PGAs of EuropeResearch – PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com Home of the PGAE Thu, 23 Nov 2017 00:18:28 +0000 en-gb hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9 KPMG Release 2017 Golf Participation Report http://www.pgae.com/news/kpmg-release-2017-golf-participation-report/ Wed, 27 Sep 2017 17:34:08 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=19842 The latest of KPMG’s annual publications offers analysis and insights into Europe’s golf industry, and this year shows slight growth in the industry...]]>

The 2017 Golf Participation in Europe Report, which provides invaluable figures for key stakeholders in the golf industry, is the latest of KPMG’s annual publications offering analysis and insights into Europe’s golf industry. This year’s edition bears good news in store for the golf industry: slight growth.

According to the survey, which is based upon statistics compiled from local golf associations in 43 European countries, the continent’s golf markets are displaying positive signs of growth in 2016.

In fact, when taking a closer look at Europe’s golf markets, 81% of local golf associations indicated in 2016 that their level of participation had either stabilized or increased. The remaining 19% of European markets still experienced some decline, including key markets such as Scotland and Austria.

The research demonstrates that the number of registered golfers showed a slight increase, by 2% (+82,584 players), while the supply of golf courses declined by 28 courses (24 openings and 52 closures). Forty-six per cent of European countries surveyed experienced a growth in participation rates, 35% showed stability and in 19% of the countries surveyed demand declined. The research further shows that men make up 67% of the total registered golfers across Europe in 2016, and the proportion of European population who actively played golf (0.9%) has not changed since 2015.

“As we have identified a moderate level of growth in 2016,” says Andrea Sartori, Partner and KPMG Global Head of Sports, “it is important to reflect upon various creditable golf development initiatives, which have been launched in previous years with the aim of reaching new audiences and retaining existing golfers across Europe. These initiatives and the hard work of many other golf industry stakeholders, provide evidence for a consciously optimistic outlook for the game’s development. Certain markets have demonstrated exemplary performance and highlighted the opportunities a proactive and coordinated approach can achieve.”

Click Here to Download the KPMG 2017 Golf Participation Report for Europe at www.golfbenchmark.com

]]>
KPMG Release 2017 Golf Participation Report
An Essential Guide to Learning About Learning: A Curated Reading List For Curious Coaches http://www.pgae.com/ask/an-essential-guide-to-learning-about-learning-a-curated-reading-list-for-curious-coaches/ Mon, 08 May 2017 12:02:41 +0000 Corey Lundberg & Matt Wilson of Curious Coaches http://www.pgae.com/?p=12714 It has never been easier to embark on a journey of self-education in our field. We have countless books, seminars, certifications, social media groups]]>

We are very fortunate to have a number of readers who share our passion for learning and growth.  Many of them have reached out lately– curious about where they can learn more about motor learning.

It has never been easier to embark on a journey of self-education in our field.  We have countless books, seminars, certifications, social media groups, and blogs dedicated to sharing and disseminating new ideas in golf instruction.  And for those focused on learning more about ‘what to coach’, these sources are immensely valuable in furthering our knowledge.  But for those looking for information on ‘how to coach’, and more specifically, ‘how people learn’, sources seem to be much more scarce.  Ultimately, if we are in the business of human development, it stands to reason that understanding how humans come to attain mastery would be of utmost importance to becoming more effective.

There ARE great sources for learning about learning, they are just a heck of a lot harder to find.  Outside of a few textbooks available on Amazon, many of our favorite texts have been circulated amongst peers who are engaged in similar knowledge pursuits.  So it inspired us to compile a few seminal pieces on the topic of motor learning and performance to help you continue your path to better understanding of how mastery develops and skills are refined.  And because we were hoping to discover a few new gems for ourselves, we reached out to a few leaders in the field for help.  We assembled a list of the experts in learning who have focused some of their work on golf, and posed a simple question:

“What is the most important piece of motor learning research that all coaches should read?”

Thankfully, these generous leaders obliged and provided what has become our curated list on Learning about Learning.  Click on the book icons for each of the articles provided by our esteemed list of experts.  We hope you’ll take the time to dig in.  Enjoy.


ATTENTIONAL FOCUS AND MOTOR LEARNING: A REVIEW OF 15 YEARS

PGAs of Europe - Curious Coaches - attentional-focus-imageRECOMMENDED BY DR. GABRIELE WULF

Our first recommendation comes from Dr. Gabrielle Wulf, a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences at UNLV.  Not only is Dr. Wulf the go-to expert on attentional focus and it’s affect on learning and performance, she is also the author of one of our favorite books (which happened to be a suggestion by one the experts we surveyed  for our list).

Wulf suggested this piece, telling us, “This review of about 80 studies shows the importance of adopting an external focus of attention for optimal performance and learning of motor skills. Helping athletes adopt and maintain an external focus by giving the right instructions or feedback is critical for enhancing performance of complex skills– such as golf skills– particularly in challenging situations.”


PAR (PLAN-ACT-REVIEW) GOLF: MOTOR LEARNING RESEARCH AND IMPROVING GOLF SKILLS

PGAs of Europe - Curious Coaches - PAR-TIM-LEE-IMAGERECOMMENDED BY DR TIM LEE

Motor Control and Learning is the book that introduced us to many new coaching concepts and ignited an interest in motor learning that continues to burn.  In addition to Motor Learning and Control, Dr. Lee has authored Motor Control in Everyday Actions and over 80 papers on the topics of motor control and motor skill acquisition in peer-reviewed journals.

While many motor learning texts are devoted to a broader pursuit of skill development, Dr. Lee sent us over a paper specifically dealing with the learning of golf skills.  He mentioned that this would be a great starting point for many practitioners and we couldn’t agree more.  The paper hits on several big learning topics: phases of learning, effective practice conditions, focus of attention, and delivery of feedback.  Along with a thorough exploration of these major themes, it also includes specific implications for golf skill acquisition.


CHALLENGE POINT: A FRAMEWORK FOR CONCEPTUALIZING THE EFFECTS OF VARIOUS PRACTICE CONDITIONS IN MOTOR LEARNING

PGAs of Europe - Curious Coaches - challeng-pointRECOMMENDED BY DR. CHRIS BERTRAM

Not only is Chris a former PacWest Golf Coach of the Year several times over, for the past 11 years he has served as Director of the Human Performance Centre and as an Associate Professor of Kinesiology at UFV.  Dr. Bertram recommended another paper dealing explicitly with golf.  This is a paper that we have referenced in previous posts and it’s had a huge influence on our approach to coaching.

Chris suggested the Challenge Point paper because it “nicely summarize many of the important concepts relating to practice and feedback and provides a framework- based on optimally challenging a learner – for a coach or practitioner to apply in the real world.”

As a nice bonus, Chris also included a couple of papers that he credits with shaping his thinking about skill acquisition in golf:

1) Goode and Magill (1986) Contextual Interference Effects in Learning Three Badminton Serves, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, Volume 57, 4

“An early and important study on the effects of blocked and random practice.  Were among the first to demonstrate that increasing contextual interference (i.e.., randomness) in the practice setting is a more efficient way to see gains in learning than blocked practice.”

2) Winstein, C. J. & Schmidt, R. A. (1990). Reduced frequency of knowledge of results enhances motor skill learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology:Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 16

“Another important early study in motor learning, this time looking at the how the frequency of feedback, and its impact on learning.  In other words, in golf terms, how often should a coach be providing “information” to the student… what we see happening in practice is not always a trustworthy indicator of how much learning is going on.”


MOTOR SKILL ACQUISITION: AN ESSENTIAL GOAL OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION

PGAs of Europe - Curious Coaches - skillacq1RECOMMENDED BY TRILLIUM SELLERS ROSE

In addition to reaching out to the academics specializing in learning research, we really wanted to include the recommendations of some coaches who promote the study of skill acquisition within our industry.  Trill certainly qualifies– she paused a very successful teaching gig to obtain a Master’s Degree in Motor Learning and Control from Columbia University.  Now, as the Director of Instruction at Woodmont Country Club, she is applying the lessons learned and can offer the perspective of a coach well versed in how golfers acquire and adapt skills.

Few are better equipped to bridge the gap between academic and real-world practitioner, so her recommendation carries a lot of weight with us.  She points us towards “Motor Skill Acquisition: An Essential Goal of Physical Education”.  The paper is especially relevant to those coaches developing young athletes and explores the importance of time on task, engagement, and corrective feedback.


NON-LINEAR PEDAGOGY UNDERPINS INTRINSIC MOTIVATION IN SPORTS COACHING

PGAs of Europe - Curious Coaches - non-lin-ped1RECOMMENDED BY MATTHEW WILSON

We couldn’t finish our list without including a couple of our own recommendations.  During a bit of a research project that we conducted last year, we requested some recommended reading from Graeme McDowell, who has been a great resource for us.  Like Trill, we see Greame as a bit of a hybrid between a well-versed academic and an experienced coach with real-life interactions with the topics in question.  Graeme delivered us about 30 papers, focused mostly on the theme of Non Linear Pedagogy.  We went about reading the list and, through a shared Google Document, recorded our notes and takeaways/actionables from each paper.  Many of the papers by Ian Renshaw were among our favorites, and this one in particular tops Matt’s list.

The article tackles a key challenge for sports coaching– providing performers with learning environments that results in sustainable motivation.  It provides an excellent explanation of both non-linear pedagogy and self-determination theory, two topics that have made a big impact on our coaching styles.


INSIGHTS FROM ECOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY AND DYNAMICAL SYSTEMS THEORY CAN UNDERPIN A PHILOSOPHY OF COACHING

PGAs of Europe - Curious Coaches - dynamicalRECOMMENDED BY COREY LUNDBERG

Our last suggestion was also uncovered from the abundant source of Non-Linear Pedagogy papers provided by Graeme McDowell.  It’s another one from Ian Renshaw and Corey includes it because of how comprehensive it is in organizing so many important learning concepts within one paper.

It provides a clear description of nonlinear pedagogy while giving insights on perception-action coupling, self-organization, variable practice, and implicit learning .


BONUS TOP 10 BOOKS ON LEARNING

RECOMMENDED BY MICHAEL HEBRON

In addition to the papers above, we were excited to get some recommendations from Michael Hebron.  Michael is a member of the PGA Hall of Fame and world renowned coach that has dedicated much of his career to educating coaches.  His books, The Art and Zen of Learning Golf and Play Golf To Learn Golf, have made a huge impact on how we approach golf instruction.  As he has devoted so much effort to better understanding how golfers learn, we knew that our list would be incomplete without his contributions.  Below is a list of 10 books that Michael has recommended.  Once you have read the previously mentioned papers, we think this represents a great way to continue your path to better coaching.

PGAs of Europe - Curious Coaches Michael Hebron Reading List_01

PGAs of Europe - Curious Coaches Michael Hebron Reading List_02

PGAs of Europe - Curious Coaches Michael Hebron Reading List_03 PGAs of Europe - Curious Coaches Michael Hebron Reading List_04 PGAs of Europe - Curious Coaches Michael Hebron Reading List_05 PGAs of Europe - Curious Coaches Michael Hebron Reading List_06 PGAs of Europe - Curious Coaches Michael Hebron Reading List_07 PGAs of Europe - Curious Coaches Michael Hebron Reading List_08 PGAs of Europe - Curious Coaches Michael Hebron Reading List_09 PGAs of Europe - Curious Coaches Michael Hebron Reading List_10

Happy reading!

–Corey Lundberg & Matt Wilson

 

]]>
An Essential Guide to Learning About Learning: A Curated Reading List For Curious Coaches
Every Shot Counts: Using the Revolutionary Strokes-Gained Statistics to Improve Golf Performance & Strategy http://www.pgae.com/ask/every-shot-counts-using-the-revolutionary-strokes-gained-statistics-to-improve-golf-performance-strategy/ Tue, 02 May 2017 11:21:17 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=18776 Dr Mark Broadie's innovative Strokes-Gained metric has led to a fundamental change in our understanding of how important the different areas of golf are...]]>

Statistics have always played a part in the analysis of golf and its golfers. They allow comparisons to be made between individuals with all their varied characteristics, abilities and experiences, enabling a golf coach to use those statistics to drive action.

The amount of information and number of statistics/metrics available to the Professional coach has never been greater – in fact, many argue that there is too much information out there that does not answer the questions people really want to know about.

This is something that Columbia Business School Carson Family Professor of Business and keen golfer, Mark Broadie, saw as being fundamental to his groundbreaking research in the past 10 years. Current statistics and metrics are good but lack the capability in many cases to relate other metrics. In response to this he developed a system that allows all the elements of the game to be compared to each other – Strokes Gained.

In his new book, ‘Every Shot Counts’, Broadie explores his Strokes-Gained metric that has entered the public consciousness through use of Strokes Gained – Putting on the PGA Tour, and the overall research that has led to a fundamental change in our understanding of how important the different areas of the game are.

IGPN: The Strokes Gained statistic is really a completely different way of assessing the performance of a player on the course – how did you come up with the concept for it?

MB: I started by asking ‘what separates an ‘80’ and a ’90’ golfer – where do these 10 strokes come from?’ Another question was how to grade a golfer in different areas; long game, short game, sand play, approach shots, driving – how could you compare all those things?

There are a lot of ways you could do this – such as how close do they put approach shots to the

“About two-thirds of a 10-stroke difference comes from shots outside of 100 yards and about one-third comes from shots inside 100 yards…that’s pretty robust across hugely different skill levels”

hole? If you have a large enough data set then you can see that this person’s average score might be 80 but they’re hitting their approach shots like a scratch golfer, or they may be hitting relatively poor approach shots like a ‘90’ golfer.

The problem is that these measures still don’t answer the question of where do the 10 strokes between and ‘80’ and a ‘90’ come from? In order to answer that question you need to be able to compare drives that are measured in yards/meters with something like greens in regulation which is either ‘yes you hit it’ or ‘no you missed.’ You have all these different ways to measure golf but they don’t answer the question about where that scoring difference comes from.

In order to do that you need to be able to measure say driving distance and driving accuracy on a scale that’s comparable to sand play or to putting, and it turns out how to do that is to measure everything in strokes – and that led to strokes gained.

The idea was that you could measure the quality of every shot from a drive to an approach shot, or a sand shot to a putt in this consistent unit of strokes gained – it allows you to measure all parts of the game together.

IGPN: And the PGA Tour have used the putting element of your research…

MB: I had written an article and then presented at the World Scientific Congress of Golf in 2008 with some early findings on this notion of strokes gained applied to the entire game. A couple of years later I was at a conference with a group from MIT [The Massachusetts Institute of Technology] and the PGA Tour was there just letting academics know that this is what their ‘ShotLink®’ data is and how it’s available to academics through their ‘ShotLink® Intelligence Programme’. So we presented our work there…[and] that sort of crystallised things at around the same time that the PGA Tour internally was saying ‘we need to come up with a better putting statistic because putts-per-round’s deficiencies were obvious to them.

What the PGA Tour implemented in 2011 was just the ’Strokes Gained – Putting’…I had been looking at short, medium and long putts [to] break it down into sub-categories, but the PGA Tour’s reaction was ‘no, no, the problem is we have too many stats’. They have putting from four-feet, five, six, seven, eight, etc. – so in a way they have too much and too little.

Part of the reason for this book is to let people know that this analysis applies to all parts of the game and that the PGA Tour’s aim has always been to roll out more strokes gained stats in the future. They are planning on rolling out ‘strokes gained – tee to green’ next.  On a TV broadcast or leaderboard at a tournament… you could have ‘total stokes gained’ broken down into tee to green play and putting. That would allow you to see on why somebody is leading or why somebody is only in 10th or 20th place.

Strokes Gained – Putting Example from the PGATour.com:

Putts gained(From given distance) = PGA Tour Average putts taken Actual putts taken to hole out

The statistic is computed by calculating the average number of putts a PGA TOUR player is expected to take from every distance, based on ShotLink® data from the previous season. The actual number of putts taken by a player is subtracted from this average value to determine strokes gained or lost. For example, the average number of putts used to hole out from 7 feet 10 inches is 1.5. If a player one-putts from this distance, he gains 0.5 strokes. If he two-putts, he loses 0.5 strokes. If he three-putts, he loses 1.5 strokes.

A player’s strokes gained or lost are then compared to the field. For example, if a player gained a total of three strokes over the course of a round and the field gained an average of one stroke, the player’s “Strokes Gained Against the Field” would be two.


IGPN: Your research revealed that when you look at all these areas together the relative impact of each area of the game was actually different to traditional thinking – the differences between ‘80’ or ‘90’ golfers, or even between good tour players and the best players, were more because of the long game…

MB: Roughly about two-thirds of a 10-stroke difference comes from shots outside of 100 yards and about one-third comes from shots inside 100 yards and that’s pretty robust across these hugely different skill levels.

There are definitely differences amongst individuals – I’m talking about a typical ‘80’ golfer versus a typical ‘90’ golfer, or a typical professional golfer versus typical top-10 professional.

IGPN: So the traditional emphasis on putting, or at least the general tendency towards ‘drive for show, putt for dough’, is not accurate – what sort of reaction have you had to that?

MB: I’ve heard more from the people that agree with the findings in the book – people are saying ‘finally, I’ve thought this all along’ – and probably a little less from the people that disagree.

I tried in the beginning of the book to figure out what are the strongest arguments that people have for the importance of putting – I tried to say why I thought the arguments fell short, but I’m certainly interested in trying to speak to anyone that has a different view.

A lot of people have pointed to Tiger Woods and have said that the main factor that explains his success is his putting. The reason that seems plausible is that he’s such a good putter – the data bears that out, but he’s also good at everything else, it’s just approach shots where he really dominates. He’s great at everything but really great at approach shots. It’s a surprise to a lot of people but not someone like Sean Foley, his coach.

“Tiger’s approach shots are where he really dominates, he’s great at everything but really great at approach shots.  It’s a surprise to a lot of people but not someone like Sean Foley”

The other thing I’ve found is that when you look at PGA Tour winners, the explanatory power of putting is higher.  Using 10 years of data, I find that putting contributes about 15% of the scoring advantage of the best Tour players compared to average Tour players.  If you look at tournament winners then putting contributes about 35% of the scoring advantage during their wins.

Part of the reason is that when you look at tournament winners, then there’s a different one every week, and whoever wins that week is someone who’s playing well above their norm.

That’s part of the reason that people tend to believe in the importance of putting – they see putts going in from all over the planet when they watch the highlight reels of someone winning a tournament but they don’t show the shots that get them there.

IGPN:  You spoke recently at an MIT Conference with Tiger Woods’ and Justin Rose’s coach, Sean Foley, about how he and other coaches can turn the data produced using strokes gained into actionable data and also on the statistical approach coaches should have – what do you think are the main ways a coach can use this type of information?

MB: It’s definitely easier for coaches whose pupils are PGA Tour golfers because of the ShotLink® data that’s available…the PGA Tour records all of the shots of all of the players at all PGA Tour events.  You can break down a golfer’s strengths and weaknesses fairly accurately [using strokes gained] and that allows a coach like Sean Foley to focus his instruction on what will give the biggest bang for the buck.

It would be ideal if amateurs went to their instructors with strokes gained reports, which detailed their trends, strengths and weaknesses.  It is possible for amateur golfers to collect data on their own shots, using lasers or yardage books, and then use the tables in the book to do the strokes gained analysis on their own.  We’re working on an app that I am hoping will be ready for beta-testing in two or three months that will make it even easier for individuals to do it themselves.

You want to make it as painless as possible for golfers to record their shot information – the PGA Tour pros have it great because someone else is doing it for them – but for amateur golfers data entry is the hurdle.  The good thing is it’s really not that painful for an amateur to record their own data  – I’ve been doing it for years and the app will make it even easier. In my database of amateur golf shots, it shows that putting contributes about the same to scoring differences as it does for the pros. But every golfer is unique, and having strokes gained report for individual golfers would be, I think, quite useful for coaches.

The book shows how you can go out to the practice green or short game area and test your skills by hitting a bunch of putts and shots.  There are tables in the book where you can compare yourself to pros and amateurs of various levels.  It’s fun and you can do it in a short period of time, an hour or so, though it has the disadvantage that it’s not in tournament play and it’s not in the changing conditions that you might get on the course.


In EVERY SHOT COUNTS: Using the Revolutionary Strokes-Gained Approach to Improve Your Golf Performance and Strategy (Gotham Books, March 10, 2014, Hardcover, eBook) Broadie explains the simple idea behind strokes gained and shows how it applies to all golf shots. He uses it to answer many questions of golf performance: What does it take to win a PGA Tour tournament? What is the secret behind Tiger Woods’ success? Which skills separate amateurs from pros? How much is twenty extra yards of driving distance worth?

EVERY SHOT COUNTS also uses this new data to analyze golf strategy: Lay up or go for it? Play an aggressive or conservative shot off the tee? Not a book about swing mechanics, EVERY SHOT COUNTS uses data and analytics to better understand golf performance and golf strategy. EVERY SHOT COUNTS reveals truths that will change the way golfers of all handicaps look at and play the game.

For more information visit www.everyshotcounts.com and to purchase your copy of EVERY SHOT COUNTS visit the Amazon Bookstore here http://eur.pe/PA76cZ (includes a short preview of the book).

]]>
Every Shot Counts: Using the Revolutionary Strokes-Gained Statistics to Improve Golf Performance & Strategy
The R&A and the USGA Publish Research On Driving Distance in Golf http://www.pgae.com/news/the-ra-and-the-usga-publish-research-on-driving-distance-in-golf/ Thu, 16 Feb 2017 20:01:18 +0000 The R&A http://www.pgae.com/?p=18156 The R&A and the USGA have published their annual review of driving distance, a research document that reports important findings on driving distance in golf.]]>

The R&A and the USGA have published their annual review of driving distance, a research document that reports important findings on driving distance in golf.

Introduced last year, the review examines driving distance data from seven of the major professional golf tours, based on approximately 285,000 drives per year. Data from studies of male and female amateur golfers has also been included for the first time.

Key facts noted in the paper include:

  • Between 2003 and the end of the 2016 season, average driving distance on five of the seven tours has increased by approximately 1.2%, around 0.2 yards per year.
  • For the same time period, average driving distance on the other two tours studied decreased by approximately 1.5%.
  • Looking at all of the players who are ranked for distance on the PGA TOUR and PGA European Tour, the amount by which players are “long” or “short” has not changed – for instance, since 2003 the 10 shortest players in that group are about 6% shorter than average, while the 10 longest players in the group are about 7% longer than average. The statistics are not skewed toward either longer or shorter players.
  • The average launch conditions on the PGA TOUR – clubhead speed, launch angle, ball speed and ball backspin – have been relatively stable since 2007. The 90th-percentile clubhead speed coupled with the average launch angle and spin rate are very close to the conditions that The R&A and the USGA, golf’s governing bodies, use to test golf balls under the Overall Distance Standard.

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “In the interests of good governance and transparency it is important that we continue to provide reliable data and facts about driving distance in golf.

“Driving distance remains a topic of discussion within the game and the review provides accurate data to help inform the debate.”

Mike Davis, Executive Director/CEO of the USGA, said, “We appreciate the collaboration we have received, industry-wide, to access and review this data to benefit the entire golf community, which can be used to both educate golfers and advance the game.”

The 2016 report can be viewed at www.RandA.org and www.usga.org or downloaded here 2016 Distance Report.pdf

The R&A and the USGA published the Joint Statement of Principles in May 2002, which confirmed their commitment to the fundamental notion that skill, not technology, should be the primary determinant of success in the game. The Joint Statement acknowledged the benefits of equipment technology for golf but noted that any further significant increases in hitting distances at the highest level were undesirable.

Since then, The R&A and the USGA have continued to monitor equipment technology’s effect on the game, and considered the effects of other factors, such as course set-up, athleticism and coaching. When appropriate, new Rules have been introduced after discussions with equipment manufacturers and other stakeholders, in accordance with the Equipment Rulemaking Procedures produced in 2011.

Click Here to Download the 2016 Distance Report [PDF]

]]>
The R&A and the USGA Publish Research On Driving Distance in Golf
Let’s Change the Culture of Golf Improvement http://www.pgae.com/ask/lets-change-the-culture-of-golf-improvement/ Wed, 21 Dec 2016 18:05:33 +0000 Golf Science Lab http://www.pgae.com/?p=14954 The golf culture is perpetuated by QUICK, FAST, EASY - But learning doesn’t happen quickly. Dr Robert Bjork & Golf Science Lab explain more...]]>

The golf culture is perpetuated by QUICK, FAST, EASY…

The “get rich quick” attitude is more prevalent in golf than anywhere else. We all just want to buy a golf club and hit it 20 yards further today with no additional work.

We don’t admire the guy that slowly improves year after year and suddenly is the club champ after 15 years of improvements and not getting caught up with every swing tip and quick fix thrown at him.

Learning doesn’t happen quickly.

Skills that are retained and that hold up on the golf course aren’t learned in a 30 minutes range session.

Golf requires skills that are durable and flexible. Dr Robert Bjork talks more about this in an episode of the Golf Science Lab you can listen to below.

As a golfer you need skills that are durable enough to hold up under stress and pressure and flexible enough to adapt to any of the potential challenges you might face on the golf course. If you play golf you’re going to face pressure and the golf course isn’t going to be perfect. You’ll need the ability to hit it off dirt under a tree with a 5 iron.

Mistakes and errors are part of the learning process.

To build those core attributes it requires a healthy learning environment and the understanding that mistakes and errors are part of the learning process.

If you want to learn you have to push yourself. Your practice has to be difficult. And when things get difficult most likely there will be some mistakes. That’s OK though. Your performance during practice doesn’t indicate how much you’re learning.

Here’s an example…

How many times have you just been killing it on the range. But you step over to the golf course and everything is lost. And vice versa. How often have you just been awful on the range and then hit the ball really well on the the golf course.

We all can relate personally or know someone that has described this.

Here are 5 concepts every golfers needs to understand about getting better at golf.

#1 – Embrace the challenge.

#2 – Mistakes and errors are a healthy part of the learning process.

#3 – Long term steady growth is far more exciting than any “quick fix”.

#4 – Don’t chase “fix” after “fix” and stick with a plan.

#5 – Build skills that are flexible and durable.

Start to change your mindset when you approach practice and you’ll see skills that you actually retain on the golf course.

Embrace the long-term growth plan.

And don’t get distracted by the next “quick fix”.

]]>
Let’s Change the Culture of Golf Improvement
In Defense of TrackMan: Motor Learning Advantages of Coaching With Technology http://www.pgae.com/ask/in-defense-of-trackman-motor-learning-advantages-of-coaching-with-technology/ Tue, 20 Dec 2016 16:19:20 +0000 Corey Lundberg & Matt Wilson of Curious Coaches http://www.pgae.com/?p=13868 Like most innovations that disrupt traditional conventions, TrackMan seems to take more than its fair share of heat...]]>

Like most innovations that disrupt traditional conventions, TrackMan seems to take more than its fair share of heat.  The most vocal of the skeptics seem to wear their unwillingness to embrace change like a badge of honor– chosen defenders of the status quo.

A recent tweet by a former Tour player insinuated that somehow this inanimate device was responsible for the decline of a certain iconic golfer.  This added fuel to the fire, stoking what’s become a rather redundant debate on the benefits of technology in golf instruction.  The apparently arithmaphobic detractors seem to point to ‘The Numbers’ as the most prominent wrong-doer in their indictment of Trackman.  Their central point being that measuring and then quantifying the intricate details of the swing will leave a golfer a confused, overly-technical mess.  All those numbers– robbing the game of ‘feel’ or artistry and replacing it with sterile, cold, hard measurements.

Yes– in the wrong hands or delivered carelessly, all those numbers can be bad.  But the same can be said for anything being administered by the inexperienced or misinformed!  This frequently cited reasoning is reductive and hardly a compelling reason to condemn the measurement device or its users.  It can actually be a massive aid in shifting the learning environment from command-based, prescriptive instruction to one that is performance-focused and more conducive to effective skill acquisition.

And that’s not to say that we’ve never been guilty of over reliance on ‘The Numbers’.  But we’ve also utilized them in a way that enriches the feel and artistry of players.  In fact, because our prime concern is usually to just enhance impact alignments instead of obsessing over positional ideals, we make less wholesale ‘swing changes’ than ever.

Ultimately, our job as coaches is to create confident and competent performers who thrive under difficult conditions.  All TrackMan does is provide information – our job is to take that information and use it to help people move from A to B.  More often than not, that information is incredibly useful in facilitating that process…if used appropriately.

We hope to help everyone see beyond the recent discussion and gain a better understanding of how it can be used to facilitate learning and improved performance.  Below are a few elements of the learning environment that coaches can enhance through thoughtful application of Trackman.

AUGMENTED FEEDBACK

The most important ingredient to the learning process is feedback– it’s largely responsible for bridging the gap between experience and understanding.

There are two primary types of feedback; intrinsic and augmented.  Intrinsic feedback are the sounds, feelings, etc. that the performer experiences as a result of hitting a golf ball.  Augmented feedback is anything related to their performance that they can’t directly experience.   Technology helps provide augmented feedback that helps players process the intrinsic feedback they receive during practice.  The golf swing is a unique motor program in that it’s often very difficult to detect movement errors from intrinsic feedback alone.  Trackman allows learners to more accurately evaluate results thus informing future trials.  It acts as an accelerant in bridging the gap between feel and real.  Yes, FEEL!  Trackman users can, in fact, become better FEEL players based on the feedback provided.

There is also an element of confidence and motivation to consider.  Research has shown that having accurate Knowledge of Results can motivate performers to persist longer at practice tasks.  They are able to see the tangible results of their efforts through the quantitative changes that can infuse learners with self-efficacy and the confidence to persevere.

The challenge for coaches and players is the amount and schedule of the feedback, not the feedback itself.  Numbers don’t hurt people – they’re inanimate concepts.  Rather, as our friend from Happy Gilmore in the accompanying image suggests, people hurt people.  Ensuring that athletes receive the right feedback at the right time keeps the learning process moving forward.  Too much feedback, too often– creates dependency, which often yields to the adage of ‘paralysis by analysis’.

When in a ‘Transfer Training’ mode with a student, we recommend that you no longer provide the quantitative feedback of Trackman, opting instead to withdraw Knowledge of Results and allowing the golfer to prepare within a more authentic performance context.

Providing different types of feedback, such as summary feedback, positive or negative bandwidth feedback, or athlete-led feedback can accelerate the learning process and reduce the likelihood that an athlete becomes dependent on ‘The Numbers’.

ACTIONABLE:

Rather than give feedback on every shot, try two different methods when giving feedback.  First, only give feedback when performance falls within a certain range.  The range could be negative (when performance falls outside of the range) or positive (when feedback falls within the range).  This helps decrease dependency and creates more of an independent learning process aided by feedback only when needed.  Secondly, when getting ready to give the feedback– engage the performer.  Ask them where they think their movement was in relation to the standards of performance that you both set.   This helps them calibrate internally and fosters a better sense of what they need to create the desired outcome.

Article-Header-Images_Curious-Coaches-Motor Learning Advantages of Coaching_02

IMPLICIT LEARNING

Implicit learning occurs when an athlete learns something in the absence of instruction.  Coaches should strive to help athletes learn as implicitly as possible, as skills learned in this fashion are proven to hold up better under pressure.  Often times, focusing on the effect of the desired movement or having an external focus of attention can help in this process.

Believe it or not, coaching with TrackMan can facilitate implicit learning.  One of the benefits of TrackMan is the ability to control what numbers are visible to the coach and player.  For example, one of the keys to playing great golf is managing curve, which, for argument’s sake, means controlling the face to path relationship and the impact point on the clubface.  To help people learn the old-fashioned way and ‘dig it out of the dirt’, simply spray the face with Dr. Scholl’s and put up only the launch direction and spin axis numbers.  Then ask them to accomplish the task of generating a positive launch direction and negative spin axis (draw), or negative launch direction and positive spin axis (fade).   This exercise creates many learning opportunities and provides a means by which a player can achieve repetition without repetition.  Providing a learning environment in this fashion helps the individual self-organize and begin to develop novel solutions to accomplish the task of curving the ball to the target and hitting it solid.

ACTIONABLE:

Get creative with what numbers you enable the student to see.  Spin axis and a bit of Dr. Scholl’s goes a very long way in helping an athlete understand their ball flight and how it is influenced by where they make contact on the face relative to the sweetspot.  Additionally, try attack angle and launch angle for someone who struggles with contact precision and trajectory control.  Ask them to keep the attack angle shallow while getting the ball to launch lower.  Attacking the problem externally paves the way towards the possibility of learning a movement implicitly or in the absence of directive instruction.

TRANSFER TRAINING

Golf is hard.  The sport demands that a player be able to excel under extremely stressful conditions, often. Players are continually challenged to vary the distance, shape, and trajectory of their shots on every hole they play.

One of the core challenges inherent in the player development process is creating an environment that engages the psychological processes and physiological stressors that the athlete experiences during the course of play. Being able to create conditions that require the performer to plan, execute, and review the shot, while making each shot significant and carry a consequence, is really helpful in facilitating transfer and closing the gap between practice and performance.

TrackMan makes bridging the gap between training and play easier.  Combine and Test Center enable coaches to develop games that test the athlete’s ability to use all their skills (technical, tactical, mental), to accomplish the task of moving the ball from A to as close to B as possible.  In the end, much like golf, they receive a score that let’s them know where they are and provides perceived significance to each ball.  As scores improve, players are also able to see how and when they are making progress.  This type of satisfying feedback motivates players by allowing them to see the direct impact of their efforts.

In essence, through games and transfer training applications, technology enables coaches to design tasks that are more representative – the added pressure, difficulty, and variability ensures that the task, environment, and first-person experience closer resembles that of the course.

ACTIONABLE:

Make your own skills tests and training protocols in test center.  These are great ways to start a session or to challenge a player that is demonstrating good performance from a more stable environment.  Test center allows you to leverage the task-design matrix by virtue of assigning meaning to each shot, as well as giving you the opportunity to randomize the order of the task (distance).  Ultimately, it helps you, the coach, strike a great balance between task difficulty and environmental stability – a must for helping people progress their skills and perform on the course!

———————————————–

There are many professional fields that have advanced as a result of technological development.  Golf is no different.  As long as people try to reach higher levels of performance, tools will be developed to support those goals.  The important thing for coaches will be to look at the technologies objectively and devote the time and energy necessary to master them.  Hopefully, our discussions and ideas on the use of TrackMan to support the skill acquisition process sheds some light on how to do that and can help you be more effective.

–Corey Lundberg & Matt Wilson

]]>
In Defense of TrackMan: Motor Learning Advantages of Coaching With Technology
Recommended Books on LEARNING From Past Contributors http://www.pgae.com/ask/recommended-books-on-learning-from-past-contributors/ Fri, 09 Sep 2016 09:30:22 +0000 Golf Science Lab http://www.pgae.com/?p=16588 Golf Science Lab went back through their past contributors and pulled together everyone’s books so you can pick up anything missing from your library...]]>

We went back through our past contributors and pulled together everyone’s books in one place so you can pick up anything that’s missing for your library.

This post’s books are from contributors to season 1 of the podcast and presenters from the Motor Learning Masterclass. Great for both golfers and coaches looking to expand their knowledge of how learning and skill development actually happens.

Dr. Mark Guadagnoli

Article-Header-Images_Golf-Science-Lab_recommended-reading_02

No matter what you have tried so far, there is a better way. There is a better way to practice so you lower your scores and have more fun. The better way means learning to go beyond your comfort zone on the range so you are in your comfort zone on the course.

The better way means combining the mental and physical aspects of golf to create habits of excellence. “Practice to Learn, Play to Win” uses the latest research in brain science to supercharge your golf. The better way to golf starts with great practice and ends with great scores.

Get your copy here >Practice to Learn, Play to Win

Adam Young

Article-Header-Images_Golf-Science-Lab_recommended-reading_03

This book is the most comprehensive guide to improving your Golf EVER!  A best-seller in the USA, UK, Canada, Germany and France, and featured on The Golf Channel, “The Practice Manual – The Ultimate Guide for Golfers” is creating a wave in the golf industry and changing the way we think about playing better golf. With golfers around the World hitting the driving ranges and not improving, it is time to do something different — it’s time to do something better. Using information from the latest in motor learning research, you will discover the key ingredients which make the ultimate practice plan. You will also find out where you have been going wrong all these years, and be able to quickly change for the better.

If you are a keen golfer who likes to practice, or if you are an aspiring Tour Pro or College player, this book is a necessity. For Golf Coaches around the World, this book will transform the way you teach golf forever.

Get your copy here > The Practice Manual: The Ultimate Guide for Golfers

Trent Wearner

Article-Header-Images_Golf-Science-Lab_recommended-reading_04

In order for you to successfully take your game to the course, you must bring the elements found on the course to your practices and that is exactly what this book (and this interactive website) does.

With its 230 pages and nearly 100 competitive practice games (all with color photos), items like score, a consequence, different lies, distractions, pressure and more are brought to the forefront so that you can practice in a manner that TRANSFERS to the course.

Get your copy here > Golf Scrimmages: Realistic Practice Games Under Pressure

Dr. Gabriele Wulf

Article-Header-Images_Golf-Science-Lab_recommended-reading_05

Attention and Motor Skill Learning explores how a person’s focus of attention affects motor performance and, in particular, the learning of motor skills. It synthesizes the knowledge coming from recent research examining the effects of attentional focus on motor performance and learning, and it provides practical implications for both instructional and rehabilitative settings.

It provides many practical examples and implications for teaching, learning, relearning, and performing motor skills. This book will help readers better understand the effects that attentional focus has on motor performance and learning as well as the mechanisms underlying these effects. While challenging traditional learning methods, this book presents the latest research and demonstrates how changing one’s focus of attention can speed the learning process and lead to more effective performance of motor skills.

Get your copy here > Attention and Motor Skill Learning

Dr. Tim Lee

Article-Header-Images_Golf-Science-Lab_recommended-reading_06

Motor Control in Everyday Actions presents 47 true stories that illustrate the phenomena of motor control, learning, perception, and attention in sport, physical activity, home, and work environments. At times humorous and sometimes sobering, this unique text provides an accessible application-to-research approach to spark critical thinking, class discussion, and new ideas for research.

The stories in Motor Control in Everyday Actions illustrate the diversity and complexity of research in perception and action and motor skill acquisition. More than interesting anecdotes, these stories offer concrete examples of how motor behavior, motor control, and perception and action errors affect the lives of both well-known and ordinary individuals in various situations and environments.

Get your copy here > Motor Control in Everyday Actions

Joe Bosco

Article-Header-Images_Golf-Science-Lab_recommended-reading_07

Any player from beginner to aspiring tour player can improve in a much more direct and enjoyable way using a time-tested and results-proven method backed by cutting-edge research in human learning and brain function. It’s a technique used by the Marine Corps, Harvard Business School and the NBA. Unlike the dozens of other instruction books that come out every year, Real Golf isn’t a collection of mechanical adjustments, tips and drills.

It is a complete guide to sorting, evaluating and successfully integrating the instruction players are already receiving from a teacher, magazine, book or a video. It is instruction on how to use instruction. Using the sophisticated, personalized self-scrimmage strategies detailed in the book, players can make dramatic scoring breakthroughs immediately, and see massive handicap improvement in eight to 10 weeks.

Get your copy here > Real Golf: Taking Your Best Game to the Course

Michael Hebron

Article-Header-Images_Golf-Science-Lab_recommended-reading_08

A must read for every serious golfer who wants a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of the golf swing. It’s one of the best books on the golf swing in publication and truly focuses on the motions and actions present in all sound golf swings. Explanations and the many illustrations are easy to understand. Hebron quotes Ben Hogan and Bobby Jones throughout the book. Originally his Masters thesis, now a classic in the industry. Third revision refines the book even more than prior editions.

Article-Header-Images_Golf-Science-Lab_recommended-reading_09

Hebron’s efficient approaches to golf help players invent their swings, putting strokes, and tempos.

Article-Header-Images_Golf-Science-Lab_recommended-reading_10

On the subject of learning golf comes a comprehensive study of how people learn the necessary motor skills plus a wealth of information on keeping the mind centered on the task at hand.

The quintessential manual for golf instructors, coaches and curious minds of any sport. This manual, filled with powerful photos and drawings, is a must for any serious golfer’s bookshelf. Each of the 3 sections is a manual in and of itself. Hebron shares a lifetime of extensive research on the sports mind and body, then relates the information to the golf swing. By understanding the roll of each moving and thinking part in a motor skill, readers are placed in a position to build a golf swing (or any motor skill) that is controlled, repeatable and permanently learned.

Article-Header-Images_Golf-Science-Lab_recommended-reading_11

In the 21st century it’s unacceptable for students not to make progress at a reasonable rate when instructors and students could benefit from what science has uncovered about learning. Modernizing Approaches to Learning discusses research related to the brain as the gateway to learning. When taking a brain-compatible approach to learning, we can learn faster and retain information and skills longer.

The author discusses findings from neuroscience, cognitive science, physiological and psychological research about the brain and learning. He offers practical, modern ways to move from damaging educational approaches toward emotionally safe, self-discovery and self-reliant approaches. Approaches that are geared to help are not as valuable as those geared for self-help. Modernized approaches join the art of teaching with the science of learning where research demonstrates that we learn naturally through trial and error adjustments.

See and Feel the Inside Move the Outside, Third Revsion

Play Golf to Learn Golf

Golf Swing Secrets… and Lies: Six Timeless Lessons

The Art and Zen of Learning Golf, Third Edition

See & Feel the Inside Move the Outside, Third Edition – Full Color

Building and Improving Your Golf Mind, Golf Body, Golf Swing

Matthew Kluck & Dennis Sweeney

Article-Header-Images_Golf-Science-Lab_recommended-reading_12

This is the central book of the series 101 Games for Golf that was featured by Martin Hall on the Golf Channel’s School of Golf. It is an essential golfing manual designed to help you to transfer the skills you get in a golf lesson to the golf course. It does this by showing you how to practice for improvement by playing simple games that range in difficulty from easy, for beginners, to difficult, for advanced players. Six companion games booklets are sold separately and describe the games in detail.

In addition to outlining the games, the book has chapters on setting game improvement goals, developing a pre-shot routine, choosing golf instruction that meets your needs, and managing your emotions on the course. Written by an applied industrial psychologist and a PGA Master Teaching Professional who has been recognized as a top teacher by Golf Magazine and Golf Digest, the book is a must for any golfer, from the novice to tournament player, who wants to maintain or improve his or her golf swing. PLEASE NOTE! The games are described in detail in the six companion game booklets. Each booklet has games for each key golf skill: putting, pitching, chipping, full swing, bunker shots, and on-course play.

Additional Supporting Books:

Putting Games – Flat Stick Magic! (Golf’s Missing Links)

Full Swing Games – Let It Fly! (Golf’s Missing Links)

Chipping Games – Lowering Your Score (Golf’s Missing Links)

Pitching Games – Up and Away! (Golf’s Missing Links)

Bunker Games – Up and Over (Golf’s Missing Links)

On the Course Games – Putting It All Together! (Golf’s Missing Links)

If you’re looking for more materials make sure to check out SEASON 1 of the Golf Science Lab podcast and the Motor Learning Masterclass

]]>
Recommended Books on LEARNING From Past Contributors
Finding Out About Your Members: Mark Taylor – A.S.K. Workshops http://www.pgae.com/news/finding-out-about-your-members-mark-taylor-a-s-k-workshops/ Fri, 22 Jul 2016 11:03:40 +0000 Mark Taylor http://www.pgae.com/?p=16097 Conducting a member survey in your facility is an easy way to get to know your customers and communicate with them effectively...]]>

It is simple and cost effective to conduct your own market research almost without your members realising it. A member survey once a year should be at the top of your agenda in getting to know your customer base. It’s relatively easy to administer as you have a captive market and should be able to communicate with them on a regular basis.

The key to any survey is to understand what it is you are trying to find out. It may be about a specific area where you are having problems such as the catering or encouraging use of the bar, it may be a general survey about their membership, a new member survey after 3 months or perhaps an exit survey.

Surveys only work if they are conducted regularly and the members receive feedback – on both the results and the next steps i.e. what you plan to do. You may also want to consider incentivising your surveys which always improves response rates.

Full details on member surveys can be found here.

As well as a more formal survey, there should be plenty of opportunity to talk to members and get a general idea of how they regard the club. Your staff and committee members can be very useful here as they will be regularly playing with or talking to the membership. Beware of people feeding back what they want you to hear. This is often not deliberate but if it is a subject they themselves feel strongly about they may not really be an independent observer.

Once you have gathered and analysed the information you have about your members then you can begin sorting them into distinct groups. These may be governed by factors such as age, frequency of visits, time they play, use of the bar or restaurant but however you choose to categorise them you will have a clear profile of your key customer segments.

Profiling members and visitors in this way means that you will now be able to talk to them much more effectively.

For more information visit http://eur.pe/ASKWorkshops-Hungary

For more information about the 2016 A.S.K. Workshops visit http://eur.pe/ASKWorkshops-Hungary, follow @PGAsofEurope on Twitter and search #ASKWorkshops, or like the PGAs of Europe Facebook Page.

]]>
Finding Out About Your Members: Mark Taylor – A.S.K. Workshops
To Lift or Not to Lift? These Are the Questions… http://www.pgae.com/ask/to-lift-or-not-to-lift-these-are-the-questions/ Fri, 03 Jun 2016 10:35:38 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=15645 Dr Ben Langdown & Jack Wells explore some key questions about fitness for golfers, specifically when it comes to strength training...]]>

Strength Training, Athletes, and the PGA Professional

In the past few years the area of strength training has been a bone of contention in the golf world with many players attributing improved performance and increased successes to this type of training, whilst others have been critical about the impact it may have on their game.

We ask experts Dr Ben Langdown and Jack Wells from the PGA of Great Britain & Ireland some key questions about fitness for golfers, specifically when it comes to strength training.

How can strength training help a golfer improve performance?

BL – There are various ways – strength, stability, mobility, the clubhead speed is probably the obvious one and therefore distance and that’s potentially what most golfers are looking for when they come and do some strength and conditioning work.

Although others are just looking for – can they get into certain positions within the swing that their coach is trying to work on, and therefore we’re looking at the specific restrictions or limitations that they’ve got in their body and using strength and conditioning to aid that and improve their mobility and their stability.

Who should be taking part in strength training and how does a coach determine if a student should start strength training?

BL – Anybody can take part strength training – and the best way to find out as a PGA Professional if your client actually wants to, or needs to, take part is to ask him or her.

Do they want to see quicker benefits from the training that they’re doing, so not just practicing on the range but also can they reap the rewards of doing strength training in the gym? Basically anybody can do strength training as long as there’s no underlying health issues or injuries currently in place.

JW – This has to be guided by them [the athlete] really, and it might be a conversation that you bring in. If they’re looking to increase their driving distance and you feel that technically you’ve done quite a lot but actually they probably need to increase their clubhead speed through different areas, then engaging in strength & conditioning might be something that you approach with them. If that is something they want to do you can seek out an individual that will help them with that.

What strength training should people be doing?

BL – Strength training should be targeted to each individual. People can go and do a generic programme but they’re not necessarily going to get the maximum benefit from doing that. If you can target that strength training programme or strength & conditioning to that individual then you can hit the needs of that golfer and therefore they’re going to get maximum reward.

Does strength training limit a golfer’s ability to be flexible and mobile?

BL – No, is the short answer. There’s research out there that demonstrates that golfers who do strength training correctly can actually increase their flexibility and their mobility through doing their training.

There was this myth in the past that golfers should stay away from all sorts of strength training because it would of limited their movements in the swing, but actually that is a myth and there’s evidence out there now that shows flexibility can be increased.

How can coaches incorporate strength training into their teaching remit?

BL – The best way to do this is to work with a team – PGA Professionals, unless they’ve got themselves an additional qualification, they’re not insured to provide fitness or strength & conditioning advice. Therefore if they have done an additional qualification and they’ve got insurance on the back of that, then that’s fine, they can deliver the whole package themselves if they wish to.

Otherwise PGA Professionals can do some basic physiological or musculoskeletal screening that are looking for any restrictions in the movements that they want a golfer to do but in terms of providing correct exercises or strength & conditioning advice, that’s where they need to refer out to a specialist.

JW – Golf coaches who actually want to get into this field need to start to seek out professionals. But what a coach can perhaps do is start to incorporate things like warm-ups…and that will hopefully help them be suitably potentiated to hit the golf ball but also to bring in some movement patterns that will help them going forwards.

Who should a PGA Professional work with to carry out strength training with athletes and how can they incorporate them into an athlete’s performance mix?

BL – There’s always this, again, maybe a myth that the strength & conditioning coach or the physiotherapist is going to try and pinch [steal] the golfer. But PGA Professionals shouldn’t be afraid of working alongside a fitness team. So they’re the people that should be doing the full assessment.

There’s no reason why a PGA Professional can’t look at certain movements and positions. But then it should be the strength & conditioning coach or the physiotherapist who actually puts a programme together to develop that golfer as an athlete.

JW – So if they work with someone who has a good understanding of the fundamental movements that are involved with the swing then actually that is a good grounding for working with a specialist.

BL – Maybe give them some free golf lessons in exchange for some free fitness advice or physiotherapy sessions in order to up-skill the team that they’re working with.

Are there concerns with injuries in strength training? What are the warning signs and what should a PGA Professional do?

JW – I think with any sport there is always a risk and a concern of injury. If we look within golf we see that the in the amateur side there’s a lot of lower back injuries whereas at the top end of the spectrum it’s wrist and elbow injuries.

Actually engaging in strength training might help these individuals – so amateurs could be a little bit more robust to cope with the dynamic patterns of the swing. But also in terms of the elite end of the spectrum, a lot of the injuries involved with the wrists and elbows are potentially through overuse.

BL – Done in the right way, there shouldn’t be any concerns with injuries. Under supervision from a strength & conditioning coach or physiotherapist then actually we should be building athletes that are robust to injuries.

If people are going off into the gym doing there own thing and using incorrect techniques, maybe using too much load when their body isn’t ready for that load, then potentially there could be an increased risk of injury.

JW – If they [the PGA Professional] start to see a really bad ball flight and the player then says they’re struggling with this shot because they’re feeling pain in their left should or hands…then these are warning signs that perhaps hitting a number of golf shots is not going to help in the long run, and actually might potentially make that injury worse.

So it may just be discussing with them [the athlete] verbally or it might be something that occurs through performance. Sometimes it might involve a little bit of digging and learning a little more about the person in-front of you and trying to find out what’s going on.

BL – If the PGA Professionals spots any signs of over-training [or injury], first of all sit down with the golfer and just get them to outline what they’ve done in the past few weeks. If the PGA Professional doesn’t know how to deal with this then seek advice from maybe a sports scientist, strength & conditioning coach or physiotherapist.

Is it safe for juniors to engage with strength training?

JW – Absolutely – There’s so much research supporting the notion of actually getting juniors to engage in strength & conditioning. The golf swing has more force going through it than any form of lifting really so actually swinging a golf club is potentially, you could argue, more injurious than engaging in strength training.

BL – Again this is another myth that has been out there that juniors shouldn’t be doing any strength & conditioning work, lifting any weights, should stay away from the gym because it’s going to cause them injuries or cause them long-term problems.

Juniors should be in the gym if they want to be and if they need to be in terms of their goals and their development. Even things like fundamental movement skills can be done within a golf environment or they can be done within a gym. So developing those movements that are going to be able to create them as an athlete rather than just a golfer. Things like hopping, skipping, throwing, catching, running, dodging, or jumping – all of those fundamental movement skills that eventually lead to them becoming a robust athlete, and therefore cope with the demands of the sport a lot better.

JW – Other things that juniors will do naturally like climbing trees, learning how to walk, picking up their bike out of the garage, jumping over walls – these are effectively strength training. Engaging in that sort of activity naturally is the same almost applying a bespoke strength & conditioning programme.

Why are there golfers winning majors that do not engage in any form of fitness training?

BL – So this doesn’t help our cause as sports scientists or strength & conditioning coaches, but there’s always exceptions to the rule. There are going to be players out there that potentially aren’t engaging in strength & conditioning work currently, but you’ve got to ask what have they done in their youth, in their development period. They may have engaged in a lot of different sports as they were growing up and therefore they’ve developed these fundamental movement skills to become a golfer.

JW – Strength training is just one vehicle to successful performance, obviously the strongest golfer doesn’t necessarily win every tournament because there are other important parameters such as what’s going on at impact, to the mental side of the game.

BL – Occasionally you’re getting someone winning a major or a tournament that hasn’t engaged in strength & conditioning, but the ones at the top week-in, week-out are the ones that are athletes that are training. Putting in the hours in terms of not just practice but in the gym as well and working with that team around them.


Author-Circles_Ben-LangdownAuthor-Circles_Jack-Wells

Dr Ben Langdown is the Training Executive for Sports Science at the PGA National Training Academy at The Belfry. Alongside this Ben also works with many elite amateur and professional golfers providing strength and conditioning support. Ben has a PhD in the field of golf biomechanics, studying strength and conditioning for golf and movement variability in the swing.  Follow Ben at @BenLangdown.

Jack Wells is Education Officer (Golf Coaching & Sports Science) for the PGA of Great Britain & Ireland. You can follow Jack on Twitter at @Jackwells009.

 

]]>
To Lift or Not to Lift? These Are the Questions…
The Need for Speed http://www.pgae.com/ask/the-need-for-speed/ Fri, 13 May 2016 10:30:37 +0000 Jack Wells http://www.pgae.com/?p=15457 The ability to generate clubhead speed is often overlooked- however, from elite players to amateurs, it can significantly improve performance...]]>

The ability to generate clubhead speed is often overlooked- however, from elite players to amateurs, it can significantly improve performance. Jack Wells explains.

If a client came to you for a lesson, I would think they’d normally say, ‘I’d like to reduce the amount of curvature and increase the distance I hit the ball.’ Clearly, driving distance becomes a common variable your clients are looking to develop. But why is it so important, and how will it improve your client’s game?

Firstly, I shall signpost you to Jorgensen’s (1999) physics of golf book, which outlines the benefits of increasing drive distance. Of note, Jorgensen presents a table indicating the number of shots lost to par over 18 holes – my chart (below) gives an adapted version of this.

Driving 160 170 180 190 200
Shots lost to par 15 12 9 7 5
The number of shots lost to par over 78 holes with the respective drive distances

So, by only being able to drive the ball 160 yards, your clients will lose 15 shots to par purely because of a lack of distance. This is a very interesting concept and certainly one that I feel is important.

When considering maximal drive distance of the golf ball, the golfer needs to ensure that they create maximal speed at the clubhead (CHS). To increase their CHS, it is important for golfers to have the appropriate technique, the capacity to produce a large amount of force and sequential coordination, which is often termed the kinematic sequence. Golfers who are able to produce greater CHS should be able to increase the drive distance of their ball, provided there are no changes to the other impact factors (Betzler et al, 2012).

In support of this, I analysed the CHS of players competing on the PGA Tour since 2007. I looked at the top 10 players with the highest CHS and worked out their ranking for that year, and compared them to 10 golfers who were ranked as having the lowest CHS (141-1 50 lowest). See the chart below:

Jack Wells - Need For Speed

What you notice is that for every single year, the players with the highest CHS always finish the season with a higher (better) ranking than their low CHS counterparts – in fact, on average 44 places higher. Not only does this increase the chance of winning tournaments, there are also financial gains and sponsorship gain. Although I appreciate that this is representative of elite players, alongside the work of Jorgensen (1999), it does highlight that on every level CHS and ultimately drive distance are important components for successful performance.

So, what strategies do you as a golf coach have in your armoury that can help to increase your golfers’ CHS? Firstly, I would see how – and if – your golfers warm up. If they do, look at whether they incorporate strategies that improve performance, not reduce it.

There seems to be a bit of a taboo at a driving range, where it is seen as ‘silly’ or ‘odd’ to perform a warm-up, and those that do generally perform a warm-up that involves static stretching and/or air swings with a golf club. It is now widely accepted through research that static stretches will in fact reduce power output, whereas dynamic stretching will increase it (Haddad et al, 2014). Not only will l dynamic stretching help increase a golfer’s capacity to drive the ball further, it can also help to accelerate their athletic competency.

Secondly, are your golfers performing exercises that will improve their ability to generate greater values of CHS?

Understandably, there is not always time to perform exercises during a golf lesson, however golfers should spend time training if they want to increase their CHS. We know from research that golfers who take part in physical interventions, such as strength and power training, significantly (p<0.05) increase their CHS (Fletcher and Hartwell, 2004) and their wrist speed (Bull and Bridge, 2012).

Hopefully this review has provided you with sufficient information as to why there is a need for speed. Whether elite or amateur, the ability to generate CHS can significantly increase your client ‘s performance.

This article appears courtesy of Jack Wells & Pro Shop Europe

]]>
The Need for Speed
More to Win Than the Ryder Cup: The Health Benefits of Golf http://www.pgae.com/ask/more-to-win-than-the-ryder-cup-the-health-benefits-of-golf/ Fri, 13 May 2016 09:48:35 +0000 Golf & Health http://www.pgae.com/?p=15448 The Golf & Health Team look at just a handful of the many benefits of taking part in golf...]]>

By Steffan Griffen, Andrew Murray (@docAndyMurray) & Roger Hawkes

Golf is played by around 55 million people on 32,000 courses in over 100 countries.¹ With over half a billion homes worldwide tuning in for each day of the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, a series pitting Europe’s best against the cream of the American crop. We look at the health benefits of playing golf available not only to Rory McIlroy and the game’s elite, but also to those inspired to visit their local course.

Indeed former British Prime Minister David Lloyd George viewed less talented golfers as reaping more benefits than those bestowed upon the likes of McIlroy:

“Golf is the only game where the worst player gets the best of it. He obtains more out of it as regards both exercise and enjoyment, for the good player gets worried over the slightest mistake, whereas the poor player makes too many mistakes to worry about them.”

But what of the available evidence? Do golfers really live longer happier lives?

A landmark Scandinavian study² of over 300,000 golfers estimated they lived a remarkable 5 years longer than those who do not play golf, regardless of age, gender, or socio-economic status. Evidence also suggests that golf has a role in preventing and treating many chronic diseases, and has positive mental health effects.

Article-Header-Images_Golf-and-Health---Health-Benefits_05

Golf & Walking

A 2006 study³ found a mean of 11,948 steps are taken per 18-hole round, exceeding the commonly recommended daily amount of steps for health.  With technological advances coming into the game, calls have been made to reduce the use and availability of motorised carts to transport players around the course. Cart use reduces walking distance from an average 8+km to 3.86km per round.⁴

Another study⁵ found that walking 18-holes was the equivalent of moderate-high intensity exercise for the elderly, moderate for the middle-aged, and low for the young. A 1998 study⁶ determined that golf should be classified as a form of aerobic training for middle-aged people.

Article-Header-Images_Golf-and-Health---Health-Benefits_04

An Inclusive Sport

Golf suits participants of all ages, with people of mixed ability, sex, and age able to play together.  The Walker Research Group concludes: “golf is well suited for the development of social capital” with designated social spaces and natural breaks providing unparalleled socialisation opportunities and thus potential psychosocial benefit to participants of all ages⁷.

A 2006 study⁸ engaged children in non-traditional sports such as golf during extra-curricular time and found that such an intervention coupled with lifestyle activities such as walking, significantly increased physical activity in primary school aged children. This also slowed unhealthy weight gain.

In regards to gender inclusion, the recent news of women winning the right to R&A membership at St. Andrews after a 260-year wait, exhibits a positive step by the game’s administrators to quash these barriers and see more women playing and staying in the game9.

Article-Header-Images_Golf-and-Health---Health-Benefits_03

Was David Lloyd George right?

There is clear evidence that regular physical activity, in the form of golf, increases life expectancy.  And although Lloyd George was correct that the benefits can be accrued by players of all abilities, research suggests that low handicap players tend to play more often and have the lowest mortality rates.  Encouraging friends, family, and patients to take part in regular physical activity is time well invested, and golf can offer significant benefit to Joe and Jane Public and Rory McIlroy alike.  Just don’t hire a buggy!

Article-Header-Images_Golf-and-Health---Health-Benefits_02

References

  1. Wilson B. Golf industry facing challenges: BBC News Online: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12731099, 2011:Online News Article.
  2. Farahmand B, Broman G, de Faire U, Vagero D, Ahlbom A. Golf: a game of life and death–reduced mortality in Swedish golf players. Scand J Med Sci Sports 2009;19(3):419-24.
  3. Kobriger, S. L., Smith, J., Hollman, J. H., & Smith, A. M. (2006). The contribution of golf to daily physical activity recommendations: How many steps does it take to complete a round of golf? May Clinic Proceedings, 81(8), 1041-1043
  4. Sell, T. C, Abt, J. P., Lephart, S, M. (2008) Physical activity-related benefits of walking during golf. Science and Gold V: Proceedings of the World Scientific Congress of Golf. 128-132
  5. Broman, G., Johnsson, L., & kaijser, L. (2004) Golf: a high intensity interval activity for elderly men. Aging – Clinical and Experimental Research, 16(5), 375-381
  6. Magnussen, G. (1998). Science and golf III: Proceedings of the 1998 World Scientific Congress of Golf. (eds.) Martin R. Farrally, Alastair J. Cochran. Human Kinetics
  7. Walker Research Group. The Health & Wellness Benefits of Golf Participation & Involvement. Review of Academic Literature. Golf 20/20 & World Golf Foundation. (2011)
  8. Taylor, R., Mculey, K., Williams, S., Barbezat, W., Nielsen, G., & Mann, J. (2006). Reducing weight gain in children through enhancing physical activity and nutrition: The APPLE project. International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, 1(3), 146-152
  9. Women win right to R&A membership after 260-year wait as other clubs are told to remove barriers. The Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/golf/11107633/Women-win-right-to-RandA-membership-after-260-year-wait-as-other-clubs-are-told-to-remove-barriers.html Online news article.
]]>
More to Win Than the Ryder Cup: The Health Benefits of Golf
Physiotherapy and Golf Injuries – Part 1: The Wrist http://www.pgae.com/ask/physiotherapy-and-golf-injuries-part-1-the-wrist/ Mon, 04 Apr 2016 07:33:01 +0000 European Tour Performance Institute http://www.pgae.com/?p=13262 In the first of a special series, the experts at ETPI.com look at the effect of repeated large forces on the body that can lead to different types of injury...]]>

In the first of a series of articles on injuries common in golfers of all abilities, ETPI.com’s Nigel Tilley – a Consultant Physiotherapist on The European Tour – examines potential wrist problems and recovery routes.

Golf is a sport with many health and well-being benefits. It is played across the world by people of all ages including into their 80’s and 90’s with a reported 60 million participants.  The health benefits have been widely reported in recent years with an 18-hole round representing somewhere between six to eight kilometres of walking and often requiring physical exertion across variable outdoor terrain.  This can burn more than 1,500 calories as well as requiring more than 8,000-12,000 steps.

A recent Scandinavian study of more than 300,000 golfers showed that people who play golf on a regular basis have a 40 per cent decreased mortality rate compared to their peers, which equates to a five year increase in life expectancy – regardless of gender or socio-economic status.

Another study found that walking 18 holes of golf was the equivalent of moderate-high intensity exercise for the elderly and moderate for the middle-aged.

But it isn’t just physical benefits to be gained from playing golf.  The sport suits participants of all ages, abilities, sex and age, who can all play together providing unparalleled socialisation opportunities and psychosocial benefit.

Golf is much more than just walking and can be very demanding, requiring strength, endurance, explosive power, flexibility and athletic ability to perform a movement which produces some of the fastest club head and ball speeds of any sport.

However. the effect of repeated large forces on the body can lead to a number of different types of injuries. Due to the biomechanical requirements of such an asymmetrical swing, these are often specific to certain areas and sides of the body in golfers depending on their lead side.  For instance, right handed golfers, wholead with the left side, are more likely to suffer from Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU) injuries on the left wrist and Dorsal Rim Impaction Syndrome DRIS injuries on the right wrist.

A wealth of research has been conducted on the types and likelihood of injuries experienced by golfers with the back, shoulder, elbow, wrist and hips appearing the main areas of the body prone to problems.

These injuries are generally caused by acute trauma, poor technique, a lack of physical conditioning, the accumulated effect of repetitive movements over many years or a combination of these factors while, interestingly, the occurrence of certain pathologies differ between amateur and professional golfers.

Now, in the first part of our series on golf injuries and physiotherapy, we look at the wrist, potential injuries to the joint and associated soft tissue, and how physiotherapy can help in the treatment and rehabilitation of an injury in order to fast-track recovery and help return you to activity as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Wrist Injuries

There are a large range of common wrist injuries in golf but in this brief study we will concentrate on one commonly seen in a variety of golfers. – the Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU) injury.

What Is It?

The ECU is a skeletal muscle located on the ulnar side of the forearm which acts to extend and adduct the wrist.  It has to work very hard during the golf swing and so is highly prone to injury in golfers.  ECU pathologies include tenosynovitis of the tendon sheath, tendinopathy, tendon disruption and tendon instability.  These injuries can occur in isolation or combined and can be caused by high force trauma, such as hitting a tree root or thick grass, rapid increase in loading, continued excessive loading and technique faults. This can lead to a variety of changes at the tissues depending on the stage, severity or structure affected including cellular tissue disruption, thickening, matrix breakdown and increased vascularity.

How does physiotherapy treat this type of injury?

The key aim of physiotherapy is to attempt to clearly identify the injury and its cause.  This greatly helps direct the golfer’s treatment and management.  Often this type of injury will require ‘load modification’ with more traumatic sudden onset injuries requiring immediate removal of load and PRICE protocol (protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation) or POLICE (protection, OPTIMAL LOADING, ice, compression, elevation).  The aim here is to reduce the bleeding and swelling from the injury site if severe tissue disruption such as a partial or full rupture has occurred.

In presentations that have a more gradual non-traumatic onset, a reduction rather than removal of load is often required.  This reduction in load can be achieved by encouraging the hitting of less balls or avoiding hitting from hard ground or mats – which often increase the stress on these tissues.  There are several strapping techniques which physiotherapists use that can also help to stabilise the wrist and give support to the structures.

In layman’s terms if your problem is a slow gradual onset of pain and symptoms in the outside of the wrist a reduction in the amount of balls that you hit or stopping practicing on hard winter matts may help to reduce symptoms and allow recovery  In situations where a sharp and sudden onset occurs after a specific incident (like hitting a tree root or when hitting out of heavy rough) you may need to stop playing golf immediately for a period of time and see a physiotherapist of wrist specialist for a detailed assessment of your injury.

The rehabilitation of injuries to the ECU and its associated structures depends on the exact injury and the severity of the tendinopathy.  But where no severe tissue disruption has occurred – as opposed to partial and full ruptures, which could require surgical opinions or interventions- the aim is to gradually restore the tissues ability to tolerate load through load management, isometric and eccentric exercises and graduated return to play.  As with so many injuries in golf it is key that technique and playing habits are reviewed to help identify solutions to poor technique and practice faults which can often lead to excessive stresses on certain parts of the body. For example, reduced ability to separate your pelvis from your upper body during the back swing is often associated with a higher incidence of wrist, elbow and shoulder injuries, due to the poor swing techniques these limitations create.

A golf-specific physio such as those that work at the ETPI in Terre Blanche and Jumeirah Golf Estates will be able to help you with these sort of biomechanical adjustments or conduct a joint assessment with a golf coach or instructor.

For safety, optimum treatment and to reduce the risk of re-injury, players and patients should visit and complete a full assessment of all injuries and receive treatment and rehabilitation under the guidance of a chartered physiotherapist.

Part 2 of this series on ‘Physiotherapy and Golf Injuries’ will look at ‘The shoulder’ and will be out next week.

To see an in depth guide for sports physicians and physiotherapists on examining the wrist and assessing its injuries you can watch this video by European Tour Chief Medical Officer Dr Roger Hawkes and Consultant Wrist & Hand surgeon Mr Doug Campbell:

The European Tour Performance Institutes in Terre Blanche, France and at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai have highly qualified and expert physiotherapists, osteopaths, medical staff, biomechanists and support staff that are able to help you with your injury assessment, diagnosis, treatment and improve your golf performance.  To arrange a visit or book an appointment with them email:

Terre Blanche –  Email: info@biomecaswing.com

Jumeirah Golf Estates – Email: ETPI@jumeirahgolfestates.com

Glossary of Terms

Isometric – is a type of strength training (muscle action) in which the joint angle or muscle length do not change during the muscle contraction.

Eccentric – Is active contraction of a muscle occurring simultaneously with lengthening of the muscle.  The muscle elongates while undertension due to an oppossing force greater than the muscle generates.

Concentric – A concentric muscle action is a type of muscle contraction where the muscle is shortening while generating force.  This occurs when the force generate dby the muscle exceeds the load opposing its contraction.

]]>
Physiotherapy and Golf Injuries – Part 1: The Wrist
The Future of Coaching – Tony Bennett http://www.pgae.com/ask/the-future-of-coaching/ Mon, 09 Nov 2015 11:40:29 +0000 Tony Bennett http://www.pgae.com/?p=10189 PGAs of Europe Director of Education & Membership, Tony Bennett, gives his thoughts on how coaching has changed in the past 15 years and where it could go in th]]>

PGAs of Europe Director of Education & Membership, Tony Bennett, gives his thoughts on how coaching has changed in the past 15 years and where it could go in the next…

For those of you old enough, can you remember when most people said that the earth was flat? ‘Flat-Earthers’ believed that the World was nothing like a spherical body and had varying theories about a wheel like shape surrounded by water.  These theories were once believed to be iron-clad, but were then disproven over time.

In the same vein I am sure that many PGA Professionals can cast their mind back to the turn of the millennium and think about the ball flight laws at that time.  If you were coaching in the year 2000, what was your coaching philosophy just those 15 years ago?

If you are developing as a coach, then I guarantee that you will think about some parts of coaching, technique, preparation or the use of technology very differently than you did even five years ago.

To think that nothing changes and everything is the same is naive.  Equipment changes, the playing conditions change and even the players’ mind-sets are very different than they were even just five years ago.

Based on that, making predictions for how coaching will change and the influence of technology anything further than five years in the future is pure crystal ball-gazing.  That said, I offer the following observations that could come into play:

  • The relationship between the coach and student will become more reliant on facilitating learning rather than teaching.
  • It will not be possible to quarantine a student from information or influence from other sources. The coach of the future will become a trusted advisor, a sounding board to validate or correct the student’s current thinking.
  • Progress of the student is not linear.  Successful coaches will recognise that on the road to the student’s goals there will be detours, roadblocks and potholes to be negotiated.
  • There is not a starting and finishing line.  Students will engage with the game on their own terms.  Some will start with the long game, some with short game and others with putting.  Many people will resist being fed into one end of a system and asked to progress through a series of pre-defined lessons.
  • Coaches will return to teaching people rather than teaching golf swings.
  • There is a huge disconnect between where a new student learns to swing the club and where they play the game.  The range cannot replicate the course and as such it is imperative that the new student gets to the course as soon as is practically possible.
  • There is an over-reliance on data capture devices, such as, video, force plates, ball launch monitors, 3D analysis systems.  That is not to say that technology is not good because when used properly it really is.  Many of these technological aids are tremendous, but it is only the operators that tend to love them.  Such equipment should be used more as a way to capture data, make a thorough diagnosis, prepare an intervention and assess progress, not used as a gimmick in untrained hands.
  • Finally, coaches will start to realise that the market for coaches to elite players is very small and that the big and more lucrative markets are with new and average players.  In most golf playing countries less than 10% of the population, and sometimes even significantly less, play so the untapped 90%+ offer a great opportunity.

To conclude I have no desire to be educated, no inclination to be taught and yet I have an insatiable appetite to learn.  Ask me if I want to be educated or taught how to play the saxophone and my answer is no.  Ask me if I want to learn how to play the saxophone and my response is a resounding yes.  For that, I will need an expert coach.


This article originally featured in International Golf Pro News. Visit the IGPN Page to find out more and subscribe for free.

]]>
The Future of Coaching – Tony Bennett
GoGolf! – A Collaborative Project on Sport, Health & Participation Achieves European Commission Erasmus+ Award http://www.pgae.com/news/gogolf-a-collaborative-project-on-sport-health-participation-achieves-european-commission-erasmus-award/ Fri, 01 May 2015 14:39:54 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=11145 Golf Europe, a group of European golf’s major stakeholders, will aim to progress golf’s contribution to European society and the focus it receives within the co]]>

Release On Behalf of Golf Europe:

Approximately 7.9 million European citizens play golf in an industry that contributes over €15.1 billion to the European economy. Golf Europe, a group of European golf’s major stakeholders, will aim to progress golf’s contribution to European society and the focus it receives within the community. The Europe 2020 strategy, which outlines the European Union’s vision for the 21st century, included sustainability as a key driver for economic growth and resource efficiency. In this context, Golf Europe’s activities of growing the sport of golf in an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable way are in line and contribute to realising Europe’s 2020 vision.

Under Erasmus+, the EU programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport for 2014-2020, the European Commission has awarded funding to the GoGolf! project, which be focused on sport, health and participation with transnational collaboration and two high-level aims:

  • Increasing the evidence base for the health benefits of golf for the European citizen
  • Driving increased participation in the sport at a pan- European level

Download PDF Press Release (1.1MB)

The European Golf Association (EGA) General Secretary, Richard Heath, commented that:

“…The EGA is excited to be in a position to collate and develop the evidence-base of golf in an EU-sponsored project. We feel that a more formal realisation of the benefits will create a cascading effect to benefit the European population through increasing participation at a grass-roots level.”

In the context of EU policy, the project aims to target the recently published Eurobarometer report on Sport and Physical Activity, which found that:

  • 59% of EU citizens never or seldom exercise or play sport at least once a week
  • Almost three-quarters of EU citizens (74%) say that they are not members of any sports club, a 67% increase since 2009.

With golf functioning as a major participation sport across Europe, the GoGolf! project will seek to identify how the European golf community can come together to address some of these impending health challenges for the European Community.

On behalf of The R&A, Steve Isaac, Director of Golf Course Management stated that:

“The Erasmus+ funding for GoGolf! provides a great opportunity for golf to demonstrate its value in providing health benefits to European citizens. Golf is an excellent way to address Europe’s potential health crisis, being a sport providing gentle exercise and one that can be played by all ages.”

A key aim of GoGolf! is to compose a multi-national, multi- stakeholder planning and delivery team which can bring a diverse set of skills, perspectives and resources to the work being undertaken. Partners include: The PGAs of Europe, Portuguese Golf Federation, Estonian Golf Association, Royal Dutch Golf Federation, Czech Golf Federation, French Golf Federation, and the University of St Andrews as a research partner. Coordinating the partners will be the European Observatoire of Sport and Employment (EOSE). Financial partners include the EGA and the PGA European Tour (PGAET).

Fredrik Lindgren, Head of Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability at the PGAET said:

“It is great news that European golf has been recognised as a positive contributor to the health enhancing physical activity aims of the European Commission. We look forward to working with our European partners to engage young people in golf across the five countries involved in this Erasmus+ project and to showcase the work at European Tour events and during the European Week of Sport.“

Czech Golf Federation (CGF) Vice-president, Miroslav Holub has stated:

“We believe that this research/project will have a huge impact on CGF’s future projects as well as on future projects implemented by other federations.”

An Expert Advisory Board comprising seven members will contribute strategic value to the initiative, namely:

  • The dynamics, structure and organisation of the European golf sector
  • Golf coaching and specific outreach to minority groups
  • Gender equality
  • Sports management and research
  • The health and social benefits to be gained by all members of society through regular physical activity
  • Youth engagement
  • EU sport policy

In alignment with the EU Physical Activity Guidelines, it is envisioned that the GoGolf! project will offer a valuable contribution towards the wider objective of increasing the physical activity levels of European citizens. Golf can function as an important vehicle for introducing children to sport, providing continuity into later life.

The planned deliverables for the project will include:

  • A core participation-driving framework, which is flexible for integration according to the specific variables of each national environment
  • A platform for pan-European knowledge sharing
  • A published comprehensive overview of the health benefits of playing golf
  • A validated European blueprint for increasing golf participation through targeted junior programmes in EU Member States
  • An information booklet for children on healthy living and the sport of golf
  • An awareness-raising website and promotional film.

The GoGolf! project aligns well with Golf Europe’s strategy to promote golf as a growing sport, valued as a force for good in European society. It is foreseen to be implemented over three years.

For more information, please contact the Golf Europe office: info@ega-golf.ch.

]]>
GoGolf! – A Collaborative Project on Sport, Health & Participation Achieves European Commission Erasmus+ Award
The R&A ANNOUNCES RESULTS OF PACE OF PLAY SURVEY AND PLANS FOR INDUSTRY FORUM http://www.pgae.com/news/the-ra-announces-results-of-pace-of-play-survey-and-plans-for-industry-forum/ Mon, 27 Apr 2015 14:56:47 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=11108 The R&A has announced the results of a pace of play survey, with an industry forum to discuss the findings planned for later in the year.]]>

The R&A has announced the results of a pace of play survey, with an industry forum to discuss the findings planned for later in the year.

The survey received more than 56,000 responses from golfers in 122 countries between September 2014 and March 2015. It was carried out by The R&A as part of its efforts to investigate the issues affecting golf and the extent to which they impact on participation in the sport.

The survey revealed that while 70% of golfers are largely happy with the duration of their rounds, 60% of golfers expressed the view that they would enjoy golf more if they played in less time.

Importantly, of the 25-44 year-olds who said that they were never happy with pace of play, 21% said that golf would need to take as much as one-and-a-half hours less for them to play more often. Of the 8,468 golfers in this age range who responded, 19% said they would welcome the opportunity to play nine holes more often as an alternative format.

Microsoft Word - Report Summary of questions Version 1.0.docx

The survey found that the two biggest factors preventing people from playing golf are work commitments (34%) and family commitments (29%) with the time taken to play (16%) ranked third. Other factors mentioned were alternative hobbies (12%), cost of play (7%), difficulty of play (1%) and cost of equipment (1%); although there were some regional variations on these percentages.

The R&A is organising a forum later this year where it will invite contributions from a range of organisations in golf on addressing pace of play and explore the key areas of player behaviour, management approaches and golf course issues.

Duncan Weir, Executive Director – Working for Golf at The R&A, said, “This survey is the first step for us in examining, in detail, the wide range of issues currently affecting participation in golf. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence available but we conducted the survey to obtain accurate data on how much of an issue pace of play is for golfers and to give us an insight into what they see as the main factors contributing to slow rounds.

“We feel that the next step in this process is to engage with our partners throughout the golf industry to look at these findings and invite them to contribute their views to these important discussions. Our forum later this year will provide the opportunity for these discussions to take place.”

The R&A distributed the survey through its affiliated bodies around the world and it was offered in six languages: Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.

Click here to download the report

]]>
The R&A ANNOUNCES RESULTS OF PACE OF PLAY SURVEY AND PLANS FOR INDUSTRY FORUM
Sports Marketing Surveys Inc. Announces 2014 Golf Participation Figures http://www.pgae.com/news/sports-marketing-surveys-inc-announces-2014-golf-participation-figures/ Mon, 30 Mar 2015 13:49:50 +0000 SMS Inc. http://www.pgae.com/?p=10721 Leading sports research company and PGAs of Europe Media Partner, SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC. (SMS INC.), are a vastly experienced research group that help or]]>

Leading sports research company and PGAs of Europe Media Partner, SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC. (SMS INC.), are a vastly experienced research group that help organisations to use data to inform their business and marketing decisions.

Here they reveal the results of their investigation into British golfers and their playing habits, information which could be useful not only in Great Britain, but also further afield as markers of performance and evidence of trends throughout the sport…


Golf participation in GB finally stabilised in 2014, just above the 3.3 million mark, offering hope to the golf industry after a decade of decay. This succeeds news that 2014 saw an increase in the number of rounds played by 3.5% compared to 2013 (SMS INC. 2014 GB Rounds Played Monitor) following a warm and dry summer, without any major UK based major sporting events.  A local and victorious Ryder Cup in Scotland – with good weather around it – will have boosted interest and play frequency.

Further good news from additional SMS INC. intelligence confirms that equipment sales in GB have levelled across most categories in terms of volume and value, suggesting the ‘downturn’ is over.

Although golf participation remains at its lowest level for over a decade, SMS INC.’s study signposts clear progression and opportunities for the sport to grow. For the second consecutive year female participation has risen, as has the number of ‘avid’ golfers (who play at least once a week on average). It is this group of golfers (Avid) who define and guide the sport, so the industry should be buoyed by the additional 53,000 players whose play frequency brought them into this dedicated category in 2014.

As per the 2013 statistics, a cause for concern is the number of ‘infrequent’ golfers, who play less than 12 times a year, which is at its lowest on record in this millennium (1,786,000). Time is a major factor influencing player numbers, and may be the significant reason behind the decline in infrequent golfers.

Richard Payne, Senior Manager of Sports Accounts at SMS INC. commented, “Whilst the 2014 figures give the golf industry reason to be more positive, the continued decline of infrequent golfers remains a challenge that needs to be overcome.

SMS INC. has continuously stressed the importance of the ‘three F’s’ – Fun, Flexible, and Family’, a vision which the industry must fully adopt following these latest figures, to convert both first-time triallists and new golfers who may be using driving ranges into full-length course users, and secondly to prevent the loss of more infrequent players.”

SMS INC’s participation report also examines golfs position in comparison to other sports. As per recent years swimming, running and cycling are the top three sports in GB in terms of participation, and all exude the image – ‘Fun, Flexible and Family’.

]]>
Sports Marketing Surveys Inc. Announces 2014 Golf Participation Figures
SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC. and ‘Women & Golf’ Magazine To Release Survey Results http://www.pgae.com/news/sports-marketing-surveys-inc-and-women-golf-magazine-to-release-survey-results/ Mon, 23 Feb 2015 12:41:30 +0000 SMS Inc. http://www.pgae.com/?p=10200 Leading sports research company SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC. announces, in conjunction with Women & Golf magazine, the completion of detailed research into Bri]]>

Leading sports research company SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC. announces, in conjunction with Women & Golf magazine, the completion of detailed research into British golfers.

The SMS INC. report, commissioned by Women & Golf magazine and featured in the March/April issue, on sale 6 February, reveals that male golfers could be a key stimulus in increasing female participation.

The survey reveals that the top reason for female golfers initially taking up the game is because of a husband or partner who played. Yet the conclusions show that over three quarters of male golfers who have a wife or partner say that this companion does not play golf, thus presenting a great opportunity to the golf industry to embrace these golfers to grow the game.

“The impending report in Women & Golf, that will also be available to view on the website www.womenandgolf.com, will give the golf industry exceptional insight into a much coveted group of consumers, offering detailed data on their attitudes to the game and how the sport can attract more women,” said Richard Payne, Senior Sports Account Manager of SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC.

“SMS INC. emphasised the importance of the ‘three F’s’ – Fun, Flexible, and Family’ – at The Industry Lunch at The Open in Hoylake six months ago, and this research fully supports that vision”.

Male Golfer Attitudes:

SMS INC.’s report also provides pivotal insight into the attitude of the male golfer, revealing that over half of men who have sons say that their son(s) play golf, whereas just 12% of men who have daughters say that their daughter(s) play.

Less than half of men with wives or partners who do not currently participate in the game, have tried to introduce them to golf, and a similar trend (31%) is evident of men with daughters who do not currently play.

“This in-depth research clearly demonstrates that the industry must utilise its current male golfers to encourage the women in their life into the game. Clubs must emphasise the inclusive, familial nature of the sport to help it develop and grow female participation” said Alison Root, Editor of Women & Golf.

Furthermore, the report reveals that 47% of women golfers play golf casually with male golfers at least once a month.

The survey was carried out during the summer and autumn 2014 and involved over 3,000 core golfers.

Click here to find out more about the study and results

]]>
SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC. and ‘Women & Golf’ Magazine To Release Survey Results