News From China

News From China

New from China By Toby Tse, USGTF-China Representative

We Conducted the first USGTF International Golf Psychology Association certification and training course on March 19 and 20. Training started at 8:30 a.m. and finished at 6:30 p.m., 10 hours each day. It covered the five sections, including all the drills and tests. Each section took approximately 3 1/2 hours to complete, with 2 1/2 hours teaching, a half-hour working on drills, and a half-hour on test papers.

Ten candidates registered and nine attended, with one missing due to work. Eight candidates passed and got certified, with one who failed and is attending the next course, including the no-show candidate.

New from ChinaThe two-day course was quite heavy and tight in timing. The students were loaded with tons of materials and information. We taught with a PowerPoint presentation of some 200 slides covering bullet points, and a hard copy handout of the full content was given to each student, with some 60 pages printed on both sides. The course was conducted in the Chinese language.

It took us more than two years to prepare the course. The most time-consuming jobs were the Chinese translation and preparation of the PowerPoint slides, where we had to pick the key points which were bell-ringing and had to search the pictures and photos for all the names mentioned. Due to cultural differences and the late start of golf in China, most Chinese students had no idea of those who were featured, including U.S. presidents, ancient philosophers, sport psychologists, famous sport coaches, and the older generation of golfers, even though they were in the Hall of Fame and had substantial influence and achievements. We had to show them the photos, histories and achievements of these people so that they would accept them as credible sources.

New from ChinaConclusion – the course is well organized and prepared with valuable information and insight to prepare the attendees to be better players and coaches, and to re-engineer the way they think, play and teach.

Due to cultural differences, we will be making some changes to the program, including mentioning some Chinese golfers. In any case, we won’t make drastic changes and will keep the original context and framework in its totality.

    New from ChinaNew from China
Golf In Korea

Golf In Korea

Golf In KoreaBrandon Lee, president of USGTF-Korea, hosted the USGTF-Korea National Awards 2018 dinner on December 16, 2018. He invited 50 people who have been the most dedicated to the development of the USGTF-Korea federation and the Korean golf industry for 2018. He also awarded the 2018 Achievement Award of USGTF-Korea to two winners, the Certificate of Recognition for Top 10 Teachers of USGTF-Korea for 2018 and the 2018 Best Teacher Award.

Seoung Gweon Choi, professor of Yong In University, and Hyun Jeong Kang, attorney of Kim & Shin, were selected for the 2018 Achievement Award of USGTF-Korea, and Woo Hyun Kwon, Kyung Sick Kim, Woo Tae Kim, Ki Beom Park, Cheol Hee Park, Kyong Soo Seok, Kwang Bok Shin, Woo Jae Jeong, Hae Kyeong Choi and Yoon Sang Hwang were selected for the Top 10 Teachers of USGTF-Korea for 2018. Cheol Hee Park was selected for the 2018 Best Teacher Award of USGTF-Korea.

Lee plans to continue  this annual event so that it will become a tradition of USGTF-Korea and become a place to encourage those who contribute to the development of the Korean golf industry as well as the USGTF- Korea Federation.

Golf In Korea Golf In KoreaGolf In Korea
1994-2019…Celebrating 25 Years!

1994-2019…Celebrating 25 Years!

It has been 25 great years growing the game of golf in Canada! Times have changed and so have we. Reflecting back on how our federation grew and competed before the regular use of the internet and social media is astonishing. The administration team of Bob Bryant and Kristine Darnbrough, along with our pioneer members and wonderful facilitators, truly deserve a great “thank you” for their efforts, support and contributions!

Rounds played are up in Canada, and the overall participation has grown over the past few seasons after some difficult economically affected years. Canada boasts the largest percentage of population that plays golf at least once a year worldwide. So, golf in Canada is still pushing forward. The members of the Canadian Golf Teachers Federation are enjoying new opportunities and successes in the industry, thanks to golf facility operators seeking new alternatives to traditional practices. Our members’ passions and efforts are helping to re-energize facilities that have been burdened with outdated thinking and elitism that prevents new customers from feeling welcome, let alone encouraged to start.

Canada is very diverse in many ways and so is the CGTF. We have many instructors that communicate using languages beyond English and French. Lately, the CGTF certification schools have been very appealing to international participants to attend. Having a lower-trading Canadian dollar and attainable travel visas make Canada a very attractive destination to pursue a career in teaching golf. We are proud to think that we are now sharing golf in places that have no access to Golf Teachers Federation training locally.

In this 25th year, the top indicator of membership engagement has been the positive response to upgrade courses. Knowing and seeing our members wanting more information to pass along has been a welcome site. We have more Masters-level graduates this year than the past 10 years combined, and we have one more course to follow in August 2019. Golf in Canada is going very well, and the CGTF sends best wishes to all fellow World Golf Teachers Federation members!
Harman Back On Top In Southeast

Harman Back On Top In Southeast

Mark Harman made a statement that he is still a force to be reckoned with at GlenLakes Country Club in Weeki Wachee, Florida, this past May. The reigning World Cup champion from Ridgeland, South Carolina, set a Southeast Region Championship scoring record of seven under par to best Ron Cox of Henderson, Tennessee, by five shots. Richard Crowell from Pensacola, Florida, and Rich Lively of Rockledge, Florida, took third and fourth, grabbing the balance from the $1,200 purse. Thanks goes out to GlenLakes head pro Tom McCrary, who has hosted us for several years.
Abraham’s Team Wins League Title, Tournament

Abraham’s Team Wins League Title, Tournament

USGTF member Walt Abraham, head golf coach of Athenian High School in Danville, California, led his squad to the BCL-East league round-robin regular season title and also the league post-season tournament title. The team finished 9-1 in match play and next heads to the Division 2 championship tournament. The league title marks the seventh time in Abraham’s 11 seasons as head coach that Athenian has taken that honor. Athenian fields a young squad of three freshmen, one sophomore and two juniors, with three players earning all-league honors.
Golden Repeats As Southwest Regional Champion

Golden Repeats As Southwest Regional Champion

Golden Repeats As Southwest Regional ChampionCole Golden shot an opening round 69 against a strong field that featured several current and past USGTF champions at a windy Ridgeview Ranch Golf Course, which hosted the USGTF Southwest Region Championship May 4-5 in Plano, Texas. Tough, tricky greens and somewhat wet conditions after several days of wet weather had hit Texas earlier in the week greeted the competitors. Southwest Region director Bruce Sims and Master Lee carded 76 the first day, while Brent Davies and Chris Tyner shot 77. Grant Gulych, Jeff Kennedy, and D.B. Merrill came in with 78.

Golden continued his fine play on day two and was never threatened, as only Davies was able to get within three shots on the back nine before Golden responded with a birdie on the next hole. Golden finished with a 69-74 – 143 for a 1-under-par total. Davies finished in second place after shooting 70, which was the low round of the day, for a 147 total. Lee played solidly all day after shooting a fine round of 74 for a 150 total, coming in third place. Canadian Gulych finished in fourth place 78-77 – 155; Texas’ Tyner finished in fifth place with 77-80 – 157; Ruben Ramirez finished sixth with 83-75 – 158; Merrill finished seventh with 78-82 – 160, and Jeff Kennedy finished eighth at 161. Thanks goes out to all USGTF players who participated, especially Jim Peters, Craig Johansen, Jaejin Kim, Kevin Kim, Jihun Yang, Scott Lundgren and J.D. Winkle.

Sims also hosted a very nice pre-tournament dinner on Friday night, where there were lots of camaraderie and discussion about our great game. USGTF players came from Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Michigan, Ontario Canada, and several parts of Texas to play in this fine event.
Junior Camps and the Evolution of The Instructor

Junior Camps and the Evolution of The Instructor

Junior Camps and the Evolution of The InstructorBy Graham Lewis, USGTF Teaching Professional Townsend, Georgia

My first introduction to the USGTF was in the fall of 2009.  I  met  a  gentleman  on  the practice  range  at Sapelo Hammock Golf Course  in Shellman Bluff, Georgia, where I worked part time in the pro shop. After a few exchanges on the art of the golf swing, he explained that he was a teaching professional at a country club in Vermont. His name is Alan Jeffery and he received his Master Golf Teaching Professional certification from the USGTF. Alan convinced me to consider learning more about the USGTF.

The certification course at Jones Creek Golf Course in Augusta, Georgia, was led by Mark Harman.  During  the  five  days  of  the  course,  I  be-came confident that my knowledge of the Golfswing was good until Mark asked me, in the verbal final, what would I do with a student with a chicken wing.  My answer will remain unpublished but a passing grade was received.

Once back at Sapelo Hammock, the owners of the club at that time gave me the go ahead to establish a golf academy. Along with one-on-one instruction, my first priority was starting a junior camp program during the summer months.  The first junior camp had six kids ranging in ages from 8 to 13. Instruction was provided by me, the only instructor at the time. During the four half-days of the camp, each junior received instruction in all aspects of the game, with emphasis on the four basic fundamentals: grip, posture, alignment and ball position.

All instruction was confined to the putting green, chipping  green  and  practice  range,  and  clubhouse question-and-answer sessions were held during the only  water  break  of  the  three-hour  session.  The only training aid used was an alignment rod. Each junior was given a three-ring binder which included pictures and explanations on every part of the game. My sources were Golf Magazine, Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf and the USGTF’s first edition of How To Teach Golf.

At the close of camp, each junior proudly demonstrated their knowledge of the basic fundamentals and received a camp picture and a certificate.

Since that first camp, attendance has grown to between 25 and 30 kids for each camp in June and July.  Additional instructors have been added, and the range of ages has expanded to 5 to 16. Juniors are divided into three groups based on age.  One group will be on the putting green, while another is on the chipping green and another on the practice range.  Each  group  changes  location  every45  minutes  after  a  water  break  in  the  clubhouse, where prizes are given during question-and-answer sessions. The highlight of the camp is the last day, when  everyone  plays  a  nine-hole  scramble  with their  parents  and  grandparents  driving  the  carts. A lot has been learned these past eight years on how to run a successful camp.

In summary, the changes to the original camp of 2012 are:
  1. To satisfy demand, the range of ages has increased to 5-16.
  2. With the increase in camp sizes, we now have three groups of juniors based on age.
  3. Each camp now has a higher percentage of girls participating.
  4. Parents and grandparents are encouraged to watch.
  5. The kids are given two water breaks instead of one.
  6. Question-and-answer sessions have been expanded to include more questions from the kids rather than just from the instructors.
  7. Playing a scramble with parents and grandparents driving the carts. Early camps had younger kids playing with older kids. We now try to have teams divided by age and ability.
  8. Numerous training aids have been added, and target signs have been used at close range on the practice area (similar to the TV show “Big Break,” where they broke the glass).
  9. Volunteers for control and safety have been added, especially for the younger kids.
  10. I have become more open to new ideas. The three-ring binder has been replaced by the Bob Dimpleton book Golf 101. This cartoon version of learning how to play golf is a great hit with the younger kids. Another example is when I expressed skepticism at a suggestion to include a short-course layout using foam balls and a hula hoop for a hole. At first I considered it to be too “Mickey Mouse,” but then I remembered at 16 years of age I learned to play in my backyard with a wiffle ball and soup can for a hole. My only instruction came from Hogan’s Five Lessons book and a mirror. The short course is a big hit.
These   changes   and   improvements   to   the   academy camps have been made possible by the inclusion of additional instructors from the USGTF, PGA, LPGA and a high school golf coach. The latest and most significant addition to our last two camps has been our own Mark Harman.

Mark and I have become good friends ever since he explained to me what a chicken wing was.

The one thing that has remained constant from the first camp and every one since is that safety, fun, and instruction, in that order, remain the priority.
Like America and Apple Pie…It’s Golf and Family Ties

Like America and Apple Pie…It’s Golf and Family Ties

Like America and Apple Pie...It’s Golf and Family TiesWhat are the first memories that you have of golf? If you started the game as a kid, they probably have to do with a family member – usually a parent – who introduced the game to you. Many golfers look back on those days with great fondness and nostalgia.

There is no better family sport than golf. Four family members can all play in the same group, something that is difficult to do in other sports. You can indeed do the same thing in tennis if you’re playing doubles, but unless the skill level is relatively similar among the four, it can make for a difficult time. Since golf, of course, doesn’t have other players affecting your playing of the game, it doesn’t matter if there is a skill disparity, even a great one, among those in the same group.

Golf also has an amount of down time that others sports do not offer. In tennis, there is constant action. In bowling, there is always someone rolling the ball down the lane. But in golf, most of the time is spent walking or riding to the next shot, so there is ample time for conversation and bonding. Some of the best friendships golfers have were formed on the golf course. Indeed, it’s not uncommon for golfers to have mainly or only golfers as friends.

The game also tends to lend itself to easy conversation that may not be found in other venues. Those who are parents know how tough it is sometimes to have conversations with their children as they get older, especially teenagers. But for some reason, conversation while playing golf seems to come naturally for most participants.

It has been said countless times that golf is also a metaphor for life. A well-known adageis that if you want to truly get to know a person’s character, play 18 holes of golf with them. It is the rare person who changes the character and behavior they exhibit outside the course once they step onto the first tee.

Life lessons can also be imparted to our younger family members as they play the game. Perhaps a child is having a tough time that day on the course and they feel like quitting. Teaching them to persevere on the course is a good lesson that can carry them through life. Let’s face it – although we say golf is fun, it’s also difficult to excel at. If someone wants to play scratch golf or better, they have to put in countless hours over countless days over countless years, unless they are some sort of athletic freak. Golf can teach our children the valuable life values of determination and perseverance, and keeping a calm mind when things go awry.

Although the game can understandably lend itself to temper tantrums and worse, we must always remember that unless the game directly affects our well-being as a professional golfer, it’s only a game to the rest of us. How we do doesn’t affect our lives in any way, shape, or form, and it’s important to keep this perspective. These are the things that our younger family members, and sometimes even ourselves, should take to heart.

Many golfers also take buddy trips specifically to play that golf course they always wanted to play. Our friends are not technically family, but they certainly are in terms of the bonds that we create and share with them, and there is nothing more natural than traveling with friends to hit the links.

One of the things that athletes in team sports say they miss once they retire is the camaraderie among their teammates. A family atmosphere can certainly be created in such an environment. But although golf is an individual sport, the family atmosphere most certainly is prevalent among members of the men’s or ladies’ golf associations at many clubs, or even among a regular Saturday foursome. Other individual sports have a more difficult time duplicating that sense of belonging to a family.

Golf has given all of us who love the game a lot, and for that we are grateful. But aside from the actual playing of the game itself, perhaps the most enduring memory we will have once our playing days are done is the family ties that are created, regardless if we are related or not.
Transition to Impact

Transition to Impact

By Thomas T Wartelle, USGTF Teaching Professional Washington, Louisiana

We know the moment of truth is impact. The golf ball does not care about a teacher’s opinion; the ball is only influenced by physics. There are five human performance factors that influence the golf ball at impact. They are as follows: 1) clubface position, 2) club path, 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.

Therefore, the question arises, “How can we maximize a golfer’s impact position?” Besides basic fundamentals such as the golfer’s “GPA” (grip, posture and alignment), dynamics in the swing can have a great influence on the impact position. For this discussion, let’s break it down from transition at the top of the swing to impact.

We must first establish that mass (COM) is not pressure (COP). For this discussion, pressure (COP) is the reference point. During the backswing, there should be a “loading,” or pressure, applied to the heel of the trail leg. In their backswing, powerful Tour players reach over 80 percent pressure on their trail foot when their transition begins. Transition actually starts before the golfer reaches the finish of the backswing. For most Tour players, this begins when the lead arm is parallel to the ground on the backswing. The body is actually moving in two directions at once. The midsection, or torso, should shift the pressure towards the target. The sensation is the clubhead is lagging behind as the body begins its transition by transferring pressure and uncoiling towards the target. The reality is there is no delay of the release, but simply a forward swing pressure creating a powerful action.

On the downswing, the torso should pressure-shift toward the target and then rotate with a feeling that the lead hip and glute are pulling or rotating away from the ball. This is very similar to a squat movement into the lead glute. At the halfway down (lead arm parallel to the ground) point, the vast majority of Tour players will see a peak in the total force under the lead foot (70 percent or more).

As the impact position is approached, the spine angle is maintained with a feeling of the lead hip rotating and pushing back into a wall. The lead leg will somewhat straighten naturally at impact as the lead hip begins to rise higher than the trailing hip. In this position, the golfer is maximizing the “ground forces” and creating maximum torque and energy. Some Tour players and long drivers even have a jumping motion at impact as they are applying tremendous force into the ground.

The dynamics of the golf swing (transition move and pressure change) influence the five human performance factors at impact. Clubface position at impact and club path at impact can be affected; however, centeredness of contact, angle of approach, and clubhead speed are directly correlated to transition and pressure flow from trail foot to lead foot.

How does this all relate to teaching? An interesting observation can be made in the above photos. Without describing any of the above, we use a simple drill in the gym of throwing a medicine ball against the wall. Notice that all of the positions are achieved by using a simple, athletic motion.

For more teaching info or tips, visit the USGTF website or Thomas T Wartelle / TTW Golf on YouTube or Instagram.

Transition to ImpactTransition to ImpactTransition to ImpactTransition to Impact
Revisiting “The Stroke” and Looking at the Target

Revisiting “The Stroke” and Looking at the Target

Revisiting “The Stroke” and Looking at the TargetBy David Vaught, USGTF Teaching Professional Bradenton, Florida

It is often said necessity is the mother of invention. This applies to golf instruction, and golf in general in many circumstances, one of which is the creativity of an experienced instructor when it comes to helping golfers improve their game. With that thought in mind, I felt it appropriate to look again at a method to help golfers improve their putting.

Many years ago, a major golf publication published an article about looking at the target while putting. The basic conclusion was that the average golfer could improve their putting by 28 percent. To quantify that, the average golfer would drop about four to six strokes per round. The first premise is simply common sense. When one begins reciting the list of sports where the athlete looks at a target, it is not a short one. Throwing a baseball or softball, bowling, throwing a football, darts, curling, cornhole, and the list goes on. We train our brains and muscles to work this way from the crib.

Should we start a “looking at the target while putting” revolution in golf? Of course not. This can simply be a tool for teaching. One very useful outcome of practicing this for putting would be distance control. Again, think about why we look at the target for the other sports. It triggers a response in our brain that we are born with and utilize at a very young age. That skill is the judging of distance, using our eyes in coordination with the speed and effort put forth into the motion that achieves the desirable distance – exactly what the average golfer needs to do to improve their putting. Keep in mind what we know to be true: The overwhelming majority of three putts are a result of poor distance control.

Simply using looking at the target as a drill over time can improve distance control greatly, and it improves confidence. We have all seen the putting stroke that moves the putter back in a rapid pace and then slows down the putter head dramatically through impact. I have yet to see a golfer that putts looking at the target do this. Not once, ever.

Why, you might ask? During a stroke while looking at the ball, many golfers subconsciously or consciously alter the motion. Decelerating, twisting the face and increasing grip pressure are just a few of the issues we see through impact with the average golfer. Some do so more than others, and some do it, but not consistently – just on those days when the putting goes awry through a lack of confidence or trust. Have you seen a golfer panic during the backstroke and unnaturally accelerate the putter through impact? If you have ever played, I guarantee you have. Our objective for rhythm ratio for putting is 2:1,which is the time from takeaway to transition(2), and time from transition to impact (1).This is 100 percent on tour, by the way. It is amazing how close the average golfer achieves this ratio while looking at the target. Another benefit is that the average golfer also tends to be much more stable with the body during the stroke while looking at the target. Instinctively, they realize a lot of excess movement in the core and legs would jeopardize their ability to strike the ball solidly.

It also builds confidence in the motion. The key word here is motion. As the great Gary Wiren has stated as a pillar of his teaching philosophies, “Swinging hits, not hitting swings.” We could write an entire book on this subject, but keeping on point with putting, our goal is for the ball to get in the way of the putter. When watching great putters on the men’s and ladies’ tour, you cannot differentiate between the stroke with the ball and without the ball. They are just making a stroke, which is the goal. You will rarely see this with an average golfer. Looking at the target reinforces making a “stroke” to the average golfer. Their brain becomes much more in tune with the motion and the force required to reach the desired destination, instead of their focus being the strike or the ball. I have also had students over the years admit that practicing this assisted them in curing the dreaded yips.

To try this, start short and make sure the setup is sound first. Once some proficiency is established, which is usually quick, vary the distance for each putt. Instructors who have the improvement of the students as their foremost objective are most always willing to think outside the box and are not timid about introducing new ideas to their students. Who knows, they might even start using this on the golf course!