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  My answer will remain unpublished but a passing grade was received.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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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