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 as he played very little golf the past two years, but the talented Korean should be able to find his game before the year is out. “Even though I didn’t get to play much, I grew to love golf even more,” Bae said. He was able to stay in shape with cardiovascular and weightlifting workouts. Although, he wasn’t too fond of military service, saying, “From the day when I was a private second class, a private first class and even the last day of the service, I wanted to be discharged from the military.”
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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, please contact the USGTF National Office.

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 they cannot do so without undergoing some intense physical therapy and a lot of work away from the driving range. They come to me, hopeful that I can give them the magic move that will instantly create 10-20 more yards off the tee. I collect their clubhead data on my GC Quad (a TrackMan-type device) and look at their video, and see that, well, they pretty much have a decent-enough move that really cannot be improved all that much, especially in their currently-compromised physical state. I ask them if they are in a conditioning program, and the usual response is “no.” When I advise them to see their doctor and start one, they tell me “I will” but I know they probably won’t. I know from firsthand experience that getting motivated at an older age to work hard on a physical regimen to achieve better golf is difficult. A couple of years ago, I suffered a fall from about eight feet off the ground, landing right on my back and rear end. The fall permanently damaged my hip and lower back, and I have great soreness in my hip and tightness in my back virtually every day. So I can’t really get on my older students too much if they don’t do what is necessary to reach their goals. Sometimes I see people who lack coordination to the extent that they frankly will never be able to play anywhere near the level they desire. In these cases, I remain encouraging and help them as much as I can, but again, it breaks my heart (in a golf sense) that I know they cannot reach their goals. Now, some teachers might say that no one is unteachable, and that’s not what I’m saying. Yes, I can give them a plan that will improve their games, and that’s my job and I gladly do it. My dilemma is in how honest can I be. To my fellow teachers, how do you handle such situations? Please write me at mark@usgtf.com, and I will discuss your answers in another editorial later on.