Ian Hardie Golfer Pacific NZ Column June 2018

Ian Hardie Golfer Pacific NZ Columns
Ian Hardie Golfer Pacific NZ Columns

Why would a golfer get golf coaching in the first place?

 

As this column is about golf coaching, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at just why it is, that a golfer might look to get golf coaching in the first place.

In fact, just the other day, I was asked a question by a golfer who was thinking about taking a few golf coaching sessions.

“What should I expect to get out of golf coaching?”

They certainly weren’t the first golfer to ever ask me that and my simple answer was.

‘Improvement in some or as is usual in most cases, many areas of your golf game.’

To me, being able to assist with improvements to the golf game of the golfer in front of me is the only purpose of coaching golf.

While the golfer who is getting the coaching is committing time, effort and money – with I assume, a similar expectation of improvement.

That makes sense doesn’t it?

However, this is not what most golfers actually expect because, when they tell other golfers that they are going for golf coaching, those other golfers will almost always offer the same advice.

“Oh, you’ll play worse for a while when you get golf coaching”.

In my experience, the golfers who offer that advice have either never had a proper golf coaching session in their life or if they did, they put very little effort in afterwards to attain any improvement.

By the way, that last bit was quite an important factor that contributes to the success (or otherwise) of golf coaching.

So, when it comes to golf coaching put aside any preconceived ideas and start with an open mind, as the vast majority of golf coaches you will meet simply exude “GOLF”.

A good golf coach will have a passion and energy for the game that will have you walking away afterwards, inspired by the possibilities that have been opened up for your golf game and wanting to go back for more!

In fact, the most frequent comment I get from golfers after my coaching sessions is that they are ‘excited about golf again!’

A good golf coach will challenge you to do the best that you can with what you have.

There is no, ‘changing everything’ to the point where you can’t hit, there will simply be improvement gained by building on your current skills and past experiences.

To illustrate that point, here is my basic philosophy on improving a golfer that has been crafted from playing with and teaching golf to thousands of different golfers over the years.

I have noticed two main things:

First, all golfers are physically and mentally different from each other which means there is no one correct way to move the club or hit the ball.

The challenge for the golf coach is to find a way for the golfer to improve by working with what they already have, not showing them what ‘tour player x does’ or making them try to conform to whatever the latest ‘correct theory’ is.

This is the art of golf coaching.

In a very early piece of writing I did, I explained it like this:

“The key to golfers finding enjoyment in golf is not following a lot of theoretically correct positions and actions, it is about finding ways for them to use whatever their physical abilities are, to play consistent shots that lead to consistent rounds of golf at whatever level they strive for.”

Like most other crafts, coaching golf can really only be learnt with thousands of hours of practical experience, combined with exceptional communication skills from the teacher.

Second and most importantly.

Most golfers do not play to their true potential and in fact, too many give up soon after starting or become frustrated golfers over a period of years simply due to the information they are given (or more correctly the lack of good information) and the way they are ‘helped’ when they start.

It’s normally not a lack of ability that the golfer has, it’s a lack of good information.

So, what can a golfer expect from a golf coaching?

To be inspired and given good information about the game of golf.

Information that is easy to understand, which will help them to build on their current skills at the game to improve in some or as is usual in most cases, many areas of their golf game.

So, will a golfer play worse after golf coaching?

No, of course not, in fact, they are far more likely to experience just the opposite and become excited about golf again!

Play well.

Ian Hardie is Golfer Pacific’s Golf Professional contributor. He is Club Professional at Omanu Golf Club in Mount Maunganui. Ian’s time is split between the pro shop at the club and helping people to improve, while enjoying their golf more as a result of his golf coaching. Over the past few years, in an effort to help as many golfers as he can, Ian has been sharing his common sense golf advice with golfers around the world through his website golfhabits.com. With over 500 articles to read, it’s a great resource for any golfer looking to improve their golf game.

Golf Coaching Tauranga / Mount Maunganui, New Zealand