USGTF Now VA-Approved for GI Bill Use

  We are proud to announce that the USGTF Associate Member Online Course and the USGTF Certified Golf Teaching Professional on-site course are now approved by the Veteran’s Administration, under the GI Bill, for course fee reimbursement. The course fee will be reimbursed by the VA after proof of payment and proof of course completion is submitted by eligible veterans. Eligible veterans need to complete the VA Form 22-0803 (Application for Reimbursement of Licensing or Certification Test).   The V.A. Education Call Center is available at 1-888-442-4551 (Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST) for any questions about GI Bill benefits.

WGTF Expands to Vietnam

Expanding on its global mission, the WGTF and USGTF will soon have a presence in the country of Vietnam, one of Asia’s fastest-growing golf markets. Several dozen courses are now under construction in addition to those already in business. This outreach by the WGTF into Vietnam is expected to be mutually beneficial and to bring qualified golf instructors to that country.

Regional Schedule Update; Southeast Championship This Month

  Southeast – The USGTF Southeast Region Championship will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, February 21-22, at Clearwater Country Club in Clearwater, Florida. The entry fee is $235 and is payable to region director Mark Harman through Venmo (@MarkHarman), PayPal (markharmangolf@aol.com), and personal check to Mark Harman, 1656 Colony Dr., Ridgeland SC 29936. Tee assignments will be done by age and gender, along with daily prize money and second-day divisions. The entry deadline is Wednesday, February 14. For more information, contact Harman at mark@usgtf.com.   Southwest – The USGTF Southwest Region Championship will be held Friday-Sunday, May 19-21, at Twin Creeks Golf Club in Allen, Texas. There will be a welcome dinner on Friday evening, with two rounds of tournament play commencing Saturday. The entry fee is $225 and includes range balls. For more information and to enter, contact region director…

“Pro” File – Touring Professional Jon Rahm

Although the Official World Golf Ranking doesn’t list him as the #1 player, as of the end of January there is no one playing better golf than Jon Rahm. He has finished in the top 10 in all three of his starts this season, including victories in his last two tournaments. He also has five top-10s in his last six starts.   Tabbed for stardom when he came out of Arizona State University by way of Spain, Rahm failed to disappoint. He has been a steady force in professional golf since he started, including a big singles victory over Tiger Woods in the 2018 Ryder Cup in France. He won the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in 2021 and is a constant presence on major championship leaderboards.   Rahm is…

“Pro” File – USGTF Member Mike Givens

USGTF member Mike Givens is in his sixth year as the head men’s and women’s golf coach at Menlo College in Atherton, California. During his tenure at the NAIA school, Givens has led the men’s team to seven tournament victories, including setting tournament scoring records in five of them. Menlo was also ranked nationally for the first time as a program under his leadership. The women’s team has had an equally impressive run, winning six tournaments and seven players have been awarded as All American Scholar Athletes, including the highest Menlo College team GPA at 3.61 and ranked with the 10th highest team GPA in the nation.   Givens’ players on either team include three who have been awarded as the Menlo College Freshman of the Year and two who…

Student Spotlight – Ignacio Placencia

By David Smith, USGTF Certified, Torrance, CA I met Ignacio Placencia in March of 2022 when I started teaching at Montebello Golf Course in Montebello, California. This young man was on the driving range with the Bishop Mora Salesian High School golf team and was having a hard time with his swing. Being that I saw him with his golf team, I automatically assumed that they were there for lessons with their coach. I was right, but I could also see that Ignacio needed help – really needed help – before he hurt himself.   I gave him some instruction, and then a couple of weeks later he called me to sign up for lessons. Ignacio has put in the work and has been going through “the process.” He has…

Srixon Releases Refreshed Z-Star Series for 2023

  SRIXON®, a global leader in golf ball technology and innovation, announces the eighth generation Z-STAR Series golf ball. The Z-STAR Series is scheduled to launch Feb. 15, while the Z-STAR Series DIVIDE is scheduled for Spring 2023.   The Z-STAR is engineered with a thin mid-layer and softer compression to prioritize softer feel and approach shot spin, while the Z-STAR DIAMOND also has a thin mid-layer but has a firmer compression to optimize iron spin and distance. The Z-STAR XV’s unique core achieves a soft center that increases dramatically in hardness with an evenly distributed hard outer edge, which boosts ball speed for increased distance and enhances iron spin.   Key innovations inside the Z-STAR Series golf ball:   New FastLayer DG Core: Starts soft in the center and…

Editorial – What is a Good Age for Juniors to Start Learning Golf?

Before my current tenure as a teaching professional at an indoor studio with all the latest in video and launch monitor technology, I hadn’t really taught that many junior players. That all changed when I took my current position some six years ago.   Parents will ask me, “What is a good age to start learning golf?” Based on my experience, the best answer I can give is, “When they express a desire to be better at golf and they’re at least 5 years old.” By then, they should be used to learning in a school environment so that should translate over. When it came to my own kids, now 15 and 14, believe it or not I never gave them one bit of instruction for years. Sure, I put…

Happy New Year

On behalf of the entire staff at the USGTF National Office, we would like to (more…)