The Rules Of Golf All Teaching Professionals Should Know

The Rules Of Golf All Teaching Professionals Should Know

By Brent Davies, USGTF Member, Clarkston, Michigan

We all took and passed our rules test during our certification course, and for a lot of us, it was many years ago, So, can we remember all  the different rules and recent changes to several rules of play? The answer is obvious: no, we can’t.

With many of us teaching golf for a living, we absolutely need to know the basic rules without having to refer to a rules book in front of a  student. With input from other USGTF teaching professionals across the country, I have put together a short list of some basic rules questions that students tend to ask.

How many clubs can I carry in my bag? Answer: 14 (Rule 4.1). Many of us get this question all the time from both adults and juniors.  Remember when Ian Woosnam, who was tied for the lead, had that extra driver in his bag on the last day of the 2001 British open? On the  second-hole tee box, he realized he had 15 clubs in the bag. Ouch! He had to take a twostroke penalty and ended up tied for third.

Playing ball from teeing area, Rule 6.2. You probably see this a lot when players tee the ball up either outside or ahead of the tee markers. (Many people think, well if my feet are within the tee markers, I am okay.) Of course, the rule states the ball needs to be teed up inside the parameters of the markers (your feet can be outside the markers, but not the ball). You can go up to two club-lengths straight back of the  markers, but never in front of the markers. It’s a two-stroke penalty for a violation of this rule.

When can I take a drop without having to take a penalty stroke? For example, when I am on a cart path, what do I do? This has been an often-asked question for many of us. The answer lies in Rule 16-1 (relief allowed for abnormal course condition). It allows a player to take  relief without penalty for man-made obstructions like cart paths, drainage, sprinklers, etc. With the cart path drop, players tend to struggle with nearest point of relief. The rule states the player must take a drop on the correct side of the path – nearest point of relief – with stance,  within a club length and no closer to the hole. In response to this reoccurring question, many of us demonstrate the correct drop in our teaching.

Taking relief. Keeping in line with dropping the golf ball, I find that people still want to drop a ball from shoulder height instead of from  he knee, since the rule is still fairly new (it took effect in 2019). This is something to keep your students aware of.

The time for a ball search (before the ball becomes lost), Rule 18.2. The time to search for a ball was reduced from five minutes to three minutes in 2019 to speed up play. On a personal note, this rule almost got me during the last day of the 2019 Central Region Championship  when, on the 10th hole, I hit a wayward tee shot. As the three minutes were just about to expire, Mark Harman, playing in our group, found  my ball, saving me from going back to the tee and avoiding a stroke-and-distance penalty. I went on to shoot a 1-under 71 and a 4th-place finish (thank you, Mr. Mark).

Standards of player conduct (Rule 1.2), also known as proper etiquette. Many of us work with players that are on local high school and  college golf teams. Complaints from our students range from other players not counting penalty strokes in their score to that player walked in my line, and talking while I was hitting my shot to not fixing ball marks and divots. We all need to be aware of these ongoing etiquette issues  and continue to teach the do’s and don’ts for the integrity of the game and the health of our golf courses.
Essential Requirements To Be A Successful Golf Teacher

Essential Requirements To Be A Successful Golf Teacher

By Robert Corbo, USGTF Master, Hamilton, New Jersey

The love of the game is the first requirement to become a proficient golf instructor. That should be the easiest part. Everyone in the business started playing golf and then learned to love it.

Through the process of learning, we spend countless hours studying the great players of the past, searching for knowledge on how they  improved their skills. We take lessons and learn how to practice and play the game. We learn that there are two parts to the golf swing. The  first part is when the brain is processing information. We learn how to make a rehearsal swing thinking about the motion. We then process  that thought into a feel and action. We are creating an overused voluntary response. This is what we refer to as muscle memory, but remember, it is a brain function.

The next thing we learn is to execute the golf shot. The brain must have something to do, so we create a pre-shot thought process that  triggers the ball execution. Golf instruction and execution is an integral part of the learning process. Competition is an experience that cannot only improve your own skills, but will offer insight to what your students are feeling under the same circumstances.

There is a distinct difference that separates your own personal techniques and the correct way of pure golf instruction. With the internet at your disposal, there is a lot of advice and information on the golf swing. A teacher must be familiar with both the science of the swing (ball flight laws, etc.) and how people learn.

Communication with the student is vital to their success. Verbal instruction, hands-on demonstrations, and use of the video camera are effective teaching methods.

The technology of today offers more information for growth and personal development of your skills. Familiarizing yourself with technology such as TrackMan, simulators, and pressure pads for weight distribution are as important as the variety of golf equipment.

A successful teacher needs credentials, such as the USGTF certification. You will need to be familiar with club fitting and gripping clubs. Students need to be aware of the importance of taking care of their equipment, and how a lack of this will change their grip or the reaction of the ball off the club. Cleaning clubs and changing worn grips are part of the learning experience. Good instructors all know how a club is  made and the difference between forged or cast-iron heads. Club shafts are varied, and you should know whether a graphite shaft or a steel  shaft will benefit your student’s capabilities.

Continue your education to further your product knowledge of the game. The more you know, the better the teacher you will become. There are many choices to get certifications; Medicus, Rotary Golf, and The Golfing Machine are just a few to mention. Most important, the USGTF has three certification levels for you to continue your education. Remember, you are taking your hobby and turning it into a rewarding profession.
What Hole Are You On?

What Hole Are You On?

By Mark Harman USGTF Director of Education, Ridgeland, South Carolina

I came across an email the other day in which the writer reflected that he was on the “back nine” of life. It got me to thinking about the fact that many of us use golf as a metaphor for life, and if I could find a way to correlate a person’s age to the 18 holes in a round of golf.

The average life span of an American is just shy of 80 years, while our Canadian friends to the north average a healthy 82! So they must  be doing something we’re not, obviously, but let’s not get into that. Anyway, let’s be optimistic and say that we can expect to live to be 90  years old. Over an 18-hole round of golf, that would equate five years of our lives to each hole.

1st hole (ages 0-5). The first hole, like the first five years of our lives, holds great promise. We really haven’t started anything yet, so the  first hole can set the tone for the rest of our round (life). Some studies indicate our personalities are set by the age of five; others dispute that  notion. But there is no doubt that the first hole has a great deal of influence over the next 17. No less than the great Jack Nicklaus believed  this.

2nd hole (ages 6-10). We’re still in the early stages of the round. Can we overcome that opening double bogey? Will the euphoria of a birdie give us false expectations for the rest of the round?

3rd hole (ages 11-15). Our round of golf is beginning to take shape. It is still early enough in the round to make amends for any mistakes from the previous two holes, but a bad start can certainly be deleterious for later in the round. If we double-bogey all three holes, we certainly have a lot of work ahead of us to undo the damage.

4th hole (ages 16-20). Just like in life, our round is maturing. By the fourth hole, we have a great sense of where this thing is headed. However, we still have plenty of time to turn around early mistakes, and a great start can be undone if we are not careful to continue to follow the fundamentals.

5th hole (ages 21-25). Well. We are certainly on our own now, and there’s no turning back. We’re also halfway through the front nine, so if we want the first half of the round to turn out well, we have to get a move on – now!

6th hole (ages 26-30). We’re somewhat at a crossroads here. We’re not entirely sure where this round is headed, but we do have a pretty good idea. If we’ve made a couple of birdies to go along with some pars, there is no reason to expect that we won’t see some smooth sailing – at least for the foreseeable future.

7th hole (ages 31-35). The round is definitely taking shape now. If we’ve made more than our fair share of bogeys, it will take a lot of good play to make something out of it at the end. But if our start has been going well to this point, we still have to keep our foot to the pedal to achieve the desired outcome later on.

8th hole (ages 36-40). Most rounds have achieved full maturity at this point, although there is still some question as to how all this will turn out. It’s possible that the entire round is ruined by now and that there is nothing we can do to salvage it. On the other hand, we may still be able to redeem it with some fine play in the next several holes.

9th hole (ages 41-45). Here it is…we are at the halfway point of our round. It is here where we first have a total score of some sort, known as the front nine. Heading for the halfway house, we ask ourselves what we could have done differently to make the first nine holes better. And even if we had some success, we will think about the one or two strokes that we inevitably let get away, no matter how well we are  playing.

10th hole (ages 46-50). Now we’re turning towards the back nine, and while the round is more than halfway over, we have a new goal  in mind: to shoot the best nine possible to make the outcome as good as we can. In some ways, it’s like a fresh start as a new score can be had.

11th hole (ages 51-55). Is the start of the back nine a continuation of the front nine? If we’re playing well, we certainly hope so. If it’s not, maybe we’ve turned it around and can look forward to not only reducing the damage we caused on the front nine, but to even come out better than we expect.

12th hole (ages 56-60). There is still enough time in the round to salvage something, but enough time has also passed that it may be too late.

13th hole (ages 61-65). It is here that we are starting to realize that are fate is largely determined. But yet, there’s always hope to make a  final birdie or two to end things on a good note.

14th hole (ages 66-70). There’s no use kidding ourselves at this point. The finish line is in sight, but we still have the strength to  accomplish a few things before it’s all said and done.

15th hole (ages 71-75). Only three holes left. Still, we have to bear down and finish the round. We have to keep our energy level up. We  might surprise ourselves if we keep moving forward with a good, positive attitude.

16th hole (ages 76-80). Not much we can do at this point to change the outcome. But it’s still a minor mystery as to what the final score  will be.

17th hole (ages 81-85). Now there’s only one hole left. How will people remember how we played this round?

18th hole (ages 86-90). The round is over! All the trials and tribulations are behind us, and if we played a great round, we come off the  course fulfilled and happy. If we played average, we realize there are so many things we could have done better, but there are also things we did very well. And if we played poorly…well, we can at least say we learned a lot.

And finally…

19th hole (ages 91+). Yes, there is a 19th hole! If we’re lucky enough to get to the 19th hole, it is here that we can sit back in a comfortable  chair and regale our friends and family with our feats of the day. Yes, we might bore someone with recounting over and over how we made  eagle early in the round when we were still at full strength, or had a run of birdies late that turned everything around. It is here that we can  fully relax and think back on our round, where so many thoughts might come flooding back.

If you are at the 19th hole, you deserve a good refreshment or two. And take your time doing so. The ride home will come soon enough.
The Correa Family Legacy: Three Generations Of Professional Golfers

The Correa Family Legacy: Three Generations Of Professional Golfers

WGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional Jack Nicklaus Correa has a strong heritage in the Brazilian golf scene. Both his father Joel Correa and grandfather Guilherme are renowned golf professionals in Brazil; some even say pioneers. They made a career in the golf industry in a country were golf courses were limited and reserved for the wealthy. Like many golf professionals in Brazil, they forged their craft working their way up from the caddie ranks to head professionals. Brazil golf professionals are known for their playing and teaching skills. The Correa family also certainly fits this model. They have competed in tour-level golf, and along the way befriended some of the game’s greats such as Seve Ballesteros, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.

Jack Correa was recently elected the president of PGA Brasil. All the members in the room knew of the hard work and dedication to the industry that the Correa family have contributed. There were none more proud than his father Joel. The family has been a steward of the game of golf in Brazil. The torch has been passed to keep the flame alive.

Jack Correa’s brother Kennedy Correa continues the tradition, as well. He continues the legacy in the USA. Kennedy is a golf professional at The Old Course at Broken Sound in Boca Raton, Florida. If you haven’t noticed, Jack was named after Jack Nicklaus and Kennedy was named after John F. Kennedy. Joel and Guilherme’s legacy in the golf industry of Brazil has been passed down to future generations.

Jack Correa’s vision (like his grandfather, father, and brother) is to continue to grow the game of golf. The history of golf in Brazil dates back to the construction of the São Paulo Railway at the end of the 19th century. Scottish and English railroad engineers constructed and founded the São Paulo Golf Club.

The Brazilian Golf Confederation, also known as CBG, was created in 1958. This group is similar to the USGA and conducts the amateur  events. The Brasil PGA can trace its roots back to the early 1900s, but officially became an entity in 1970. Many dedicated past presidents,  such as WGTF members Luis Martins and Luiz Menezes, have helped shape the Brasil PGA through the years of growth. In 2002, Thomas T  Wartelle, WGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional and PGA of America member, was invited to Brazil to hold a training course on teaching  golf. This, and subsequent training courses, helped further the growth and expand the technical skills of the organization.

After the Olympics in 2016, the growth of the game continues. There are about 25,000 golfers in the country and over 130 golf facilities. In partnership with large companies and sponsors, the federations and golf professionals look to increase the training of young golfers. The expectation is to reach 250,000 kids through these programs. One such academy is based at the Olympic Club. Correa works with a team of professionals created to develop a world-class golf training facility. The club features the championship Olympic Course, professional practice range, short-game area, and a four-hole practice course.

The most famous Brazilian golfer to ever play was Mr. Jaime Gonzalez. His legacy lives on with several PGA Tour players and LPGA Tour players. However, the backbone of golf in Brazil lies in its golf professionals, who work tirelessly to teach and promote the game. Many of the professionals come from families with a strong golf heritage like the Correa family. Often, the profession is passed down several generations. We salute the golf families like the Correas and countless other professionals in Brazil that continue to pursue their passion and grow the great game of golf!

“PGA of Brazil and WGTF partnership has been a tremendous asset to our professionals. Thomas T Wartelle helped develop this  relationship between our organizations. His input has been an important partnership to help us reach greater international recognition. The  WGTF has furthered our knowledge of teaching techniques. In addition, our relationship keeps us in constant contact with the best teachers in the world and brings that knowledge to share with our Brazilian professionals. We also love the opportunity to share our experiences with  other WGTF members worldwide. PGA of Brazil is honored to be in this partnership. We plan to keep working together and look forward to holding more WGTF teaching seminars. This helps us improve our professionals and keeps our relationship growing stronger. We would also like to host the World Golf Teachers Cup at the Olympic Golf Club in Rio de Janeiro one day.” – Jack Correa