PGAs of EuropePGA Pros – PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com Home of the PGAE Tue, 21 Nov 2017 13:07:33 +0000 en-gb hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9 “If Disney Ran Your Hospital…The Things You Would Do Differently” http://www.pgae.com/ask/if-disney-ran-your-hospital-the-things-you-would-do-differently/ Fri, 27 Oct 2017 07:00:05 +0000 Tony Bennett http://www.pgae.com/?p=20277 "Author Fred Lee gives his advice on the five behaviours that customers really value in those who provide them with services..."]]>

On my latest read of the thought provoking, “If Disney Ran Your Hospital: 9 1/2 Things You Would Do Differently”, author Fred Lee, gives his advice on the five behaviours that customers value in those who provide them with services.

Fred observes that hospital patients judge their experience not only by the way they are treated for the disease but also, and more importantly, by the way, that they are treated as a person…

If Fred is right, and incidentally I think that he is, and if this concept transfers across into golf, which I think it does, then the ‘how’ is perhaps more important than the ‘what’? This is an essential point for all, coaches, managers, and leaders to recognise. By the way, the great ones do; that is one reason that they are great.

Content, or perhaps we should call it knowledge, can be learned. In fact, content can be learned by almost anyone on almost any subject. Certainly, there is always content to learn or be updated on, that is the nature of progress. Often people have a fascination for content, and yet they have a hard time sharing that knowledge in a way that can make a difference in the life of someone else. I believe that it is possible to learn enough content for whatever role you have in a short period of time to become good at almost any subject. Learning to share that knowledge however is altogether different.

Back to Fred Lee and his five behaviours. Fred conveniently created the acronym S.H.A.R.E. Essentially these behaviours boiled down to the following values: using initiative, being part of a team, understanding the customer’s feelings, treating them with courtesy and making sure that communication is open and honest.

  • S – Sense people’s needs before they ask (initiative)
  • H – Help each other out (teamwork)
  • A – Acknowledge people’s feelings (empathy)
  • R – Respect the dignity and privacy of everyone (courtesy)
  • E – Explain what is happening (communication)

So if the ‘how’ is so important then how can golf focus more on how to share experience and knowledge so that it is relevant, timely and useful? There are many answers to this question, and I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

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“If Disney Ran Your Hospital…The Things You Would Do Differently”
PGA Professional Spotlight: Marie Jeffery (PGA of Austria) [PODCAST] http://www.pgae.com/ask/pga-professional-spotlight-marie-jeffery-pga-of-austria-podcast/ Wed, 18 Oct 2017 10:07:43 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=20084 Marie Jeffery tells us about how she got into golf, her work in the world of 'Communicology', and her views on female participation and development in golf...]]>

Marie Jeffery is a Member of the PGAs of Europe Golf Development Team and a PGA of Austria Member. We spoke to Marie to find out more about how she got into golf, her work in the world of ‘Communicology’, her experience with the Austrian Girls National Team and views on female participation and development in golf.

“I think women’s golf has a great future if it can market itself correctly. For me it’s as exciting watching a ladies’ tournament as it is watching a men’s tournament. Sometimes people get a bit drawn to how far the ball flies and they attack impossible pins and take on impossible shots, but the ladies play really clever golf too.

“I was at the Evian Championship last year and what I saw was very impressive – they had a very professional attitude and were really focused on the range so there’s no difference between them and the guys. I would like to see ladies get much more TV time and more acknowledgement for what they are doing.”

Interview Highlights:

00:29 – How Marie got into golf…

01:39 – Entering a golf club as a young girl golfer…

02:21 – The changes in golf in Austria…

03:23 – Marie now works at the same facility that she started her golf career at…

06:25 – Being driven by those that originally discouraged her golf…

08:23 – Getting the Austrian National Team Coach job…

09:20 – Becoming involved in ‘Communicology’…

11:25 – Using ‘Communicology’ to break things down and not get lost in the detail…

12:10 – Key learnings from Marie’s career so far…

14:19 – The difference between teaching & coaching…

16:00 – What changes has Marie seen over the time she worked with the Austrian Girls squads…

18:49 – Working as a National Coach is a 24/7 role…

19:41 – What is the future of girls’ golf…

20:48 – The challenges face in women and girls’ participation…

23:01 – The difference between girls and boys’ sport …

24:26 – What are the mistakes most beginner golfers make…?

28:15 – Who is the best lesser-known coach Marie has worked with…?

30:19 – What advice would you give your 25-year-old self…?

31:09 – Marie’s views on who she feels are ‘successful’ people…

32:05 – Marie’s favourite book…

33:01 – The advice has Marie found beneficial up until now…

35:01 – What might surprise listeners about Marie…

35:19 – The golf equipment that gives Marie the most joy…

35:55 – Marie’s dream Fourball…

36:34 – Advice for aspiring PGA Professionals…


Find out more about Marie at www.functionalgolf.at and at functionalgolfat on Facebook.

Find out more about the PGAs of Europe Golf Development Team at http://eur.pe/GolfDevelopmentTeam

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PGA Professional Spotlight: Marie Jeffery (PGA of Austria) [PODCAST]
Something to Sell & No-One to Buy http://www.pgae.com/ask/something-to-sell-no-one-to-buy/ Thu, 28 Sep 2017 08:01:31 +0000 Tony Bennett http://www.pgae.com/?p=11522 Tony Bennett explores how the principles of custom fitting could be applied to all services in golf ensuring they fit the needs of the consumer...]]>

On my last visit to the opticians, the doctor fitted lenses to meet the needs of my eyes. Likewise when I go to the shoe shop or buy a suit, these products are fitted to me.

I recently read the latest edition of International Golf Pro News, which featured some excellent articles on club fitting and other such contributions on how a personalised solution often saves money, time, frustration and so on.

Surely fitting cannot be confined to just products can it? What about services, can they also be fitted to meet the needs of the consumer? Of course, they can, airlines have changed to offer choice in the level of services that we want.

We can book a specific seat, choose the number of bags to take, have insurance or not. Hotels offer a choice of breakfast with the room, newspapers and late check out. Gymnasiums offer access at certain times of certain days. Internet and mobile phone providers offer different download speeds and call tariffs. The list is endless.

The goal, is for the consumer to participate to the level that meets their needs, satisfies their desire and is a comfortable fit with their priorities, lifestyle, and other commitments.

There is nothing much wrong with the sport. A simple definition could be that you take a stick and hit a ball to a target that is in, on or above the ground. People have been doing it for years and it has a fair level of challenge if we play from the most suitable distance.

In recent times golf has started to change, but for so long effectively it has said, “this is our sport, this is how you will consume it and these are the rules of that engagement.” This attitude has shaped public opinion.

It is the same as going to a shop and being told that we must adapt to size 44 shoes or a 52 jacket, “just spread your toes or puff out your chest if the size is too big, or vice versa if the size is too small”. Sure someone with size 44 feet and a 52 chest thinks that everything is perfect, you can hear them say “why doesn’t everyone shop here”? I am sure that everyone else will be less than fulfilled and may well go elsewhere to have their needs satisfied.

Article-Header-Images_Tony-Bennett---Fitting

Could we offer consumers more choice in how they engage with the game? Certainly we have asked many non-golfers why they want to play, but have we listened to their answers and acted upon their perspectives?

A very good friend of mine, when asked what is the most important language for doing business, says without hesitation, “my customer’s language.” She is not referring to any one of the more than 6,000 mother tongues that a quick search on the internet reveals, but instead to the narrative that her customers use.

What is important to them, resonates and builds rapport? Sometimes we can know our product or service so well that we really do have something to sell, but if we do not become relatable to others, then we will likely have no-one to buy.

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Something to Sell & No-One to Buy
PGA Professional Spotlight: Alastair Spink (PGA of GB&I) [PODCAST] http://www.pgae.com/ask/pga-professional-spotlight-alastair-spink-pga-of-gbi-podcast/ Mon, 25 Sep 2017 14:45:15 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=19589 We speak to PGAs of Europe Golf Development Team Member, Alastair Spink, about his journey as a PGA Pro & how he has become a leader in women's golf development]]>

Alastair Spink is a Member of the PGAs of Europe Golf Development Team and a PGA of GB&I Member. Here we speak to Alastair about his how he made it into golf to eventually become a PGA Pro, along with how he has become a leader in women’s golf development and participation taking an academic approach to his work in creating the hugely successful Love.golf programme.

Interview Highlights:

01:14 – Early beginnings in golf…

04:38 – Alastair’s first golf coach…

07:58 – How has the way Alastair learnt golf shaped his coaching style…

08:48 – Turning Professional…

12:58 – Working at Hintlesham Hall Golf Club in Ipswich…

16:16 – An increased in development and working as a County Golf Development Officer…

22:24 – Taking an interest in gender disparity in clubs and golf in general, creating an interest in women’s golf development…

23:54 – How did Alastair create a women’s participation-led programme…

27:37 – Barriers to developing women’s participation programmes…

29:06 – How will female participation help the industry in general?

30:32 – Learning from the stories and communities developed at ‘Park Runs’…

33:12 – What changes have you seen in golf across your career?

35:00 – What’s the main mistake golfers make when taking up the sport?

37:05 – What would you tell your 25 year old self?

38:57 – Alastair’s favourite books…

39:34 – What might surprise us about Alastair Spink?

40:21 – Alastair’s dream fourball…


Follow Alastair on Twitter at @Thegolfcoach and find out more about Love.Golf at www.love.golf.

Find out more about the PGAs of Europe Golf Development Team at http://eur.pe/GolfDevelopmentTeam

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PGA Professional Spotlight: Alastair Spink (PGA of GB&I) [PODCAST]
Technology in Golf Coaching – What’s Next? http://www.pgae.com/ask/technology-in-golf-coaching-whats-next/ Wed, 30 Aug 2017 06:01:37 +0000 Aston Ward http://www.pgae.com/?p=19149 We explore the ever-evolving world of coaching technology and what might be making its way to the lesson bay, golf course or swing room sometime in the future..]]>

I am very lucky to be in the position where I can mix my passions for technology, communications and innovation together with my biggest passion, golf, and my knowledge of coaching as a PGA Professional.

Because of this I sit in the middle of various areas of the industry where I can get a good view of what is happening when it comes to embracing technology and looking at innovative ways to continually advance our profession and the coaching process.

Barely a day goes by without an announcement of an upgrade or introduction of a new piece of equipment that could make a golfer better (or ideally simply enjoy themselves more), and it’s exciting to think where this could go in the future.

Now, as an opening caveat, I no longer coach students as part of my job, but I am exposed to a lot of great coaches who have dedicated their lives to improving golfers’ experiences. So whilst I may not be directly using coaching equipment on a daily basis, I can appreciate the technology behind them and their practical applications.

In speaking with many of these coaches, there is something that continually comes up when you discuss technology – data capture.

The level of detail and sheer quantity of data that we can capture about a golf swing is incredible. Technologies such as launch monitor/radar flight and ball-roll tracking devices, hi-speed camera analysis, and the myriad of other options on the market, mean you can now analyse every parameter imaginable when getting the ball into the hole. And, assuming the user is appropriately trained, this can turn into a very tangible benefit to the end-user.

Previously we featured the Strokes-Gained metrics developed by Dr Mark Broadie that utilises the PGA Tour’s ShotLink® data in which every single shot played in PGA Tour events is recorded into an open-access pool of information that academics can make use of.

This detailed level of data capture has meant that every single aspect of a player’s round can be analysed and new and improved metrics for performance have been created.

With the continued rollout, pun intended, of golf simulators and intelligent, customisable simulated environments, combined with Augmented Reality (AR) technology, we now have ways of mirroring golf course conditions like never before, making coaching more realistic and contextually applicable.

Where Next?

Simulating golf course conditions leads nicely into the potential innovations that we could see in the future.

One thing I think could have huge potential uses would be virtual reality (VR) – imagine standing in a bay, putting on a headset and methodically planning your way around your next golf course of choice.

This could be something that helps the transition of elite amateurs to tour events – often players with little experience of the ‘big stage’ can let things get on top of them. The incredibly immersive experience of VR could help train players to overcome their nerves, ignore the distractions and perform better under pressure by recreating the conditions they could feel. Granted, nothing will ever replace the real thing but this would be a great start.

The future of data-capture looks to be about expanding our awareness and knowledge of areas of the sport that were previously nothing more than theory. We already have equipment with built-in sensors but I can see a future [that is not too far away] where there are completely non-invasive methods of gathering the same data Trackman can for example, but without the need for any external equipment to be setup, with data streaming live and wirelessly to receivers both on and off the course.

I can also see this extending to more wearable equipment that is less intrusive in the practice or practicing or playing (think a biomechanics analysis product that is nothing more than a normal base layer for example with no discernable difference to a normal item of clothing).

Right now anyone can go out and measure their vital statistics using something like an Apple Watch and the relevant apps, but perhaps in future we won’t even need to put anything on, or if we do it will be more akin to wearing a temporary tattoo than an accessory like a watch.

Perhaps a much bigger question to pose from all of this is what will be done with this data – the more you capture, the more you need to process it, and ultimately it needs to be useful to coaches and then to their students.

What will certainly need to happen, no matter what might come in the future, is for the education of coaches to go hand-in-hand with the technological advancement to ensure these fantastic tools are not purely a marketing ploy but are actually beneficial and valuable to their students.

PGA Professionals have a responsibility to keep up with the latest changes in coaching methods to ensure they a) provide what their students want and need, and b) they don’t get left behind when others could be helping golfers play better and enjoy themselves more.


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

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Technology in Golf Coaching – What’s Next?
Robert Kalkman Foundation | Ryder Cup European Development Trust Project Focus http://www.pgae.com/ask/robert-kalkman-foundation-ryder-cup-european-development-trust-project-focus/ Sat, 26 Aug 2017 09:03:32 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=19146 The Robert Kalkman Foundation supports children across the Netherlands by encouraging them to find a new passion in life by playing golf...]]>

The Robert Kalkman Foundation was established in 2007 by former Dutch international footballer, Robert Kalkman, and is designed to support children with cancer and/or a physical limitation by encouraging them to find a new passion in life by playing golf.

The Robert Kalkman Foundation has received funding from the Ryder Cup European Development Trust in order to continue providing opportunities to children across the Netherlands and allow the Foundation’s clinics to increase in size and frequency.

Golfing World caught up with Robert at the Foundation’s golf day to find out more about the great work being done…


To Find Out More About the Robert Kalkman Foundation visit www.robertkalkmanfoundation.com.

For more information on the Ryder Cup European Development Trust visit www.RCTrust.info, and follow @RyderCupTrust on Twitter.

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Robert Kalkman Foundation | Ryder Cup European Development Trust Project Focus
1st Schools Championship in Lebanon Creates a New National Buzz Around the game! http://www.pgae.com/news/1st-schools-championship-in-lebanon-creates-a-new-national-buzz-around-the-game/ Wed, 05 Jul 2017 10:33:41 +0000 Mark Taylor http://www.pgae.com/?p=19246 After a successful first visit to Lebanon within the ‘R&A Working for Golf’ remit earlier in the year, we (The...]]>

After a successful first visit to Lebanon within the ‘R&A Working for Golf’ remit earlier in the year, we (The PGAs Europe) were requested to help organise and implement a Schools Championship for students, parents and train the workforce in succession management to facilitate future Schools Championships in conjunction with the Lebanese Golf Federation and Golf Club of Lebanon.

The Schools Championship proved a huge success with over 70 children attending the day at Golf Club Lebanon, Beirut, the children aged between 6 and 11 years represented six schools which had all received prior coaching through the Lebanese Golf Federations’ ‘Golf in Schools Programme’.

The event which removed the barriers to participation by inviting teachers, parents and friends of the participating children, coaching taster sessions were also delivered to attending parents whilst the event took place. Further coaching offers and entry level memberships were available along with general information on golf and its many benefits, including tours of the golf clubhouse and golf course.

The three hour event showcased golf to VIP guests and high ranking Government officials including the Minister of Tourism and the assistant to the Lebanese Sports Minister being also in attendance…The blistering midday heat did require more Parasols to be brought in for the dignitaries though!!

As desired the event aided in changing the negative political perception of golf in Lebanon, also empowering parents and local officials to view how much fun golf can be, alongside all of the many health and social benefits that golf can offer. This was ultimately justified in the Golf Club Lebanon securing an indefinite extension to the lease of the land from the Aviation Authorities. Both Club and Federation are now better positioned to continue to move forward with their business plan – with the future of their only facility to date secured.

Upon interviewing attending parents they were amazed at the location and readily stated that they didn’t even know that the Golf Club existed, with the demand for green space increasing as housing developments continue to monopolise the area, they all suggested that golf would provide an excellent activity in which all the family could participate in beautiful surroundings.

We were able to attract coverage from local TV stations and newspapers who later wrote a full page article on the event, again another first here as golf received its first full page mention in the Lebanese National Press!!

Such events continue to justify how important it remains for Federations and Golf Facilities to reach out and engage the local community, developing support and relationships with both the community and political stakeholders…more importantly to shift golfs’ stereotypical perception and increase participation in our sport to new players of all ages. Both The Federation and Golf Club have been inundated with enquiries since the event, attaining new sponsorship opportunities, recruiting new schools to their programme and participants of all demographics to their club coaching and membership offers.

Please contact The PGAs Europe if you would like further information or assistance on such events.

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1st Schools Championship in Lebanon Creates a New National Buzz Around the game!
Leadbetter’s Grip Fundamentals With Golf Pride http://www.pgae.com/ask/leadbetters-grip-fundamentals/ Thu, 22 Jun 2017 22:25:15 +0000 Golf Pride http://www.pgae.com/?p=19134 Golf Pride Ambassador and one of the game’s most successful and respected coaches, David Leadbetter, offers his thoughts on the importance of the grip...]]>

David Leadbetter, one of the game’s most successful and respected coaches, offers his thoughts on the importance of the grip and how to get it right…

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I think I can sum it up in a sentence when I quote Ben Hogan and say, “good golf begins with a good grip.”

You can take that two ways and look at the actual grip, such as those made by Golf Pride, and the way that you position your hands on the club. These are clearly intertwined and, if you look at how the actual grips on golf clubs have evolved over the years, it shows how the hold plays such an important role.

The Top Hand

I would say that 80% of amateur golfers grip their top hands on the club incorrectly, and this is the biggest fault in golf. You can really only tell the quality of a grip when you open it up and a lot of the time you will see golfers grip the club too much in the palm. This makes it very difficult to set the club and the only way to do that is with the elbow. This increases the tension in your hands, and your body doesn’t get involved in the swing.

If you set the grip further in the lower part of the hand towards the fingers, you can set and hinge the wrist. A simple tip for amateurs is to hold the club up in the air at 45 degrees before placing your hands in the grip position. You will have seen a number of pros do this over the years, as it ensures the hands are in the right position.

You can then connect the hands together, however you feel comfortable, safe in the knowledge you are set correctly.

Grip Size

A lot of players underestimate the importance that the thickness of a grip plays. All hands are different sizes and the thickness of the grip is vital because it determines the amount of pressure you apply to the club. If the grip is too think or too thin, a player is going to generally grip the club in the palm of the hand, which is one of the most common faults I see.

This is because the player is trying to hold on to the club in an attempt to hand onto it, something that is clear when you see wear marks on the heel of a golf glove.

You hear about a strong grip all the time, but this is often misinterpreted. It in face means that a player sets their hands round in an anti-clockwise position.

You might think a grip is just a grip, but there is a big different between the types on offer and the golfers they suit. For example if you play golf in Dubai and it is 120 degrees and your sweating profusely, you will need something that is completely different compared to what someone is playing with where it is always cold, and more of a tacky feel is needed.

Grip Pressure

If you ask most of the pros they would say that their grip pressure, our of 10, would be between a three and a five. If amateur golfers were honest, many would say they are around a nine and you can see the veins popping in people’s arms as they stand over the ball.

If you go back to the great Henry Cotton, the hands play a huge role in the swing. Although I believe that power comes from the body, this power ultimately comes down through the arms and hands, and then through the club. The hands also control the clubface, so if you aren’t gripping it correctly and your grips are the wrong size, you’re going to have a problem squaring the face up and releasing the clubhead.

Personal Feel

My great friend Nick Price has the same size hands as me, but has very skinny cord grips that feel awful to me; he couldn’t hit my clubs and I couldn’t hit his.

The reason he has those skinny grips is that over the years we have worked hard to set the club and because he has very solid wrists, they do not cock or set very easily. Having a thinner grip allows him to set the club easier. Players who are very wristy through the ball can control that hand action with thicker grips.

This is where a good teacher or fitter will help to advise on the type of grip they need. Feel is such a key thing to top players, and it can make such a difference.

I have worked with LPGA player, Lydia Ko, who previously played with a normal grip, which is stretched half an inch to make it thinner. She then made an equipment change and could tell immediately that the grips on the clubs hadn’t been stretched.

There is no answer for everybody, but once you have found your grip thickness it will help your game.

The grip is a very underestimated part of the club. Some manufactures will put cheap grips on great golf clubs and they will wear out quickly and compromise the quality and performance. Changing your grips at least once a year is vital. My first rule of thumb, a little tongue in cheek, is that if you can see your reflection in your grips it is definitely time for a change.

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To find out more about setting up your own regripping service with Golf Pride visit www.golfpride.com/about/wholesale-distributors and find your nearest distributor.

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Leadbetter’s Grip Fundamentals With Golf Pride
Building & Effectively Utilising a Database http://www.pgae.com/ask/building-effectively-utilising-a-database/ Mon, 19 Jun 2017 14:29:43 +0000 Mark Taylor http://www.pgae.com/?p=19089 Data capture is the king of small business marketing - for every piece of good data accumulated, marketing costs are starting to reduce...]]>

Data capture is the king of small business marketing and an ever important facet for retaining customers at golf facilities. For every piece of good data accumulated, marketing costs are starting to reduce.

The objective should be to create a database of around 5,000 worthy leads and this will form the basis of all of the marketing initiatives for the year. This need not be as expensive as some people might think as off-the-shelf software is readily available and is really affordable if not free of charge or already in place in the clubs software systems.

What is required?

Golf facilities need to consider 3 factors when making their choice of how to best implement and manage a successful database capture campaign:

  1. The scale required: This does not just apply to the number of records currently held, but more importantly how this resource will grow in the future. What commitment can be implemented to regularly maintain, update and develop the information accrued?
  2. Budget: Whilst this should not be the first criteria for such an important business tool, budget will reduce the likely options including the building of a bespoke database which can be expensive
  3. How it integrates with other business systems: This can save a lot of anguish in the future if the database works alongside other marketing and communication tools, especially the club website. The website should be at the core of all marketing activity and it needs to talk directly to the database to save on unnecessary administration.

Most golf clubs can operate quite happily using ‘Microsoft Access’, part of the Office package to set up a database and manage their data. It is easy to set up and access information and is also flexible enough to create information fields which reflect the information gathered from customers. It also allows the flow of data (import and export) from other sources.

Data Capture…How to collect data

Once the database is in place, begins the hard work in acquiring and categorizing data as the information and contacts begin to grow. There is no doubt that the more data which is acquired, the more powerful and effective the clubs marketing strategies will become.

Here are some simple guidelines to ensure that gathering data on customers is central to the marketing programme and continued customer contact:

  • Draw up a set of procedures and standards to be used whenever a customer has direct contact with the golf club. Communicate these to any customer facing staff and ensure they are adhered to.
  • Give staff both the tools and training to assist in collecting the information. These can include simple contact cards to be filled in following a telephone call or completed when customers arrive.
  • Build all marketing around the website, as this resource is working 24/7 and is therefore by far the most reliable employee when it comes to collecting and processing information on your customers.
  • Refuse to do any marketing which is not measurable. In order to continue to build a database successfully, be aware of which marketing promotions are producing the best results.
  • Offline marketing must support online activity. Use all advertising and marketing brochures to drive people to the website. Don’t miss out on obvious opportunities such as including the website address on scorecards.
  • Have a marketing plan which co-ordinates all direct marketing activity and ensures customer identification:
    • Why? (What offer?), When and How? (email, direct mail, text)
  • Build systems that allow automated follow up. This would include automatic replies to any website or direct email enquiries, including alerting staff when customers have arrived. Processes to customise letters, bulk email tools which allow emails to be tracked are also useful in reducing time and administration.
    • Act now; with more and more people reverting to finding information online, clubs can’t afford to delay in establishing the processes.

“Once a person has failed to find or receive information on your golf club it will be more difficult to win back their interest”.

The most common data collection methods are listed below:

Data collection through via the clubs website.. Make your website do the work for you. After all it’s open for business 24/7. There should be a least five email data collection points on various pages throughout the visitor’s section of your site.

These should be in the relevant sections on your website, but include:

  • Sign up for special offers and advanced notification of open competitions
  • Sign up for notification of membership availability and offers
  • Sign up for offers in the Professionals’ shop and F&B promotions
  • Sign up for coaching and tuition days
  • Sign up to enter our monthly draw to win a free fourball

Ensure you make the calls to action very obvious on each page.

The first part of the season is key to building data so make sure both reasons to sign up and offers are varied.

To cut down on the administration make sure your website has a database set behind it so it is collating and storing the information for you.

Email collection at your golf club:

Ensure that every member of staff knows the importance of collecting data. The professional or whoever greets green fee visitors should be given a supply of sign up cards and all visitors should be encouraged to sign up. Explain they received advanced notification of competitions, tee times, special offers and also get entered into a monthly draw.

Collect as much data as possible but don’t over-do it.

Name, email address, postcode and how they heard about your club should be the bare minimum.

Online tee times:

If your club runs online tee time system then you have an existing opportunity for people to sign up to receive your weekly newsletter. Tee time systems provide a huge amount of information about a player before they even set foot on your golf course. This makes targeting emails even easier. If your club’s members are reluctant to see a tee time introduced at their club then why not trial a tee time ‘looking’ system for visitors.

Golf groups can equal 50 visitors:

Don’t treat societies as just one booking. There can be as many as 50 visitors so make sure you collect data from each player. Offer a free prize draw on the day if they complete a visitor satisfaction survey (which also captures their name and email address).

Offer everyone a repeat visit voucher which they have to go on your website and download using a promotional code.

Watch the birdie:

If you club has a meet and greeter, get him to take a happy snap of visiting groups on the first tee. Collect their email addresses and then have the photograph sitting in their in-box for when they return from their round. Great customer service and a good way of collecting data!

Work with local businesses:

Build an opt-in email list by working with other businesses such as hotels or the local tourist board. Make sure links are established to the club website on their websites and vice versa. Ensure the link sends them to page to register for future information and offers. Offer to run special offers such as golf giveaways or concessionary offers which the hotel can send to its customer base.

How to store data

Customer databases are not something which only large companies can aspire to. For the average database of most golf clubs which is anywhere between 2,000 and 10,000 names, they do not always require a specialist system.

Off-the shelf database tools

It’s very easy to construct a database with all the data fields required in a package such as Microsoft Access. This comes as part of the Windows Microsoft Office software which most clubs have installed.

Let your website do the work

A well-developed website will have a database sitting behind it. This will automate the collection of all data through the website itself and allow for easy administration of the data collected by the pro shop or other business avenues. Such systems also simplify on-going, regular communication such as e-newsletters or promotional offers.

Does it need to talk to your other systems?

Most clubs have automated many of their systems such as member databases with swipe cards behind the bar. It is not necessary for marketing database to interact with POS systems initially as it could be very expensive to set up. Use the visitor database to run marketing initiatives independently. Once a healthy business has been achieved, facilities can then look at more sophisticated ways of tracking spend.

What data should be collected?

When collecting data, is it important to strike a balance between collecting enough useful information without alienating customers.

The bare minimum should be name and email address if you are only intending to communicate by email. If you plan to send communications by mail, then collect their postal address – but only do this if you have every intention of using this data. (The more data you request, the less likely they are to complete it).

It is also advisable to collect mobile numbers as text marketing continues to grow grow in the future.

When possible, collect details of every transaction at the point of transaction including the date, time and amount paid. Pro shop staff must be made aware of how important this is. If a tee time booking system is in place, then this will do the job for you. This information can be useful in building up a profile of your customers’ playing habits which will make targeted communications even easier.

Please find below a series of videos to assist in building a database in Microsoft Access:

Stay legal

Businesses which store personal information and sends communications to customers (members or visitors) must comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 and increasingly the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.

Currently not-for-profit organisations are not required to register but may be wise to check as you seek to use data in a more commercial fashion.

As a rule, if you are communicating to members, you have an opt-out option. However, it might be part of your membership terms and conditions that members receive information from the club relating to their membership and offers.

Before communicating to visitors, you must always have an opt-in option at the point of collecting their data.

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Building & Effectively Utilising a Database
Benchmarking Performance: A Facility’s Secret Weapon http://www.pgae.com/ask/benchmarking-performance-a-facilitys-secret-weapon/ Wed, 10 May 2017 12:18:13 +0000 Golf Management Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=18191 Getting the full picture of how your golf club is performing means you also need to know how you are measuring up against your competitors and the market...]]>

Getting the full picture of how your golf club is performing means you also need to know how you are measuring up against your competitors and the overall golf market.

 Here the PGAs of Europe and PGA Professional, Mark Taylor, explore this underutilised area of management looking at where to start and what to think about when it comes to benchmarking your facility…

Certainly many factors influence a club’s reputation and performance including; perception of the club’s brand, the quality of the course, course activity levels, recognition of the bottom line value of guest play; to name just a few!!

 

Benchmarking is a tool that provides facilities and management teams a way to compare their clubs with peers.

Here’s what to consider when benchmarking…

Benchmarking is a process for golf operations seeking to compare financial performance and operating metrics to others in the same industry and re-align business strategies that have become unsuitable.

Through considering the results and practices of others in the same space, an enterprise can potentially improve its own understanding and management of processes and practices.

Information is crucial, and this is accessible from various sources:

  • Competitor golf club websites and social media space
  • ‘Mystery shop’ your local golf clubs
  • Understanding trends in the market and adapting to meet those needs
  • Golf Benchmark National/International comparisons and metrics (e.g KPMG)
  • Benchmarking in local areas or regions

The factors that you may wish to consider in benchmarking competitors are:

  • Membership numbers and fees
  • Membership Retention
  • Visitor fee prices
  • Visitor packages
  • Food & Beverage
  • Golf Course reviews
  • PGA Professional Golf services, retail, membership sales and coaching provision
  • Is the PGA Professional active within recruitment & retention strategies?
  • Where and how competitors are marketing?
  • Are you comparing like for like products?
  • Is your benchmarking SMART in each area of comparison?

Only by knowing the answers to these basic questions and understanding where you fit in the local marketplace, can you be realistic about what is feasible.

The questions you wish to ask competitors may also vary – for example, in European tourist weighted/seasonal destinations, the benchmarking process may need to be adjusted to identify different gaps in a business from a conventional ‘member’ golf facility.

For venues that either currently benchmark or are evaluating the use of benchmarking processes, there are several factors to consider:

Resource:

Benchmarking is an important resource that a club has at its disposal and should be considered both during budgeting and strategic planning.

Planning:

Benchmarking helps club committees/course owners and management teams deliberate about plans and operations in new and more intelligent ways. It may also help reduce input drawn from other industries that may not apply to golf clubs and facilities. The operating, financing, investment, marketing and governance practices of golf clubs all have their own unique characteristics.

Understand the Limitations:

The first thing to understand is both the goals and the limitations of benchmarking.  It is, after all, a tool and not an answer. Comparing your club to others of similar standing should identify disparities that are worth understanding.  It is not a case of right or wrong, it is just a process to help develop more thoughtful questions and a better understanding of the surprising intricacy of the golf business.

Be sure to benchmark against a comparable set of venues…

In selecting facilities to benchmark against, it is important to choose a peer set with similar amenities. Comparing a golf-only club against clubs that provide, for example, leisure club integrated golf/leisure membership or dual course options etc. would make the comparison less meaningful.

For the same purpose, simply selecting clubs in your geographic area may not produce the most meaningful result. Comparing yourself with clubs of your general revenue size and, to the extent available, other factors including number of golf holes, amenity offerings, F&B revenues, etc. will help produce more telling results.  Studies have proven that geography means far less than one might intuitively suspect…

In addition to financial data, benchmarking operating data such as golf rounds played; the financing of capital expenditures, member numbers, membership costs, joining fees, governance practices etc. can be very valuable.

Key personnel within the club, including PGA Professionals have the ability and knowledge to treat this level of information with the respect it deserves and use it to drive positive change, improve service levels and profits, both in their business or for their employing club.

While the business model of golf is often consistent from venue to venue, each individual business is unique and is therefore required to make decisions based on their individual needs.

Benchmarking should not be considered a one-off exercise… To be effective, it must become an integral part of an ongoing improvement process, the goal being to be informed of ever-improving best practices and implement the necessary interventions to close the performance gap.

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Mark Taylor is a Development Officer for England Golf, a Fellow PGA of Great Britain & Ireland Professional, as well as a PGA Tutor and an R&A Golf Development Professional.

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Benchmarking Performance: A Facility’s Secret Weapon
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

 

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An Essential Guide to Learning About Learning: A Curated Reading List For Curious Coaches
[PODCAST] David Leadbetter – Coaching Through the Generations http://www.pgae.com/ask/david-leadbetter-coaching-through-the-generations/ Tue, 02 May 2017 03:02:24 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=15332 David Leadbetter explains more about his thoughts on the modern game and his reflections on coaching from past experiences...]]>

David Leadbetter has been at the forefront of the golf coaching psyche for as long as we can probably remember. Or around the mid-80s depending on how old you are.

His work in carving out a place in history for England’s greatest golfer, Sir Nick Faldo, has helped him build a reputation around the world for being at the forefront of coaching some of the greatest players to play the modern game.

He could also arguably be credited with the development, if not creation, of the ‘tour coach’. A coach that isn’t just with a player for sporadic swing check-ups, but one that forms a key part of the athlete’s team and spends significant time with them both away and at tournaments.

At the 144th Open Championship at St Andrews, the PGAs of Europe caught up with David in his natural habitat – strolling the golfer-dense driving range of a major championship, checking in on his myriad of athletes’ competing that week. Where better to pick his brains about the past 30 years…

“Just the time flies by and you see a whole host of different players now and a new generation of young players…”

Leadbetter’s viewpoint has been one that is only shared with a handful of names in the coaching world – a behind-the-scenes look at what was once one of the sport’s best-kept secrets – the inner workings of a tour professional. A perspective that has enabled him to see the game evolve first hand:

“It’s gone by in a flash really…1990 was when obviously Nick Faldo won here and that was 25 year ago and obviously he had his little swansong here at St Andrews this week and it’s incredible really.

“Just the time flies by and you see a whole host of different players now and a new generation of young players. If you think just this week there’s five amateurs making the cut…it just shows the gap between the professionals and the amateurs is getting closer – we’ve got an amateur leading the tournament…it’s amazing really where the game’s come from and where…it’s going to go to.

“I guess it’s progress – you’ve got better athletes, better equipment – these players are looking like it’s a real job now, it’s a business – there’s always been somebody with a lot of talent to show up and play well and it was almost by happenstance that they were successful.

“But now it’s sort of a plan from a very young age where you know you’ve got junior academies all over the world, you’ve got players from a multitude of countries.”

“It’s really interesting to see how well trained these young players are and how focused they are…”

Leadbetter was very much a trailblazer and was not afraid of adopting new methods and technology in his work, regardless of how it might have looked to his contemporaries:

“It was rather the exception than the rule back in the day when players had coaches – I was sort of a phenomenon from the standpoint of I had a video camera and people were looking saying wow. Nick Faldo lead the way as far as creating better work habits shall we say and having a coach, looking at workouts and looking at nutrition, sports psychologists. Now you have teams of people around, like Jordan Spieth always refer to it as ‘we’ – ‘we are doing this and that’. A swing coach, sports psychologist, the fella that works with him on his physical training.

“Obviously when you’re talking about the amount of money that they’re playing for – Tiger Woods has been a big factor in this – it’s no wonder that you’re seeing people with talent that are pushed to the limit.

“It’s going to be interesting in years to come – one of the things that we’re seeing, especially in the women’s game, is how long careers last. There’s a lot more emphasis on how really putting the reps in at a young age – you’re seeing injuries with these young players that we haven’t seen in the past so that is a factor.

“Just look at Jordan Spieth who’s 21 and a whole host of young players stateside and also in Europe now and in the far east too, who are exceptional players at a much younger age through better coaching and all the rest of it. From things in the past it really is progress in many ways.

Article-Header-Images_David-Leadbetter_02

“It’s really interesting, looking at it from my perspective, to see how well trained these young players are and how focused they are. Golf is a game where there’s no team aspect, apart form the Ryder or Presidents Cups, but it really is a one-on-one situation and so there’s a tremendous amount of pressure on them to perform at the highest level.”

Whilst the elite and tour golfers have kept him busy for much of his career, Leadbetter is no stranger to teaching a range of golfers. He continues to coach all types of players himself, and, together with his small army of Leadbetter coaches and Academies, has many touch points with the sport across its many and varied ability levels.

This permeation across the sport and his inclusion of many PGA Professionals into his fold has again given him a perspective that few others can have really seen on the ground…

“I think the standard of coaches has definitely improved through the PGAs worldwide getting together with seminars and experts in their field talking to individuals.

“It’s interesting – we do live in an age of technology and all the aspects there are that we’re able to ascertain what’s going wrong with peoples’ swings. We can analyse to the nth degree – as I like to say in the old days when we didn’t have video cameras and it was just our eye and our instincts as teachers and coaches, it was just our opinion which was the main factor. These days we can actually prove how bad people are when we look at Trackman and we look at biomechanics and we can see all these numbers.

So the secret is still how to transmit that information to the average player in a simple fashion where they can out and play. Because we also have to remember that the issue here really is that although we have all this technology which in some ways makes things more complex, people have less time to play and practice than they ever have in the past so if anything you’ve actually got to get the message across in a more simpler fashion so people can have immediate improvement.

The old theories back in the day where you’ve got to work at it for six or nine months with a grip change and this and that and just be patient. But people aren’t patient these days they want it now and if they don’t get it from one source they’ll get it from another.

“I’m glad in many respects that I grew up in the era where we didn’t have the mod cons because you have to use your eyes, instincts and intuition to teach…”

“You can go on the Internet and there’s a million and one ways to fix things so that is a danger. I think it’s important from the teacher’s standpoint…I’m glad in many respects that I grew up in the era where we didn’t have the mod cons because you have to use your eyes, instincts and intuition to teach.

“Where I think a lot of young teachers unfortunately because of the advent of all this technology they tend to rely on that purely so that is a danger.

“But I think it’s nice to know that if you have this detailed knowledge as a teacher, to be able to put it across in a simpler fashion and having the knowledge of maybe not being a sports psychologist as such, but having a psychology approach where you can get people to clear their mind. Those are the things that need to be taught as well to players if they are going to fulfil their potential.

Leadbetter has also been known for his role in developing the golf coach into more of a commercial entity and could arguably be termed the first ‘branded’ golf coach having developed the Leadbetter brand around the globe with over 20 academies and selling millions of books and videos.

But he has also produced a number of theories or swing systems for golfers – most recently his ‘A Swing’ has been the focus of his attention and the development of this approach with his players.

“I’ve written a number of books through the years and instructional videos, and I thought about this for a long while and I really wanted to bring out something that was a little bit different and something that was hopefully a bit simpler.

So this book, ‘The A Swing’, which stands for ‘alternative’, is really an alternative way to swing the club from the standpoint of making a simpler backswing because that’s the area that I think most amateurs get confused by.

They spend so much time and energy trying to create a nice backswing they never really get into the issue of trying to make contact. If you think of cricket or tennis and everything’s about going forward, making contact, hitting the ball towards a target. And yet in golf it’s almost an after-thought – ‘oh yeah look, the ball went down the middle of the fairway.’

I wanted to bring this out and it’s a fairly simple approach and really it’s been out in the States for five weeks now and the feedback has been really good, from people at all levels from beginner to tour level. I’ve got 20 test students and it’s been a couple of years in the making shall we say.

“The essence of this ‘A Swing’ is really helping people to synchronise their body parts – essentially synchronising your arm swing with the body rotation because I think that’s where people really have an issue. If you got someone to do a mini pivot drill without a club, just fold their arms and put the club behind their shoulders or hips or one of the many variations of a pivot drill, you could get them to make a pretty reasonable movement in a very short space of time. But yet you put a club in their hand and that looks nothing like it – it’s almost as if the body is reacting to where the club is – so out of sync with the swing.

‘Synchronisation to me is a big word, regardless of whether you use the ‘A Swing’ or whatever you use. To me when players are really on song, and even amateurs, it’s as if the timing of the swing if you will, where the clubhead is relative to where the body is, you know they really match up well.

“I think Tiger Woods was a perfect example of being out of sync, especially when he gets on the first tee and the first tee shot is inevitably a push shot, and it’s a little bit nervous and the synchronisation is an issue.

“This book’s been well received as I say, there’s some simple drills, and the thing about it is it’s not really a method, I would like to call it an organic approach because it doesn’t have to be perfect – there is a model that you can work towards, but as we all know what you work towards and what you achieve can be two different things.”

That’s the great thing about this game, you continue learning…and if you’re not learning then you’re going backwards instead of forwards…”

“I could keep doing what I’ve done, which has been fine and some of the stuff I taught back in the nineties is still a factor in my philosophy shall we say. But if you remember the old mobile telephones, those big clunking things, compared now to the iPhone, there’s a big difference.

“It would be strange to say you haven’t gone forward or had any sort of progress in your philosophy or your outlook. So I would say essentially a lot of it is very much based on my original thoughts of the dog wagging the tail syndrome where I really believe the bigger parts, certainly you’ve got to understand how the hands and arms work, but your power, your balance comes very much from how your torso moves and so I haven’t really changed in that so I haven’t really had an epiphany and said ‘ok, whatever I’ve taught the last 40-odd years has been wrong’, because it’s a continual learning process.”

So with this experience and knowledge constantly building up, where does Leadbetter think coaching is going in the future…?

“I think that in many respects golf instruction needs a little bit of a shake-up, the instructional business shall we say.

“The thing I think we’re really got to be careful of in this day and age is that we don’t over complicate things for the masses. When talking with tour players, they can get into it to a certain extent so far as ground force pressure and how exactly what is taking place with the angle of attack and the track, the flush squareness of contact. But the average amateur really probably couldn’t give a hoot, it’s like ‘hey just show me how to hit the ball more consistently, I want to lose fewer balls, have more fun,’ and if we can do that to people there’s an excellent chance of people staying in the game and more people getting into the game.”

Click Here to Listen to the interview in Full (http://eur.pe/1VrKafJ)

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[PODCAST] David Leadbetter – Coaching Through the Generations
5-Star Walker Receives Prestigious PGAs of Europe Award http://www.pgae.com/news/5-star-walker-receives-prestigious-pgas-of-europe-award/ Wed, 26 Apr 2017 10:30:02 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=18693 PGA of GB&I Master Professional, Alan Walker, has received the 5-Star Professional Award in recognition of his outstanding career as a PGA Professional...]]>

PGA of GB&I Master Professional and EIGCA Golf Course Architect, Alan Walker, has received the 5-Star Professional Award from the PGAs of Europe in recognition of his outstanding career as a PGA Professional.

“It is a tremendous honour,” said Walker.  “I feel very privileged and proud to be holding this trophy when I think of all the famous names that have won this award – it signifies the peak of my career, so I’m really pleased.

“It means everything to me.  You have to be proud that you are a PGA Professional because the status that it gives you in life, and the opportunities it affords you are things that people look up to you for.”

 

Nominated by the PGA in England and selected by the PGAs of Europe’s award selection committee, Walker’s 5-Star Professional Award acknowledges the highest level of standards across the many and varied areas of expertise and activity that he has been involved with.

“I think it goes back to when my father used to say to me “if at first you don’t succeed then try, try again” and that’s really all I’ve been doing ever since I was a boy.  I just enjoy every facet of the golf industry.

“I wake up every day and believe it’s not work, it’s a hobby. It is a great privilege to be a Golf Professional and a Member of the PGA of GB&I.”

Having previously been on the PGA of GB&I’s Board of Directors from 1983 to 2001 and its Captain between 1999 and 2001, Walker is a PGA Master Professional and Honorary Member of the PGA.

He is the Director and Proprietor of Garon Park Golf Complex in Essex, England, a course he designed himself in 1994, which was awarded the prestigious title of GolfMark Club of the Year in 2013.

Walker has continued to give back to the game through his selfless work on various Boards and Committees, helping to improve and develop the game as a tutor for the PGA of GB&I and the European Institute of Golf Course Architects, as a rules official for a number of years across PGA, European Tour and Ladies European Tour events, and as a Golf Development Professional for The R&A in Botswana and Peru.

For More Information On All This Year’s Award Winners Visit http://eur.pe/2016AnnualCongress

“My advice for PGA Professionals out there is to look at every opportunity, never say no, and make sure that you put something back in.  It is no good sitting there thinking because you’ve qualified and you are a member that everything is fine – it is just a starting position for you and you have to work as hard as you can.”

Throughout his career Walker has always focused on helping young Professionals and individuals in his businesses and in particular as an educator, passing on his vast experience and knowledge, whilst always remaining sympathetic to the upholding of the traditions and values of the PGA.

He continues to advance his career and business interests, running his own golf consultancy and golf course design business, as well as with his leadership of Garon Park.

For More Information On All on the Award Winners Visit http://eur.pe/2016AnnualCongress

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5-Star Walker Receives Prestigious PGAs of Europe Award
Karl Villwock (PGA of Germany) – SNAG Teaching Experiences (Part 1) http://www.pgae.com/ask/karl-villwock-pga-of-germany-snag-teaching-experiences-part-1/ Thu, 13 Apr 2017 16:01:26 +0000 SNAG Golf http://www.pgae.com/?p=18671 Our fantastic partners at SNAG Golf EMEA & India spoke with PGA of Germany Professional, Karl Villwock, about how Karl uses SNAG equipment in his coaching...]]>

Our fantastic partners at SNAG Golf EMEA & India spoke with PGA of Germany Professional, Karl Villwock, about how Karl uses SNAG equipment in his coaching with beginners and juniors…

How does SNAG create interest and fun for playing golf?

Using the bigger clubface and balls it is easier, especially for kids to start playing golf. The bigger targets help a lot, with the ball sticking to them children are very excited to try to hit the target. Generally the simplified equipment makes the students success rate much higher to start, so they have more interest.

Click Here to Read the Full Q&A…

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Karl Villwock (PGA of Germany) – SNAG Teaching Experiences (Part 1)
Lessons That Matter – Junior Coaching & its Meaningful Impact on Young People http://www.pgae.com/ask/lessons-that-matter-junior-coaching-its-meaningful-impact-on-young-people/ Wed, 12 Apr 2017 15:10:28 +0000 Corey Lundberg & Matt Wilson of Curious Coaches http://www.pgae.com/?p=18628 The Curious Coaches discuss whether it is a requisite or just a coincidence that those seemingly naturally happy coaches gravitate towards junior golf?]]>

As I meet more and more coaches, I have begun to notice a common denominator among a certain group – junior golf coaches.  All the best ones seem to be relentlessly cheerful while radiating their passion for growing the game and working with young athletes.  Why are they so positive and upbeat all the time?!

Mull it over for a second.  Think about the best junior golf coach that you know and test my theory.  I’m pretty confident it holds up.

Is it a requisite or just a coincidence that those seemingly naturally happy coaches gravitate towards junior golf?  Or perhaps it’s a result, a natural by-product of the positive work they do making a meaningful impact on the lives of young people.  These coaches do work that matters.

Everyday they connect with an impressionable student at a critical time of their development as people and golfers.  Subsequently, it seems that these expert junior coaches adopt an approach far different than what is common from their adult instructing counterparts.

Because the typical adult student seeks instruction with very specific directives concerning a fix or a flaw, the attention and efforts are focused there– say, fixing a slice.  But a junior golf coach is tasked with much more than fixing.

Their curriculum extends beyond ‘How to Golf’ and encompasses a far richer set of topics:

  • How to learn
  • How to deal with adversity
  • How to win
  • How to fail and it’s impact on the learning process
  • How to interact with others and it’s impact on performance, enjoyment, and learning
  • How to practice
  • How to play by the rules and value sportsmanship
  • How to play, not just on the course, but to deepen learning and increase enjoyment

The list goes on, an expert junior coach could expand upon that list for days.  And that’s not to say that some coaches don’t implement similar curriculum in all their lessons, its just that these types of lessons are especially expected in developing young golfers.

About half of my coaching time is spent with young athletes.  While I love coaching all golfers, my time with the juniors is certainly the most gratifying.  I feel like I’m making a difference and living up to every coach’s most paramount mission: enriching lives. So as I’ve pondered the fundamental differences in coaching these two groups, I have begun to ask myself a question — ‘If it’s so gratifying, why have I not been approaching EVERY golf lesson with the same mindset?!’

As soon as I leave the juniors and begin a lesson with an adult golfer, my mindset shifts drastically.  Instead of striving to serve as LIFE ENRICH-ER, I too often become ‘INFORMATION TRANSFERRER’.  Not quite the same ring to it.

Can a lesson in which the teacher acts exclusively as a transferrer of information ever really matter? The slice or the hook might disappear, but the precious opportunity to make an impact on another human may be lost.  If all we do is spout our vast knowledge of the golf swing and its various subtopics, is it possible to really make an impact?  Does your time spent coaching really matter?

Maybe the shift in mindset occurs because expectations from our adult students are so different.  Both coach and student have many years of indoctrination of what a lesson should look like.  But while the pupils may come with different life experience and expectations, what would a typical lesson look like if the ‘Junior Golf Mindset’ was applied?

What if the goal was always to enrich a life, not just fix a slice?

Here are a few concepts that allow a great junior coach to make a lasting impact on students.  To me, they represent cornerstones of what I see as an effective Junior Golf Mindset.  As you read through the various elements, ask yourself if you approach things the same way in every lesson or if it changes depending on the age of your student.

Connection. 

If you visit your favorite junior golf coach on the lesson tee, you might have to lower your eye level.  They know that getting down on the same level as the junior golfer is an effective way to connect and communicate.  While the adult golfer may not require the same kneel down manoeuvre, too many coaches fail to make an authentic connection.  Connection can be sacrificed for credibility.  With kids, your authority is assumed, it comes with the title.  So for some, with an adult it’s more important to be seen as the authority than to make the authentic connection that creates trust and acceptance within the learning environment.

Discovery and Empowerment.

Because nothing will bore a group of 10 year-olds quite like an hour-long lecture on ball flight laws, we are forced to get creative with young athletes.  Instead of telling them, we show them.  We have them experiment and explore.  Their shorter attention span forces us to allow students to experience new concepts, not just be told about them.  This experience lends itself to a deeper understanding that empowers them to self-coach.

Failures and judgement.

When a fragile young ego is on the lesson tee, we approach failure far different than we do with adults.  We frame failure as a positive part of the learning process.  They’re young; we expect them to mess up as they go.  Yet for adults, failures can sometime seem unacceptable.  Our interactions lack the same compassion that seems so much easier to exhibit for our younger students.  We don’t deal with failures as delicately, yet adults are just as affected by the judgement and disappointment accompanied by a perceived failure.  Too much emphasis is placed on immediate results without respecting or embracing the role of failure in the developmental process.

Fun and Games.

I end every one of our junior sessions with a game.  For the juniors, it’s a light and fun way to apply the lessons of the day.  But it’s also an essential step in bridging the gap between understanding and performance.  The benefits of implementing challenges and an opportunity for ‘play’ in all lessons are abundant: maximize the enjoyment factor, increase the likelihood that students transfer new skills to the course, and introduce effective practice habits.

Long Term Learning.

Obviously we approach juniors with a more long-term approach.  After all, we have more time, right?  The sky is the limit and skill and ability seems so malleable at that early phase of growth.  We focus on establishing a solid foundation of fundamentals from which our juniors can develop skills.  Emphasis is placed on educating the golfer about an effective learning process, not on urgent solutions that are often unsustainable for golfers who seek a quick fix.  What if we approached every student with the same sense of possibility and hope?

Simplification.

With a 6 year old, you don’t have many options when it comes to demonstrating a new motor skill.  Every concept has to be distilled down the most fundamental idea.  Instructions have to be succinct  but vivid.  The possibility of overwhelming students with a litany complex instruction and information disappears simply because it’s no longer an option.

Think back to that happy-go-lucky junior golf coach.  Maybe they’re so happy because they approach each lesson with the fascination and creativity that is inherent in working with young people.

After examining these ideas, it’s easy to see that those coaches are on to something.  While they leave it to the rest of us to argue and trivially debate the finer technical points of the golf swing, they go out and make a difference everyday.  And the very same mindset that allows them to enrich lives, makes them more effective coaches!

If the same attitude is applied to coaching students of all ages, more effective lessons are inevitable.  And it’s more fun to boot!  Instead of just spewing information, each day is approached with creativity and passion.

Every lesson would matter.

Maybe the concepts above are unique to my own experience.  I’m anxious to hear thoughts from others on the subject, I have a feeling that I’m not alone.  Please feel free to leave comments describing your own experience.  I look forward to exploring the topic more.

– COREY LUNDBERG & MATT WILSON

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Lessons That Matter – Junior Coaching & its Meaningful Impact on Young People
Isn’t Coaching the Same as Mentoring? http://www.pgae.com/ask/isnt-coaching-the-same-as-mentoring/ Wed, 05 Apr 2017 13:57:58 +0000 Mark Taylor http://www.pgae.com/?p=18603 "Downey’s Spectrum of Coaching Skills gives pause for thought as we consider whether one can be called a coach if learners are told what we would do..."]]>

Downey’s Spectrum of Coaching Skills gives pause for thought as we consider whether one can be called a coach if learners are told what we would do in their circumstances. The quick answer is that if you make a proposal then you are closer to mentoring or training.

Coaching is about using the appropriate questions to establish whether the learner can find their own solution to a need or problem. As Downey says, the most important distinction in the spectrum is between directive and non-directive coaching. It is dangerous to assume that when one is told something then one knows that something. This is too often not the case.

‘Occasionally, as part of a training programme to develop coaching skills, I take the participants onto the golf course. The purpose in this is to get them to deepen their non-directive coaching skills, the theory being that if they do not know the techniques involved in playing golf they cannot resort to instructions’.

Many golf coaches, professionals, teachers, trainers and facilitators, have come across similar situations; Downey puts it down to being ‘trapped in teaching’ and suggests that, ironically, we do not always consider that teaching might not have too much to do with learning.

The Nature and Role of Coaching

What is coaching?

  • The key which unlocks the potential to ultimate performance.
  • Facilitates SMART (Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Time-bound) learning to set achievable goals.
  • Encouragement of self belief and positive internal interactions in order to realise potential and achieve goals.
  • A two-way process where an individual’s performance is improved through reflection on the task and analysed through conversation and questioning with their coach. Both agree on a plan of action, set SMART objectives and then act to achieve their goal. The coach monitors progress at agreed intervals and gives decisive feedback.
  • A recognised style of leadership.

What does a learning Coach Do?

A learning Coach:

  • Provides support, guidance, coaching and mentoring to learners to help them plan their own learning
  • Creates student ownership – allows student to identify their own learning strategies
  • Maximises progress in a variety of areas of intelligence, including emotional intelligence
  • Identifies goals
  • Develops action plans
  • Monitors, reflects and records progress.

Twelve Principles of Coaching

To provide opportunities for others to learn about their own performance, their limitations and their solutions, it is crucial that the coach creates an environment for learning. People see benefits from coaching in a place where it is safe to disclose information and share ideas that, perhaps, have never been disclosed before. Trust must be built, therefore the following principles apply:

  1. Non-judgmental
  2. Non-critical
  3. Believe that students have all the answers within them
  4. Adjust ‘big goals’ into achievable steps
  5. Hold a genuine willingness to learn from their students
  6. Respect confidentiality
  7. Build and maintain self-esteem
  8. Be positive
  9. Challenge students to move outside their comfort zone and habits
  10. Believe that there are always solutions to issues
  11. Attentive to recognising and pointing out strengths
  12. Believe that self-knowledge improves performance

Change of Thinking

To excel as a learning coach we may need to fundamentally change our thinking. A learning coach needs to drop their own agenda to resolve other people’s problems and develop a more open-minded approach, resisting the temptation to guide individuals towards solutions. Coaching is about a principled, trustworthy and honest approach to support people in finding their own solutions…learning coaches can but rarely advise.

Learning coaches grow the belief in students that if they think an issue, problem or concern through, then they will know the next step in resolving the situation; all they need to do is to take action and follow it, which will lead to improvement.

Do you:

  • Complete other people’s sentences in your head before they have finished? Move on in your mind to the solution that you would choose for the person?
  • Use closed questions to direct people?
  • Use leading questions to guide others to a specific solution that you have identified? Almost instantly believe that you know the answer they need?
  • Make up your mind on one way to resolve a problem or enhance performance and push that idea?
  • Become annoyed if your solutions for others are rejected?
  • Find that your ideas are not implemented and then the same individual returns with other problems for you to resolve?
  • Secretly acknowledge that you do not have the answers to all the problems of others?

If any or all of the above apply to you, then coaching could be a way of relieving frustrations, dissipating annoyance and taking the pressure off yourself to come up with the answer. Coaching will allow you to promote independent thinking in others. A key skill required of a teacher!

The fundamental rule in non-directive coaching is that we do not step ahead of the student and plan the path to a solution for them. The coach must silence their inner agenda to solve the problem ahead of the student. When coaches give advice or guidance they remove from the student any understanding of the process. If the student does not understand the process, then they return again for advice. Coach them, and they get the answers and the process to use next time.

Learning Coaches are curious..

Learning Coaches ask questions..

Learning Coaches support students to learn about their situation fully. Learning Coaches are more than problem-solvers, they encourage others to understand their perspective and amend their behaviours to allow optimum performance.

“Alfred Korzybski in 1933 explained the concept that ‘the map is not the territory’. In other words, what we experience of a situation is not necessarily how our student experiences it and vice versa” (Thomas, 2005, p.15).

“Only the student fully appreciates the complexity of their current situation”.

Time for Reflection!…

When did you last experience something that seemed very different for another person?

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Isn’t Coaching the Same as Mentoring?
PGA Professional Spotlight: Home From Home for Silcock at Gleneagles http://www.pgae.com/ask/pga-professional-spotlight-home-from-home-for-silcock-at-gleneagles/ Tue, 04 Apr 2017 15:41:07 +0000 Golf Management Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=18535 Gary Silcock’s CV reads like a travelling golfer’s itinerary – and, like a golf tourist, he would argue he’s saved the best for last: Gleneagles.]]>

Gary Silcock’s CV reads like a travelling golfer’s itinerary – and, like a golf tourist, he would argue he’s saved the best for last: Gleneagles.

Coming up for two years in his job as director of golf for the world-renowned Perthshire resort, Silcock, 47, is able to reflect on a career which has already surpassed anything many of his contemporaries might achieve.

He is also in the enviable position of having two Ryder Cup venues on that aforementioned CV, though he wasn’t at either venue when they hosted the event.

Having qualified as a PGA pro in 1996 he secured his first position at the Home of Golf, St Andrews, working at the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa, as a pro at the Duke’s Course. But he was always ambitious and, within a year, his head was turned by the offer of a head professional role in Portugal, at Parque da Floresta, where he was also golf operations manager.

He gained enormous experience during his five years on the Algarve, from designing and building a new golf academy to project managing the redevelopment of the golf course. That success made him a wanted man, particularly coveted by developers, and his next stop was India, at the Aamby Valley City gated resort, where he oversaw the pre-opening and then managed the floodlit course and PGA-branded academy.

His next port of call was a little closer to home, in Ireland, where, once again, he pre-opened a course: this time the PGA National Ireland at Palmerstown House. While undertaking a complete branding and development of the golf course and clubhouse, he also took on the responsibility of managing the sister property, the 36-hole Citywest Hotel, in Dublin.

In February 2006, he returned to the UK, as director of golf at four-time Ryder Cup venue The Belfry, where he stayed for almost seven years, before being lured to the sunshine at La Manga Club. There, as at The Belfry and in Ireland previously, he was responsible for three golf courses – plus two clubhouses and a Leadbetter Golf Academy.

Finally, he returned ‘home’ in March 2015 to the Gleneagles Hotel – again as director of golf, but this time in a position he readily admits is his ‘dream job’.

He explained: “When I went to The Belfry a lot of the reps, the people that I would chat with, they would ask me about my future; what did I want to do ultimately.

“And I would always say that my dream job was Gleneagles, so I’ve realised my dream. And Gleneagles is so big that I can still grow within it.”

For some, missing out on the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles might be a regret, but Silcock is phlegmatic about the timing of his appointment – and of that at The Belfry, where he was in a not dissimilar situation.

He smiled: “I’ve missed both of them – at Gleneagles and The Belfry. The Ryder Cup was held four times at The Belfry, and what we did there was we managed to keep that legacy going for a long time.

“The Belfry is very much a tour venue as well, as is Gleneagles. It’s very much up there and it needs to stay there.”

As if to reinforce that point, Silcock points towards the hosting of the inaugural European Golf Championships in 2018, an event which is backed by both the European Tour and the Ladies European Tour which will be played over the PGA Centenary Course.

“You’ve got the two man team, you’ve got the two lady team and then you’ve got the male and female four-person team. And then, obviously, we have the 2019 Solheim Cup.”

After 20 years in golf, Silcock remains as enthusiastic and hands-on as ever, busying himself in the day-to-day minutiae that less-committed managers might simply overlook.

He continued: “I am the director of golf, so I’m involved in every facet of golf, including having an input in the food and beverage operation.

“As with sales and marketing, I’m not managing it, I’m not controlling it, but I am an influence in that decision process. Although I have the title director of golf it’s more general management.”

And management, and in-particular the business of golf is on the increase since hosting the Ryder Cup, with both turnover and revenue on the up.

“Since I’ve been here, our membership has grown ten per cent last year, and about seven per cent this year.

“We’ve done that in a different way to everyone else, in as much as we haven’t increased our prices – we’ve invested in the project and made it better. We’ve made it better value and we’ve also created a lifestyle, so here you’ve got really nice members, not customers.”

Gleneagles’ PGA Academy and its three golf courses have seen enormous investment over the last few years – most recently the King’s course which underwent a maintenance programme last winter, including a project to line the bunkers and return the course to Braid’s original design vision.

“We’ve invested not only in the courses and the clubhouse, but in the golf team itself, and we have an ever-expanding team, including a new golf operations manager,” said Silcock.

The investment in golf facilities is just one element of an ongoing multi-million pound investment programme at the five-star hotel. In 2015, Ennismore – a London-based developer of unique properties and experiences – purchased Gleneagles from Diageo plc, and since then, it has been making substantial investment across the estate to enhance the guest experience.

“We’ve already established a world-class reputation for our golf facilities, but what actually sets us apart as a golfing venue is everything else,” said Silcock.

“It’s the culinary offering, the five-star hospitality, the luxury spa and accommodation, and the ‘glorious playground’ of leisure activities and country pursuits we have on the estate – like shooting, off-roading, archery, falconry, fishing – that our golfing visitors are awestruck by when they come.”

After leaving La Manga in 2014, an opportunity to return to his homeland presented itself, and having travelled to Portugal, Spain and India, one might imagine, for all that Gleneagles is his dream job, he might pine for the sunshine. But Silcock’s having none of it.

He smiled: “I actually love the weather here – it showcases golf in the way it was designed to be played – so it’s good to be home.”

With such an impressive CV, Silcock’s name has appeared on many a recruitment consultants short-list when fresh opportunities present themselves.

Yet, despite his considerable experience and knowledge, Silcock has always remained fairly grounded and respectful to each role he has held.

“When I worked at The Belfry, I was very fortunate. Every single top job that came up in the country I was interviewed for, and I went through the whole interview process with a lot of them.

“It was Gleneagles, though, that I always had on my radar; the career move I had always been waiting for.

“I still enjoy playing golf, so it’s my leisure activity and it’s my work; that means on Saturday and Sunday I will come up here with my son, but I’m at work – ultimately, I am a golf pro.

“I still tutor in business management with the PGA which I have done for the past 11 years, and I really enjoy passing on my knowledge and experience.”

Gleneagles may well be his dream job, but with the possibility of another 20 years employment ahead of him, it’s quite feasible to imagine a few more golfer’s bucket-list venues being added to Silcock’s golfing CV.

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PGA Professional Spotlight: Home From Home for Silcock at Gleneagles
PGA Professional Spotlight: Adam Kritikos (PGA of Greece and GB&I) http://www.pgae.com/ask/pga-professional-spotlight-adam-kritikos-pga-of-greece-and-gbi/ Thu, 02 Mar 2017 09:03:04 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=18310 Adam Kritikos is a PGA Professional coach at Costa Navarino in Greece assisting with the growth of golf in the Messinia region and Greece as a whole...]]>

Adam Kritikos is a PGA Professional coach at Costa Navarino golf resort in Greece and is one of the PGA of Greece’s leading lights, assisting with not only the growth of golf in the Messinia region but also throughout the country with his educational role with the PGA of Greece itself.

Our PGA Professional Spotlight is cast over Adam and we find out more about what he gets up to on a day-to-day basis and how he got there…

IGPN: How did your career as a PGA Professional first begin?

Adam: Following my years of representing the Greek National Team as an amateur, and having completed a BA(Hons) degree in Golf Management at the University of Central Lancashire, I was approached by Costa Navarino to take on the role of Assistant Professional and to also grow the game in our local region.

IGPN: How did you end up in your current position?

Adam: I got a job offer from Costa Navarino to work as the Pro properly – I was lucky as my reputation as a player was known and then my qualifications from the UK with the PGA of GB&I.

IGPN: Explain a bit about your business that you run now…

Adam: As the PGA Pro at Costa Navarino I cater to giving lessons to customers, as well as organising club competitions and other operational needs of the club.

I am also in charge of the ‘Costa Navarino Junior Golf Academy’ – a scholarship programme aimed at developing local kids into elite golfers. After 5 years, the programme has reached 55 junior members.

IGPN: What does being a PGA Professional mean to you?

Adam: For me a PGA Professional is an ambassador for the game in every sense. Things like dress code, behaviour, playing ability, attitude and work ethic are things that being a PGA Professional is all about and I’m very proud to be able to say I am a PGA Professional.

IGPN: How important is it for PGA Professionals to strive to continually improve their skills, knowledge and development in general?

Adam: It’s important to stay up to date with the ever-developing trends and skill-sets in today’s job markets. Being up to date with social media trends, equipment news, technology, like Trackman or FlightScope, and CPD, like workshops, are important to add value to your profile as a PGA Professional.

IGPN: What would the biggest top you could give a PGA Professional looking for a news job or trying to develop themselves and their skills?

Adam: Attention to detail – and make sure the service you provide is the best possible.

IGPN: What would your advice be to someone looking to work abroad?

Adam: Do your best to adapt to the local way of life and try to learn the local language – both of these things help you integrate more with colleagues and customers and ultimately you will enjoy yourself more and get more from it if you can do that.


For more information about Costa Navarino visit www.costanavarino.com.

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

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PGA Professional Spotlight: Adam Kritikos (PGA of Greece and GB&I)
Communicating With Members & Reviewing Membership: Mark Taylor – A.S.K. Workshops http://www.pgae.com/ask/communicating-with-members-reviewing-membership-mark-taylor-a-s-k-workshops/ Wed, 01 Mar 2017 15:07:40 +0000 Mark Taylor http://www.pgae.com/?p=16153 A.S.K. Workshops speaker, Mark Taylor (PGA of GB&I), explains how to speak to current and potential members more effectively...]]>

A.S.K. Workshops speaker, Mark Taylor (PGA of GB&I), explains how to speak to current and potential members more effectively…

Communicating with members more effectively

Once we know who it is we are talking to and what they like or dislike about the golf club then it becomes easier to communicate and market to them more effectively.

This is particularly useful when marketing to visitors and potential members but is also important for communicating with existing members.

These days there are many more ways of communicating directly with members than relying on word of mouth and the club notice board. Direct mail can be cost effective as the message is well targeted, while email communication has a proven record in golf clubs looking to communicate quickly and easily.

Emails are highly targeted, cheap to send out and also enable a facility to respond quickly and effectively to its current needs, such as promoting an upcoming social function for example.

But, however a club decides to communicate with its members,  a consistent approach is needed. So many golf clubs launch a monthly newsletter, for example and after a few issues when there is nothing to say (!), the whole idea tails away.

The same applies to the club news section on the website which is fervently updated for the first few weeks and then again, the novelty wears off and it falls down the ‘to do’ list.

Intermittent communication is almost as bad as not communicating at all as it makes it doubly difficult to pick up where you left off after a spell of silence.

The secret to making a successful communication programme work is to make someone take responsibility for it. In most private member clubs this will be the Secretary or a member of the Marketing Committee.

A simple communication plan such as weekly update of the website, a monthly newsletter and email, a regular ‘what’s coming’ poster on the notice board…..the ideas are numerous but the key is to commit to them and make sure they happen.

Reviewing membership

You will by now have built up an excellent picture of your members and how they are using their membership. This is an excellent starting point for input into a marketing plan.

However, once having analysed membership there is still a need to keep doing so on a regular basis. A snapshot every six months would be the minimum especially as the nature of the game makes it a very cyclical business, with the results in the height of summer very different to those in off peak times.

Things change much faster than they ever used to and clubs must be aware of external influences as well as internal ones. For example, the completion of a new housing estate a few miles down could explain an influx of members during the past few months – and could point to a source of more.

Regular reviews will also allow the monitoring of changing membership demographics.

The average age of a golf club membership has been increasing steadily in recent years, mirroring general population demographics. This has had economic consequences for many clubs who have seen their senior membership (often paying reduced fees) grow out of proportion with their club membership.

A regular review and the statistics to back it up would have meant many golf clubs addressing this issue long before it became a problem. For example, exit surveys may help to spot a worrying trend which could be acted upon.

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.

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Communicating With Members & Reviewing Membership: Mark Taylor – A.S.K. Workshops
Looking In the Mirror – A Coach’s Catalyst for Change http://www.pgae.com/ask/looking-in-the-mirror-a-coachs-catalyst-for-change/ Thu, 16 Feb 2017 15:18:30 +0000 Corey Lundberg & Matt Wilson of Curious Coaches http://www.pgae.com/?p=18144 The team at Curious Coaches explain why self-reflection is an essential activity for coaches who are driven towards continuous learning and improvement...]]>

With the start of a new year it’s natural to use this fresh start as an action to take stock on our annual accomplishments and disappointments.  In the past, we’ve formulated a couple of ways that you can go about formalizing this annual evaluation process.  We see it as an essential activity for coaches who are driven towards continuous learning and improvement.  Looking back at our personal ‘annual reviews’, it’s fun to see how this process has sparked ideas and projects that ended up creating significant results for us.  While we’ve focused on this reflection process in a macro view of our coaching business and development, this year we want to share our thoughts and experiences related specifically to contemplating our coaching skills and how we can improve.

‘Are you getting by, or are you getting better?’  This is a question that we have heard a mentor pose to clients on several occasions.

It’s a seemingly simple question that is inherently complex and thus very difficult to answer.  Why? You have to answer it yourself through reflection. While it’s often uncomfortable to look at oneself from the perspective of the third person (nobody wants to see what they don’t want to), or to question and think about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it– it’s an essential and enlightening process.  It brings us full circle and cuts to the essence of why we are all here: we don’t know what we don’t know– and we have a strong desire to change that.  We are infinitely curious.

Despite the fact that we haven’t been writing, we’ve still been learning – quite a bit, in fact.  How? Reflection.

Reflection is the primary means through which we grow and evolve. Our practice is informed by our experience, and we need to invest the time and energy to look at said experience with a critical eye.  A thorough examination of our choices and behaviors helps us identify and reinforce the actions that correlate to success, and therefore the things we should keep doing, as well as the actions or choices that led to the opposite result.  As coaches, it is our job to evolve.  Given that 2017 is upon us, we want to dig a little deeper into this topic, and provide you with an example of the result of some of our own reflection, so that the entire coaching community (ok, we digress–any readers that have endured the prolonged break) can hit the ground running in the new year.

Dr. Wade Gilbert, a professor of Kinesiology at Fresno State University (and regular guest lecturer in Matt’s Coaching Effectiveness class at UBC), is one of the world’s leading experts on coaching science.  Much of his research focuses on how coaches develop their expertise.  Through his years of research, he’s identified that informal learning is a primary means through which expert coaches grow and develop.  Much of that informal learning is triggered internally, by reflection.  All coaches think about their experience, but only the experts try to understand why and how they can improve on it.  In other words, experts are curious about their performance, and have a desire to do it better.

We know that having experience and learning from that experience are catalysts for growth.  So, what are the mechanics of the process? How do you process that experience and make adjustments to your behavior?  How do you integrate it into what you do? While, we’re still trying to answer those questions ourselves, we have been following these two practices to help us get improve: Reflective practice and critical reflection.  Yes, they sound similar (which they are), but they are inherently different.

REFLECTIVE PRACTICE V. CRITICAL REFLECTION

When we think about reflective practice and/or reflection, the image that comes to mind is a steady stream of thought on a car ride home.  These are the relatively short, internal conversations that we have with ourselves, daily, that don’t require significant effort.  They’re mental ‘notes’ that often focus on problems we encountered, or about things that went particularly well in a given instance.  Sometimes, these conversations lead us to discover a different way to go about addressing a situation.

Critical reflection, on the other hand, is much more significant.  These are the reflections that force you to take a step back and consider the beliefs that underpin your actions and behaviors. They often represent an internal inventory-taking of your coaching skills and beliefs, and facilitate a deeper dive into self-improvement, often involving interacting with third parties, and other members of your coaching network for answers.  These are critical, evolutionary moments that identify gaps and signal action towards closing them, ultimately leading to relatively permanent change in behavior.

Reflective Practice Critical Reflection
Constant process; daily Event-specific endeavor; not scheduled
Identifies smaller, specific problems Identifies the origin of problems
Develops minor solutions Develops major solutions
Reasoning of behavior Questioning of behavior
Surface learning Deeper learning
Very little behavior change More significant behavior change

The point we want to make is that over the last 6 months, we’ve been thrust into opportunities that have illuminated the shortcomings we have as coaches.  The fleeting thoughts about an occasion that didn’t go as planned are often more frustrating than productive.  Critical reflection elicits more intrigue than frustration, it actually moves the needle.  Through continued reflection – both in the daily and critical sense – we’ve given ourselves a chance to grow and improve.

ACTIONABLES

  • Keep a journal. Logging your days and jotting down your thoughts helps you become aware of any patterns that exist.  The notes serve as an informational foundation for critical analysis and eventually, change.
  • Budget time to be critical. Going deeper into your reflections to create understanding, and ultimately change, takes time and effort.  Ensure that you are setting aside time either monthly or quarterly, to be self-critical, such that you can get a plan in place to close any gaps that you perceive to be apparent.
  • Be vulnerable. Seeing yourself in action is a great way to understand your behavior.  You’ll become aware of a number of great things, as identify a few areas to improve.  Also, it is OK to not know.  Seek the opinions of others, as it’ll help close your knowledge gaps and make you aware of new solutions.  Yes, it is an uncomfortable process, but very much worth it.
  • Remain as objective as possible. It can be far too easy to grade your paper against unrealistic standards. This can be done with film (as you’ll see below), or through a trusted friend/advisor who is invested in your success.  360 degree reviews or anonymous surveys are also helpful tools that can inform you of blind sports in your practice.

AN EXAMPLE FROM MATT

One of my biggest challenges is staying sharp, mentally and physically, day in and day out.  I feel very strongly that my effectiveness, and behavior, is directly related to the amount of energy I have available.  Over the past few weeks, I felt ineffective, but couldn’t quite figure out why.  Physically, I felt fine. And mentally? I thought I was sharp.  Still, something was missing – I was getting by, not getting better.

In the offseason, we do a lot of instructing and a heavy emphasis is placed on refining techniques and building skills.  When doing a lot of ‘teaching’, I find it easy to get into a pattern that is very directive and very generous with the provision of feedback in an effort to guide the learner to the desired outcome as quickly as possible.  It is as if we work extra hard to reduce the amount of mental effort required on behalf of the learner such that we can make the learning process ‘easier’.  In attempting to accelerate and simplify the learning process by reducing the amount of cognitive energy invested by the learner, pre and post movement, we end up having the opposite effect; we severely limit their learning.  They end up relying on our guidance to make corrections rather than making adjustments based on their evaluation of both the intrinsic and extrinsic feedback they receive from the movement, relative to their kinesthetic concept of what they are trying to learn.

I felt ineffective because I had it backwards.  I became overly concerned with WHAT the athletes needed to do, and didn’t place enough energy into HOW those interventions were carried out.  As a result, what needed to happen (their learning), didn’t.

So, what did I do to make the corrections?

To start, I set different goals for the day.  The goals focused on the learning environment we created, as opposed to the specific content that was to be learned.  My aim was for the client to be more cognitively engaged than in sessions past.  My plan to achieve that goal was twofold.  First, I wanted to ensure that I was cultivating the athlete’s capacity to accurately detect error.  The goal was to provide them with the opportunity to contrast what they did vs. what they intended such that they could calibrate their sensory feedback accordingly.  Second, I aimed to optimize the provision of feedback, delaying it until after the athlete had the chance to evaluate their intrinsic feedback, as well as establishing a bandwidth, outside of which prescriptive feedback would be provided.

Next, I wore a GoPro and filmed the day to gauge how successful I was in executing my objectives.  I wanted to see what the environment was actually like.

Below is a video excerpt from a session where we worked with an athlete on developing their control over the speed of their putts.  As stated prior, my objective was to provide the client with a better learning environment; one that challenged them cognitively, technically, and physically.  I structured the activity with the end goal of expanding the capacity of the learner to accurately assess the result of their movement in the absence of feedback, and in improving their ability to detect, and correct, error.  I wanted to help them close the gap that existed between what they think happens, and what actually happens, when they act on a decision.  Check out a brief snippet of the video below to get a better idea for how I ended up delivering feedback in this session.

Was it perfect? No.  But it doesn’t have to be.  I learned more through this critical reflection than I had an any number of traditional educational activities.

What will you do to generate a similar experience?

We’ll give you some time to reflect…

– COREY LUNDBERG & MATT WILSON

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Looking In the Mirror – A Coach’s Catalyst for Change
Community of Practice Summit (COPS) 2017 – CPD http://www.pgae.com/ask/community-of-practice-summit-cops-2017-cpd/ Tue, 14 Feb 2017 14:28:44 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=18140 PGA Professionals are invited to attend the 2017 Community of Practice Summit at North Hants Golf Club in the UK.]]>

PGA Professionals are invited to attend the 2017 Community of Practice Summit at North Hants Golf Club in the UK.

The sessions will be facilitated by PGA of GB&I Fellow Professional, Kevin Flynn and features a range of diverse speakers:

  • David Todhunter – 4D Motion Sports
  • Scott Fawcett – Playing Lesson
  • Terry Hashimoto – BODiTrak Sports
  • Graeme McDowall – Constraints Led Practice
  • Adrian Rietveld & Mark Thistleton – Club Fitting
  • Nigel Tilley – European Tour Physiotherapist

Date: 2 & 3 March 2017
Venue: North Hants Golf Club, UK
Cost: £195

For more information contact Kevin Flynn @ kevin1flynn@hotmail.com

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Community of Practice Summit (COPS) 2017 – CPD
John Jacobs: A European Golfing Legend http://www.pgae.com/news/john-jacobs-a-european-golfing-legend/ Thu, 19 Jan 2017 23:03:31 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=17651 The world of golf lost an icon and legend this week as John Jacobs OBE, one of the world’s most recognised and revered PGA Professionals, passed away aged 91...]]>

The world of golf lost an icon and legend this week as John Jacobs OBE, one of the world’s most recognised and revered PGA Professionals, passed away at the age of 91.

Jacob’s influence on the sport was widespread across his native United Kingdom, but also across the whole of Europe, particularly in the advancement of the education programmes that PGA Professionals undertake in their own countries.

Initially playing and teaching as a PGA Professional, Jacobs retired from competitive golf in the early 60s, turning his focus squarely towards the technicalities and intricacies of the swing and technique. His coaching prowess earned him the nickname ‘Dr. Golf’, and it was not long before he was viewed as a modern-day icon of golf coaching.

This high level of expertise and, perhaps more importantly, vision as to how the profession could evolve, made him world-renowned and a key figure in the development of a formalised training manual for the PGA of Great Britain & Ireland.

Many of the principles he instilled in those manuals still exist today and formed the blueprints of each and every PGA’s professional training programme. His involvement with the PGAs of Europe and his work in various continental European countries helped spread this ethos and expertise to wider climes such as France, Belgium, and in particular Spain where he shared his technical knowledge and worked with the likes of Jose Maria Olazabal.

This international and forward-thinking approach ultimately means that Jacobs has positively impacted upon the development of every single PGA Professional in the past 40-50 years across the PGAs of Europe’s Member Country PGAs and more.

“It was always about teaching people; it was always about the flight of the ball; it was always about realising that the only function of the golf swing is to deliver the club head…”

John Jacobs

PGAs of Europe Chairman, Sandy Jones, added: “John’s role in the development of golf across continental Europe cannot be understated. He was a natural choice to follow Christer Lindberg as our second Honorary President in 1999-2000, recognising his position as a key figurehead of not only professional golf but also golf as a whole through the huge number of coaches he has influenced.

“Jacobs’ legacy will live on in the PGAs of Europe history books as each year a PGA Professional who, like Jacobs, has excelled as a coach of any level of golfer is recognised by the Association with ‘The John Jacobs Award for Teaching & Coaching’ – the highest European coaching accolade for a PGA Professional.”

Previous winners of the Award have included Michael Bannon, Dominique Larretche, Lee Scarbrow, Salvador Luna and Neil Manchip, showing the high calibre of PGA Professionals that have been acknowledged in his name. The award will continue in Jacobs’ name as a marker of his enduring legacy in coaching and sport of golf.

Jacobs took up the role of ‘Tournament Director-General’ of the PGA of Great Britain & Ireland on the 1st October 1971, effectively marking the birth of the PGA European Tour. With a small team and a big task ahead of him, Jacobs established the inclusion of prize money and points from European events within the overall tournament Order of Merit and very quickly began to build a schedule that has ultimately grown to be a global heavyweight of Professional golf.

This involvement with the tournament side of golf that included two spells as Ryder Cup Captain in 1979 and 1981 when the first continental European players competed, along with the creation of international competitive opportunities for professional golfers, has resulted in the exposure and subsequent development of golf in countries where otherwise it may never have ventured.

Board Director of the PGAs of Europe and Jacobs’ successor at the European Tour, Ken Schofield, describes Jacobs as “…Quite simply, a great man – a giant in the game of golf. Champion player – Ryder Cup international in his own right – but will be defined as one of THE great sport coaches of our time – through his teaching of the game at all levels and in all corners of the globe. We will miss him – but his indelible link will remain large.”

“It would be perfectly valid to compile a list of the Five Most Influential People Behind the Rise of European Golf, but in practice it would be no fun. It would have to read: (1) John Jacobs, (2) John Jacobs, (3) John Jacobs, (4) John Jacobs, (5) John Jacobs.”

Peter Dobereiner, Golf Digest 1994

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John Jacobs: A European Golfing Legend
Christmas Coach Calendar – PGA Professional Quote Posters http://www.pgae.com/news/christmas-coach-calendar-free-pga-professional-quote-posters/ Thu, 22 Dec 2016 11:35:22 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=17526 On each day of Advent, the PGAs of Europe #ChristmasCoachCalendar reveals another Coach's words of wisdom and you can download each one as a poster.]]>

On each day of Advent, the PGAs of Europe #ChristmasCoachCalendar reveals another Coach’s words of wisdom, inspiration and experience – and you can download each one as a poster.

See below for each day’s PGA Professional and the links to download the posters.

 

Day 22 – Damian MacPherson

“Be open minded and make every effort to develop your knowledge and skills to then use in a work situation. I would summarize in 4 words: LEARN, USE, ADAPT and GROW.”

Damian MacPherson (PGA of Hungary)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2hWCUZX

Day 21 – Paul Eales

“The first way to keep people in the sport is to let them play…”

Paul Eales (PGA of Great Britain & Ireland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2hSL45j

Day 20 – Mike Walker

“The day you stop learning is the day it’s time to hang up your boots and do something else.”

Mike Walker (PGA of Great Britain & Ireland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2hBtNPQ

Day 19 – Steven Orr

“The essence of what we do as coaches every day is to try and change habits – technical, mental routine-driven – it is essentially changing behaviour”

Steven Orr (PGA of Great Britain & Ireland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2h5agbF

Day 18 – Pete Cowen

“With everybody what you’re trying to do is constant improvement of the same thing…so they know that when they’re stood on the first tee under the most extreme pressure it works.”

Pete Cowen (PGA of Great Britain & Ireland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2hGDs8r

Day 17 – Andrew Knott

“Don’t believe everything you read or hear from people who have only scratched the surface – nothing is ever quite what it seems at face value.”

Andrew Knott (PGA of Great Britain & Ireland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2hTCpSU

Day 16 – Tony Bennett

“If you want some things to change, then you have to change some things.”

Tony Bennett (PGA of Great Britain & Ireland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2hzIhQL

Day 15 – Michel Vanmeerbeek

“Handling pressure? Do what you’re good at! Don’t try silly strategies or shots you’re not really confortable with.”

Michel Vanmeerbeek (PGA of Belgium)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2hsqW9A

Day 14 – Keith Williams

“I always advise players to enjoy the experience. Have fun…whatever the score it’s a privilege to play at any level!”

Keith Williams (PGA of Great Britain & Ireland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2gFm7Nr

Day 13 – Stefan Gort

“Say welcome to the funny or strange thoughts or impression in your mind, welcome them to your world and make it your friend. Don’t fight the thought; it will only become stronger. The more you accept new situations, the easier it is to deal with.”

Stefan Gort (PGA of Switzerland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2hkZs5L

Day 12 – Stéphane Bachoz

“Golf is not only a sport but also a GAME, filled with values and virtues. This is what makes it accessible to everyone and not just to sportsmen.”

Stéphane Bachoz (PGA of France)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2hkJpri

Day 11 – Ian Peek

“Coaches need to understand all of the barriers that may be in place when a plater undergoes transition from amateur to professional golf or junior to senior golf.”

Ian Peek (PGA of Germany)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2hBDFpM

Day 10 – Jim van Heuven van Staereling

“In golf clubs where juniors are successful, there is a leader. There is always someone who leads the programme and has owndership.”

Jim van Heuven van Staereling (PGA of Holland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2gqfxud

Day 09 – Paul Eales

“We must not restrict a student’s learning based on our beliefs.”

Paul Eales (PGA of Great Britain & Ireland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2gjPIvC

Day 08 – Annemieke de Goederen

“Golf is changing: less traditional, less strokeplay, less 18 holes. People want different things than they did 30 years ago…we need to find out what the golfer of today actually wants.”

Annemieke de Goederen (PGA of Holland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2gjOLSv

Day 07 – Sarah Bennett

“It is vital to have an understanding and up to date knowledge of technological advancements from a coaching perspective. But what’s really important is having the skill to utilise each one in the most effective and suitable way for each different client.”

Sarah Bennett (PGA of Great Britain & Ireland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2h5OfZF

Day 06 – Butch Harmon

“Always have a target in your practice – if you aim at nothing you’re going to hit it every time.”

Butch Harmon (PGA of America)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2g1VLA2

Day 05 – David Leadbetter

“That’s the great thing about this game, you continue learning…I think if you’re not learning then you’re going backwards.”

David Leadbetter (PGA of America)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2gTgpDZ

Day 04 – David Kearney

“The environment we create as coaches is vitally important for our students – are we going to tell people what to do or help them help themselves?”

David Kearney (PGA of Great Britain & Ireland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2gTXY2u

Day 03 – Ian Peek

“The key to having a successful transition is for the player and coach together to know where the barriers are…”

Ian Peek (PGA of Germany)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2h65sT3

Day 02 – Jim van Heuven van Staereling

“Junior coaching has to be fun – if there is no fun then just stop. The Learning should be hidden in the fun – they don’t know it. But you do.”

Jim van Heuven van Staereling (PGA of Holland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2h1C4NV

Day 01 – Steven Orr

“Whether you’re trying to change something huge or just one thing, if you start tiny you’ll see great results.”

Steven Orr (PGA of Great Britain & Ireland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2fJZRS8

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Christmas Coach Calendar – PGA Professional Quote Posters
Business Planning to Grow Your Facility http://www.pgae.com/ask/business-planning-to-grow-your-facility/ Thu, 08 Dec 2016 14:34:49 +0000 Mark Taylor http://www.pgae.com/?p=17487 England Golf's Mark Taylor explains how golf facilities can be more business-minded in their planning and why this is more important than ever...]]>

With the ever changing and evolving golf market, members needs and day to day running of golf facilities, thinking like a business becomes ever more essential.  Golf Facilities need to be in a position to plan not react, this is more significant than ever before-particularly when managing change:

  • Replaces fiction with facts.
  • Maps the future and supports growth.
  • Provides transparency to stakeholders and potential investors.
  • Alignment of staff and volunteers to a clear plan of action.
  • Enables the management team to effectively monitor progress.

All good business planning enables the business to evaluate:

  1. Where the business is now?
  2. Where is the business going?
  3. How will we get there?
    1. Who is responsible?
    2. How will you keep score?
      1. Developing a strategic planning framework
      2. Help create an outline of an effective business plan

Keep it Simple…

Where you are now + Where you are going

= Your Strategy

How you are going to get there

+

Who is responsible and How you will keep score

= Your Business Plan

article-header-images_mark-taylor_facility-business-planning_04

5 key tools for a Situational Analysis

‘Situational analysis is critical to be able to make informed decisions based on data and evidence not emotion’.

Your internal landscape – What’s happening within the club?

  • Compile a SWOT analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats
  • Collate an Operational Analysis – Financial, Food & Beverage etc.
  • Conduct a regular Member Analysis – Internal Environment

Your external landscape – What’s happening around your club?

  • PEST – Political, Economic, Social & Technological
  • Competitor Analysis – External Environment

Operational Analysis

Most facilities cover the following core areas of work, with each facet requiring structured analysis on:

  • Governance
  • Golf Course
  • Finance
  • Food & Beverage
  • Members

article-header-images_mark-taylor_facility-business-planning_02

Member Analysis

Know your club data!!

Understand your members…deliver:

  • Member Forums – prepared sessions use SWOT
  • Member Surveys
    • Key questions – short & concise
  • Research your Market – tools & insight reports
    • Continually review the profile of your existing members

P.E.S.T Analysis

Political factors:

  • Government regulations regarding health, hygiene, food regulations, and food standards.
  • Equality legislation.
  • Government policies, these may include licenses, inspections by environmental health.

Economic factors:

  • Interest rates.
  • Rate of inflation determines the rate of remuneration for employees and directly affects the price of products.
  • Economic trends act as an indicator of the sustainability and profitability of your business in the chosen region.

Social factors:

  • Eating habits of the people in your chosen business environment may, and certainly will, affect your marketing decisions.
  • Ratio of people preferring to eat out regularly, changing attitude to volunteering and pressures on family timetable.

Technological factors:

  • Effective technology may be a decisive factor for business marketing (social media, apps).
  • Tee time bookings.

article-header-images_mark-taylor_facility-business-planning_03

Competitor Analysis

  • Who are your direct competitors?
  • What are their products and prices?
  • How do their facilities compare?
  • What is their unique selling point?
  • Research your Market – tools & reports
    • Map the local competition – Understand the local potential

Mission and Vision

Once the club have identified insight and data..it’s now time to think about the ‘WHY’

Mission –

A one sentence statement that describes why you exist – your purpose

  • The best mission statements are clear and concise
  • Ideally no more than 15 words

Vision –

A one sentence statement describing what your club would like to achieve or accomplish

  • The best vision statements are inspirational and memorable
  • Ideally no more than 20 words

Values

Develop beliefs that are shared by the stakeholders of the golf club.

Values drive the golf clubs culture and priorities and provide a framework in which decisions are made.

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Formulate your Aims

  • Look at your list of core areas of work
  • Identify what you want to achieve in each of those core areas:
    • Core Area = Membership
    • Strategic Aim = Increase the number of members

YOU NOW HAVE A STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK…

  • Mission
  • Vision
  • Values
  • Core areas of work
  • Aims

Plan for Business!!

  • More than financial spreadsheets
  • A clear link between a shared vision for the club and actions
  • Written for real people using everyday language
  • Customer focussed
  • Sincere and meaningful
  • Clear roles and responsibilities to ensure involvement and ownership
  • SMART objectives that are regularly reviewed

Thriving clubs recognise they are better served with a professional team, which is held accountable to run the operation and have the authority to do so.

Accountability needs to be driven down to all levels-including the volunteer committee members/directors of the board

Top Tips…

  • Set a clear time frame to get it done
  • Work as a team – empower your professionals
  • Focus on creating the future – separates the thrivers from the survivors
  • State out how long your plans are for

Make your goals SMART…

  • Aim: More Members
  • Smart Goal: Recruit 20 new members
  • Initiatives to achieve that goal:
    • Create a recruitment plan
    • Arrange a member sales training day with our staff
    • Promote a member get member campaign
    • Host a family fun day and invite the local community
    • Run a 9 hole promotion throughout the winter on a Sunday afternoon
    • Start a Learn Golf 6 wk programme

Brainstorm different initiatives but then make sure you:

  • Consider the cost of pursuing them within annual operating budgets.
  • Consider HR implications, staffing levels and the return on investment.
  • Be selective – don’t try to do everything at once

Keeping Score

It is Vital to keep score – Your business plan is your future!

Set key performance indicators (KPI’s) for each aim

Benchmark against your chosen KPI’s

  • A lot of this data will be in your ‘where are we now’ situational analysis

Agree when you going to monitor progress

  • Ideally this should be every committee/board meeting
  • The business plan should be the main content of your meetings

Decide timeframes for reviewing strategy & plans

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Business Plan Structure

Keep it simple…

  1. Cover & Contents
  2. Executive Summary
  3. Background/Context
  4. Situational Analysis – including financial
  5. Strategic Summary – Mission, Vision, Values, Aims
  6. Operational Plan – for each aim:
    1. SMART Goals
    2. Initiatives
    3. Accountability
    4. Measurement

And Finally…

‘Schedule time to work on your golf business, rather than in your business’

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Business Planning to Grow Your Facility
3 Reasons Why Most Beginning Golfers Are Set up to Fail: Michael Hebron http://www.pgae.com/ask/3-reasons-why-most-beginning-golfers-are-set-up-to-fail/ Wed, 07 Dec 2016 14:51:56 +0000 Golf Science Lab http://www.pgae.com/?p=17498 The Golf Science Lab and Michael Hebron explain how structured, deliberate, and effortful training and practice may affect beginners' development and enjoyment.]]>

The Golf Science Lab and Michael Hebron (PGA of America) explain how the traditional structured, deliberate, and effortful training and practice that beginners normally go through may in fact affect their overall development and enjoyment of golf…

—————————-

It is a given that enhancing sports performance requires a commitment to training and practice. But what should the nature of training and practice be during development?

The three stages of development are:

  • Early or sampling
  • Middle or specializing
  • Late or investment

Alfred North Whitehead called the three stages the romance stage, precision stage and generalization stage. Studies show any emphasis on structured, deliberate, effortful training and practice during the first or early stages of development is now associated with great costs.

In most cases deliberate practice is not associated with great levels of sports proficiency when compared with diversified, enjoyable, playful training.

In 2002, Cote and Hay researchers said:

1. During the early sampling years there should be low frequency of structured deliberate practice and lots of “play” activity.

2. During the specializing years there should be equal amounts of deliberate practice and deliberate “play “activities.

3. During the investment years there can be more deliberate practice than deliberate “play “when training (the skills have already been learned).

One other key component during the sampling years it is important to sample several different sporting activities, instead of specializing in one sport.

An athlete’s cognitive system (brain) during training is being re-organized to meet the needs of the tasks at hand. Researchers have now assessed what they believe to be the optimal amount of structured, deliberate practice and the optimal amounts of deliberate “play “activities that best support the three stages of development.

At each of these stages there are different amounts of time devoted to deliberate practice and deliberate “play.” An athletes involvement with other activities beyond their main sport will also influence their development.

This Developmental Model of Sports Performance (DMSP) is consistent with general theories of child development (Paget, 1962 Vigotsky, 1978) that support the building blocks for physical, cognitive and emotional development.

When it comes to sports participation there are three natural outcomes, people either become…

  1. Recreational participants
  2. Elite participants
  3. Those who drop out

It has been shown that which one of these three outcomes individuals will experience is influenced heavily by the type of activities and contexts they experience during their three stages of development: sampling, specializing and investment (Cote et all, 2003 Cote & Hay, 2002)

This model (SMDP) has allowed researchers to asses what appears to be the optimal amount of deliberate practice and deliberate “play “at each stage of development. Simple repetition is insufficient, training activities must increase to a complexity just beyond current developmental stages.

Negative Consequences of Early Specialization

Early specialization is associated with dropping out in sports, while staying involved is supported by early diversification.

“A lack of enjoyment was the most common reason for withdrawal from sports altogether…”

When elite Russian swimmers were studied it was found that 9 and 10 year olds who began specialized training spent less time on their national team then the athlete who waited to begin specialized training until 13 or 14. These 9 and 10 year olds who specialized early also ended their sports careers earlier than athletes who started to specialize later in life (Bompa 2000).

A single focus on tennis at an early age contributed to withdrawal from the sport (Lochr, 1996).

Parents of hockey players, both active players and ones that dropped out (ages 6-13), found the players who dropped out spent more time in deliberate, specialized practice and training “off ice” (low enjoyment), than the expert athletes who experienced more “play “(Hodges and Deakin, 1998).

A lack of enjoyment was the most common reason for withdrawal from sports altogether (Ewing and Seefeldt, 1996).

The Value of “Play” During Early Development

Respected research has demonstrated that a significant component of the early sport experience of current elite athletes was a wide spread involvement in a range of both organized sports and deliberate “play “activities.

Researchers Cote and Hay defined deliberate “play “as an activity designed to maximize inherent personal enjoyment. Deliberate “play” activities are normally regulated by flexible rules, adapted from standardized sports rules, and they are normally set up by the participants involved in the activity.

John Brandsford, editor of How People Learn pointed out that “play” activities should promote “interest” over focusing on trying to make play fun. When “play “is interesting, individuals stay interested during their unwanted outcomes.

When involved with deliberate “play” there is less concern with the outcome of behavior than with the enjoyment of the behavior.

Deliberate “play “behavior in sport can have immediate value in terms of motivation to stay involved in sports and it also has benefits related to the ability to process information in various sporting situations.

Motivation based on self regulation (Ryan and Deci, 2000) supports the idea that early “intrinsically ” motivating behaviors (deliberate play) have a positive effect on staying motivated, becoming more self determined and being committed in future sport participation.

From a skill acquisition perspective, deliberate “play “serves as a way for athletes to explore their physical capacities in various contexts. This was found to be true for elite hockey players who spent more time in deliberate play than deliberate practice activities before the age of 20.

These findings also hold true for elite and recreational baseball players (Gilbert et all, 2002). The elite players were involved in more deliberate “play “than recreational players from ages 6 to 12.

When investigating 17 Australian rules football players who were elite players, classified as expert decision makers and 15 elite players classified as non-expert decision makers, the results showed that expert decision makers have invested a significant greater time in varied deliberate “play “activities playing basketball, football, hockey, all within a space of two years (Berry & Apernethy, 2003).

Deliberate “play “in various contexts will ultimately provide a broad foundation of skills that will help to overcome the physical and cognitive challenges of various sports as well as their main sport (DeKnop, Engstrom, Skistad, 1996).

Schmidt and Wrisberg (2000) suggested that transferable elements could be categorized into movement skills, perceptual skills and conceptual thinking skills.

  • Movements – biomechanical and anatomical actions.
  • Perceptual – environmental information that individuals are interpreting emotionally.
  • Conceptual – strategies, guidelines, rules.
  • Sports skills demands include:
  • Physical demands such as power.
  • Movement demands such as precision and esthetics.
  • Cognitive demands such as perception memory, or strategic capabilities.

These demands are developed more efficiently through deliberate “play” than structured deliberate practice

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 – Highly respected throughout the international golf community, Michael consults on golf instruction to PGA America, Switzerland, Italy, France, Finland, Canada, Japan, Sweden, India, Australia, Chile, Costa Rica, England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Czech Republic, Spain, and Denmark.
He has given instruction clinics at 30 PGA of America sections. Through his dedication Michael earned the honored status of becoming the 23rd PGA of America Master Professional. His book, See and Feel the Inside Move the Outside, was the first golf instruction book accepted as a PGA Master’s thesis.
Since then, he has written hundreds of articles for leading golf magazines and authored 4 other books and 3 DVDs. Golf Magazine and Golf Digest have consistently named Hebron as a member (since their first listings) of America’s Top 50 Instructors.
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3 Reasons Why Most Beginning Golfers Are Set up to Fail: Michael Hebron
[PODCAST] 3 Keys Any Golf Coach (Anywhere) Can use to Launch Coaching Programs http://www.pgae.com/ask/podcast-3-keys-any-golf-coach-anywhere-can-use-to-launch-coaching-programs/ Thu, 01 Dec 2016 11:40:51 +0000 Golf in the Life of http://www.pgae.com/?p=17459 Coach Will Robins is back to help you make realistic plans for your coaching programs in 2017 and shares his 3 keys to launching a successful coaching program]]>

Coach Will Robins is back to help you make some realistic plans for your coaching programs in 2017 and shares his 3 keys to launching your successful coaching program.


Subscribe iTunes | Android | RSS

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[Click here to find out more about Robins Golf]

Create a vision

Most coaches think of the customer first and come up with all the reasons that a new coaching program WON’T work instead of looking at what will drive you as a coach.

COACHES QUESTION: What would drive you to be passionate to come to work every day?

COACHES QUESTION: What do you not like doing? (write down 10 things you don’t want to do and then write down the 10 you do)

“Bring your passion to the forefront” Instead of dreading your day craft a business, work, and students that you actually enjoy working with.

Sell it before you build it

The minute you have your vision and passion, share your passion with your players and start to get feedback on what they’re interested in. The key here is to communicate don’t sell.

The biggest sales tool you have in your marketing arsenal is the INVITATION. By building relationships with students you have an opportunity to invite them into programs and opportunites that are the BEST fit for them.

Focus on getting results whatever the cost

How do you balance technique and getting people on the course? We talk about the difference between being a coach and a teacher.

Find who you are and stand up for what you believe.

Links / Resources:

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[PODCAST] 3 Keys Any Golf Coach (Anywhere) Can use to Launch Coaching Programs
The Future of Golf Development http://www.pgae.com/ask/the-future-of-golf-development/ Thu, 01 Dec 2016 10:34:47 +0000 Tony Bennett http://www.pgae.com/?p=17336 "Despite years of gloomy forecasts from commentators and consumer surveys on the popularity of the game, golf will survive, and I believe it will thrive..."]]>

Despite several years of gloomy forecasts from commentators and consumer surveys on the popularity of the game, golf will survive, and I believe that it will thrive.

Golf will thrive because of the open air environment in which the game is consumed. Golf supports moderate physical activity, satisfying social interaction, distraction from the never ending roller coaster of life’s ups and downs, and not least the game offers a personal challenge.

The game is fundamentally one in which, you take a stick, to hit an object to a target, that is in, on, or above the ground.

Golf is not only a game but also an industry. An industry that ‘services the game‘. Be mindful of those three words – ‘services the game‘.

Without doubt, the game and the industry must be aligned to deliver an experience that men and women want to consume in the way that they want to consume it. Golf should entertain, challenge, and above all be an enjoyable experience. Even though the game and the industry must work together, the game should not become a service provider to the industry.

From this standpoint, there are many questions that continue to attract my attention, two of which are as follows:

Q1.

Imagine if we drop a handful of clubs and balls into a remote part of the Amazonian Rain Forest, where the villagers had never heard of Tiger Woods, and there were no TV or golf magazines. What game would they invent?

Would the villagers design a game where they take a stick, to hit an object to a target, that is in, on, or above the ground? Perhaps so. Would it be the same as we find in the some 200+ golf playing nations in the world? Would it have four par fives and four par threes on a 6,000m + course? Would it have miles of buggy paths and two starting points and finishing points, each near to a clubhouse?

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Q2.

Imagine that the golf ball travelled just 30% of the distance of the current ball. What effect would that have on the game? I suspect very little. Golf would still entertain, challenge, and above all be an enjoyable experience. I do however think that such a change would change the industry.

Certainly, courses could be made that were just 30% of the current length. So 2,000 metres would offer the same challenge as we have now over a much longer course. Golf course developers would need less land, and so potentially less investment; the course would perhaps be easier to design, certainly easier and cheaper to construct and maintain. Smaller parcels of land could be more easily found near to areas of population, so making the game more accessible. Would golf take less time on this shorter course? Is it reasonable to expect that if the ball travelled just 30% of the ‘normal’ distance, then it would also only go 30% of the distance into trouble? Perhaps there would be less time spent looking for golf balls? Would this form of golf become both a quick way for established golfers to play a few holes and at the same time be a simple but effective way for newcomers to be introduced to the game?

Softball in the US, has legions of participants, soft tennis and soft cricket, all forms of the mainstream sport, have introduced a ball to make their game more accessible. Could this simple act give golf a much-needed boost to reach new communities? The commentators say that golf needs to be more accessible, less expensive, quicker and easier. Perhaps a ball that travels significantly less distance will help.

In any case, I advise continually questioning why we do what we do, and also how we do it. Perhaps the answers will be surprising.

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The Future of Golf Development
Do What You Do Best But DON’T Forget the Rest! http://www.pgae.com/ask/do-what-you-do-best-but-dont-forget-the-rest/ Thu, 01 Dec 2016 08:03:46 +0000 Jeremy Dale http://www.pgae.com/?p=14633 Switch-hitting trick shot artist, Jeremy Dale, explains that specialising and THEN diversifying can help maximise your opportunities as a specialist...]]>

‘’Do what you do best and forget the rest’’ was the advice once given to me by a businessman at a golf day in Australia.

In a way, it is good advice (to start with anyway) because once you are a specialist, you have authority, can build a reputation and are likely to be paid more.

For the modern PGA Professional this makes perfect sense, we have seen a trend over the last 20 years towards specialist players, coaches, golf psychologists, retailers, club-fitters, club managers, corporate event organisers etc and away from the traditional club professional model – although, of course, that quite rightly still exists.

So how do you maximise your opportunities as a specialist?

It might seem contradictory but my solution was to specialise and THEN diversify.

The day golf finally met business for Jeremy Dale

I am quite certain that no professional golfer ever set out to become a trick shot artist.

Everyone dreams of playing for a living BUT, when you see a new opportunity, it is a good idea to explore the potential.

My big chance came in the summer of 1991 at the Rijswijkse Golf Club in The Hague when Head Professional John Woof unwittingly gave me the opportunity of a lifetime – an opportunity that quite literally presented me with a fork in the road of my career.

Find yourself a business model (or mentor) BUT make up your own version

As an assistant, I saw a really good future business model in John.

He was earning from a few different areas of the golf business but was really well known at that time in Holland for the quality of his play.

As well as winning tournaments (both nationally & internationally) and making the PGA Cup team, he was also a successful coach, had some sponsors and, importantly for me, he performed a really good trick shot golf show. It was the first one I had ever seen and I liked the combination of entertainment mixed with a high level of skill and accuracy.

John also ran events (for his sponsors & featuring his show), sometimes took them on private outings to famous courses, and later in his career, despite being a foreigner, he became a golf commentator on Dutch TV.

It was especially obvious to me that John was able to carry over his reputation for tournament golf into everything else he did.

I concluded that to have a good career in golf, you should be really good at one thing (whatever your speciality might be) but ALSO diversify your range of products AND be good at selling them……..by the way, don’t forget that last one!

(If you are a coach read Ian Clark’s excellent blog on making sales and creating a client base)

Look out for a life changing opportunity

I decided that I needed to put together a golf show………….….if I could become really good at that then it would do for my business what playing had done for John.

The problem was that I did not want to copy anyone, I needed a USP of my own and was well aware of the importance of being my own person.

I had no idea what that could be until that day at Rijswijk in 1991 when John asked me to give a lesson to one of his sponsors, who happened to be left-handed.

After the lesson, I asked if I could have a go with his club since I had never hit a shot left-handed. It felt quite good and I was very surprised at the quality of my best shots so I spent the whole evening on the range.

This did not have to be a life changing moment, but that is exactly how it turned out.

I decided there and then that I was going to relearn the game left-handed so that I could put together a switch-hitting golf show, something that, unsurprisingly, had never been done.

I was about to find out why.

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Left-Handed Golf – my hard won USP

John said: ‘’Give yourself two years’’ and (cryptically) ‘’You never know’’.

He was right on both counts.

My father always used to say ”We never give in’’. He was only partly joking, it’s great advice.

Everyone else thought I was nuts and looking back, I can see what they meant.

My good friend and co-assistant at the club, Michael Unsworth, had seen almost every shot of my left-handed experiment, from hitting air shots to making cuts in Dutch PGA events.

I knew I was making progress when he said to me:

‘’When you started playing left-handed I would always hope you’d hit a good shot off the first tee……..now I kind of hope you don’t!’’

It was a frantic time. Somehow, within two years, I learned to speak Dutch fluently, made the required scores in professional tournaments (left-handed) and passed the exams with the Dutch PGA. Later, having contacted Lawrie Thornton at the PGAs of Europe, I passed the British PGA exams too.

I was all set for a career in golf as a trick shot artist and did my first proper show in April 1994 at Golf & Country Club ‘t Sybrook in the Netherlands.

You never know!

Wind the clock forward and these days people assume that switch-hitting was just something I could always naturally do but nothing could be further from the truth.

It had seemed impossible to me that I would make a living from golf but it has somehow happened.

So far I have performed my show in 39 countries in front of business people and top golfers from all parts of the globe. I have also met and performed with many of the great golfers I grew up watching on TV. Gary Player, Seve, Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie, Tony Jacklin, Padraig Harrington, Ian Woosnam and so the list goes on.

Specialise in one thing – but diversify your business too

What I have also done is (like John Woof) use the golf show to develop other areas of my business.

Here is a list of the other things I have done in the last 20 years in golf:

  • PGA Coach – individual coaching, golf schools and golf holidays
  • TV presenter
  • Organiser and Promoter – World Golf Trick Shot Championship
  • Writer
  • Charity event organiser
  • After Dinner Speaker
  • Brand Ambassador
  • Master of Ceremonies
  • Agent
  • Charity Auctioneer
  • Business and Marketing Consultant for other PGA professionals

I even won a trick shot competition in America in 2015 and finished No. 2 in the World Golf Trick Shot Championships in 2005.

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Specialists really do get paid more

My advice to any golf professional is to find the thing you do best and specialise.

Work hard to gain the knowledge and expertise you will need – invest in yourself, go on courses, ask other PGA Members and read everything you can find on your subject.

It does not matter what your specialist area might be. As long as you are (and are seen as) one of the market leaders, you’ll have an advantage you can really use.

Being an expert gives you credibility and a chance to make a reputation that you can THEN exploit into other areas.

I think it is a winning formula.

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Do What You Do Best But DON’T Forget the Rest!
PGA Professional Spotlight: Craig West (PGA of Germany) http://www.pgae.com/ask/pga-professional-spotlight-craig-west-pga-of-germany/ Wed, 16 Nov 2016 12:57:53 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=13761 South African-born Craig West has been a PGA of Germany Professional for 22 years and in that time has overcome the challenges of moving to another country and]]>

South African-born Craig West has been a PGA of Germany Professional for 22 years and in that time has overcome the challenges of moving to another country and not knowing the language to build his own business, West Golf.

IGPN spoke to Craig to find out how he built his career and how what he learnt is now shaping how he employs people and advances his business.

IGPN: How did your career as a PGA Professional first begin?

Craig: I started as an Assistant Professional at the Fancourt Resort in South Africa in 1992, under Jeff Clause, the American Director of Golf there. After moving to Germany in the mid 90s, I did the PGA of Germany program, which was a very thorough experience and one that I am very glad to have done.

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IGPN: How did you end up in your current position in Germany?

Craig: At Fancourt we had many German guests staying in the hotel. They were always telling me how the game of golf was booming in Germany (Bernhard Langer had won the Masters in 1985) and there was great potential for Professionals who wanted to teach or run golf clubs.

The owner of a driving range was a guest at the hotel and after we had spent a round of golf or two together he asked me if would consider coming over to Germany and working for him. He didn’t have to ask twice and six weeks later I was on a plane to Germany.

IGPN: What was it like moving to, and working in, a new country where you had to learn about the culture and the language?

Craig: A lot tougher than I was expecting, that’s for sure! The language was tough and the German attitude and way of doing things was very much more structured than in South Africa.

The weather was also a shock. I will never forget the moment I walked off the plane (in February) and was “hit” by the coldest wind I would not even have been able to imagine. And then realising that it was a typical winters day!

IGPN: What was the biggest challenge you faced when deciding to work in another country?

Craig: Leaving the country you have grown up in is about as tough a decision as you’ll ever make. Not being able to speak the language properly in the first year or so is very tough and your self-confidence takes more than its share of knocks.

IGPN: What would your advice be to someone looking to work abroad?

Craig: It’s great if you have someone there that can help you in the beginning. Going to a governmental department to go and get yourself registered when you cannot speak the language is an experience you either take with humor or you’re in for one hell of a day!

If you are moving to country where they speak a language you can‘t then I strongly suggest doing a language course as soon as possible, maybe in your own country before leaving.

Being able to communicate in your “new” country is THE most important tool to getting ahead in everything else. You need to get integrated as fast as you can make friends from your “new” country as fast as possible, which as a golf Professional is normally quite easy to do.

IGPN: Explain a bit about your business that you run now.

Craig: I always had the dream of building my own course (what golfer doesn’t!) and in 2007 I managed to get the piece of land and found an investor to finance the building of the course.

In September 2009 we opened West Golf (www.west-golf.com) and we had 300 members even before the course was opened. It’s a public facility, where golf is not expensive and we cater to a younger crowd, making it also attractive to families.

I manage the facility and also run the Golf Academy, which turns out about roughly 350 new golfers every year, where we then get most of our members.

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IGPN: What do you look for when you are hiring PGA Professionals?

Craig: I have had several Apprentices and Professionals come through the Golf Academy and to be honest, the most important thing I look for is that someone truly loves the game. Everything else takes care of itself after that. I have never had the feeling of having an actual job; I just love what I do and get to do it everyday if I want to.

I also look for someone who is keen to learn, willing to take advice and spend time learning from the best teachers, not thinking that what they do is “good enough” for the people they teach.

Being able to communicate and thoroughly enjoy people is also very important. If you have to pretend to be friendly then teaching golf is going to be a tough business!

IGPN: What would be the biggest tip you could give a PGA Professional looking for a new job or trying to develop their skills?

Craig: You have to sell yourself! What can I offer this Golf Academy? Am I good with kids? Not all pros are. Can I teach better players? Can I teach teams? Do I just want to teach private lessons?

Everybody has their strengths and when hiring I look for someone who can give me something that I don’t have.

I also like having different personalities in the Academy, some people like a Professional who talks a lot, others are happy the less they say. Some Professionals are great with groups and entertaining people, others are happy to go the whole day just having one student per hour in front of them. There is a niche for everyone and you just have to find it.


For more information about Craig and West Golf visit www.craigwest.de or contact office@west-golf.com.

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

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PGA Professional Spotlight: Craig West (PGA of Germany)
[PODCAST] 6 Ways to Leverage Social Media & the Internet in Your Job Search http://www.pgae.com/ask/6-ways-to-leverage-social-media-the-internet-in-your-job-search/ Tue, 01 Nov 2016 11:35:19 +0000 Aston Ward http://www.pgae.com/?p=13746 Here are some tips to promote yourself better online and ensure a search of your name makes it more likely that you will be hired…]]>

In the 21st century the job-seeking process is complex and quick.  A career path can present itself to you in the blink of an eye, and can disappear just as quickly.

The development of platforms such as LinkedIn have shown that it is not just a paper CV that shows off who you are and what you can do.  It’s now possible to find out every bit of detail needed about a potential employee to make an educated decision as to whether they should get a job or not.

It is widely accepted that employers will likely Google an applicant as soon as they get their name.  What comes up in the search can be a window into their lives – whether you like it or not.  To ensure your results are ones that play in your favour, here are some tips to promote yourself better online and ensure a search of your name makes it more likely that you will be hired…

1. Google Yourself

The best place to start – do what an employer might do (ideally on a different computer than your own to see what someone else might see).

This will show you what they might see and could give you a good place to start when identifying where you are visible and what you should do about it.

2. Optimise Your LinkedIn Profile (Or Create One First!)

Firstly, if you are not on LinkedIn then you’re doing it wrong. Join LinkedIn.  It is a fantastic [FREE] resource where you can lay down as much or as little information about yourself, connect with people you know and people you want to know, and ultimately use as a live, digital and interactive CV.

Second, make sure your profile is complete using LinkedIn’s built-in step-by-step guide, add a great photo and take your time on your bio.  Then get connecting – sync your account with your phone or contacts and start by adding people you know.  Then once you have a network the platform will automatically start suggesting jobs and new connections for you – then you can start to action these connections and see where leads might come from.

3. Write a Blog

What better way to express yourself and show-off your expertise and knowledge in your area than writing about it.  You can write anything you want and tailor it to your intended are of work to show a) that you care about what you do/want to do, b) are knowledgeable and have an opinion on it, and c) you are computer/digitally savvy enough to get out there and set it up [but don’t worry it’s actually pretty easy to do with services such as WordPress and Tumblr].

4. Check Your Settings

Go through all of your social accounts and check your privacy settings – you may be happy for someone to discover your Facebook profile through a Google search, but are you happy that they can look at your 10-year old photos from University parties? Probably not.

Settings can often be tucked away or a little tough to root out, but platforms nowadays have great flexibility and control for their users when it comes to privacy – take time to work out what the different on and off switches mean.

5. Make the Most of Your Biography

Your Twitter bio, LinkedIn short biography and any other place where you can add a public biography are what people will see first.  Take time to make this as good as possible – you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but people often do anyway so make sure yours looks great.

6. Reverse Engineer The Search

Work out what an employer might look at that is connected to you – go through the process yourself and make sure everything is as you wish at each stage of a search.  Think about what they want to see and tailor your profiles to that.

Plus, turn the tables on a potential employer and look at their company profiles, connect with people from that company, or even explore their LinkedIn profiles.  They will no doubt do it to you, so you can do it to them.  Going into an interview with knowledge and info on the bosses, co-workers or interviewees will almost certainly be useful in your search.

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

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[PODCAST] 6 Ways to Leverage Social Media & the Internet in Your Job Search