PGAs of EuropeIGPN – PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com Home of the PGAE Mon, 13 Nov 2017 15:53:38 +0000 en-gb hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.3 Nutrition For Golf With David Dunne http://www.pgae.com/ask/nutrition-for-golf-with-david-dunne/ Thu, 26 Oct 2017 11:53:13 +0000 David Dunne http://www.pgae.com/?p=20284 Nutritionist, David Dunne, gives his insight into considerations when working with golfers of all abilities to maximise performance...]]>

Golf is, without doubt, one of the most exciting opportunities in the world of performance science in 2017. However, despite these high stakes there has been very little research done to date in elite golf.

This forces us as practitioners to extrapolate ideas from other areas of research and trial them with the players we work with as we refine and optimise our strategies and learn from the players, coaches and caddies until the research catches up.

I’m pretty fortunate to have a younger brother on the European Tour who has fast tracked my practitioner learning curve in golf and helped build up some practice based evidence which hopefully over the next few years can be trialled and tested to eventually translate into evidenced based practice.

Until such a time, I hope the following provides an insight into some considerations when working with golfers or even some food for thought (apologies for the pun) for Tour Professionals themselves.

 

Pre Round Fuelling

Golfers are faced with three different fuelling scenarios on a day to day basis. They are either out early (which often means a 5am start!), mid morning, or in the early afternoon.

Despite these timings changing, which may impact on meal timings and portion size, the underlying principles of how to fuel the round don’t.

Ok so what are we looking for? Well when we look at the demands of golf a round generally takes approximately 4 hours, top this up with 60-120 minutes of prep time (warm up, range, putting green, conversations with caddy, etc) and we are looking at about a 5-6 hour shift.

During this 5-6 hour shift mental focus, stable energy levels and adequate hydration are going to be key, as one poor decision or energy dip can ruin your card and separate the winners from the also-rans.

As a result the pre round meal should be finished approximately 90 minutes before the round to give the body time to digest the food and the player time to prepare. The meal itself should contain some high fibre low GI carbohydrates, such as oats, to provide a sustained release of energy over the coming hours.

This portion of carbohydrates should be complemented with a source of high quality protein, such as greek yoghurt or eggs, to not only supply the muscles with amino acids to support muscle maintenance and function but also to aid the production of neuro-transmitters to improve mental focus and induce satiety.

This base of protein and carbs should then be finished off with some high quality dietary sources of fat to provide some low intensity fuel, e.g. nuts, seeds, avocado, etc as well as some fruits and/or vegetables to bump up the micronutrient content of the meal.

A simple example of this for a 9am tee time would be a bowl of nutty muesli topped with banana and fresh berries coupled with a 3 egg omelette and a large glass of water at 6.45am. For a 2pm tee time, a baked salmon fillet with a sweet potato and feta salad would also be a good example.

On Course Nutrition

The goal on the course is exactly the same, optimise mental focus, keep stable energy levels and remain hydrated. As a result on course snacks will follow a similar trend aiming to provide some low GI carbs, a moderate amount of protein and some high quality fats.

To ensure a steady supply of energy as well as reducing symptoms of hunger it is best to spread 3-4 snacks out evenly over the round. Depending on the length of the course players may wish to eat on holes 5, 10 and 15 (particularly if it’s a shorter course) or on holes 4, 8, 12 and 16 (better suited to longer and/or slower rounds). These snacks can be prepared (in an ideal world) ahead of time by the player or one of their team or purchased for convenience.

Some great examples of on course snacks that players/their team can prepare would be homemade protein bars, nut and seed “energy” balls, oat based banana bread.

Speaking from experience, some of these snacks can be prepared with no more equipment than a mixing bowl so could be an easy way to kill 10 minutes on a Monday and set you up for the week. However, preparing your own snacks is not always possible so picking up some nuts and seed tubes/bars, bananas, beef jerky and protein bars is also a good call.

What does need to stay more regular than the eating on course is the drinking! The best way to stay on top of this is to not only consume a few mouthfuls of fluid along with each snack, but also on each hole either as you are walking down the fairway or walking to the next tee box. You might find on hot days that you may need to do both!

As for what’s in the bottle, it is best to drink water with additional electrolytes (a simple effervescent tablet will do – sugary sports drinks should be avoided). As a result the player should be equipped with 3-4 agreed on snacks before leaving the locker room and 2 bottles of water and a tube of electrolytes to top up when needed during the round. The only time this may differ is on a Sunday, in which case you always bring more and are fully prepared to go down 19 if required!

Nutrition for Recovery/Sleep

Post-round the shift focuses to recover for the following day’s play. Again this meal should contain some quality protein to aid muscle repair and maintenance however, unlike most sports there is no need to feed high volumes of carbohydrates to refuel, a moderate potion accompanied with some tasty vegetables will do.

For example, a nice lean steak with some mash potato and pan fried vegetables would fit nicely, as would a tasty teriyaki chicken stir-fry with some additional vegetables. This meal is generally the easiest for most players to get right.

This meal should be followed up with a nighttime snack, again to support recovery but also to enhance sleep, e.g. greek yoghurt with tart cherry mixed through.

Nutrition for Travel

As the competition draws to a close on Sunday, most players make their way straight from the locker room to the airport as they head on to the next event. For Tour Professionals, the schedule can be relentless and this high volume of flights, temporary time zones and often new/foreign cuisines all increase the risk of illness for the players and caddies.

These at-risk periods and shifting circadian rhythms should all be supported with appropriate performance planning to not only ensure the player and caddy acclimatise as soon as possible for the next tournament but also minimise the volume of days a player and his caddy may lose to illness.

I hope this gives some insight and sparks some thoughts about how nutrition may impact on a golfer’s performance. With the lack of current evidence available it seems the next step is for the tours to continue to innovate in performance nutrition research – then we can see how well the worlds best can really play.

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This article appears courtesy of the Undergraduate Sports and Exercise Medicine Society – www.basem.co.uk/usems

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Nutrition For Golf With David Dunne
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]
How to Keep Your Brain Sharp http://www.pgae.com/ask/how-to-keep-your-brain-sharp/ Wed, 27 Sep 2017 12:43:11 +0000 Coaching4Careers http://www.pgae.com/?p=12215 Coaching 4 Careers reveal 4 ways you can keep your brain sharp to preserve healthy cognitive function and sharpness across all the right areas...]]>

The brain. The body’s most powerful organ. Only a brain surgeon could fully understand its inner workings or how it does what it does. One thing’s for sure, though: you’ll miss it when it’s gone.

With Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia on the rise, ‘brain-training’ is very much in vogue among retirees and younger whippersnappers alike. As game developers have been quick to appreciate, preserving healthy cognitive function means maintaining sharpness across all the right areas, from memory and recall to problem solving and planning. There’s enough there for a bi-annual upgrade and then some.

Video games aside, there are plenty of equally as efficient but less costly ways to keep your grey matter firing on all cylinders. Here are some top tips for successful cerebral conservation:

1. Learn something new

Be it the cello, Ancient Greek or Chinese calligraphy, teaching yourself a new skill is a great way to keep the old brain cells ticking over. A recent study of retirees showed that a challenging mental activity one a week reduced the risk of dementia by 7%.

2. Get physical

Work the rest of your body while you’re at it. Research suggests that 30 minutes of exercise three times each week can reduce dementia by 40% and cognitive impairment by 60%. The secondary benefits should also be obvious.

3. Food for thought

You don’t need a PHD in nutrition to know some foods are better for the brain than others. Indulge in vegetables, nuts and fish – staples of the Mediterranean diet that promote blood-flow to the brain. Drink plenty of water and stay off the junk food!

4. Take a load off

From catching enough ‘Z’s each night to meditative techniques, giving your brain some much-needed down time is essential in reducing wear and tear. It will also help you maintain skills such as problem solving, concentration and memory. Aim for 7.5 to 8.5 hours a night for optimum brain function.

Whether happily retired or gainfully employed, whatever your age, looking after the stuff upstairs should be a top priority. The good news is that keeping your neurotransmitters nimble needn’t cost the earth and can slot fairly easily into your day-to-day lifestyle.


This content appears courtesy of Abintegro, experts in career management, transition technology & e-learning for today’s modern, mobile and technology-savvy workforce – Find out more at www.abintegro.com

Credit: Forbes; NPR.com; Time

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How to Keep Your Brain Sharp
The Value to Organisations of Offering Career Support to Staff http://www.pgae.com/ask/the-value-to-organisations-of-offering-career-support-to-staff-2/ Wed, 06 Sep 2017 11:05:52 +0000 Coaching4Careers http://www.pgae.com/?p=19679 With global employment trends changing all the time, the need to keep and develop staff should be at the top of an organisations agenda...]]>

There is little recent data about career management conversations in the workplace:

Kelly Global Workforce Index – August 2014 (230,000 people across 31 countries participated)

  • 57% people agree that career development discussions are beneficial in terms of the opportunity to acquire new skills
  • Only 38% had these discussions with their employer in the past year
  • Only 29% are satisfied with the career development resources provided by their employer

With global employment trends changing all the time, the need to keep and develop staff should be at the top of an organisations agenda.

Whether the organisation is a school, SME, Not for Profit or Corporate, many seem frightened to invest in the career management of their staff, they think staff will be unsettled, leave, or want more than they can offer. Some work very well with their staff, helping them manage their careers and reap the reward. The reality is that staff who feel valued and invested in are more likely to stay with an organisation and be motivated to work harder.


“Managing human capital is a misnomer. Humans are ‘beings’. We want to be known and valued for who we are, and our aspirations and ambitions recognised and seen as important. It’s a missed opportunity for an employer not to attend to these needs and thereby reap the productivity gains that accrue from more motivated, loyal employees”

(Talent, Careers and Organisations, What Next? Corporate Research Forum)

The value an organisation can reap when investing in their staff:

  • Staff are more settled and less distracted as they have plans for their future
  • Organisations can plan their future if they know what their staff want and plan to do
    • Demographics
    • Succession planning
    • Recruitment
    • In house development of staff
  • An organisation planning what will happen with regards to its staff must be more cost effective
  • Fewer surprises
  • Less need for interim, agency or contract staff
  • Better ongoing communication between staff and employer
  • Staff more likely to say if they are looking for a new role
  • Organisation able to deliver a more structured handover if they know a member of staff 
is/wants to leave
  • Employers who cannot afford financial rewards/bonuses, can support the development and 
career management of staff, which can be a cost-effective reward process.

The ability to manage your career and future is a life skill, if organisations don’t invest in their staff to give them these skills, how can they then pass on these skills to the people who work for them and to the next generation who they might educate and/or influence.

There are many processes for managing careers and these can be integrated into a workplace environment, below is a cycle often used to develop process that works within different organisations, depending on what is needed and required by the organisation and their staff.

Often employees find it easier to have these conversations with someone external first.

“My volunteers felt better placed to plan an effective conversation with their manager once they’d been coached, which is a win-win for the organisation”

(T Delamare, An action research study on the barriers facing women developing their careers and how they can be supported using a coaching framework. MA Dissertation, Oxford Brookes University, 2016)

“Internally focused workplace development opportunities are likely to ensure that a particular employer realises investment in development for the organisation. Yet, the worker might not have the skills transferable to other organisations. This is in contrast with the premise of the type of ‘deal’ where enhancement of employability is the key value derived from the employment relationship by the worker. Instead, they may be receiving only the development that is relevant to their current employer, without the promise of job security.”

(CIPD – Attitudes to Employability and Talent, Sept 2016)

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The Value to Organisations of Offering Career Support to Staff
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?
Three Years of Curating International Expertise in IGPN http://www.pgae.com/ask/three-years-of-curating-international-expertise-in-igpn-2/ Tue, 29 Aug 2017 15:00:32 +0000 Ian Randell http://www.pgae.com/?p=19608 Issue 36 of IGPN marks a great point in the history of our digital magazine – its third anniversary of providing interesting, relevant and useful content...]]>

Issue 36 of IGPN marks a great point in the history of our digital magazine – its third anniversary since we revamped a simple monthly newsletter into a fully interactive and digital-only magazine.

IGPN still continues its mission of providing interesting, relevant and useful content to our Member Country PGAs and their individual PGA Professional Members.

We have had contributions from across golf and many other sports and industries. Not just from within Europe, but from around the world. And from PGA Professionals and a wide variety of experts, academics and figureheads.

This 36th Issue looks at an area that is, and will likely remain, at the core of what a PGA Professional does – coaching.

We have expert input from our John Jacobs Award for Teaching & Coaching Winner and coach to numerous European Tour and Ryder Cup players, Mike Walker, world-renowned coach, David Leadbetter, and our 5-Star Professional Award winner, Alan Walker, as well.

This information is designed to educate, inform and inspire and is an excellent example of the type of content we are working hard to develop and the direction in which our communications strategy is headed.

We must also remember that coaching is not just limited to the driving range or the playing lesson – we must continue to coach ourselves and our peers to advance all of our skills and become better and better at what we do.

A quick glance at the variety of information on our A.S.K. platform at www.pgae.com/ask will immediately show what we mean with content looking at the coaching golf to all manner of abilities, but also coaching and development information about growing the game, careers, productivity, business, marketing, and much more.

This information, together with the delivery and spread of IGPN, enables us to support our Member Country PGAs with their advancement of their PGA Professionals by curating international expertise and making it open and available to those who wish to make use of it.

We will continue to develop our communications into the future across an ever-changing technological landscape, and IGPN will always be a fundamental part of that.

As a final point, it would be remiss of us not to mention Sergio Garcia and his phenomenal win at Augusta National. It was difficult to pick sides on the final day as he and Justin Rose battled it out but whilst Justin would no doubt be a worthy owner of a green jacket, we were all delighted to see Sergio break through as a major champion. Hopefully this is just the beginning…!

If you would like to contribute to A.S.K. or IGPN then we invite you to share this with Aston Ward at aw@pgae.com and hope that you will join us in developing our Member Countries in Issues of IGPN, and the years ahead.

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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Three Years of Curating International Expertise in IGPN
The Player – Psychologist Relationship: Working With Practitioners at the Highest Level http://www.pgae.com/ask/the-player-psychologist-relationship-working-with-practicioners-at-the-highest-level/ Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:58:57 +0000 Dr. Brian Hemmings http://www.pgae.com/?p=12208 What lessons can be learned about creating a successful, effective team of practicioners around an elite performer?]]>

European Tour Professional, Seve Benson, and sports psychologist, Dr. Brian Hemmings, have established a successful professional relationship that has lasted well over a decade.

IGPN spoke to Brian and Seve to find out more about how they work together and what lessons can be learned about creating a successful, effective team of practicioners around an elite performer.

Becoming an Effective Part of a Player’s Team


How did your working relationship come about?

SEVE: Our relationship began when I was a young lad playing for England. Brian was the England squad psychologist when I was about 17.

BRIAN: I remember seeing his name and like many people I thought it was misspelt.  So that was noticeable at first in terms of his name but I remember meeting him as a what was really a young boy of 15 and of course now he’s in his late 20s.

What sort of work did you do at first?

BRIAN: It would of been a typical session with a young junior golfer on the fringe of England recognition with ‘boys’ – what you’re trying to do is get to know somebody and how they approach the game because we’re all different.  Then largely it’s individually based – so for some people it might be very much on putting work and with others it might be their approach off the course.

But for a lot of young golfers, there are their own expectations of how far they want to go in the game and it’s very competitive in the game from a very early age.  What I probably recall from Seve…would be something about expectations of yourself, and of trying to forge a career in the game.

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What has your working relationship entailed?

BRIAN: Seve’s always been a quiet individual, keeping himself to himself…I think sometimes with players, when they’re quiet they can be deemed to be unconfident but I would say Seve had quite a quiet assurance about him, which he’s always had.

SEVE: Working with Brian for this length of time has been a real joy.  He has always kept me focused on the process of what I am doing.  After working together for a long time he has become a great friend.  We meet on pretty much an ad-hoc basis from time-to-time and after seeing Brian I’m always left with a sense of calmness, which I love.

BRIAN: The beauty of working with somebody over that extended period of time is that you see him or her through so many psychological transitions – not just in terms of their game, but also as a person going from a young boy into a young adult.  Then they’re developing long-term relationships off the course in terms of their partner, along with other transitions such as buying houses…and all the things that we probably don’t think much about when we look at sportspeople play golf.

At the same time you’re cautious about the fact that you’re not their friend.  When you’ve known somebody for 14 years you get to know them very well but it’s a professional relationship, it’s not a personal friendship relationship.  Therefore we’re both quite disciplined in that way that it retains a professional sense whilst it is in a friendly way.

How do you manage these influential factors with players like Seve?

BRIAN: Work with any player is very individually-based if it’s going to be the most effective because you’re trying to establish a very unique relationship – what makes a player unique, what’s their way of thinking about the game, and how can you remind them of those things when there might be a sense to search for something that’s going to be more effective.

So we retain contact only maybe by text before and after a tournament. When he’s home for a reasonable stretch of time we try and meet up either at Wentworth where he’s based or more locally to me.

Then it’s very much in the moment about what’s on his mind – is it a performance issue or is it somewhere else in terms of lifestyle or his approach that he’s maybe lost his focus – it really comes from him.

SEVE: Since a young age, Brian has helped me to become very strong mentally and cope with any situation that may arise on the golf course.  I think that as time has gone on our relationship has improved and Brian knows how I tick so when something comes up in my game we can deal with it really effectively.

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Brian, you’ve seen Seve through all of these various stages of development – is that a challenge to get background and relationship bond with players when you first begin working with them?

BRIAN: Yes, in new relationships getting to know one another, getting to know how someone thinks about their game, their particular issues or the demands/pressures at that point, gets easier as you get to know people.  But by and large, in sports psychology, they’re actually more short term relationships – people come to you with a specific issue and that may last as little as one or two sessions, six sessions, or over six months, but is more fleeting.  I think that this is where it is different from a PGA Professional because although players do change coaches my experience is that they generally do have a bit more longevity than a sports psych.

[Sports psychologist] relationships are generally more fleeting and therefore there’s more pressure on you to be effective over a short period of time, whereas with somebody such as Seve or a longer-term relationship, there’s a sense that you can get into other areas that perhaps they wouldn’t think are performance-related by getting to know the person better.

What is it about Seve and others that set them apart?

BRIAN: They’re all very different in their approach…but my observations of working with the amateur-professional transition in the English game would be that they invest in themselves.

So at National coaching level there would be a number of technical coaches with specialist areas, a physio, strength and conditioning people, and one of the difficulties for players when they turn professional is that all of a sudden that team largely drops off because they’re not at your beck and call as a national squad player.

So all of a sudden the support structure that you’ve experienced and the edges in performance through sports science or through certain technical coaching is no longer there.

I think that when you speak to people who have made ineffective transitions, you find that their team completely dispersed and they really suffered as a result of that.

Whereas I think that with people like Seve, Danny [Willett], Chris [Wood], what they did very well was that they still invested in themselves.  So at a time when perhaps money might have been at a bit more of a premium, they still tried to retain as many people of that core team as they could.

SEVE: I think my professionalism, relentless work ethic and commitment to the game are my strong points.  But they all come from the fact that I’ve always focused on, and invested in, the mental side of my game and made sure I put the effort in to maintain what I’m doing.

Because I’ve known Brian for a while and specifically since I was young, he’s helped me to mature as a person and become very professional in what I do.  We also spent a lot of time in the past looking at goal setting so our work has helped me become very clear on how to achieve those goals.

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Brian, how do you fit into Seve’s coaching team?

BRIAN: I’m very rarely at tournaments, the European Tour is obviously a world-based tour now so there’s the cost implications of [travelling to events].  And also I think Seve is ‘low maintenance’ so I don’t think there’s a need for that a lot of the time.

Generally I’ll try and see him play a couple of times a year – clearly the UK ones this year, Wentworth and Woburn, are the easiest, and that’s more observationally.  As I say to him, I’m not looking to intervene at that point; it’s really an observational point to see how he operates because a large amount of his work is based on his reflections.  Also of course there’s a chance at that point to interact more with his team – he has a world-class coach in Pete Cowen, he works with Justin Buckthorp who works with Justin Rose and a number of other players in terms of his strength and conditioning, and I get a chance to meet with his caddie.

He works with Phil Kenyon on a week-to-week basis out on tour…so it gives me a great chance to catch up with their work and the putting work I am doing with him to make sure it’s in accordance with them.

So to get the views of other people who are closely involved with him in terms of their observations on maybe his improvement or areas where there could be more improvement is very useful.

So that’s how it works, but otherwise when Seve gets back after a series of tournaments we’ll either catch up face-to-face or by Skype, FaceTime or phone, whatever’s the most convenient to him.

Article-Header-Images_Brian-Hemmings-Seve-Benson_01

How do you make yourself an effective part of Seve’s team and manage his expectations of what you hope to do?

BRIAN: There are many sports psychologists that would emphasise the content of interventions and ‘this is what you do’, and often there’s a lot of ‘yes, this technique will enable you to do x, y, and z’.  I’ve always approached it from a slightly different way – I’ve always recognised that the relationship is of primary importance.  So, as somebody begins to trust you and you build rapport with them, the relationship is in a sense also how you help people change their views or beliefs, or how they approach a certain situation.

So I always put great emphasis on the importance of the relationship with any player.  As it is with Seve, that’s easier to say as I’ve known him a long time.

The second part of it is that I try to be open to his needs at whatever point he is at.  Sometimes players give you that themselves.

I would like to think that sometimes I challenge his way of thinking when I think it is unproductive to him, or I present a different story to him that could be equally valid based on his experiences.

Let’s say in terms of expectations, in terms of your progress through the game, you could write a story where you say ‘well Seve’s never won on tour’.  He’s won as a professional, but like many people he hasn’t won on tour yet. They’ll be other people who will say ‘well Seve should have won by now’.  Now of course if that creeps in to your thinking that can put you under enormous pressure.

Where as an equally valid story is to say ‘well actually year on year he’s improving and whether he wins or not is not entirely down to him’.  It’s down to how in any given week, the rest of the field also perform.

SEVE: It’s really important to have a good team of people around you.  I would say that the team would each need to be open-minded and have minimal egos – that way they can work effectively for the player.

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With thanks to Brian Hemmings, Seve Benson (@SeveBenson) and Northampton Golf Club (www.northamptongolfclub.co.uk).

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The Player – Psychologist Relationship: Working With Practitioners at the Highest Level
International Golf Pro News Reaches Three-Year Milestone http://www.pgae.com/news/international-golf-pro-news-reaches-three-year-milestone/ Mon, 19 Jun 2017 10:24:34 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=19027 IGPN has reached its 36th Issue as it continues its mission of providing useful, relevant & interesting content to PGAs of Europe Member Countries & PGA Pros...]]>

Digital magazine, International Golf Pro News (IGPN), has reached its 36th Issue as it continues its mission of providing useful, relevant and interesting content to PGAs of Europe Member Country PGAs and their individual PGA Professional Members.

The monthly publication is distributed amongst the Association’s 36 Member Country PGAs and their collective 21,000+ PGA Professionals becoming a hugely valuable resource that allows the PGAs of Europe to support the PGAs with their advancement of their own Members.

Issue 36 is a Coaching Special featuring interviews with Mike Walker and David Leadbetter, content from SNAG Golf, Golf Pride, the PGA of Switzerland, Peter Millar, BMW, the Ryder Cup European Development Trust, and news from the PGAs of Europe and its various events and activities.

IGPN originally took the form of a print publication for a number of years, however, with the continued development of digital communications and the work of publishers, All Square Media, the magazine went exclusively digital, ensuring it can be read widely and provides the best possible responsive and interactive reading experience no matter what device is being used.

Its success has largely come from the quality of content produced, both in-house, and using curated international expertise from a wide variety of expert contributors. Content is featured in a broad range of areas such as marketing, coaching, psychology, productivity, business management, career development, golf development, sustainability and much more.

The magazine also ties in to the Association’s ‘A.S.K.’ (standing for Attributes. Skills. Knowledge.) activity in which content is created and curated for a dedicated thought-centre on the PGAs of Europe website – www.pgae.com/ask – and is open for PGA Professionals to read whilst providing a valuable content resource for PGAs to use in their own communications.

If you would like to contribute to IGPN or A.S.K. then please contact Aston Ward at aw@pgae.com.

Sign-Up to Receive IGPN for FREE @ WWW.PGAE.COM/IGPN

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International Golf Pro News Reaches Three-Year Milestone
6 Ways to Find Out Whether a Job Candidate Will Fit Your Company’s Culture http://www.pgae.com/ask/6-ways-to-find-out-whether-a-job-candidate-will-fit-your-companys-culture/ Wed, 14 Jun 2017 12:23:18 +0000 Inc.com http://www.pgae.com/?p=13769 Found an applicant with the right skills? Time for a culture interview. You know that job applicant has the right skills to fill your open position...]]>

Minda Zetlin is a business technology writer and speaker, co-author of The Geek Gap, and former president of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. She lives in Snohomish, Washington. Like this post? Sign up here for a once-a-week email and you’ll never miss her columns.

@MindaZetlin


You know that job applicant has the right skills to fill your open position. But what about the right personality? Ignore cultural fit at your peril, for your new hire likely won’t last long.

I’ll always remember one of my co-workers at my first company. Although she did excellent work, she seemed to zig while the rest of us zagged. In a group of frumpy, often pudgy writers, she was an accomplished martial artist. Where many of us were just getting our feet wet in the business world, she had been around for a while and worked in some legendary places. Where we tended toward the silly-a plastic-encased slice of prosciutto once spent a week tacked to our department’s bulletin board-she was deadly serious. Not surprisingly, she soon moved on to a job at a prestigious non-profit that was working hard to change the world.

Hiring someone who doesn’t fit your company’s personality can be a very costly mistake. To avoid making that mistake, make sure to interview job candidates for cultural fit, as well as job qualifications. That advice comes from Tara Kelly, CEO of customer experience software provider SPLICE Software.

Kelly makes sure to include a culture interview in the hiring process, and she says it’s made a big difference. “It is important to understand employee values, motivators and interests,” she explains. “Understanding what keeps employees fulfilled is a key element to build a truly successful team. Whereas regular job interviews focus on verifying qualifications, culture fit interviews focus on ensuring potential candidates fit the corporate culture and core values of the organization.”

Given that every new hire is a big investment, it’s worth taking the time and effort to interview for cultural fit as well as skills and experience. Here’s how Kelly does it:

1. Define your company’s culture.

You may not need to do this, and Kelly doesn’t mention it, but if yours is a small or start-up companies, your culture may not be something you’ve given a lot of thought to. You should, though, because you definitely have one and a bad cultural hire will hurt you.

Your mission or vision statement is a good place to start-it won’t define your culture, but it should identify the values that drive you and your employees to show up and work hard every day. Beyond that, take a look around and consider how your company compares to others in your industry. Ask your employees or colleagues for input, until you can come up with a sentence or two that captures your company’s personality. Consider this example from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: “Our culture is friendly and intense, but if push comes to shove we’ll settle for intense.”

2. Write job ads with culture in mind.

“Culture fit should be integrated into every aspect of recruitment,” Kelly notes. That begins with your job ads, which should reflect both your company’s brand and its culture. If yours is an informal, family friendly workplace, with child care on site, and where pets are welcomed, say so. If yours is an elegant workplace with a prestigious history, say that.

3. Include culture questions in regular interviews.

From your first conversations with a candidate, interviewers should be thinking about cultural fit, Kelly says. “Once applications are assessed, pre-screening interviews should occur over the phone to see what first impressions candidates make and gauge personality for a possible fit.”

Candidates who pass this screening should be invited to an in-person interview with their potential department head. “The department head should also screen the applicant for culture by introducing a few less technical questions,” she adds.

4. Know which questions to ask, and which not to.

“Ask questions that speak to the core values and culture of the organization, without directly asking about each value,” Kelly advises. “For example, ask ‘what is something you have accomplished this summer that you are really proud of?'” This type of question helps SPLICE find candidates who like to learn new things or improve their skills. “At SPLICE, we really value a love of learning and improving things,” Kelly explains. “Our fundamental core value is, ‘We believe it can be better.’ So we like to see that not only in someone’s work life but their personal life too.”

It should go without saying that there’s a difference between culture and bias, and you should be clear about that difference, especially when it comes to questions that could land your company in legal trouble. To say that your culture is fun-loving and risk-taking is fine; to say that all employees should participate in extreme sports means your workplace discriminates against disabled or older workers.

In Amazon’s we’ll-settle-for-intense culture, an employee who’d just had a miscarriage was told by her supervisor that the company was likely the wrong place for a woman looking to start a family. Not surprisingly, many labor lawyers have been contacted by current or past employees seeking to sue the company for attitudes like these. Someday, one of these suits will get filed.

5. Train employees to conduct culture interviews.

“Once it is verified that a candidate has all the necessary qualifications and has passed all the preliminary culture fit screenings, a culture fit interview should be introduced as the last phase of the process,” Kelly says.

But you’re not the one to conduct the culture fit interview-the candidate’s potential co-workers are. That means they’ll need some training about what to ask and what to listen for. “It’s crucial to ensure the team is prepped on the purpose of a culture fit interview prior to participating,” Kelly says.

In general, she says, you should select four to six employees from around your company to talk informally with the job candidate about hobbies and interest and how these things tie in with your company’s personality. “Employees should be encouraged to ask questions that tie in to the organization’s value system.”

6. Gather feedback.

Employees who conduct a culture interview should fill out assessment afterwards that scores applicants on numerical scales of good-fit-to-bad-fit, and also ask for written comments. After you review those assessments, call the employees together for a quick debrief to make sure you understand their feedback and get a better sense of how the candidate might or might not fit with your company and its values. All of this input, together with the candidate’s performance on your skills assessment, will put you in the best position to make the right choice.


This article originally appeared on Inc.com – to view the original article visit http://eur.pe/1kkmevy.

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6 Ways to Find Out Whether a Job Candidate Will Fit Your Company’s Culture
What’s in your Coaching Toolbox? Increasing Your Knowledge, Client Base & Income http://www.pgae.com/ask/whats-in-your-coaching-toolbox/ Tue, 16 May 2017 23:33:31 +0000 Dr. Brian Hemmings http://www.pgae.com/?p=8454 Dr Brian Hemmings looks at 'Reflective Coaching' and ensuring your knowledge is appropriate for your clients' needs...]]>

‘If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.’

Abraham Maslow

When players start to look ahead to a new season they are often conscious of renewing efforts to develop their games and achieve their goals.  The difficulty is that players of all standards will often not be specific enough in any practice they do.

Maslow’s famous quote applied to golf implies that if players don’t develop different tools/shots in their game, their development is likely to stagnate as they are likely to always approach situations on the course in the same way. Of course this could also be applied to course management skills and decision-making on the course.

The same could equally be applied to golf coaches and teaching professionals (and psychologists). Broadening one’s knowledge and skill set enables us to consider more variables when trying to improve the performance or enjoyment of the golfers we work with. Therefore, it is important that any coach considers what specific coaching education they might need in order to progress their repertoire of skills, their coaching achievements, the players they work with, or to increase their income.

Therefore, take time to reflect what is in your coaching toolbox? Do you always reach the same conclusions with players and find yourself repeating the same instructions? Coaches in other sports are encouraged to engage in regular ‘reflective practice’ to self-assess their effectiveness. These questions might prompt where your ‘toolbox’ is limited.

Reflective Coaching Questions

  • What happened in that coaching session?
  • What were you thinking and feeling?
  • What was good and bad about the session?
  • What sense did you make of the player’s progress?
  • What else could you have done?
  • If the same situation arose again what would you do?

To return to developing a player’s toolbox, a suggestion might be trying a ‘shot of the month’ short-term goal-setting task to focus their coaching, efforts and practise over the coming months.

This simply requires you discuss with players the goals they have for the coming year, and what limitations they may have that could be improved on each month.  This is not to say all other coaching work stops, but it is usually helpful to target one particular shot in a realistic timeframe. Identify the most important shots or skills, measure their current success in some way, and then agree the thrust of coaching, technical instruction and practice that month to improve that particular shot.

A simple re-test or re-measurement at the end of the month should hopefully show better execution/results and therefore more confidence going into the season.

JanuaryChip from the Fringe(e.g. currently 50% finish within 4 feet) FebruaryGreenside Bunker Play
MarchMid-Range Putting April30-40 Yard Pitch Shot
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What’s in your Coaching Toolbox? Increasing Your Knowledge, Client Base & Income
Every Shot Counts: Using the Revolutionary Strokes-Gained Statistics to Improve Golf Performance & Strategy http://www.pgae.com/ask/every-shot-counts-using-the-revolutionary-strokes-gained-statistics-to-improve-golf-performance-strategy/ Tue, 02 May 2017 11:21:17 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=18776 Dr Mark Broadie's innovative Strokes-Gained metric has led to a fundamental change in our understanding of how important the different areas of golf are...]]>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strokes Gained – Putting Example from the PGATour.com:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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Every Shot Counts: Using the Revolutionary Strokes-Gained Statistics to Improve Golf Performance & Strategy
5 Quick-Fire Ways to Master Your Marketing http://www.pgae.com/ask/5-quick-fire-ways-to-master-your-marketing/ Mon, 01 May 2017 15:41:54 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=10478 The world of marketing, advertising and commercial messaging is something we come in to contact with all the time...]]>

The world of marketing, advertising and commercial messaging is something we come in to contact with all the time.  Everywhere we turn we are faced with stimuli that are designed to promote certain behaviour in us, which in most cases is to go and buy, or interact with, a service or product.

For PGA Professionals involved in any area of the game, knowledge of marketing and some of the key concepts that come with it can be very useful to themselves as individuals but also as marketers, sales people, and value-adders for a business.

Here IGPN looks at just some of the main things in marketing that could help you be better prepared to market yourself and the business you are a key part of, whilst also giving you more knowledge of the marketing that takes place around you.

Article Header Images_Marketing - Strategy

1. STRATEGY

You can’t move in any direction without a plan of where you want to go and how you’re going to get there.  Too many people are too concerned with just ‘doing some marketing’ and don’t look at things with enough depth and focus.  Marketing is an incredibly broad term and you need to ensure what you are doing is relevant, achievable, and has an end goal.

The first step is to think about what you want to achieve out of any marketing activity.  Why are you doing it, and what would be the ideal things to achieve?  Make them as realistic, relevant and specific as you can.

There are so many platforms, media, methods and ‘hot topics’ within marketing that you need to ensure that what you are planning to do is worthwhile and has the potential to make a difference.  Don’t take on something just because a lot of other people are doing it – if it’s not right then you could be wasting valuable resources that might work a lot better elsewhere.

Research is key here – what platforms/media fit your goals, your target audience, their usage/behaviour best?  What pushes them to take action and change their behaviour to what you want?  There are plenty of ways to do this through market research and statistics, but the easiest way is to just ask for yourself – if your market is accessible then get out there and ask the questions needed to work out what makes them tick.

A good way to think of engaging in marketing activity is to compare it to giving a lesson – a good coach will assess a player’s strengths and weaknesses, look at their goals and targets, and then work out a route to get them to that position, taking into account all of the internal and external factors that could come into play.

Article Header Images_Marketing_Websites

2. WEBSITES

Your website is truly your online hub – they can be so versatile and useful in a digital and connected world that optimising them should be a number 1 priority.

What do you want your website to do and say?  Working these things out enables you to direct your attention to the things that are most important for the end-user.  If you are a coach and you have a website to promote your services, then are what clubs someone uses the most important thing, or should things like your skills, experience, knowledge, and then booking/contact information be up the front?

If you use other platforms, for example, Social Media sites, or perhaps there are certain sponsors or facilities you are linked to, then you should be signposting these appropriately.

Once you know what your audience is after you can begin to tailor the site and its content to them.  Stats software such as Google Analytics can provide incredibly useful and actionable information that can help you look at who is viewing the site and where from.

Enterprising Professional coaches are even getting custom-designed websites built that allow their clients to login to an area that is just for them where they can see their lesson videos and key tips that are specific to them – the ultimate in specificity.

A website can also act as a great platform to host your content – you could write your blog in one section and then keep your photos in another gallery section, all whilst allowing you to share that information and have a living, breathing calling card for yourself or company.  Static websites no longer cut the mustard – the more you can keep the site fresh and new the more reasons people have to keep on returning.

Article Header Images_Marketing_01

3. SOCIAL MEDIA

Any platform on which a community or network of some kind is hosted can be considered Social Media.  There are a lot of platforms out there so it is important you know which ones [if any] are going to be useful for you and your audience.  There’s no point having an account on everything if no-one interacts with you there, plus it can be hard enough sometimes to stay on top of a few platforms, let alone lots of different ones!

Again you can use research to work out where your audience are and what platforms they use, and then you can begin to create and share content on there.  Share what you post on a blog or website and then look for like-minded brands/people/etc. and share what they come up with.  You can even look to share what your community/followers say and share – engaging in two-way conversation provides real value to someone using a platform.  It gives a brand or business an identity and personality that a person can build an affinity with.

As a brand your place on these platforms is often going to be met with caution.  Generally speaking, people are wary of mixing their communities with brands and marketing messages, however, it is something that is done.  Twitter for example is known for its users following their friends and their favourite brands, but the difference here is that brands have to work hard to gain the trust and interest of a user.  They are often speaking to consumers on the same level, using the same reference points and interests to communicate with them rather than blasting out automated marketing messages.

Article Header Images_Marketing_Content

4. CONTENT

This is pretty much anything that you output that is consumable by an end user.  Nowadays this is mainly content that is produced online and shared in some way be it a blog post, and article, news item, video interview, or gallery of images (but it can also be more ‘traditional’ things like leaflets, newspaper articles, guides, etc.).

The creation and curation of content can be a very simple and very easy way of marketing something.  Creating your own content involves composing your own information, perhaps researching a subject, providing an opinion piece on something, or generating something brand new.  Curating is gathering content that already exists and then sharing it amongst others that could also find it interesting.

For example, you might want to generate some content for your website that details your opinion on a well-known player’s swing technique.  You could create a short blog post that explains your thoughts, which is then shared across your Social Media platforms.

But you might also want to show what research/articles you have read to inform your decision so you could bring together a series of links that would be useful for those wishing to find out more from elsewhere [like we have done with this article].  It shows your own content is well informed, it shows you want to help the reader even more, and it also alerts others to the fact that you are sharing their information (and they may even do the same thing for you!).

The key thing is to ensure you create and curate content that is relevant to those that are consuming it.

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5. EMAIL

Marketing emails are something that is so commonplace in our digital lives that they are often overlooked as being achievable on a small scale, but that’s not really true especially considering how many different platforms there are [some of which are free!], and how easy they are to use with a variety of templates that can be matched to your tastes.

Successful email marketing comes from having a decent email database (remember it’s quality not quantity) and knowing what sort of information they want to receive.

The database is the easy bit – most Pros will have, or at least have access to, a database of their clients with email addresses and then some information about them.  Facilities with advanced systems may even have a database that includes much more about individuals, such as date of birth, brand preferences, sales records and more.  All of this information can be used to ‘tag’ and categorise contacts so you can create not just one overall database, but multiple sub-databases within it.  You can then leverage this information to your advantage.

For example, you might have a sale on in your facility’s shop – you could send one email showcasing male-orientated products to the males in the database, and female-orientated products to the females.  Or you could even go by brand preference and send everyone who likes ‘Brand X’ one email with the latest Brand X offers and those who prefer ‘Brand Y’ with the latest Brand Y offers.

This is something that seems time-consuming but really doesn’t have to be – again with the ease with which you can create emails in these modern systems you can create one email, copy it, and then just update the wording and imagery for another target audience.

Once you have the database down then the next step is to ensure what you put out there is useful for them – if they don’t like a certain brand (or at least haven’t said they have an affinity to it) then it’s probably not worth sending them offers when something else might work a lot better.

Or perhaps you want to send them a newsletter with a digest of information – tap into their interests and what they like to read about – and if you don’t know, then send the database an email asking for their preferences so what they receive is relevant to them!

Again the thing to get right here is relevancy – if something is not relevant, interesting or of use to the end user they will not give it any time.  Your email will either be deleted or added to the junk mail folder, and that’s assuming they don’t just go and unsubscribe in general.

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5 Quick-Fire Ways to Master Your Marketing
Mobile Technology and Future of Travel http://www.pgae.com/ask/mobile-technology-and-future-of-travel/ Sun, 16 Apr 2017 04:21:44 +0000 Inc.com http://www.pgae.com/?p=12860 For many hotel and attraction owners, capitalizing on summer activities is essential for remaining in the black for the rest of the year.]]>

Peter Roesler is the president of Web Marketing Pros and has an extensive background in marketing online, such as social media, paid search, content marketing, and SEO. Full bio.

@webmarketing007


Research suggests mobiles and millennials are changing the way we travel

For many hotel and attraction owners, capitalizing on summer activities is essential for remaining in the black for the rest of the year. The internet and mobile technology have dramatically changed the way people search for and make travel arrangements. This article will discuss recent research that gives business owners clues to reaching traveling customers in the digital age.

According to research from Hotels.com, millennials comprise 32 percent of US travelers, and are the fastest-growing age segment in travel. This techno-savvy group is changing the way hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues. For example, about one in four (25%) millennials who book hotels does so via a mobile device. The data cited also suggests that mobile marketing can be effective at getting last minute travellers. The study found that 70 percent of hotel bookings by millennials via a mobile device are made for same or next-day check-in.

Millennials are a good target audience because they spend more money when the travel. According to data cited by the MMGY Global, nearly 60 percent of millennials would rather spend money on experiences than on material goods. When put into numbers, the average millennial traveller intends to spend about $5,300 while travelling, whereas Gen Xers, say they’ll spend about $5,000.

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A 2014 comScore study reported that 40 percent of the US travel audience only accessed digital travel content via mobile. An eMarketer report estimates that in 2015, total mobile travel research will rise nearly 20 percent to hit 72.8 million, or 54.6 percent of those who research travel digitally. That percentage is estimated to reach about 71 percent by 2018.

Hotels should strive to make their mobile and app experience as easy to use and functional as their desktop sites. Recently, eDigital Research ranked the apps and mobile sites of the most popular traveling sites. According to their research, Holiday Inn’s recently revamped app is a good example of what consumers want. The app got a top score of 81.6 percent on the rankings, which means the app will help in generating multichannel sales. Other notable sites for good multi-channel sales were Bookings.com and Hotels.com.

“As mobile continues to grow in popularity, there will soon come a time when the mobile customer experience will overtake traditional desktop sites,” said Steve Brockway, the Director of Research at eDigital Research. “However, when that day does come (and it could come as soon as this year) digital customer experiences across varying brands will differ only very slightly – we’re already seeing minimal differences between top performing brands. Instead, to make experiences really stand out from the competition, brands need to be investing in their service and customer support. With more consumers heading online to book and browse, on and offline support will become the foundation for a fantastic customer experience”.

A final thing to keep in mind is that social media is extremely important to travellers and business owners can use that to their advantage. One way to do this is by handling customer service issues on social media platforms. People share their experiences from travel with their friends and family via social media. If a business notices that a guest has mentioned them in a negative post, they should proactively try to solve the problem, even if the guest didn’t tell the business directly. For more advice on using social media to address customer service issues, read this article on the subject.

Now is the time for businesses to improve their mobile sites and apps so they put their best foot forward. The days of travel agents and people driving to random hotels to find a vacancy are coming to a close. Using technology to help travelers will help businesses increase their revenue during the vacation season.

To learn more on how mobile marketing and the internet are changing travel, read this article with more stats on hotel marketing.

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Mobile Technology and Future of Travel
How to Make your Company Sustainable, In 2 Simple Steps http://www.pgae.com/ask/how-to-make-your-company-sustainable-in-2-simple-steps/ Tue, 11 Apr 2017 16:53:48 +0000 Inc.com http://www.pgae.com/?p=12106 Sustainability is a journey. On the road, you'll need to consistently deploy two important actions: measuring and engaging...]]>

Maureen Kline writes about corporate sustainability and social responsibility. She is in charge of public affairs and sustainability for Pirelli Tire North America. She lived in Italy for 23 years and is a former correspondent for The Wall Street Journal Europe, BusinessWeek, and BreakingViews. She can be reached at maureenkline@gmail.com.

@kline_maureen


Sustainability is based on continuous measurement and constant engagement

Sustainability is a journey. On the road, you’ll need to consistently deploy two important actions: measuring and engaging.

You’ll need to measure, because sustainability is a continuous SWOT analysis; you need to be aware of your company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats so that you know where you’re coming from and where you’re going. Sustainability is about measuring where you are today, setting goals about how sustainable your company will be in the future, working backward to define how to get there, and then measuring progress along the way. The more specific and quantitative you are, the greater your chances of effectiveness.

Normally, goals will fall into three categories: environmental, social and governance. Environmental goals can include CO2 emissions reductions, energy efficiency targets, environmentally friendly product development, use of biodegradable packaging, involvement in a biodiversity project, reduced water usage, recycling, and many more. Social goals can range from goals regarding the welfare of your employees to community projects to helping alleviate hunger in developing countries. And governance goals might include setting up an ethics committee for your company, or having a diverse board of directors.

Once you know where you are and what you want to achieve in the future, you need to follow an action plan, and your success will depend on your ability to engage with stakeholders inside and outside the company. Engagement with them will be the key to acceptance and implementation of your sustainability plans, as well as outside recognition of your company as a sustainable one. Some of the stakeholders you may want to interact with are employees, customers, suppliers, investors, the local community, local government, environmental or human rights groups, and competitors.

Competitors? Indeed. There are now many stories of industry collaboration in order to effect change, particularly in raw materials purchasing and in recycling of end-of-life products. The cocoa industry has banded together to insist on certifiable sustainable practices among cocoa farmers, and the electronics industry is working on getting the minerals they need from mines certified as respectful of human rights (and not controlled by violent warlords).

Suppliers can be engaged through insisting on sustainable practices in purchasing agreements, and through training and audits. Customers can be engaged in all kinds of creative ways that marketing departments like to dream up. The local community can be engaged through charity donations and volunteering projects and partnerships.

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Employees are the most important piece of the puzzle. Without employee involvement in sustainability, big plans may go nowhere and promises remain shallow. Employees need to be engaged in a way that convinces them to understand and believe in what the company is trying to achieve, and participate. It is not just about getting employees to volunteer to plant trees or serve meals at the community soup kitchen. Employees need to understand the broad strategy, the company’s goals, and the specific action plan. They need to be asked for ideas and listened to. They need to see sustainability on the ground (recycling bins, a strategy on coffee cups, health and safety compliance) in order to believe you really mean it. They need to get excited about sustainable packaging and sustainable product development, and feel they are part of a team. Probably the easiest way to make all this happen is to involve people cross-functionally in committees.

Now that you have engaged everyone, don’t forget to keep measuring your progress and results, and communicating these back to your stakeholders. Once they see the improvement, they will be more interested in getting on board. If the improvement really looks good, it will enhance your company’s reputation in a meaningful way. This will attract customers, and make your employees proud and productive. And the journey continues.

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How to Make your Company Sustainable, In 2 Simple Steps
Are You Selling or Serving? http://www.pgae.com/ask/are-you-selling-or-serving/ Tue, 04 Apr 2017 15:11:07 +0000 Inc.com http://www.pgae.com/?p=11410 Sales strategies come and go, but serving the customer should always be your top priority...]]>

Barry Farber is the president of Farber Training Systems Inc. and The Diamond Group. He’s the co-inventor and marketer of the FoldzFlat® Pen.

@BarryFarber1


Sales strategies come and go, but serving the customer should always be your top priority.

If you’re like most business owners, you probably re-evaluate your sales strategy on a regular basis. There are many factors to consider when switching up your sales approach, including your customers’ changing needs and your latest product offerings. But one thing should never change: You should always focus on serving first and selling second. Here are a few tips that will help you do just that:

1. Stay True to Yourself

Focus on what makes you unique and differentiates you from the competition. When you’re clear about your core values and the strengths you bring to the table, you’ll have an easier time figuring out how you can address the needs of your prospective clients.

2. Ask the Right Questions

We all have a tendency to talk about our offerings during sales meetings. But don’t let your enthusiasm get in the way of learning about your prospects’ needs. Ask open-ended questions (what, when, where, why, and how) that encourage them to elaborate on the issues they are facing and how you can support them.

One question that has worked well for me over the years is, “What are the top three criteria you consider when investing in a new vendor?” Most prospects end up talking about a lot more than price, including flexibility, response time, and other criteria.

Follow-up questions are also key. For instance, if a prospect says that one criteria is “great customer service,” ask them to define great customer service and give you an example. You can then position your company appropriately.

3. Arm Yourself with Information

Of course, you should research any sales prospect before meeting with them. In addition to the obvious sources of information–the company website, news stories, and industry information – I also scour my contacts for people who might be connected to the business. Then, I reach out to them for insights. You might be afraid to ask your contacts for help, but I’m always amazed by what people are willing to do when I ask them for their expert advice.

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4. Go Above and Beyond

What are you doing in the sales process to stand out? I know a salesperson who recently spent weekends and late nights working one-on-one with a prospective client–a sports stadium–during trials of the product he was pitching. He worked with the stadium’s employees to make sure they were comfortable with the equipment and even helped them clean up after a big event. The facilities manager noticed the extra effort, which built a huge amount of trust. That’s one reason why the salesperson eventually landed the account. At the end of the day, how much you serve determines how much you sell.

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Are You Selling or Serving?
18 Ways to Boost Your Pro Shop http://www.pgae.com/news/18-ways-to-boost-your-pro-shop/ Mon, 19 Dec 2016 10:09:03 +0000 Cutting Edge Golf http://www.pgae.com/?p=8525 A round of tips & thoughts from Cutting Edge Golf to boost a Pro Shop and retail facility and make it as profitable as possible...]]>

A round of tips & thoughts for boosting a pro shop from Cutting Edge Golf.  If one of these inspires a good idea on your side of the counter then feel free to share some of your own positive ideas with Cutting Edge Golf at info@cuttingedgegolf.com.


1. Strut Your Stuff

A number of club professionals have staged successful fashion shows for members at the club. These don’t have to be huge in size and can be linked with a charity evening. Most good apparel brands will help the retailer with this event. You don’t have to be as slick as the Milan catwalk and you will find that members will respond positively. Engaging with them on this social occasion will help cement your retailer/customer relationship.

2. Individually Target

Target more of your customers individually. Consider what makes them tick and what they are missing from their golf wardrobe. If you ‘home-in’ on 5 club members a week you will have tempted 60 (and possible spouses) in 3 months.

3. Invitation-Only Events

How about special retail invitation evenings after shop hours? Provide some wine and ask a select number of members and spouses in for exclusive apparel presentations on new season lines. This will make them feel special, encourages them to buy before other members, builds long term loyalty as well as getting your season off to a great sales start.

4. Offer Something Special

Follow the supermarket trick of the loss-leader. Place a fashion item customers can’t miss at a great price, and when taking their money ask them about their golf wardrobe. Link smaller accessories and P-o-S items with bigger purchases through special offers.

5. Get Social

Put aside any reservations about social media and use it. Twitter/Facebook etc is imperfect – but you can reach people through it from the local community. Highlight daily deals and create more of a buzz.

6. Research!

Research among your customers to find out what products they are talking about. Is there a buzz brand? Can you be the first to stock the new brand? Too many golf retailers follow the expected; think niche and does that work for your members?

7. Quiz Your Customers

How many of your members know what the top 20 players in the world actually wear? Hold a quiz with a prize of a new season shirt. Ask them to answer what brands the top 10 players wear versus the brand of clubs they play and see who wins.

8. Competitions

Organise a sweep for Tour events, and have a clothing item/accessory as part of the prize. Make a big deal about who has won the ‘red shirt’ etc this month.

9. Daily Deals

Create momentum in turnover with an ‘offer of the day’; create more regular sales with this method. One deal a day for a week, for the first member who comes in, as a loss leader; advertise it via email to your members and see how successful it is.

10. Involve Your Assistants

Ask your young assistants to find out more about what younger golfers are looking for. Set them to work, get them thinking and helping! They know plenty about the best gel product for their hair, how good is the rest of their fashion knowledge?

11. Look for Expertise

Is there an expert on women’s apparel on hand for you. If not, would any members or their friends be interested in helping? But be careful, wait until you find exactly the right person.

12. Take a Strategic Approach

Make a list of the types of customer you are missing. Devise a strategy for attracting these people.

13. Golf Gifts

How can you lure the outside community into your shop? Golf gifts can save the bacon of a busy person; does the town feel your door is open to them? Get more people in apart from the usual suspects.

14. Secret Shopper

Visit the best golf shop in your region and study their moves. Take it to another level and go to a department store or local high street fashion shop and learn from the true retail specialists. You may be amazed at the ideas that will come to you.

15. Incentivise the Staff

Tell your assistants you all must do more to sell apparel. Set yourselves a tough weekly team target. The first time you hit it buy the team a meal and a few beers. Strengthen the confidence of the team.

16. Commission

Do you offer commission to your sales assistants to encourage them to become business orientated rather than just being friends with the members who they play golf with?

17. Talk to the Customer

Talk to every member about golf products. You will learn from them, they will learn from you, and they will also be far less likely to buy from the internet. There is still lots of loyalty out there, but you have to accept that you can never be everything to everyone.

18. Educate the Staff

Set your team the task of learning more about the brands you sell and the individual products. Task each team member to inform the rest of you of the benefits to the golfers of these products, thus creating a pride in sales knowledge among your staff. Building a professional sales team can help you turn the corner in your shop in 2015.


Pro Shop Points of View

“By offering a really strong, very friendly personal service to all our customers it really does make all the difference. Their first port of call for apparel items and shoes won’t be the internet. They will always give us the opportunity to sell to them, they will always look and ask questions and we do our best to supply them with an interesting choice.”

Maurice Campbell, Head Professional, Leighton Buzzard Golf Club, UK

—————

“It’s a tough world out there so you have to do things a little differently. I now have a lot of non-golfing customers and I promote the shop on social media to draw them in – in fact I’ve had lads messaging the shop on Facebook on a Saturday afternoon looking for something to wear that night; within an hour they’ve been in the shop and picked up a new shirt.”

Simon Fletcher, Head Professional, Morecambe Golf Club, UK

—————

“Golf retailing is difficult, no question, and that is why any pro has to differentiate themselves from the rest. If you have hundreds of Indian restaurants together, how do some of these manage to rise to the top, flourish and generate real customer loyalty?

“We have to make sure we provide a really friendly experience for our customers. We say that an independent pro can often compete with the online retailers in terms of price, but they can never compete with us in terms of personal service.”

Daniel Webster, Head Professional, St Annes Old Links, UK

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18 Ways to Boost Your Pro Shop
6 Ways to Develop a More Positive Work Culture http://www.pgae.com/ask/6-ways-to-develop-a-more-positive-work-culture-in-2015/ Mon, 19 Dec 2016 09:36:57 +0000 Inc.com http://www.pgae.com/?p=10861 Cultivating a happy and healthy work environment is vital to the success of any business--and even more important is developing a sense of community.]]>

Jeremy Goldman is the founder and CEO of Firebrand Group, which counts Consumer Reports, L’Oréal, and Unilever among its clientele. He is the author of Going Social: Excite Customers, Generate Buzz, and Energize Your Brand With the Power of Social Media, the 2013 award winner that teaches brands large and small how to use social media for business success.

Goldman has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Mashable, The Next Web, SmartMoney, Workforce.com, ReadWriteWeb, The Star-Ledger, ClickZ, and InformationWeek. Business Insider calls him one of the 25 Most Influential Ad Execs on Twitter.

@jeremarketer


A lifelong entrepreneur shares his secrets to building a more productive work environment.

Cultivating a happy and healthy work environment is vital to the success of any business–and even more important is developing a sense of community. With the dawn of a new year, it’s a terrific opportunity to look at your corporate culture and see where you might be able to improve it.

Here are six ways to develop and maintain a more positive corporate culture in 2015.

1. Establish Trust

A sense of trust is vital to all personal and professional relationships. The best way to build trust is through active listening and open communication. If you are willing to let your guard down and demonstrate that you can truly listen, chances are that others will reciprocate.

“When it comes to establishing positive relationships with your coworkers, the most important thing is to get to know them first as individuals,” says Dorie Clark, author of Reinventing You. “No one likes to be treated ‘instrumentally’–as someone whose only value is in what they can do for you. Instead, ask and learn about their hobbies, families, and backgrounds.” Take the New Year as an opportunity to create deeper, more productive relationships with your work team.

2. Foster Mutual Respect

It’s important that you respect your colleagues’ input and ideas and that they respect yours. When you lose respect for your marketing director, you’ll be less likely to go to her for help, even when it’s an area in which she excels. Furthermore, she’ll be less likely to come to you when she would benefit from your expertise. As a result, less collaboration occurs, and departments become siloed.

When employees feel like you’re respectful and supportive, and that their efforts won’t be undermined by others’ jealousy or fragile egos, their interactions tend to be positive and to create a virtuous, more productive cycle.

3. Take Responsibility for Your Actions

In a work dispute, do you often feel that you’re 100 percent correct, and that the other party is 100 percent wrong? If so, it might be time to take a closer look at how you operate professionally. After all, it’s pretty difficult for one party to be entirely at fault. Even if you’re only mildly at fault and think the other person should shoulder most of the responsibility, admitting that you’re imperfect and could be partially to blame can help the other individual(s) be less defensive.

Rather than pointing a finger at a co-worker, in 2015, acknowledge your part and then communicate your message in a clear, nonjudgmental way.

4. Show Appreciation

What do your boss, colleagues, and office janitor have in common? All of them want to feel appreciated. So, when someone does something well, offer a genuine compliment to show your gratitude. This not only leads to stronger relationships, but also encourages everyone to continue working productively. People are wired to respond to incentives. While financial rewards are a well-known incentive, appreciation is a rather underrated one.

5. Stomp Out Bullying

Speaking personally: I left one job because of an awful bully. Since then, I’ve had pretty consistent success in my career, which has included working for my former employer’s direct competitors. Meanwhile, my former employer went through multiple hires trying to replace me. Add up all those hiring and training costs, and you can quickly see how bullying costs companies real money. It leads to high turnover, decreased innovation–with the bully focused on bullying and the one being bullied afraid to be vocal in the organization–and a harder time hiring highly-qualified professionals, as word gets out about your firm’s toxic culture.

In 2015, make it a point to not only avoid bullying at all costs, but call out bullying by others as unacceptable.

6. Maintain a Positive Attitude

Nobody wants to be around a Debbie Downer. Regardless of what’s going on in your personal life, it’s important to at least to try to leave it behind when you step into the office. You don’t want people to misinterpret any bad vibes you bring in from the outside, or have your co-workers think your scowl is directed at them. If you walk into the office with a happy greeting in the morning, that upbeat energy will naturally spread to those around you and create a more enjoyable work atmosphere. Try to high five someone today for a job well done; it’s contagious.

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6 Ways to Develop a More Positive Work Culture
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

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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

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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.

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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
Why is Custom Fitting Good for the Golfer and Good for You? http://www.pgae.com/ask/why-is-custom-fitting-good-for-the-golfer-and-good-for-you/ Wed, 07 Dec 2016 14:50:06 +0000 PING http://www.pgae.com/?p=11386 PING’s longstanding reputation as the custom fitting leader has been earned through decades of research and field experience, utilising a methodology that has b]]>

PING’s longstanding reputation as the custom fitting leader has been earned through decades of research and field experience, utilising a methodology that has been adopted by thousands of PGA Professionals around the world.

You may ask ‘Why should I fit?’ but the better question is ‘Why shouldn’t I fit?’

While some may think that fitting is the latest marketing hype, in reality it’s not a fad and has stood the test of time.  It’s based on upon simple fundamentals that the consumer understands make a difference, and with golf being a game of little things, fitting addresses those little things.

With consumer knowledge on the benefits of being fitted constantly improving, more and more are planning to be fitted for their next purchase.  Offering a fitting service is becoming an essential part of maximising club sales, with the vast majority of golfers now wanting their clubs to be custom fit for them.

The benefits of being fitted have become increasingly more apparent in recent years with consumers benefitting from increased confidence, which in turn enables them to “Play Their Best”.

It has become commonplace for lessons to lead to fittings as consumers discover they are using equipment that is detrimental to their playing ability, while fittings also lead to lessons as consumers refine their technique in adjusting to properly fitted clubs.

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Being fitted correctly can result in improvements in consistency, distance, accuracy, ball flight, distance control and overall confidence, as properly fitted clubs promote a more efficient swing.  Achieving the above leads to a more enjoyable experience on the golf course and enhances a consumer’s love for the game.

Custom fitting has also become a proven way of establishing one-on-one personal relationships with consumers, leading to a development of trust and loyalty, which results in repeat purchases.

Providing a high level of custom fitting enables consumer expectations to be exceeded and also allows the right level of inventory to be held and stock turned appropriately.  There are many fitting myths that exist and present barriers to those thinking about offering it as a service to their consumers.  In reality however, fitting doesn’t take long and it isn’t expensive.

While custom fitting is obviously valuable for the consumer, the benefits of offering custom fitting as a service are often overlooked.  Gaining an advantage over the competition that doesn’t offer it as a service helps to build consumer relationships, respect, trust and loyalty.

Investing in the ability to provide a high level of fitting is an effective and profitable business venture, providing the ability to tap into a niche market as custom fitting can only be conducted by a trained fitter with the correct tools.

Custom fitting is proven to work effectively with every level of golfer, ranging from touring professionals to complete beginners.  It also provides the opportunity to provide a personable service, ideal for strengthening relationships with customers and increasing the chances of repeat business from not only the customer, but the customer’s friends through word of mouth.

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PING is renowned for providing the most comprehensive fitting strategy in the industry, as well as the fastest delivery service, which results in a quick turnaround to ensure customer satisfaction, meet demand and optimise cash flow.

By not offering custom fitting as a service, a major element of competitive advantage is lost, resulting in a potential loss of business due to customer requirements not being fulfilled.

Market trends indicate that more and more consumers are planning to be custom fitted for their next club purchase as the large majority of consumers want to be fitted due to the potential performance benefits to be gained.

Statistics have shown that fitting is not a flash in the pan fad and that it’s a concept that’s here to stay.  With peers regarded as the primary influencer on buyer behaviour, offering a good fitting service will cause word to spread and maximise business.

For more information on PING’s custom fitting services visit www.PING.com/fitting.

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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Why is Custom Fitting Good for the Golfer and Good for You?
PR & Marketing – Showing Your Innovative Side http://www.pgae.com/news/igpn-news/pr-marketing-showing-your-innovative-side/ Sat, 03 Dec 2016 14:31:14 +0000 Aston Ward http://www.pgae.com/?p=10674 My job title is Communications manager. But it is very fair to say I am a marketer. I deal with marketing and Public Relations (PR) everyday in various differ]]>

My job title is Communications manager.  But it is very fair to say I am a marketer.  I deal with marketing and Public Relations (PR) everyday in various different ways.

Whether it is promoting a tournament, curating content from contributors, adding posts to our social media presences, or creating content around our education and golf development work, it is undoubtedly marketing.

We see, hear and touch (and often taste smell) marketing all the time, and the world of golf is no exception to this.  Ever walked into a pro shop and been hit with offers on the latest gear?  Ever been playing and at the halfway house you wonder why there is a fan directing the smell of bacon out across the ninth green?  How about winning a prize in a tournament that’s been donated by an equipment manufacturer?

What I really like about marketing (to talk about it in very general terms) is that it can really be simple, clean and effective.

PR stunts and activities are often some of the simplest (and most fun) ways of generating interest in something and getting people talking – and that’s what PR is really all about.  Here are some examples:

The ALS ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’

Simple concept – you film yourself being doused in ice cold water, you donate to the cause, and you nominate three others to do the same and so on.   [You can view our Chief Executive, Ian’s challenge below:]

Here the marketing focus was on generating funds and encouraging people to share that message through social media.  The ALS Association went from a previous year of $1.7 million in donations to $13.3 million.

Tiger Woods Hits a Ball From Europe to Asia

To promote the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final in 2013, Tiger took to Istanbul’s Bosphorus Bridge and after closing one side from traffic he launched a ball across the bridge.

It might have caused chaos at rush hour in Istanbul but the stunt went all over the world generating a huge amount of PR for the event and for Turkish Airlines who are renowned for working with the biggest stars.

Bubba Watson and Oakley Make a Hovercraft…

Bubba has form in this area – barely a week goes by where his sponsors have made use of his personality and liveliness to promote products and services.  Two years ago Bubba teamed up with Oakley to create Bubba’s very own fully operational hovercraft golf cart.

In the video he wears Oakley product but, as with many things like this, it’s not about the product.  It’s about creating something that is fun, shareable and gets people talking.

It was released ahead of the 2013 Masters where Bubba would hope to defend his 2012 title and to date has had almost 9 million views.

Creating your own hovercraft might be a step too far but it is always worth looking out for examples and see how you could apply the principles to your business, club or brand.

You might not reach millions but it can be a cost effective way of showing a fun and innovative side to a business and activating PR (stunts or otherwise) could well generate excellent quality interest in what you do.

Seen any good examples of golf PR?  Feel free to send then to aw@pgae.com.


My Reading List

  • ‘How Topgolf Flipped The Traditional Driving Range Model And Created A New Category Of Entertainment’ [Forbes.com] – http://eur.pe/1wUdQI6
  • Donald Trump: I’m Huge!’ [GolfDigest.com] – http://eur.pe/1MlTxoy
  • ‘Public Relations Tips and Tricks for Your Business’ [Inc.com] – http://eur.pe/184KH13
  • ‘My top tip for a great speech – Richard Branson’ [Virgin.com] – http://eur.pe/1x8Y2f7
  • ‘The psychology of Web design: How colours, typefaces and spacing affect your mood’ [TheNextWeb.com] – http://eur.pe/1ELQs06
  • ‘7 Goal-Setting Tips and Strategies for Social Media Marketers’ [Blog.Bufferapp.com] – http://eur.pe/1GyBrkH

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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PR & Marketing – Showing Your Innovative Side
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)
GREAT LEARNING HABITS – ‘Teachers open doors, but you must enter by yourself’ http://www.pgae.com/ask/great-learning-habits/ Thu, 03 Nov 2016 09:09:40 +0000 Dr. Brian Hemmings http://www.pgae.com/?p=8446 "Teachers open doors, but you must enter by yourself" - Some believe this ancient proverb originates from Confucius (551–479 BC)]]>

‘Teachers open doors, but you must enter by yourself’

(Chinese Proverb)

Some believe this ancient proverb originates from Confucius (551–479 BC) who was a teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher.

I have always thought this saying very much applies to PGA Professionals and their players/pupils in that teaching professionals can equip players’ to succeed, however it is the player who will have to take the initiative to apply what they are taught to be successful.

Teachers can only help players identify and develop the skills they need; the professional cannot practise for the player or hit the shots.  Yet I have met so many golfers who feel all they have to do is turn up for lessons and they will improve.

This means that golf professionals provide the coaching environment and instruction for players to learn and progress and can open up a world of knowledge and skills.  But teaching professionals can’t make players learn.  They offer the opportunities, but it is the player’s responsibility to accept the opportunities, and afterwards put in the effort and practice to improve.  In fact I meet too many teaching professionals who take too much responsibility for their pupils’ learning.  So how can coaches impress on players what is needed for learning to take place?

Good to Great

In his best-selling book ‘Good to Great’ Jim Collins cites various reasons why certain companies and individuals make the step from just being good to achieving greatness.  In essence, many of the factors demonstrated that individuals took responsibility for their own development.

Last year in England men’s national coaching, the coaching staff asked the players to do the same – to take responsibility for their own learning and performance.  In other words, the coaching staff would open the doors to learning, but the players needed to decide if they were really going to take control of their attitude to learning.  We challenged the players to individually think through what they needed to do to go from ‘good to great’ in the coaching environment.

The ten factors below were what the players (who went on to become European Men’s Team Champions the same year) cited as being critical to take more responsibility for in their development.

England Team ‘Good to Great’ Factors

  1. Ask for what you need
  2. Develop decision-making skills
  3. Handle the pressure of different situation
  4. Develop great time management
  5. Develop great organisational skills
  6. Preparation is everything
  7. Adopt a great work ethic
  8. Trust what you do
  9. Have goals, plans and structure
  10. Listen to people you trust

Of course may PGA Professionals will not be working with national team or tour players, however, human behaviour is largely the same at all levels.  Whilst a beginner or a mid-handicapper might not be striving to go from ‘good to great’ they will want to improve through teaching and lessons and many of the ten factors cited are about habit.

Considering some psychologists estimate that up to 90% of all behaviours is habitual, this suggests that golf teachers and coaches need to stress the learning habits needed to improve at golf, and at the very least emphasise the responsibility of the player in the learning process.

So if you want to see more of your players develop, challenge them to take responsibility for their learning habits!

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GREAT LEARNING HABITS – ‘Teachers open doors, but you must enter by yourself’
[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
Balance in Golf & How You Can Improve It http://www.pgae.com/ask/balance-in-golf-how-you-can-improve-it/ Mon, 17 Oct 2016 11:37:26 +0000 Riikka Hakkarainen http://www.pgae.com/?p=17012 "A long-time coach of mine truly believes that the great shots are made in the follow through - something that is often the last thing we thing we think about."]]>

A long-time coach of mine truly believes that the great shots (and golfers) are made in the follow through.

Think about it for a moment and it starts to make sense! We are so worried about the take away, the top of the backswing, not to mention downswing…

…So the follow through is often the last thing to worry about and often “just happens”!

But it all makes perfect sense: if you have any balance, flexibility, posture, core stability or strength issues while swinging a golf club  – you will end up compensating and often these patterns show loud and clear at your follow through.

Losing balance, funky-looking and often massive efforts from wrist, elbows or legs to force the club back into plane are the most common telltale signs.

Your facial expressions after the shot will also be worth a thousand words on how repetitive your swing is and how comfortable your body feels doing it. Have you ever smiled while hitting a shot or even at your follow through? It’s well worth trying, if it doesn’t work for you try something else – a “cool” or “neutral face”, as long as you don’t repetitively grind your teeth and look miserable!

Also next time you watch golf (ether live or on TV), pay attention how professional golfers look after they have hit the ball or a putt and it will tell you a lot about what is going on in his/her mind.

Your feet are amazing feel transmitters to your brain – they provide your body the essential information concerning where your body is in space.

Swinging with bare feet often gives you whole new sensation of balance and in fact you are able to feel more what’s going on within your body! When I played on Ladies European Tour I had a habit to do a monthly check up with my swing basics (aiming, ball positioning, etc.) and I often started the day swinging without golf shoes, as this gave me so much information on my weight distribution before the swing as well as the weight transfer during the golf swing. It only takes few minutes so it’s well worth a try!

You can improve the body’s ability to send sensory feedback by very simple trick of massaging the feet with tennis ball. Start standing and placing a tennis ball under your foot. Apply firm pressure (but not agony!) to the ball and try covering all areas of your foot for at least 2 minutes.

Massaging your foot also relaxes your Myofaschial Superficial Back line and therefore helps your overall flexibility.

Have fun swinging barefoot!

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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Balance in Golf & How You Can Improve It
Making Golf Travel Pay http://www.pgae.com/ask/making-golf-travel-pay/ Sun, 18 Sep 2016 08:55:29 +0000 Golfbreaks.com http://www.pgae.com/?p=12852 Golfbreaks.com's Director of Golf Pro Relations, Adam Ward, explains how PGA Pros can significantly boost their income with golf travel...]]>

Golfbreaks.com is official travel company of the PGAs of Europe and an official partner of The PGA of Great Britain & Ireland. Here, the company’s Director of Golf Pro Relations, Adam Ward, explains how PGA Pros can significantly boost their income during the quiet winter months.

How does Golfbreaks.com work with PGA members?

AW: In lots of ways! We help PGA Professionals organise escorted trips for their club members and clients – whether it’s a social break or a tuition trip. We also run Pro-Ams, with teams from across Europe taking part. In 2015 there will were two in Spain, both playing La Reserva and Valderrama, plus a first-ever Golfbreaks.com Pro-Am in the United States.

Why would a Pro want to run a tuition break?

AW: There are two main reasons really. Obviously Pro’s all want to earn a bit of extra money and travel is a great supplementary income over the quieter winter months. We guarantee the very best rates for PGA Pro’s, there’s a nice 5% commission on every booking and the Pro will usually stay and play for free.

Pro’s can then add their own tuition fees onto the main package price, so for several hours’ coaching in the sunshine every day over the course of a week, a Pro could make as much as £2,500 on a tuition trip for a group of six to eight.

Just as importantly, taking trips away is the perfect way to strengthen relationships with club members, which often encourages the booking of more lessons, increased retail spend during the year and much greater loyalty.

Pros are very busy people… just how easy is it to do?

AW: It’s actually much easier than you think. Pro’s will deal exclusively with our dedicated team of regional sales experts who can organise and pre-book the entire trip, including accommodation, tee-times at the best courses, guaranteed use of practice facilities, dinner reservations and airport transfers and even flights.

All the Pro needs to do is get people to sign up! The best way for Pro’s to recruit is simply to invite people face-to-face, as personal invitations are by far the most successful. And once they’ve done one trip, word of mouth quickly spreads among the members.

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How far in advance do you need to plan?

AW: The earlier the better. November to March is the perfect time to go, so the best time to start planning is during the summer to ensure you get the resorts and facilities you want. Plus, that’s when Pro’s see the most clients, so it’s the perfect time to spread the word.

Why don’t more do it then?

AW: They either aren’t aware or feel that they don’t know how to do it. There are so many questions: where do I go, what are the practice facilities like, how do I set the price, how do I sell it to members, what if it all goes wrong? With their reputation at stake, many are reluctant to take on such a big task – but it’s easier than you think and we are there to help every step of the way.

Why would a Pro use Golfbreaks.com and not arrange the trips themselves?

AW: They could do it, but it’s hard work…and simply not as profitable! Golfbreaks.com has been the leader in golf travel since 1998 and with just a single call you can take advantage of our expertise and relationships with hotels and venues around the world. Being the Official Travel Company of the PGAs of Europe as well as an Official Partner of The PGA of GB&I, and both ATOL and ABTA bonded, we are trusted by Pros across Europe.

What would you say to any Pro thinking about taking a trip?

AW: Just give us a call… I promise you that once you do one of these trips, you’ll wonder why you waited so long!

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For more information on how Golfbreaks.com with with PGA Professionals visit www.golfbreaks.com/pga-pro, call the Golf Pro Relations Dept on +44 (0)1753 752884 or email golfpro@golfbreaks.com.

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Making Golf Travel Pay
Coaching Experience Expectations http://www.pgae.com/ask/coaching-experience-expectations/ Fri, 16 Sep 2016 09:31:55 +0000 Dr Richard Bailey http://www.pgae.com/?p=9939 Here Dr. Richard Bailey gives his thoughts on how his expectations of the coaching experience changed from when he was an athlete…]]>

Here Dr. Richard Bailey gives his thoughts on how his expectations of the coaching experience changed from when he was an athlete…

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My expectations of the coaching experience have changed considerably since I was an athlete. Of course, this was quite a long time ago!

I was lucky to have competed at a relatively high level in a number of sports, including rugby and cricket, before settling on fighting sports like Karate and Kickboxing.  In all of these sports the coaching would be best described as mixed.

Some coaches were knowledgeable, supportive and kind; others were not.  Some were role models; others were raving lunatics!  I tended to accept the coaching that was on offer partly because that was all I knew, especially if those coaches were judged to be successful.  And I figured that these coaches were strong in specific areas, so there was always something to learn from them, even if they were limited in other areas.

In some cases, the coaching was harsh, even brutal. In the case of fighting sports, made sense at the time, as it was obviously necessary to cope with pain and injury of a regular basis.  So I regularly trained with broken bones, recurring injuries and exhaustion.

Sometimes, it was just comical.  I remember the coach of my last cricket team insisting that none of his players used first names, and that we never socialised together, as he wanted to generate a ‘professional’ attitude among his team that was not diluted by the jokey friendliness of most of the opposition.  We were all under 16 years old.

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Things have moved on considerably since then.  I have seen a radical transformation in the perceptions of what makes a great coach.  Two changes, in particular, seem particularly significant.

The first is the movement towards an ‘athlete-centred’ approach, in which the interests and needs of the players are at the forefront.  In other words, the athletes are ends in themselves (their development is the whole point of the enterprise); not just means to someone else’s end, such as the coach ego or club’s success.

Athlete-cantered coaching need not be soft or easy.  On the contrary, it should be appropriately challenging, and my own understanding has been transformed by working with coaches who manage to balance the requirements of competitive sport with the simple fact that they are dealing with human beings.

The second change has been the slower emergence of evidence-based coaching.  Sport continues to be dominated by tradition.  But more coaches are recognising that ‘we’ve always done it that way’ will not do.

Common sense is a feeble justification for practices, especially when those practices can risk the health and well being of players.  Academically validated qualifications are part of the picture. More important, though, is the wider acceptance among coaches that a scientific mind-set lies at the heart of professional, athlete-centred coaching. Tradition and authority have little value here.

Science, alone, offers a candle in the dark!


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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Coaching Experience Expectations
Effective Listening Skills & The PGA Professional (Part 1) http://www.pgae.com/ask/effective-listening-skills-the-pga-professional-part-1/ Fri, 16 Sep 2016 09:19:05 +0000 Dr. Brian Hemmings http://www.pgae.com/?p=10186 Dr Brian Hemmings outlines five common barriers to listening effectively when coaching...]]>

‘Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something’

Having had the privilege of working with many coaches over the past 15 years, I have noticed that the attributes of successful coaches have huge similarities with effective psychologists. The quote above, from the Greek philosopher Plato, could easily describe one of the most important personal qualities needed by coaches; that is great communication skills and, in particular, the ability to listen effectively.

Coaches are like psychologists in that they rely on similar sources of information to assess a golfer’s needs. Whilst observation may provide the coach with extensive movement/technical information and analysis, both can gain much from what players say about themselves and their game.  However, many coaches are unaware that listening effectively is a skill that can be developed.

I heard it said in my core training as a psychologist that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason – so we can listen at least 50% more than we speak.

Time constraints can make listening to players/clients more challenging, however often self-awareness can start to considerably improve listening skills.  Here, I outline five common barriers to listening effectively when coaching.  See how many you can see in yourself…

Identifying

You take everything a player tells you and refer back to your own experience, and launch into your story before they have a chance to finish theirs.  Everything you hear reminds you of something that you’ve done, felt, or achieved/not achieved.  In being so busy with your own stories, there’s no time to really hear or get to know the needs of the player.

Advising

Whilst coaching is about advice giving, we can all fall into ‘advice mode’ too quickly before gaining a full understanding of an issue.  Here the coach can become the great problem-solver, ready with help and suggestions, and you only have to hear a few sentences to begin searching for the right advice.

However, while you are searching, and then convincing the player to ‘try this’, you may be missing the most important information.  You didn’t hear the feelings, and you didn’t acknowledge the person’s real concerns. You may go down a technical route instead of noticing it’s mainly a physical or mental issue.

Mind Reading

Coaches are not mind readers; they rely on verbal, visual and statistical information.  The mind reader coach doesn’t pay much attention to what people say – in fact, she/he often distrusts it.  She/he is busy trying to work out what is really happening.  The mind reader pays more attention to non-verbal cues (e.g. body language) than to factual words, in an attempt to see through to the ‘truth’.  If you are a mind reader, you are also likely to make assumptions about people’s perceptions of you as a coach.  These notions arise from intuition, hunches and vague misgivings, but have little to do with what the person is actually saying to you.

Rehearsing

You don’t have time to listen if you are rehearsing what to say yourself.  Your whole attention is on the preparation of your next comment.  You have to look interested, but your mind is racing with your story, or a point you are eager to make.  Some people rehearse chains of responses “I’ll say that, then s/he’ll say…then I’ll say…”

Filtering

When you filter, you listen to some things and not to others.  You pay just enough attention to see if someone is angry, or unhappy, or if you are under fire.  Once satisfied that none of these things are present, you let your mind wander.  Another form of filtering is to simply avoid hearing certain things – in particular, anything unpleasant, critical, threatening or negative.  It’s as if the words were never said – you simply have no memory of them.

The power of good listening in effective player-coach relationships should not be underestimated, and the importance of listening intently is also a Biblical saying that dates back 2000 years – ‘Be quick to listen, and slow to speak’ (1 James v.11).

Have a think about the barriers I have outlined above and assess if they sometimes apply to you?  Do you sometimes have difficulty listening to your players? If you do, it is likely that your coaching relationships could improve greatly through targeting this simple, yet significant skill.  Effective listening is part of the cornerstone of great assessment, which leads to the best intervention with players.


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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Effective Listening Skills & The PGA Professional (Part 1)
Creating a Client Base http://www.pgae.com/ask/creating-a-client-base/ Fri, 16 Sep 2016 08:11:10 +0000 Pro Shop Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=10701 Are you a self-employed full time coaching instructor and part small business owner? Ian Clark explains how to create a client base to fill your lesson book...]]>

Are you a self-employed full time coaching instructor and part small business owner?  Ian Clark explains how to create a client base to help fill your lesson book and build your business…

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As we are all only too aware the golfing landscape has changed significantly over the past few years, and probably none more so than that of the traditional club professional.  We are now seeing golf pros specialise in certain areas rather than focussing on wearing a number of hats as many club pros do.

These specific areas of expertise include that of teaching and golf instruction. The golf instruction industry has now become much more mainstream – from the days of David Leadbetter making his name with his work with Nick Faldo, to Sean Foley and his well chronicled work with Tiger.

As a result, we now see a great many PGA members teaching full-time at driving ranges up and down the country, and for these golf pros teaching is their only source of income with no retainer being paid to them.  In the majority of cases a rent or percentage of earnings is paid back to the range owner in return for that professional to be able to have a spot to teach at that particular driving range.

Instructor or business owner?

The self-employed full time instructor needs to be part instructor and part small business owner, and a question I often ask when presenting to golf instructors is ‘Which do you need to be first, golf instructor or business owner?’

You could be the best instructor in the world, but if you do not market yourself and let people know who you are then you will not be able to create the fans you need.

I am fortunate to be able to teach at a very busy driving range, and having been teaching there now for 14 years I have built up a client list and manage to fill my lesson book well in advance.

I often used to think that because my facility is so busy then this would always be the case, but over the past number of years something has changed.  I have seen a number of good instructors come to work at my facility and then struggle to fill their lesson book, and leave to greener pastures after a period of time.

This got me thinking as to why some instructors would thrive and others would struggle.  I plan to share with you insights I have gained that you can then apply to your own business and increase your revenue.

You need a list

First things first, if you want to be a busy instructor you need clients, not customers – it is important to know the difference.  A customer is someone who has done business with you once; a client is someone who does business with you over and over again.

So you must have a list of your clients, and you need to be collecting data as much as you can – at bare minimum you need to have the email address and mobile phone number of every one of your students.  If you are reading this and you do not have these, then make it a point to start collecting this today.

This list becomes your client base, or as Ken Blanchard calls them, Raving Fans.  I have used the following methods of collecting email addresses from people.

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Collecting data

1.

Add a place on your website for people to enter their email to go on to your mailing list.  In return for this it is a good idea to have a free download, this can be In the format of a pdf document, based on a golfing topics, for example, hit better bunker shots, improve your chipping, or ten extra yards from the tee, just use your imagination.

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Walking the range. I know this is a contentious issue among golf instructors, but this is a great way for people to see you.  I understand that some people are on the range to practice and do not want to be bothered by a golf pro, but with some practice this can be a very powerful strategy to increase your client base.

My way of doing this is to have my video camera with me, and ask a golfer practicing if he wouldn’t mind me videoing his swing as I have a new camera I wish to try out, I have never had a golfer say no.

Once videoed, ask the golfer if he would like to see his swing, show them, but do not offer any instruction at this point.  Inevitably the golfer will ask a question, and if he asks for your advice, then give it.

Before leaving ask the golfer if he has an email address as you would like to send him the video clip of his golf swing.  Easy.

3.

Have a goldfish-type bowl near where you teach on the driving range.  If a golfer puts his business card in the bowl he will be entered into a monthly draw to win a golf lesson with you.

4.

Talk to people on the range.  Show people that you are personable and approachable.  If you are asked for your business card, hand it to them.  You should always have business cards on you, and then ask the golfer for his card in return.  If he does not have one with him, ask for an email address or mobile number.

You mustn’t wait for the golfer to get back to you.  If you wait for the golfer to take the initiative it may never happen.  Personally, I wait 24 hours and then email or text the golfer with a small note saying something along the lines of ‘How nice it was to meet the other day and when are you looking to come in for that lesson’.  You must follow up.

What to do with your list

Once you start to compile a list, you now have to do something with it. For myself I send out a newsletter once a month.  If you are going to do this, you need to be consistent with how often you send it out, and at what time of the month.

If you are not already sending out a newsletter, then I urge you to start doing so immediately, because if you aren’t, then another golf pro could be contacting your students and you are missing out.

You must keep yourself at the forefront of your students’ minds when they come to thinking about golf instruction, and by regularly making contact with them, you will become their ‘go to guy’ for golf instruction.

In terms of a newsletter, I put information in my newsletter about the golfing world in general, tournament results etc.  I also put in items such as an instruction tip (in video format), a recommended reading list of instruction books, an article from a fitness or psychology expert and student success stories.

Again, design it to suit your own needs, but remember you must be consistent with when and how often you send it out.

Also be sure to add an ‘opt-out’ button in case people do not wish to receive emails from you. If you are unsure about any of the above, you should contact a web designer.

White space in the diary is the devil. Well, not quite but close. White space in your diary means lost revenue.  This is where I find having students’ mobile numbers is very useful.  If I get a late cancellation, I will send out a group text informing people of this, many of my students find this helpful and more often than not, the space will get filled.

This also places you in a different bracket to other instructors who are not offering their students this service.  Input the students’ data into your phone; this is not a time consuming task for you to do.

I have a waiting list made up for students looking to get a lesson, especially at my peak times.  People really appreciate you contacting them to tell them of a cancellation and making an effort to get them booked in.

In conclusion

So to recap, you firstly need a list. Start compiling email addresses and mobile phone numbers of your students today, if you do not already.  Try and find clever ways of collecting them.  Make it your daily goal to try and add five addresses to your list.

Send out a newsletter – You must communicate with your students.  Be consistent on how often and when you send the newsletter out.

Text your students if you get any cancellations, or if you have space in your diary for a lesson.

Remember: They do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.


Ian Clark is an Advanced Fellow PGA Professional, a Trackman certified instructor, the Golfing Machine Authorised Instructor GSEM and one of GolfWorld’s Top 100 coaches in the UK. You can email Ian at ian@ianclarkgolf.co.uk.

For more details visit www.ianclarkgolf.co.uk.

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Creating a Client Base
Clare-View: Gloria Hotels & Resorts’ Director of Golf on One of Turkey’s Gems http://www.pgae.com/news/igpn-news/clare-view-gloria-hotels-resorts-director-of-golf-on-one-of-turkeys-gems/ Wed, 14 Sep 2016 08:13:34 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=12802 Gloria Hotels & Resorts Director of Golf and PGA of GB&I Professional, David Clare, explains how the famed Turkish resort is preparing for the Annual Congress]]>

Gloria Hotels & Resorts Director of Golf and PGA of GB&I Professional, David Clare, explains how the famed Turkish resort is preparing for the 2015 Annual Congress and International Team Championship in December, along with how the resort tailors itself perfectly for visiting PGA Professionals and their guests…

Q. The Annual Congress and the ITC are heading towards Gloria this year for the second time. How do you get prepared for this huge event?

Obviously having the course in its best condition for such an important event is of the upmost importance, so we actually have a long term plan which the greenkeeper follows starting from June onwards, so all the hard work is done before the event.

Fortunately as Gloria specialises in such tournaments and conferences we know that the event will be a huge success just like last year’s conference.

Q. What are the advantages for PGA Professional Members to be part of the Gloria-world?

PGA Members benefit from special packages available to themselves and their guests including room upgrades and transfer services from the airport.  Also PGA Pros get special rates on range balls and are allowed to reserve the Practice areas in advance for the teaching groups – Gloria is the Only Resort in Turkey that offers this unique advantage.

Q. Which team will be strong at the ITC this year?

Traditionally the stronger golfing nations always do well but as the title of the event says it is International with 7 different countries winning in the last 7 years.  I think last year’s winners Scotland will have a good chance to defend their title this year as they always seem to be in the leading groups but as always it will be a very tough competition and being played over the Gloria Old Course, which is slightly tougher than the New Course, it will be a very close and exciting Championship.

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Q. Gloria has also opened the Gloria Sports Arena as the largest privately financed sporting facility in Europe recently.  What kind of target groups are you addressing?  And is there anything special for golfers?

The New Sports Arena is ideal for any form of Professional & Elite sporting bodies as it covers some 50 sports.  Obviously Football Teams and Athletic Federations are the main groups that are using the facility but we are also aiming at the National Golfing Federations to use the facilities as physical fitness has become so much more important at top level golf and the Sports Arena has the very latest high level training equipment.  It is not just for teams as we get Individual trainers bringing their players as well.

Q. What would you recommend PGA-members to do after a challenging game on your golf course?

Definitely take advantage of the superb beach and pool facilities we have as it is the perfect way to relax after a demanding game or better still relax with one of our special golfers massages available from our award winning Spas.

Q. Besides playing at the largest golf complex in Turkey, do you have any tips for visitors to discover the beautiful region around Belek?

The area around Belek is a quite remarkable with the ancient amphitheatre at Aspendos only 15 minutes away and the Roman Village ruins at Perge are only 25 minutes away.  Tourists come to this area just to visit these sites alone so it is a great opportunity to mix playing on the Championship courses and then have a cultural tour in the afternoon.  You can also go white water rafting on the Koprucay river, which is only 1 hour from Belek, or simply enjoy the beaches and Mediterranean sea.

For more information on Gloria Hotels & Resorts visit www.gloria.com.tr.

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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Clare-View: Gloria Hotels & Resorts’ Director of Golf on One of Turkey’s Gems