes For 2016

Every four years, the USGA and R&A meet to determine any changes to the Rules of Golf. Some of these changes are of little significance to the average golfer, while some are of great importance. Here are the changes for 2016: RULE 6-6d, WRONG SCORE FOR A HOLE Did you incur a penalty that you were unaware of in a tournament, but still turned in your scorecard? Prior to 2016, if this happened to you,you were disqualified. With this new Decision,under certain circumstances, the competitor is no longer disqualified. Do you remember a few years ago when Tiger Woods incorrectly dropped a ball while taking a stroke-and-distance penalty at the 15th hole at the Masters? Normally he would have been disqualified, but the committee ruled that they were aware of the situation before Woods turned in his scorecard and yet did nothing to…

MATCH PLAY

Last week I was watching the NCAA Men’s Championship on TV.  The tournament format is match play:  first team to three wins is the champion.  This style of play is always entertaining because of the ups and downs of the match.  One player is leading by a few holes, and then the other player makes a comeback.  It’s real-life golf drama. I noticed that I was becoming more and more engaged in the matches, cheering on the great shots and the players’ recovery shots.  There were a number of times a player seemed to be out of the hole; one player had an advantage by hitting a good shot to set up a birdie effort, and the other player, who seemed to be out of position, would either make a…

VISIONS OF A GREAT TEACHER

Golf is not a game alone, but a means of developing people, pleasant people with good attitude and strong character.  Coaches and partners are committed to shifting the culture of golf from tips, formulas and answers, to one of exploration, discovery and freedom. As a teacher and coach, it is important in recognizing what is his/her ability, and re-defining what is possible for him/her in learning this game.  We must also teach how to learn and how to integrate on the course.  Learn how to access concentration and how to practice productivity, and also discover how to self-coach in areas of specific interest. As teachers of the game, our commitment is to empower our student to step into the heart and soul of the game, and to use it to…

THE POWER OF OBSERVATION

Technology abounds. Every golfer wants it and many teachers love using it. Be it video, 3-D motion capture, launch monitors, foot-pressure pads, rangefinders, or the latest and greatest golf club technology, the world of golf has become obsessed with technology and its perceived ability to improve one’s game. There is no doubt there are some great tools out there to assist us in our teaching, along with giving us the reputation amongst our clients as being at the cutting edge of the instruction industry. We should all remember they are present to assist and not replace the human factor of observation. As instructors, we must first and foremost begin with observation and prioritize what we see. How often are we doing this in every lesson? I can personally go on about…

GOLF – THE GAME OF LOST FAVORITES

I used to know the golf tour stops. There was Riviera, the Crosby and Hope, Doral, Harbour Town and Greater Greensboro. Now there is the Frys.com, Valspar, Quicken Loans and the Dean & Deluca, not to mention all the other corporate-sponsored events that seem to change every couple of years. I have been involved with the tournament in Tampa for some time. It started as the JC Penny Classic. Since then it has been named the Buick, Chrysler, Pods, Transitions, EverBank and Valspar. A game steeped in tradition has abandoned the moniker for cash. I guess it was inevitable; it takes a lot of green to conduct a tournament, what with million-dollar payouts and infrastructure to attract fans and sponsors. Still, to name Hogan’s alley at Colonial the Dean &…

TOO MANY THOUGHTS?

While I was recently watching The Players, one of the analysts on Golf Channel was speaking about Jordan Spieth and showed him videoing his putting stroke before the round started.  The debate was that if you think about mechanical thoughts, then you are unable to putt freely.  Jordan was for; the analyst against.  I can see both sides. Some players don’t like advice about or to think mechanical thoughts while playing a tournament round – the ol’ “take to the course the shots you have on the range” type of motto.  These players are more focused on feel than trying to fix whatever might be wrong with their game at the moment. Other players are very technical and want all the tips and advice they can get.  Maybe Jordan is…

GOLF FITNESS

In the past few years, nagging lower back issues have hampered my golf swing and everyday lifestyle. I have hit over 5 million golf balls over the last 30-plus years, and it has taken its toll. The interesting thing is that when I am warmed up, the pain often subsides. I enjoy many different sports besides golf: cross-training, cycling, swimming, running, triathlons, tennis, etc. I have noted often that I am capable of lifting or moving large amounts of weights during the exercises, but sitting at a desk for three hours can sometimes be excruciating. The same scenario has also happened to my should and upper back. Different doctors, therapists and chiropractors have told me different theories and treatments, some which have aided, but none in a great way. However,…

USGTF REGIONAL NEWS

SIMS CAPTURES SOUTHWEST CROWN USGTF Southwest Region director Bruce Sims hosted the region championship this past May 14-15, and decided that as long as he was (more…)

CGTF MEMBER BATH PENS NEW BOOK

CGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional Bill Bath has written a new book titled Golf Yoda’s Action Golf. Bath has simplified the swing into (more…)

WGTF WELCOMES SOUTH AMERICA

USGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional Bill Picca recently traveled to Bolivia to conduct a certification course for the newly formed South American (more…)

THE PERFECT TIME TO FIND YOUR JOY IN TEACHING

Spring is the most exciting time of year for golfers. That is obvious to anyone that plays the game. For teachers of the game, summer brings the opportunity to find the true joy of teaching. As I moved through my career and began teaching better and more serious golfers, I found myself gradually developing a very dour attitude towards lessons. I didn’t notice the change as it was happening, but now looking back, I should have been more introspective. While on the subject, being introspective is a very important trait for a golf instructor. At one point, I began to realize the joy I had been addicted to early in my teaching career wasn’t there. So, the opportunity presented itself – almost out of fate, it seems, as I reflect…

NO RESPECT FOR EVERYDAY GOLF TEACHERS

Just saw an ad recently that finished with this: “Go directly to the place that will improve your game with all the equipment and apparel you need.” What a country – you can buy improvement. And people continue to buy into this nonsense. If it was just the equipment, then how come some top tour pros struggle when they change brands? I have a friend who buys every new driver that TaylorMade puts out. His scores are still the same, but he swears he is just killing the ball. I guess whatever makes you happy. Another fellow came to me for some lessons and said he could not hit his new irons. So I watched him hit a few shots. Top, top, fat, top and slice. I asked him how…

The Technology Contrarian

Today’s equipment, or the advances in technology over the last 10 years or so, have (apparently) helped today’s average golfer, but hindered the career of perhaps the greatest talent who has ever played the game in Tiger Woods. As you can probably tell, you know where I’m going with this. I’ll admit at times I’m a contrarian, but not without doing research. Let’s take, for example, Trackman and the data it provides us from the touring professionals. Contrary to popular belief, the “average” PGA Tour player does not hit up on the ball (positive angle of attack or “AoA”). The average AoA amongst the men is -1.3 degrees, whereas amongst the women professionals it’s +3 degrees. As well, there is an astronomical difference in average clubhead speed, where the women…

The Turning Point

Chris Richards of Trinidad and Tobago was only 12 years old when he was first introduced to the world of golf, and he believes that event changed his life forever.  His older cousin Marlon Nunes, who was a caddie at the Chaguaramas Golf Club, encouraged Chris to come and work at the course to make some extra money, and Marlon promised to show him the “ropes.” Chris didn’t know a thing about golf – he had never swung a club before – but the second that he did, he fell head over heels in love with the game. “I picked up the club, swung, and missed completely!” mused Chris, “But that just made me want to try again. So I kept trying and I haven’t stopped since.” At that time, Chris…

Handicapping

Handicapping, as in horse racing, allows players of differing abilities to compete on an equitable basis with each other.  Each player is assigned a handicap index that results from the scores recorded for that player, is revised over time, and moves up or down as the player submits scores and his game changes. The handicap index is calculated to one decimal place so your index may look like this: 13.4.  You will also have a course handicap for your home course, which will usually be a different number of 1 or 2 digits, e.g., 15 if you propose to play competitively on another course.  The important number that you must carry is your handicap index. There is no minimum handicap index, but the USGA recommends a maximum index of 36.4…

RIP IT

Anyone who watched the Match Play Championship this past March in Austin, Texas, witnessed Jason Day playing some great golf.  I noticed something about him that is very interesting.  He always seems to swing the club in an aggressive manner.  You never see him swing too easy or try to guide his shot. Day played this way at last year’s PGA Championship, as well.  Even with Jordan Spieth right on his heels, he always swung the club hard and aggressively.  Referencing back to this match play tournament, even when he was up in a few matches, he kept the same “rip it” type of swing.  There are some good points we can learn from Day’s swing to teach our students. When someone tries to slow down their swing or “guide…

USGTF CENTRAL REGION NEWS

The USGTF Central Region Championship will be held Sunday and Monday, August 7-8, at Lake Forest Golf Club in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (more…)

USGTF NORTHEAST REGION NEWS

USGTF Northeast Region director John Savage has announced his retirement as region director effective April 1. Savage has been instrumental in the growth (more…)

USGTF SOUTHEAST REGION NEWS

The 9th annual USGTF Southeast Region Championship will be held Saturday and Sunday, July 30-31, at GlenLakes Country Club (more…)

USGTF NORTHWEST REGION NEWS

The second annual USGTF Northwest Region Championship will be held Thursday and Friday, May 19-20, at Eagle Springs Golf Course (more…)

USGTF SOUTHWEST REGION NEWS

The USGTF Southwest Region Championship will be played Saturday and Sunday, May 14-15, at Ridgeview Ranch Golf Club in Plano, Texas. (more…)

MEMBER PROFILE – ED KOEPP

July 4 is Independence Day in the United States, but it also has a deeper meaning to USGTF member Ed Koepp – that’s the day that he first played golf. Back on that day in 1947, at the age of 10, Koepp (more…)

IS IT POSSIBLE TO REVERSE COURSE?

Seems like talk of changing golf always comes up this time of year. Most likely because the Masters is just around the corner, which signifies the start of the golf season for many north of the Mason-Dixon Line. I have recently seen discussions of rolling back the golf ball or creating a tournament ball. The subject of bifurcation has come up again, also; bifurcation, a glorified term for having a different set of rules for pros and amateurs. Like amateurs don’t play by different rules already. How many times have you seen mulligans off the first tee or inside-the-leather happy zones? Those same golfers then go in and post scores and receive handicaps. Every time I see or hear such talk, I am reminded of phrases like, “How you going…

THE MOST IMPORTANT SHOT

Those who watched the World Golf Championship at Doral this year saw something very interesting.  Adam Scott tried to drive the short par-4 16th hole.  His tee shot went just over the green in a bunker.  It was a very straightforward bunker shot, on the upslope with a good lie.  What happened next was the interesting part. He shanked his bunker shot.  It almost went into the other greenside bunker.  It was a horrible shot, in fact, and embarrassing to the point that Scott apologized to his caddie for hitting the shot.  Now he is short-sided in deep rough with an awkward stance.  Scott was able to shake off the shanked bunker shot and focus on the most important shot, his next shot. He hit a great flop shot and…

Teaching Junior Golfers

I have been teaching golf a long time.  Golf has brought me all over the world, whether it be as a player or as an instructor.  Through the thousands of hours of teaching golf, I have had the opportunity to work with some of the best instructors imaginable.  I have also had the chance to work with some really great students who elevated their game to high levels. Hap Hazard is a golf teaching pro at Bucket O’ Balls Driving Range. He’s normally on time for his first lesson of the day, but as the morning wears on and morphs into afternoon, Hap is far behind on his lesson schedule. Mr. Smith arrives for his noon appointment, only to find that Hap can’t see him until 12:20. Mr. Smith decides…

CLUB CHAMPION AND THE USGTF

Club Champion, the country’s premier golf club fitter and retailer with locations nationwide, would like to introduce USGTF members to its Partner Program. (more…)

NEW USGTF MANUAL AVAILABLE

The second edition of How To Teach Golf: The American Golf Teaching Method is now available to all USGTF and WGTF members. The manual has been updated and streamlined to present the most up-to-date (more…)

ENJOY THE FRUSTRATION

Recently, I played a round of golf with three friends of mine.  The game was put together last-minute. and everyone was rushing to get to the course.  We all arrived about the same time, a few minutes prior to our tee time. No one hit a range ball or a practice putt, just walked right up to the first tee. Of course, as golf teaching professionals, we are not new to this; a typical day includes rushing from the lesson tee or the pro shop to the first tee.  Sometimes the shots off the first tee are good, other times not so good.  This particular day, one of my friends hit a nice, low-running worm-burner about 150 yards.  He proceeded to chunk a couple shots, then finished off with a…

DUES REMINDER FOR 2016

USGTF membership dues for 2016 must be paid by Monday, February 29, in order to avoid a $100 reinstatement fee. USGTF membership (more…)

IGPA WELL RECEIVED

The USGTF’s golf psychology division, the International Golf Psychology Association, has been well received in its first month. An introductory rate of $199 (more…)

ONE IMPORTANT TRAIT

Having studied very successful golf instructors for many years, I have discovered one important trait that they all have in common that you do not see with the average golf teacher. This one thing goes right to the heart of how human beings learn physical motion. For the sake of space and your boredom, I won’t go deep into motor skill learning. The simplest way to understand how we learn motion is to think of how you learned to eat, drive or brush your teeth. Motor skill learning in its most basic form is repetitive motion that is learned and captured in the nerves that connect the brain to the muscles.  Having spent most of the last twenty years helping golf professionals learn to improve their teaching skills, the one…

CHANGE

Everyone has heard phrase about how the world is changing and you have to adapt to the change.  For some of us, this might be natural, while for others, it’s extremely hard.  Change is everywhere:  from the way people communicate, the way people learn, the way information is exchanged and the way information is taught. For about six years, I have been working with a young man who is a now a freshman in college.  The way he likes to communicate is via text messaging.  To me, this is somewhat strange.  I would call and he would not answer; shortly after he would text me. It took me a bit to figure out that texting was the best way to communicate with him.  He would text a novel, but face to face it was hard to get two words…

MY EXPERIENCE WITH FOOT GOLF

Our golf course just added a foot golf layout. For those unfamiliar with this new sport, an individual uses a soccer ball and kicks it down the fairway to a hole about the size of the top of a 55-gallon drum. There are flags in the hole so one knows where the hole ends. Each hole, like with a golf course, is different in length and weaves around trees and hazards. The purpose is to increase revenue and provide a fun outdoor activity to active people. Just like golf, you can play individually or in groups. Based on my observation thus far, it does not require a lot of skill, just a strong foot. The real question is what is the overall purpose of this activity? Was it designed to…

PAYING THE PRICE

We have all heard phrases about working hard to be successful or willing to never quit.  There are phrases on t-shirts, posters, and even coffee mugs.  The great Ben Hogan said to become great at golf, you need to “dig it out of the dirt,” meaning hitting a lot of range balls.  I’m sure your parents or mentors have also reinforced the philosophy that perseverance is the key to greatness. Even though hard work is important, I believe many of these phrases leave out an important fact.  You must love the sacrifice that hard work requires to reach your goals.  Let’s think about someone wanting to lose weight and get into the best shape of their life.  They can read some nutritional books, buy healthy foods and even join a…

CONTRIVED VS. NATURAL SWING

I’ll begin by acknowledging that this article may seem designed for the better player and I do hope my better players take heed, but I think we, as teachers, should always keep an eye to the future with our beginners. I want them to pursue scratch golf and they must be able to take their “range game” to the course. What I notice, increasingly, are range players who think hard about the motion of their swing in pursuit of “correctness” instead of reliability. I’ve gotten into the habit of asking myself, “Is that player using their contrived swing or natural swing?” This happens most with the highly trained athlete who has gained some level of success. That taste of success now leads them to want to improve with every practice session…

LAS VEGAS PRO-AM

USGTF members, Cole Golden and Grant Gulych are holding a Pro-Am in Las Vegas Friday February 26, 2016 and Saturday February 27, 2016. (more…)

EDITORIAL – MARKETING YOURSELF

By: Cole Golden, USGTF Member, Wichita, Kansas I was recently in an office waiting for my appointment when a salesman walked through the door.  He worked for the local phone book company. (more…)

RECAP OF WORLD GOLF TEACHERS CUP AND EDUCATIONAL TALKS

Do you want to relive some of the action from the recent World Golf Teachers Cup from Orlando? If so, we now have available video recapping the week’s events, including seminars from the guest speakers. Please visit www.WorldGolfTeachersCup.com and see how it all went down!  

MARKETING YOURSELF

I was recently in an office waiting for my appointment when a salesman walked through the door.  He worked for the local phone book company.  I was close enough to hear his conversation with the office manager.  She explained that most of their advertising is done via website and social media.  From his response, I could tell that it appeared as though he had heard that a few times. I started thinking about the way that we, as golf teaching professionals, market ourselves.  How many do people use the phone book to look up golf instructors?  I would guess not many, if any.  Websites are a great way to reach potential students, but there is cost associated with it.  Social media is free and fairly easy to create.  Between Facebook,…

THE TARGET – TO BE OR NOT TO BE?

As Yogi Berra once said, baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical. Golf, therefore, golf must be at least half that, correct? Ah, the mental game! What an all encompassing topic. Everything from our emotions and tactics to routine, visualization, swing thoughts, and much more. At a recent conference I attended, we were told the pre-eminent swing thought of all elite golfers (professional and amateur alike) in some form or another is always target-based. Apparently and according to some experts, there are studies (I don’t know which ones) demonstrating how this is a fact. In this same conference, a race car driver analogy was given, explaining how the driver only visualizes and focuses on the car’s trajectory or direction; hence, always target-oriented, and golf, like all sports,…

GREAT NEW TOOL TO HELP GOLFERS UNDERSTAND THE INNER GAME

As a golf coach, I am always looking for new ways to improve my coaching and my instruction program for my players and students. Over the years, I have been fortunate to help coach and develop some very good players.  At my indoor studio in Stuart, Florida, I have built a lot of great golf swings that have progressed into multiple all-area high school players and college players. As a coach, you learn that once the swing has been developed and the skill levels are achieved, it all comes down to the mental game and how the players think as they play and the way that they handle adversity on the course. Every now and then, a breakthrough technology comes along that improves the teaching process. Recently, I have come across a…

GOOD ANGER

We have all heard someone on TV or in person say a four-letter word after a bad shot.  Sometimes we might shake our heads, and other times we might understand the frustration.  How much anger should a player release after a bad shot? Some teachers say to stay level through the whole round, never getting too high or too low.  Others say to play with all emotions out for the world to see.  My preference falls in the middle.  As a player, you will have highs and lows in every round.  You need to be able to handle those mood changes to get the best out of your round. My motto has always been to give yourself five seconds to either celebrate a great shot or be upset about a…

SIMS NAMED HARVEY PENICK WINNER

Longtime USGTF member Bruce Sims was named the winner of the 2015 Harvey Penick Trophy for Excellence in Golf Teaching at the closing banquet and (more…)

SAMUELSSON, BRAZIL WIN WORLD CUP TITLES

Rebecca Samuelsson, a Swedish international currently residing in Kissimmee, Florida, became the first woman to capture the individual title at the 12th biennial World Golf Teachers Cup, (more…)

VISUALIZATION–PART OF YOUR PRE-SHOT ROUTINE

Pre-shot routine is generally seen as the series of events leading up to the playing of a golf shot. These repetitive movements. as the term “routine” implies, are a great benefit to consistent shotmaking. If you know what you did before you swung the club (grip, stance, ball position), then all you are trying to retrieve is what the swing felt like. You must re-trace your steps to build the ability to set up to the ball with a high level of consistency. Also, this routine builds a safe haven that keeps pressure away from us. We end up creating a “window of opportunity” that allows us to feel the optimum time for us to swing the club. I teach my students that visualization, seeing the successful result, is as important as…

GOLF ON YOU TUBE: THE GOOD AND THE EVIL

For those of us over 40, YouTube means funny cat videos and crazy athletic stunts. For some instructors, You Tube is a way to market your business and reach out to students you never thought you would have the chance to help. Just as it pertains to other aspects of life, the Internet is a double-edged sword. For the well-connected instructor, YouTube can be a great learning tool, especially when it comes to technical subjects like ball flight, launch monitors, or how to use a training aid. If you have clients under 30, chances are they watch YouTube for help with their golf game. This begs the question: Is this media avenue helping or hurting the golf teaching professional? Most of the millennial generation grew up connecting with technology. Smartphones, the…

DO WE REALLY NEED A PRESIDENTS CUP?

I love the Ryder Cup. Lots of tradition dating all the way back to 1927 at Worcester Country Club. Unfortunately, it’s a course that would never be considered for any event in the modern era. But that’s another discussion. I always look forward to the Ryder Cup matches. The Presidents Cup, not so much. Not that there aren’t good players involved; it just seems to be a contrived event to me. I believe it was started out of envy. The PGA Tour, not involved in the Ryder Cup, decided to create an event to call its own. It does get plenty of attention, so in that aspect I guess most of the golf world is happy. I just don’t find it that interesting. But hey, that is just me. Something…

BAD COURSE CONDITIONS

If you watch golf on TV every weekend, you will see beautiful golf courses in perfect condition.  The players rave about how good the greens are and how nice the course is.  For most of us, this might not be the case.  Many people may not even be aware that the “tour” courses are closed down for weeks, if not a month, prior to the event.  And most “tour” events are held in locations where monthly dues are extremely high. I recently met with a student who played a tournament on a course that was not in very good condition.  He complained that the greens were bumpy and the fairways were too thin.  If you have played golf at any level, you have experienced this.  I heard a story about…

PLAYING LIKE A PRO/GOING OLD SCHOOL

The average golfer may not have the physical skills of a pro, but they sure could use the tools of a pro, and I’m not talking the latest and greatest golf clubs. It’s called “six inches”…the gray matter between our ears. True story as recited by a kid I coach while playing a tournament:  He’s standing on a tee box of a par-3, looking at his pin sheet (where exactly the hole is situated on the green…how far on and how far to the right or left). In this case, it was in the middle of the green and 1 yard short of center. The tee blocks are adjacent to the plaque indicating the yardage to the center of the green, and in this case it was 174 yards. One…

2015 US MATCH PLAY RETURNS

The 4th annual United States Match Play Championship will be held Monday-Friday, November 30 – December 4, at Indian Hills Golf Course (more…)

JOURNEY THROUGH A ROUND OF GOLF

As my players start to enter tournaments, I try to get them ready for the mental ups and downs I know will surely happen. No amount of talking and teaching will sufficiently prepare them for the internal struggle. Everyone is different in that way, and an integral part of success is finding the frame of mind that allows us to compete and still maintain our composure. I many times tell them of the “four-hour journey.” During that four hours (a round of golf), there will likely be one hour of good golf, one hour of bad golf, and two hours of average golf. You must deal with each period of time in the most productive way. When you are in the good stretch of golf, it is important to take note…

THE “SECRET” TO THE GAME?

For the 40 years that I have played golf, I have been hearing about the so-called “Secret to the Game.” I suppose golfers consider this secret to be the shortcut to scratch golf, a pearl of knowledge that trumps all else. Ben Hogan told us to “dig it out of the dirt.” To me, this means don’t be so foolish; just practice hard and create your own method or “Secret.”   If you examine the method of any great player, some things are obvious. If you look at the way the best players hold the club (grip), there are many subtle variations that allow for great ballstriking. No two players have the same golf swing. When watching golf on TV, you’ll see everyone’s swing is different. There are quick, slow, short and…

MY TOP-THREE LIST OF THINGS THAT HAVE DAMAGED GOLF

Golf is a great game that would even be greater, in my opinion, except for three things that cause me angst: Number 3 – the Stimpmeter.  I actually have friends who call ahead to golf courses to find out what speed the greens are rolling, and refuse to play if not to their satisfaction. When I was growing up, no one gave a hoot about green speed.  Most greens were rather slow, but all we cared about is that they were smooth.  It was rare that balls would roll to the hole and then trickle five to six feet past. All speed has caused is interminable delays as people mark their third and fourth putts. Number 2 – distance.  That’s all we hear about now.  No one thinks about strategy.…

THE GAME IS ALWAYS BIGGER

“No one is bigger than the game.”  This is a famous quote from sport that is highly recognized amongst many who have devoted their lives to golf.  Then, “Hello world” appeared on the scene. As Tiger Woods played the game for a period of 7-8 years at a level perhaps higher than any predecessor, we were not only witnessing greatness, but history. He had no competition when he was playing his “B” game, let alone his “A” game. Yes, Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson conquered occasionally, but suffice it to say their respective stars and legacies would have shone far brighter be it not for Tiger’s presence. “Tiger-proofing” golf courses came in style; purses and TV ratings went ballistic; Nike launched  itself into the golf industry the moment Tiger donned…

WATER BALL?

A few weeks ago, my oldest daughter was getting ready for her golf play day at our club.  She was in the garage over by my old golf stuff digging around for something.  When I asked her what she needed, she said she needed some water balls.  I asked her why; she told me there were a few par-3s that had a lot of water, and she didn’t want to lose any of her newer golf balls. I laughed a little, then told her she needed to think positive and not negative thoughts.  We spoke about visualizing where we wanted the ball to land, and what it looks like in the air while flying towards our target.  We also spoke of how negative thoughts normally lead to negative outcomes. Like…

MAKING GOLF HARDER NOT THE WAY TO GO

While reading a recent copy of Golf Georgia, I saw where a golf course was changing its greens from bentgrass to Champion Bermuda.  If you’re familiar with turfgrass, you know that bentgrass greens can be difficult to maintain in the South.  However, this particular course in north Georgia wasn’t having this problem.  It seemed that the bentgrass greens made the game too easy, in their view. The director of golf was quoted in the magazine as saying, “When the greens were soft you could shoot at the pins and could hold your shot.” So as not to embarrass the involved parties, I won’t name the course or the director who made this remark, but since when did a green holding a shot become a bad thing?  Do they really want…

GOLF LEADERS PILING ON TRUMP ARE OUT OF BOUNDS

I don’t dislike Donald Trump. I don’t necessarily like him, either.  I have the same feeling for him as I have for the Yankees, Patriots, Packers and Montreal Canadiens.  I hate them because they are always beating my teams. But I have to admit I respect them because they are so successful. I certainly respect Trump’s success. He does what he says and says what he does. I think people in general admire people like that.  Mr. Trump has done a lot for golf.  I was fortunate to play at Trump International in Palm Beach awhile back.  The course was quite impressive and the operation was first class. Now, the odds that I could play any of his courses on a regular basis are a million-to-one, but I am okay…

THE INNOVATION FACTOR

The Winter 2016 edition of Golf Teaching Pro magazine will feature an article titled “The Innovation Factor.”  Here is an excerpt: (more…)

NEW GOLF TOUR RELIVES HISTORY

The Professional Hickory Golf Association, based in Tampa, Florida, announces the formation of the Tartan Tour on the Florida Historic (more…)