One of the unfortunate aspects of the golf business is that you will probably play less golf than you think you will. For many teachers, a full teaching schedule precludes getting out and playing very much. Yet, it’s still important to tee it up on at least a semi-regular basis in order to keep your skills sharp, among other things. More importantly, playing golf can and does help your teaching.
How is this, you may ask? Very simple. It might be hard to believe, but if you stay away from the golf course any significant length of time, it will in all likelihood diminish your skills as a teacher! You should learn something about the game each and every time you play, and it doesn’t matter whether you played great or poorly. You might find a swing key that resonates with a student, or find yourself coming up with a mental game aspect you hadn’t thought about before that can be useful to someone else. Perhaps above all, playing should help to keep you enthusiastic about your profession.
What about competing? Certainly, a fair number of your students are likely to engage in competition, whether it be a money game with the regular gang, the club championship, or even statewide competitions. If you haven’t played in any competitions in a long time, it can be difficult to relay good competitive advice to such students.
Let’s talk about competing in the United States Golf Teachers Cup, for example. Every year, about three-fourths of the field is comprised of the same individuals yearly, with about one-fourth either newcomers or occasional participants. It is surprising to some of us at the National Office that demand for this great event, while high, is not even higher. In 2010 it is no secret that the economy is hurting just about every facet of business, including the golf teaching industry. If you are not participating in this year’s US Cup for economic reasons, that is perfectly understandable. But, if you have the financial means and no true work or family obligations, you owe it to yourself to check out this great tournament in 2011. Not only will you meet many of your fellow members from all over the country, you will definitely have a great time.
It also doesn’t hurt to get the juices flowing in serious tournament competition, which will give you a greater appreciation for what your competitive students are facing.