PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com Home of the PGAE Tue, 30 May 2017 09:08:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 PGAs of Europe Partner Family Join for 2017 Business Club http://www.pgae.com/news/pgas-of-europe-partner-family-join-for-2017-business-club/ http://www.pgae.com/news/pgas-of-europe-partner-family-join-for-2017-business-club/#respond Sun, 28 May 2017 19:37:43 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=18865

Foxhills Club & Resort in Surrey, UK, was the venue for the 2017 edition of the PGAs of Europe Business Club, bringing together representatives from across the Association’s Corporate Partner family.

The Business Club is an opportunity to bring together the varied Partners that support the PGAs of Europe in its work, giving them a chance to network amongst each other, discuss ideas and share commercial and collaborative opportunities.

 

Being able to bring Partners together in this unique group allows the Association to gain feedback about the commercial opportunities a partnership with the PGAs of Europe gives, whilst also discussing topics such as potential golf development initiatives, how to leverage the variety of data gathered by the Association in an intelligent and targeted way, along with cross-partner collaboration opportunities.

“It’s been nice to meet everybody face-to-face to talk on an informal basis and learn what the other organisations look for and where we can potentially work together,” said CEO of ORGAHEAD Consulting Trading GmbH, distributors for U.S. Kids Golf.

“The Partners represent various areas of the industry so it’s great to hear different ideas and initiatives and what everybody’s doing,” explained Dan Killen, International Business Development Manager, SNAG Golf / GSA Golfsports GmbH.

“It’s been great to catch up with some old faces and some new ones – as the PGAs of Europe bring more Partners on, there are more and more opportunities for us as well,” added Managing Director of Golfbidder, Liam Robb.

“This is the third continuous year that we’ve operated the Business Club with our Partners and the feedback about the event has been excellent,” said PGAs of Europe Chief Executive, Ian Randell. “We are very lucky to have such a fantastic group of Partners that support us so much in our work to advance golf, golfers and the golf profession.

“Bringing the Partners together in one room makes such a difference in terms of the feedback we can gather, and also the flow of ideas and discussions make it hugely valuable for both us as an Association, but also for the Partners themselves. A relaxed and informal atmosphere, dinner with new friends and old, and some golf at the fantastic Foxhills Club in there as well made for a wonderful couple of days.”

Find Out More About the PGAs of Europe’s Partners at www.pgae.com/partners

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Super Swede Noren Seals Spectacular Win http://www.pgae.com/news/super-swede-noren-seals-spectacular-win/ http://www.pgae.com/news/super-swede-noren-seals-spectacular-win/#respond Sun, 28 May 2017 19:34:19 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=18886

Sweden’s Alex Noren fired a simply stunning final round of 62 to win the BMW PGA Championship by two shots as he ensured the European Tour’s new Rolex Series got off to a spectacular start.

Noren eagled the final hole after a sublime 225 yards five iron approach shot to five feet to seal a quite brilliant display over Wentworth Club’s revamped West Course, taking full advantage of the immaculate new greens.

The 34 year old, who also posted eight birdies in his ten under par round, had started seven shots behind third round leader Andrew Dodt and matched the biggest comeback in the history of the BMW PGA Championship, previously achieved by Simon Khan in 2010 and Rory McIlroy in 2014.

Noren also produced a grandstand finish in his last European Tour triumph, carding a closing 63 to come from six shots back to win the Nedbank Golf Challenge last November. That was his fourth title of the 2016 season – and he made it five European Tour wins in just 17 appearances, three of which have come on UK soil after victories in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open and British Masters supported by Sky Sports.

After posting the clubhouse target of 11 under par, Noren had to wait a further two hours as 11 more groups finished, but the other contenders gradually fell away, with Italian Francesco Molinari, playing in the penultimate group, birdieing the final two holes in a round of 68 to claim second place on nine under par.

Noren is the first Swede to win the BMW PGA Championship and his compatriot Henrik Stenson, the Open Champion, closed with a 68 to finish on eight under par in a share third place with Japan’s Hideto Tanihara (67) and Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts, who eagled the 12th and the 18th holes en route to a round of 65.

A crowd of 109,684 – the second highest in the history of the BMW PGA Championship – watched the four tournament days and Celebrity Pro Am, as the European Tour launched the Rolex Series in style, with a further seven events to follow in 2017.

Find Out More About the BMW PGA Championship @ EuropeanTour.com

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Dodt hits the spot at Wentworth http://www.pgae.com/news/dodt-hits-the-spot-at-wentworth/ http://www.pgae.com/news/dodt-hits-the-spot-at-wentworth/#respond Sat, 27 May 2017 18:13:32 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=18882

Australia’s Andrew Dodt will look to resist a world-class chasing pack which includes Open Champion Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood, Branden Grace and Francesco Molinari in the final round of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club.

Dodt fired a sparkling 68 in testing conditions over the West Course to charge up the third round leaderboard and end the day on eight under par and in possession of a one stroke lead over Grace; with Westwood and Molinari tied for third place on five under.

Stenson sits alongside Irishman Shane Lowry and the Japanese Hideto Tanihara on four under, while the English quartet Ross Fisher, Tyrrell Hatton, Andrew Johnston and Graeme Storm joined Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Welshman Bradley Dredge, German Maximilian Kieffer and Scotsman Scott Jamieson five shots off the lead.

The elite field gathered for the first ever Rolex Series event had been treated to glorious sunshine and calm winds over days one and two, and while the sun continued to shine on the revamped West Course, increased gusts made it a different proposition.

Dodt has two European Tour wins to his name – both coming in Asia – and enjoyed an excellent start to the season with back-to-back top threes before the turn of the year.

Victory on Sunday would represent the biggest win of his career and he will have to be at his very best to hold off the challenge of a hungry chasing pack

Find Out More About the BMW PGA Championship @ EuropeanTour.com

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Pieters Powers to the Front http://www.pgae.com/news/pieters-powers-to-the-front/ http://www.pgae.com/news/pieters-powers-to-the-front/#respond Fri, 26 May 2017 21:55:17 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=18862

Ryder Cup star Thomas Pieters fired a second round 69 to share the halfway lead with Scotland’s Scott Jamieson and Italian Francesco Molinari in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club.

Belgian Pieters had finished his opening round with a bogey after finding water and he dropped another shot on the third hole of his second round, but then gained that back on the next hole before powering his way to the top of the leaderboard with further birdies on the ninth, 12th and 17th holes.

“Today was much less stressful than yesterday,” said Pieters. “I hit a lot more greens today. I didn’t make as many putts as yesterday but that’s always going to happen. So I’m quite happy about today.”

Pieters, who finished as Europe’s top points scorer on his debut at last year’s Ryder Cup, was joined at the summit by Jamieson, who recovered from dropping three shots in his opening three holes to post seven birdies in his round of 70. Former Ryder Cup player Molinari, who has four top ten finishes at Wentworth, then made it a three-way share on seven under par when he birdied the two closing par fives for a round of 70.

“I didn’t play amazingly well but I made some good up-and-downs to keep the round going,” said Molinari. “And then obviously I finished very well on 17 and 18.

“I’ve been in position before here but hopefully the ending will be different.”

The trio are one shot clear of Germany’s Max Kieffer who climbed the leaderboard after picking up five shots in four holes from the 11th in his round of 68.

The chasing pack is an impressive one, with Open Champion Henrik Stenson (71) Ryder Cup legend Lee Westwood (69), 2015 BMW PGA Champion Byeong Hun An (69) and seven-time European Tour winner Branden Grace (71) sharing fifth place on five under par, just two shots back.

A crowd of 24, 716 people – the second largest Friday crowd in the event’s history – watched the second round of action at the prestigious Surrey venue.

Find Out More About the BMW PGA Championship @ EuropeanTour.com

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Carlsson Sets the Pace at Wentworth http://www.pgae.com/news/carlsson-sets-the-pace-at-wentworth/ http://www.pgae.com/news/carlsson-sets-the-pace-at-wentworth/#respond Thu, 25 May 2017 09:01:22 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=18849

Sweden’s Johan Carlsson set the pace on the opening day of the BMW PGA Championship, taking advantage of the immaculate new greens at Wentworth Club with eight birdies in an impressive six under par round of 66.

Carlsson made a blistering start to the European Tour’s new Rolex Series, reaching the turn in just 30 shots courtesy of five birdies on the front nine, and he picked up three more shots on way in, although his back nine was bookended by bogeys on the tenth and 18th holes.

“It was fun today,” he said. “It’s a big event this year, and you kind of feel it with the atmosphere. Everything is big around this tournament, and obviously you want to do good.

“The greens are so good. I love this golf course right now.  I think it has become so much better, and I think a lot of other players probably agree with me, as well, on that point.

Carlsson holds a one shot advantage over Italian Francesco Molinari, Scotland’s Scott Jamieson and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, while Carlsson’s compatriot Henrik Stenson, the Open Champion, is one of nine players a further shot back on four under par after a bogey-free 68, with all four of his birdies arriving on the back nine.

England’s Ross Fisher and Ireland’s Shane Lowry, both of whom have previously finished runner-up in the BMW PGA Championship, are also amongst that group, along with Ryder Cup player Thomas Pieters who bogeyed the closing hole.

A crowd of 20,692 people – the second largest Thursday crowd in the event’s history – watched the opening round and they were treated to innovations including a new entertaining first tee experience.

Find Out More @ EuropeanTour.com

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PGAs of Europe Winners Descend on Wentworth http://www.pgae.com/news/pgas-of-europe-winners-descend-on-wentworth/ http://www.pgae.com/news/pgas-of-europe-winners-descend-on-wentworth/#respond Thu, 25 May 2017 08:30:22 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=18856

The 2017 BMW PGA Professional Championship at Wentworth Club, UK, will see 13 PGA Professionals join the field, including various PGAs of Europe Championship and Sanctioned Event winners and regulars.

One half of the 2017 Fourball Championship-winning pair, Paul Hendriksen, will make his first appearance having also won the PGA of GB&I Club Pro Championship two years ago as well as the Total Triumph Classic twice in succession in 2015 and 2016.  He also represented the PGA in England at the PGAs of Europe’s 2016 International Team Championship in Turkey finishing in third place.

2015 UniCredit PGA Professional Championship of Europe, half of the winning pair at the 2015 Golfbreaks.com Fourball Championship, and 2016 La Manga Club International Pro-Am winner, Matthew Cort, returns to the BMW for the fifth time and will be hoping to advance to the weekend for the first time this week.

Three-time winner of the Beko Classic Pro-Am, most recently in 2016, Robert Coles, is no stranger to the Wentworth course having finished tied 69th back in 2013 and in 12 years ago he produced his best ever performance at the event, finishing tied 39th.

Silvermere Golf Club’s Chris Gane was the inaugural winner of the 2016 OnCourse Golf Abu Dhabi Pro Am, and most recently came second in the 2017 Mercedes-Benz International Pro-Am at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting & Golf Club in the UAE.

1999 Open Championship winner, Paul Lawrie, shows it’s not all tournament-based winners that feature this week having received the 2015 5 Star Professional Award from the PGAs of Europe in recognition of his contribution to the profession over a wide range of areas of expertise and activity.

Scotland’s Graham Fox has been a regular in PGAs of Europe events across the past few years including frequent appearances for his home nation in the International Team Championship, winning in 2014 and coming second in both the 2015 and 2016 editions of the tournament.

Joining Fox in the Scotland trio that were placed second in the 2016 International Team Championship was Greig Hutcheon, who made the cut comfortably in the 2016 BMW PGA Championship and was flirting with the leaders heading into the final two days of action.

Philip Archer has a great deal of experience playing in the BMW PGA and many European Tour events and has appeared in the 2013 Beko Classic Pro-Am as well as the 2015 Golfbreaks.com Fourball Championship.

Find Out More About the 2017 BMW PGA Championship @ EuropeanTour.com

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Meet the PGA Pros Heading to Wentworth http://www.pgae.com/news/meet-the-pga-pros-heading-to-wentworth/ http://www.pgae.com/news/meet-the-pga-pros-heading-to-wentworth/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 11:19:46 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=18852

There will be a total of 13 PGA Professionals in action at the eagerly anticipated BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth this week.

The European Tour’s flagship event has attracted a stellar field which includes current Open Championship Henrik Stenson, Olympic gold medallist Justin Rose and defending champion Chris Wood.

Once again the coveted Silver Salver trophy will be awarded to the highest place pro.

Here is a brief factfile on each of the players who will be flying the flag for the PGA in Surrey this week…

Poulter Web 1

Ian Poulter, 41

Ryder Cup legend Ian Poulter will be returning to the revamped Wentworth course for the first time in three years after accepting an invite to play at the Surrey venue.

The 41-year-old has slipped down the rankings dramatically in recent months after picking up a troublesome foot injury last year.

In April, Poulter was set to lose his PGA Tour card after failing to earn the required points or prize money, but he was able to retain his place on tour after a discrepancy in the points structure used for players with major medical exemptions.

Poulter has won 12 events on the European tour and heads into this year’s championship in good form having finished runner-up at the recent Players Championship at the popular TPC Sawgrass venue.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the changes that have been made at Wentworth,” said Poulter.

“It seems the changes they have made are what the West Course deserves and it is going back to its rightful self, so respect to the club, to the European Tour and to the guys involved for making those changes and I’m sure the players will enjoy playing it.”

Rock Web 1

Robert Rock, 40

Two-time European Tour winner Robert Rock has spoken of his determination to add the BMW PGA title to his golfing CV before he retires.

The 40-year-old was an affiliate member of the European Tour back in 2003 and finished the 2009 season ranked inside the top 30 in the race for Dubai.

Rock claimed his maiden tour title at the BMW Italian Open in June 2011 and has made appearances at three of the four major championships, which includes a tied seventh place finish at the 2010 Open Championship.

After failing to finish inside the top ten on either of his last 11 attempts in Surrey, Rock is hoping to challenge the likes of Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose and Danny Willett to the title this Sunday.

He said: “Wentworth is the one I want to win. I’d be disappointed if I made it through to the end of my career and hadn’t really given it a good shot.

“I still prepare because the BMW PGA Championship is the one I want to win and I’d be very happy with my career if I could win that one.”

Rob Coles Web

Robert Coles, 44, (Maylands Golf & Country Club)

Experienced former European Tour player Robert Coles turned professional back in 1994 and the Hornchurch-born player has participated in over 300 events, winning three Challenge Tour titles.

The 44-year-old is one of three players to have already secured a spot in the Great Britain and Ireland team for the eagerly anticipated PGA Cup event at Foxhills Resort in September after finishing in the top three of a recent play-off competition at Staunton.

Coles is no stranger to the Wentworth course having finished tied 69th back in 2013 and in 12 years ago he produced his best ever performance at the event, finishing tied 39th.

Coles said: “I can’t wait to play at this year’s event. I’ve played there ten times before and I used to go and watch the tournament as a kid.

“There’s going to be some big players there and that’s what makes it such a massive event, that’s what makes it so good. There will be big crowds too.”

 

Hendriksen Web

Paul Hendriksen, 37, (Ivybridge Golf Club)

Paul Hendriksen is gearing up for his first ever appearance at the BMW PGA Championship.

Back in February this year, the 38-year-old won the PGAs of Europe Fourball Championship alongside James Ruth and he has also won the 36-hole Total Triumph Classic twice in succession in 2015 and 2016.

In September year Hendriksen inspired Devon to the final of the PGA England & Wales Inter-County Championship for the very first time. He recorded no fewer than eight birdies in a five under par 66 score at a region qualifier held at Tiverton Golf Club.

And his biggest success so far was winning the PGA Club Pro Championship two years ago.

Hendrikesen said: “It’s the first time I’ve played at an event on the European Tour and it’s the biggest event I’ve played at so I’m looking forward to it.

“There are a lot of big names playing at Wentworth but I’m not worrying about that. It will be great to pit myself against them and see how I get on.

“My aim is just to play as best as I can, do what I normally do at events and see how I get on.”

Matthew Cort For Web

Matthew Cort, 42, Beedles Lake Golf Club

It will be a fifth appearance for Matthew Cort when he takes to the fairways at Wentworth this week.

The 42-year-old only took up the sport at the age of 15 after previously coming close to becoming a professional footballer.

Cort heads to Surrey in good form after tasting victory at the PGA Play-offs back in October last year – an event he had finished twice runner-up at in previous years.

He was the first player to win three successive PGA Assistants’ Championship titles between 2011 and 2013 and he will be part of the 2017 Great Britain and Ireland team for the PGA Cup event in September.

“I’ve had some good rounds there – nothing spectacular,” said Cort.

“The course has changed a little bit – the greens have been redesigned. That’s the same for everyone – they will be encountering it for the first time so we’ve all got to try and get used to it.”

Graham Fox Web

Graham Fox, 39, (Clydeway Golf Club)

Scottish golfer Graham Fox will be hoping to make it third time lucky as he looks to make the cut on his third appearance at the BMW Championships at Wentworth.

Last year Fox, who took up golf at the age of 12, shot a respectable 72 in his opening round but a 77 on the Friday saw him miss the cut after finishing the tournament on five over par.

Greg For Web

Greig Hutcheon, 43, (Paul Lawrie Golf Centre/Inchmarlo Golf Resort)

Scottish teaching pro Greig Hutcheon enjoyed one of his best ever performances at the BMW Championship at Wentworth last year.

The 43-year-old, who has won the Scottish PGA Championship on two occasions, made the cut comfortably and was flirting with the leaders heading into the final two days of action.

A triple birdie finish on Saturday provided hope for a best ever finish heading into the final round, but the two-time PGA Play-off winner dropped six shots in his final six holes to end in disappointing fashion.

Hutcheon finished in the top three of a play-off at Staunton back in October which means he will represent Great Britain and Ireland at the PGA Cup at Foxhills Resort later this year.

“Wentworth is never easy but I’m expecting the scores to be a little better than perhaps in previous years. I’m looking forward to seeing the changes,” said Hutcheon.

“I’m 44 now so I’m no spring chicken but I come into the competition with a lot of experience and I’ve played at Wentworth many times before.”

Streeter For Web

Paul Streeter, 50 (Lincoln Golf Centre)

Paul Streeter turned professional late in life at the age of 31 back in 1997 and the 56-year-old has appeared at the BMW PGA Championship on three previous occasions, with his best finish coming five years ago at Wentworth where he finished tied 21st.

His other career highlights include qualifying for the 2010 Open Championship at St Andrews where he failed to make the cut after finishing with a score of 152.

More recently he won the PGA Midland Professional Championship after finishing on the same score (131) as fellow winner Andrew Willey.

“If you chip and putt well you’re in with a chance at Wentworth,” said Streeter. “Lots of players can hit the ball well but you need to be able to chip and put to be in with a chance. It’s invaluable at Wentworth.”

Irish Web 1

Neil O’Briain, 30 (Old Conna Golf Club)

After enjoying a successful amateur career which saw him win the Kerry Boys Championship and the Connacht Youth Championship twice, Neil O’Brian made the decision to move to the US in 2005 after receiving a scholarship to Wofford College in South Carolina.

He won plenty of accolades as well as college titles in the states, including being named Southern Conference Freshman of the Year, before eventually turning professional.

O’Brian competed in a number of European, Challenge and EuroPro events before earning his PGA teaching qualification and he now has aspirations to earn a European Tour card over the coming seasons.

“The goal is to put four good rounds together and see how it all pans out,” said O’Briain. “Take it as it comes.

“If the putter gets hot it could be a very good week and that’s what it really comes down to.”

Phillip Archer For Web

Phillip Archer, 45 (Birchwood Golf Club)

Sportsmad Phillip Archer took up golf at the tender age of nine through the influence of his father and turned professional back in 1991.

The 45-year-old earned his place on the European Tour in 2004 and finished a career high of 29th in the 2007 Order of Merit during a season where he came close to winning his maiden title after finishing as runner-up three times.

Archer made a habit of successfully qualifying for major championships after making it through to the US Open in both 2006, where he finished T48, and he qualified again in 2008.

He has also played in two Open Championships, the most recent coming in 2010 at St Andrews.

Past experience of playing at the BMW Championship will stand Archer in good stead, having finished T64th in 2009 and T58th two years earlier.

“I’m looking forward to playing the flagship event again and seeing where my game is against the best around again,” said Archer.

“I will go into the event with hopefully a different feeling as it not being the be all and end all.”

Irish Web 2

Damien McGrane, 46

Irishman Damien McGrane has an impressive record at Wentworth in recent years having made the cut five times over the past seven years and he finished tied for 17th back in 2010.

The 46-year-old, who turned professional in 1992, enjoyed his best spell as a player towards the back end of the 2000s when he won his maiden tour title in 2008 by lifting the Volvo China Open and one year later he collect £700,000 after finishing 41st in the Race to Dubai.

Since retiring from the tour in 2015, the County Meath player has gone on to enjoy plenty of success on the Irish PGA Regional tour and last year he was victorious at the Irish PGA Championship at Moyvalley.

“It’s a huge competition and it always attracts the top players,” said McGrane. “They always try to turn up to the flagship events so it will be nice to see what us pros can do on the big stage.

“The course has changed this year so it will be a challenge, but it’s going to be a challenge for all of us out there.”

Gane Feature Pic

Chris Gane, 43, Left-handed Golf

It will be a third appearance at the BMW PGA Championship for Chris Gane as he looks to make the cut at the UK’s second biggest tournament of the year.

Gane has mainly competed on the second tier of the Challenge Tour where he picked up two wins at the Terme Euganee International Open Padova and the Austrian Open in 2001.

Back in 2009 he finished 13th in the Challenge Tour rankings which earned him full European Tour status in 2010 and he is now a PGA Professional at Silvermere Golf Club in Surrey.

“I want to make the cut because you’ve got to set your sights as high as possible and give a good account of yourself,” said Gane.

“When I played two years ago I was a bit nervous about playing. I hadn’t been involved in a tournament that big and I was a bit worried about what might happen.”

Paul Lawrie

Open Championship winner, Paul Lawrie, received the 2015 5 Star Professional Award from the PGAs of Europe in recognition of his contribution to the profession over a wide range of areas of expertise and activity.

Lawrie was nominated by the PGA in Scotland and selected by the PGAs of Europe’s award selection committee based on his work and representation as a PGA Professional, his work in developing the Paul Lawrie Foundation, along with his playing successes across the years, and was acknowledged for his award at the Association’s Gala Awards Dinner at Gloria Hotels & Resorts in Turkey.

Born in Aberdeen, he turned pro in 1986 and played his first season on the European Tour in 1992. Has since won eight European Tour titles, most famously the 1999 Open Championship, where he came from ten shots behind to win the Claret Jug at Carnoustie.

Played in the 1999 and 2012 editions of The Ryder Cup, the latter following a renaissance that saw him win three times in two years. Awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2013. Actively involved in promoting the game at grass roots through the Paul Lawrie Foundation. Has hosted his own European Tour event each year since 2015, the Paul Lawrie Match Play.

Find Out More @ EuropeanTour.com

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The Benefits of Teasing Your Brain Regularly http://www.pgae.com/ask/the-benefits-of-teasing-your-brain-regularly/ http://www.pgae.com/ask/the-benefits-of-teasing-your-brain-regularly/#respond Thu, 18 May 2017 10:53:47 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=18832

Do you make assumptions that turn out to be incorrect? Do you miss information that didn’t fit the pattern you expected?

We all do. It’s the way our brains work. We look for patterns, use our previous experience and rely on what we already know works. It’s an efficient way to work…most of the time.

Sometimes however, we need to trip our brains up and remind them to look beyond the obvious patterns, outside of what we already know works and not expect one situation to turn out pretty much like the last one. If we don’t occasionally abandon our preconceptions there is a chance we may miss opportunities or changes in customer needs or market demands.

For example, what’s your first answer to this question?

Johnny’s mother had three children. The first child was named April. The second child was named May. What was the third child’s name?

Most people will reply June. Be honest. Did you? Of course if you re-read the question you’ll realise the answer is Johnny. But how many times do you make assumptions (that fit a known pattern) like this at work?

Try these three:

  1. Before Mt. Everest was discovered, what was the highest mountain in the world?
  2. How much dirt is there in a hole that measures two feet by three feet by four feet?
  3. If you were running a race and you passed the person in 2nd place, what place would you be in now?

You know by now that these are trick questions so it’s unlikely you assumed the first answer you thought of was correct i.e. K2, 24 cubic metres, 1st place, for example. That’s the first step in realising that what your brain expects to see may not, in fact, be the right answer.

Think about the words that are used: ‘before Mount Everest was DISCOVERED’; ‘How much dirt in the HOLE?’ The third one may require you to actual visualise yourself overtaking the person in SECOND place.

You may face questions like these at an interview because the hiring manager wants to see if you can think calmly, logically and perhaps differently from other people. They may want to see if you will take the time to read the question a little more carefully and think long enough before blurting out the first answer that comes into your head.

There are loads of these questions online to try and even if you’re not going for an interview, it’s good to tease your brain occasionally and get it to look at things differently. These questions are designed to challenge your critical thinking abilities, and to test specific skills like creativity and logic. The more you practise, the better equipped you will be to deal with and find solutions for tricky questions and situations that might come up at work.

P.S. The answers are Mount Everest – it was still there before it was discovered; None – because it’s a hole – and 2nd place – you’re still behind the person in first.


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; The Muse

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[PODCAST] How Good Golfers Get Good with Graeme McDowall & Peter Arnott http://www.pgae.com/ask/podcast-how-good-golfers-get-good-with-graeme-mcdowall-peter-arnott/ http://www.pgae.com/ask/podcast-how-good-golfers-get-good-with-graeme-mcdowall-peter-arnott/#respond Thu, 18 May 2017 08:01:33 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=18837

How do we explain great players? And what can we discover when we ask questions like, “how do PGA tour players become PGA tour players”?

We’re sitting down with two guys, Graeme McDowall and Peter Arnott, who have some interesting concepts that might explain a lot of the “luck” and “mystery” surrounding great players.

Ecological psychology is really the study of how organisms act in their environment, how they adapt, and how they become functional in their environments.

One of the key concepts explains how we are able to directly perceive our environment and how we are able to scale movement solutions to that environment. This essentially reverses the paradigm – you’ve got to find the problem first, then come up with a solution.

With an ecological dynamics approach, you don’t give the organism any solutions. Instead, you just give it appropriate problems and let the organism (golfer) come up with the solution. Because we are all different in the sense that we are unique, we act with creativity and novelty.

For instance, you see all these guys in the PGA Tour with different movement patterns, but they are effectively doing the same thing and that is behaving functionally in the environment.  Each of them has come up a unique solution to a problem. The human system is very smart. It has evolved to adapt to the demands of his environment. These are empirical chase-able theories and facts that you put down that we can present a lot of literature to support these in motions

The human system is very smart. It has evolved to adapt to the demands of his environment. These are empirical chase-able theories and facts that you put down that we can present a lot of literature to support these in motions

We just need to provide it with an appropriate environment and an appropriate level of development and the whole organism will be capable of whacking whole things out and you’ll have such as self-organization.

Real World Example of Great Players Adapting to the Environment

One of the great examples of this is from Padraig Harrington when he talks about his junior golf development.

He talks about being a part of a group of players who used to play games for money every day and quite simply, if you couldn’t hole a putt for money, you had to leave the group. If you couldn’t develop that competency, if your skill couldn’t emerge to a high enough level you would have to leave the group because you couldn’t afford to be a part of this group.

Padraig talks about never ever being concerned with technique, but only that they knew how to get the ball in the hole.

We talk about this certain illusion of form following function.

When you look at the PGA tour you see a lot of different golf swings, grips, and techniques. Some of these are techniques you wouldn’t necessarily want to teach someone . What you are seeing there is people who have learned to do something that is a function.

Learn to get the ball in the hole, “This is the way I get the ball in the hole, my technique has just emerged”. It doesn’t necessarily resemble a particular standard.

It doesn’t always look optimal, but I am going to get this ball in the hole because those are the demands of the environment placed on me.

That’s what Harrington is describing here. He is saying that his environment growing up was such that if you couldn’t learn to hole putts for money, then you had to leave the group.

You see a skill being emergent; they didn’t really concentrate on the technique. They were just figuring out a way of getting that ball in the hole because of the constraints that were part of the environment.


About Graeme McDowall

Graeme has an MPhil in Sports Coaching from the University of Birmingham and is a full-time Golf and Sports Coaching lecturer at the SRUC in Scotland. He is also an associate lecturer and a PhD researcher at the University of Abertay Dundee.

His main area of research is skill acquisition in sport and as well as being a practitioner in this area with the high-performance golf programme at the SRUC, he has worked with coaches in rugby and football. Graeme is currently involved with some of the world’s leading experts in non-linear pedagogy, in a project aimed to bring coaches, academics and education professionals together to raise standards in player development.

Follow Graeme on Twitter Here

About Peter Arnott

Pete Arnott is the Teaching Professional at Craigmillar Park Golf Course. Pete is currently studying a MRes in skill acquisition and has worked with all levels of golfers, from novice to European Tour Players, using a constraints-led approach. Indeed, recently one of his star pupils, Nastja Banovec, won a very prestigious Professional Tournament (The Paul Lawrie Invitational) whilst still an Amateur.

Peter has also just recently returned from talking to over one hundred delegates from all sports at the English Institute of Sport on how he puts ‘science’ into practice and has been asked to talk at several high-profile institutions as a result. Basically Peter specialises in creating effective practice environments, which enable a greater transfer from practice to play.

Follow Peter on Twitter Here

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What’s in your Coaching Toolbox? Increasing Your Knowledge, Client Base & Income http://www.pgae.com/ask/whats-in-your-coaching-toolbox/ http://www.pgae.com/ask/whats-in-your-coaching-toolbox/#respond Tue, 16 May 2017 23:33:31 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=8454

‘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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Coaching Confidence: 3 Ways to Help Players Pre-Tournament http://www.pgae.com/ask/coaching-confidence-3-ways-to-help-players-pre-tournament/ http://www.pgae.com/ask/coaching-confidence-3-ways-to-help-players-pre-tournament/#respond Tue, 16 May 2017 13:03:45 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=12219

“I found something on the range”. A typical quote that you hear from time to time from players who have just shot great rounds in tournament golf.

Coaching at tournament sites or coaching players in the time leading up to tournaments can provide unique challenges for coaches; from dealing with pre-competition anxiety or working with a player who is convinced they need to be ‘patched up’.

In my experience, knowledge of the mental challenges that a player may be experiencing tends to (not surprisingly) be aligned to what experiences the coach themselves has had with tournament play. This is not necessarily a bad thing (depending on the coach’s experience) but what I’ve tried to do below is highlight some general factors from a psychological perspective that might help your coaching in pre-tournament situations.

Coach the situation

Why will a player come to see you close to competition? I’d be willing to bet that the majority of lessons arranged (with existing coach-player relationships) within a week leading up to a competition are by players looking for a fix of some kind due after poor recent performances.

The tendency in such moments might be to over-coach or get sucked in to the player’s dilemma whilst the situation calls for something completely different.  A strong coach has an acute awareness of these situations and has an ability to remind the player of the longer journey, to show evidence of progress made to date, to listen well and to simplify and refine rather than introduce new ideas.

Take some time to think about your tendencies in these situations. Do you get drawn in to the player’s ‘problem’? At these times pay attention to the bigger-picture: What are the factors that may be impacting on the player? What do you need to filter to be effective?

Comedian and Counsellor

Away from technical expertise one of the main tools a coach has is his or her ability to communicate.

At tournament sites or close to tournaments in many ways a coach becomes much more like a counsellor or psychologist. How you relate to the player in these circumstances can directly influence how the player feels, which in turn can impact on performance.

The image I have of Butch Harmon working with players around tournament sites is one of jokes and laughter not heavy technical work. I’m not suggesting you need to turn into a comedian to be effective but a greater awareness of how your tone and words can impact on a player will be useful.

Being open to simply listen intently as a player talks through concerns may sometimes be most useful for the player at this time. Don’t under-estimate the impact this can have.

Also near competition it’s worth reminding the player how far they’ve come to get to this point. What specific progress have they made? The current tournament is always the next measurement post rather than a final exam. Playing ‘down’ the current tournament is nearly always helpful for golfers.

Always seek to gently adjust the player to the playing environment, from a technical mentality to a playing mentality. This may go against your natural instincts as a coach. Help the player adjust by providing tournament scenarios (“now you’re on the 6th tee”) while reminding them that they have some of the feelings associated with tournament play will help them play better and should be embraced rather than feared.

Article-Header-Images_Jonathan-Bint_Phil-Butch

‘Giving’ a player confidence

The coach who could pass on confidence like a magic pill would command great power in the world of golf. Confidence or lack of is probably the most used explanation for if a player is playing well or poorly.

There is a great mystique about how confidence can come and go for players. “If only I could have had the confidence I had last week”. The idea that someone else can give or pass on confidence is a bit misleading but knowing a little more how a player obtains confidence is a useful tool for any coach.

Roughly speaking, confidence derives from a few factors: being prepared (and feeling like you are more prepared than others you are competing against), a track record of quality practice (and a perception that you’ve practiced better than peers); having the experience of beating a similar group of players that you’ll be competing against, use of competition specific imagery, running through scenarios that you may face within the competition; being able to use self-talk for reinforcement; and being able to perceive high arousal as helpful.

Obviously, the confidence ‘recipe’ is complex and will be different for each player but in general the following ‘rules’ should help coaches facilitate feelings of being confident in the players they are helping:

  1. The closer to tournaments the more simple instructions should be.
  2. Remind players to focus their efforts on controllable factors; praise and encourage a player to take pride in doing the simple things well.
  3. When reminding players of successes use fact-based evidence. Confidence doesn’t feed off half-truths or hopes.
  4. Take time to check in with player for understanding? How does the player understand what you’ve just said? Uncertainty is a confidence killer.
  5. Help the player adjust to a performance mind-set; use language that will remind a player to be target focused and playful rather than analytical.
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Benchmarking Performance: A Facility’s Secret Weapon http://www.pgae.com/ask/benchmarking-performance-a-facilitys-secret-weapon/ http://www.pgae.com/ask/benchmarking-performance-a-facilitys-secret-weapon/#respond Wed, 10 May 2017 12:18:13 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=18191

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

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

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

 

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

Here’s what to consider when benchmarking…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resource:

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

Planning:

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

Understand the Limitations:

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

Be sure to benchmark against a comparable set of venues…

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

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

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

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

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

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

————————————–

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

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2017 Open Championship PGA Member Ticketing Details Announced http://www.pgae.com/news/2017-open-championship-pga-member-ticketing-details-announced/ http://www.pgae.com/news/2017-open-championship-pga-member-ticketing-details-announced/#respond Wed, 10 May 2017 09:04:41 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=18798

Royal Birkdale Golf Club, Southport, England

17 – 23 July, 2017

PGA Members from PGAs of Europe Full Member Countries have once again been granted complimentary access to the Open Championship.

This year’s championship will be staged at Royal Birkdale from July 17-23 and PGA Members should purchase daily tickets for their own use.

The purchase price of the ticket will be printed on the ticket and this price will be reflected in the refund. Refunds can be obtained by registering at the PGA Member Marquee and documentation will be issued to take to the on-site HSBC Bank.

Membership cards MUST be produced for the registration process and refunds should be claimed as soon as possible – before 5.00pm and 3.00pm on the final day. Refunds cannot be issued at any other branch of HSBC during or after the event and must be claimed on the day for which they are valid – no tickets can be refunded for a previous day or in advance.

As last year, season tickets should not be purchased as these cannot be refunded. Members are welcome to bring guests into the PGA marquee subject to space being available.

Ticket details are available @ www.theopen.com

Image courtesy of Reuters Media Express
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VIDEO – How to Balance Projects With Jason Glass http://www.pgae.com/ask/video-how-to-balance-projects-with-jason-glass/ http://www.pgae.com/ask/video-how-to-balance-projects-with-jason-glass/#respond Tue, 09 May 2017 14:22:17 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=16618

Learn from Jason Glass about how to balance projects and do them all at a very high level. Great info for the entrepreneurial coach.

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An Essential Guide to Learning About Learning: A Curated Reading List For Curious Coaches http://www.pgae.com/ask/an-essential-guide-to-learning-about-learning-a-curated-reading-list-for-curious-coaches/ http://www.pgae.com/ask/an-essential-guide-to-learning-about-learning-a-curated-reading-list-for-curious-coaches/#respond Mon, 08 May 2017 12:02:41 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=12714

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

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

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

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

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


ATTENTIONAL FOCUS AND MOTOR LEARNING: A REVIEW OF 15 YEARS

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


MOTOR SKILL ACQUISITION: AN ESSENTIAL GOAL OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION

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

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

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


NON-LINEAR PEDAGOGY UNDERPINS INTRINSIC MOTIVATION IN SPORTS COACHING

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

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

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


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

PGAs of Europe - Curious Coaches - dynamicalRECOMMENDED BY COREY LUNDBERG

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

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


BONUS TOP 10 BOOKS ON LEARNING

RECOMMENDED BY MICHAEL HEBRON

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

PGAs of Europe - Curious Coaches Michael Hebron Reading List_01

PGAs of Europe - Curious Coaches Michael Hebron Reading List_02

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

Happy reading!

–Corey Lundberg & Matt Wilson

 

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[PODCAST] Actionable Social Media Trends and Stats to Help Guide Your Marketing in 2017 http://www.pgae.com/ask/podcast-actionable-social-media-trends-and-stats-to-help-guide-your-marketing-in-2017/ http://www.pgae.com/ask/podcast-actionable-social-media-trends-and-stats-to-help-guide-your-marketing-in-2017/#respond Sun, 07 May 2017 11:46:34 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=18619

We are excited to share our third, very special bonus podcast episode with you on important social media trends and stats going into 2017!

Our bonus episodes offer a fun change of pace from our traditional “interview-style” episodes on The Science of Social Media. Get to know the hosts Hailley, Kevan, & Brian a bit better as they share thoughts on the future of social media – complete with actionable takeaways and useful insights.

This week we’re chatting all about our brand new State of Social Media 2016 Report! 3 major trends emerge from the study, including the peak of video marketing, Facebook remaining atop the pack, and the importance of customer service on social media.

A huge thank you to all of you for joining us every week for brand new episodes. We appreciate you taking the time to listen and for your amazing support over the last few weeks. We’d love to hear from you on iTunes or using the hashtag #bufferpodcast on Twitter.

“That’s what I see social media in 2017 being – Understanding why you’re there and then creating something awesome for the people that you’re hoping to reach on that channel.”

3 Themes That Stood Out to Us From the Survey

Theme #1

The first takeaway is that video is on the rise and about to hit the peak. If you ever wanted to get into video marketing, now is the time to do so! We found that there are some inherent challenges that people are experiencing that are keeping them from fully joining.

Theme #2

No one has really left Facebook like everyone was saying might happen once organic reach dipped. From our study, about 9 out of every 10 marketers use Facebook and 9 out of 10 use Facebook Ads. I think some of the response to the dip in organic reach is people moving to Facebook Ads. So, marketers finding a way to make the most of that giant network.

Theme #3

Only 1 in 5 survey respondents – so 1 in 5 brands, 1 in 5 marketers – use social media for customer support. And that was shockingly low for me. At Buffer customer support has been very key to us and it has been key for a lot of the brands that we admire. That feels like a really neat opportunity for brands to stand out.

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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/ http://www.pgae.com/ask/every-shot-counts-using-the-revolutionary-strokes-gained-statistics-to-improve-golf-performance-strategy/#respond Tue, 02 May 2017 11:21:17 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=18776

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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[PODCAST] David Leadbetter – Coaching Through the Generations http://www.pgae.com/ask/david-leadbetter-coaching-through-the-generations/ http://www.pgae.com/ask/david-leadbetter-coaching-through-the-generations/#respond Tue, 02 May 2017 03:02:24 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=15332

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Article-Header-Images_David-Leadbetter_02

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What Does a PGA Professional Bring to Your Club? http://www.pgae.com/ask/what-does-a-pga-professional-bring-to-your-club/ http://www.pgae.com/ask/what-does-a-pga-professional-bring-to-your-club/#respond Mon, 01 May 2017 20:55:44 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=18649

IrishGolfer.ie and the PGA of GB&I’s Paul Wisniewski explore what benefits a PGA Professional can bring to a facility and why they add huge value to the whole business…

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A question often asked is, What value does a PGA professional have at a golf club? The answer can be quite a lot.

Does your club have a PGA Professional?  Are you looking to recruit one?  Perhaps you had one in previous years but not anymore?  Times have changed and so has the role of the PGA Professional at club level.  In the heady days of property booms and third houses a PGA Professional at your club was seen as a sign that things were good, that business was strong and having the pro there was just something that clubs did.

Fast forward a few years and clubs saw their incomes drop and many responded by letting their PGA Professional go (or perhaps not taking on a PGA Professional) as they perhaps didn’t see the value that they brought.  Nowadays though, the modern PGA Professional is an invaluable asset to a golf club and it’s great to see how diverse and integral the role has become once again, the role of the PGA Professional is back where it belongs.

Given the right circumstances and direction a PGA Professional can add significant revenues to any club.  The logo for PGA Professionals contains the phrase “The heart of golf” for a good reason.  It’s not because they’ve gone through rigorous training and feel they deserve it. It’s because they’ve gone through rigorous training, have learned about golf clubs from the inside out, have likely spent more time in golf clubs than even the most dedicated club members and they are the lifeblood of any club.  The PGA pro doesn’t only stand in the shop to answer your questions anymore, they are involved in so much more behind the scenes and here are some of the ways in which a PGA Professional can add value and revenue to your club;

1. Knowledge

A PGA Professional goes through an intensive three-year training programme covering all aspects of golf club management as well as the physical aspects of playing the game.They have a broad knowledge of everything required to run a golf club and can be a great source of knowledge on a wide range of topics from membership to marketing.

2. Revenue

This is a key area in any business but in a golf club there are so many ways to increase & control revenue. Why not engage with your current PGA Professional and ask their advice on this and see what they can come up with? Equally as important as revenue is cost control and again the training that PGA Professionals receive puts them in a unique position to advise and assist with this.

3. Customer service & interaction

The person at a golf club who has the most customer interaction is the PGA Professional (43%, with the next person being the GM at 13%). They are the face of the club.Whether it’s a members competition on a weekend or a friendly fourball playing on a Tuesday afternoon, the PGA Professional is likely to be the person who greets you, explains the club policies, encourages you to have dinner or buy a shirt from the shop and this interaction can lead to repeat business and of course the increased market perception for your club.

4. Advice

More and more PGA pro’s are being asked to join in on committee meetings to offer advice and guidance.This is wonderful to see but many more Irish clubs could benefit from the input of a PGA Professional in this area.It shouldn’t only be competition committees, the PGA pro can be a useful asset in any committee, they know your club as well if not better than you do, they know all your members, they get direct feedback from every single visitor and surely that should make them the first name on the committee sheet?Don’t forget too that your PGA Professional is also a great source of knowledge on the latest equipment, clothing and many can even advise on some nutrition and exercise regimes if you’re so inclined – this is an under-utilised but greatly effective members asset.

5. Lessons

Many people only see the PGA pro as just being someone you go to for lessons – obviously this is far from true but lessons are a big part of what a pro can bring to a golf club.If a member can get a lesson from a good PGA Professional at their home club then they will do so.Players from other clubs can come to your PGA pro for lessons too which increases the public profile of your club. Moreover the pro can give introductory lessons and programmes aimed at getting people into golf who have never played.This can result in membership increases and further revenues for the club.Did you know that if someone takes lessons they play 20% more golf, spend 65% more on F&B and spend 70% more on retail?

6. Marketing

This is an interesting one as along with the pro and the manager, marketing was one of the first things to be cut when revenues dropped in Irish clubs.Through their personal contact with golfers your PGA pro is marketing your club, through giving lessons to non-members your PGA pro is marketing your club, through their interaction with other PGA pros and through them being very good at their jobs your PGA pro is marketing your club.It doesn’t always have to come down to spending money, but if it does then your PGA pro is well positioned to advise you on where is best to spend it.They eat, sleep, live and breathe golf, if it’s happening in golf they will most likely know about it so why would you not ask their opinion?

7. Member recruitment & retention

A recent survey found that 100% of people who took coaching lessons from their PGA Professional stayed as a club member the following year. That’s a staggering statistic when you consider the membership turnover in many golf clubs.When it comes to member recruitment the PGA Professional is probably the first person that any prospective member will meet.They will come in to ask questions, get forms or to play a round and see what the course is like.The pro can have a huge impact on recruitment and an educated, friendly face who knows about the club is the ideal person to have dealing with new members.

These are just some of the benefits of having a PGA Professional at your club, there are so many more and to talk to someone at the PGA about it or if your club is looking to recruit a PGA Professional you should contact Paul Wisniewski at the PGA Irish Region on Email: paul.wisniewski@pga.org.uk or Telephone: 085 8821756.

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5 Quick-Fire Ways to Master Your Marketing http://www.pgae.com/ask/5-quick-fire-ways-to-master-your-marketing/ http://www.pgae.com/ask/5-quick-fire-ways-to-master-your-marketing/#respond Mon, 01 May 2017 15:41:54 +0000 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.  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.

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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.

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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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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/ http://www.pgae.com/ask/the-value-to-organisations-of-offering-career-support-to-staff/#respond Mon, 01 May 2017 15:35:07 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=18631

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 Difference Between Winning & Losing with Jon Stabler & Dr. Deborah Graham http://www.pgae.com/ask/the-difference-between-winning-losing-with-jon-stabler-dr-deborah-graham/ http://www.pgae.com/ask/the-difference-between-winning-losing-with-jon-stabler-dr-deborah-graham/#respond Thu, 27 Apr 2017 08:53:32 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=18636

We’re going to take a look at personality traits and see what we can learn by seeing what separates the elite golfers (who can win) and those that don’t. Our guests have done the testing only directly with players on the LPGA, PGA, and Champions Tour players.

We keep treating people like a machine, and we don’t address the controller.

If you don’t have control of yourself, your thoughts and your level of arousal, you have no chance.

The 8 Trait Study

Dr. Deborah Graham set out to see if there was a difference between the frequent winners and the other LPGA tour players in terms of personality traits.

She had them take the Cattell 16PF personality test and then took data on each players’ career record. Creating groups of the ‘frequent winners’, and then she had a ‘near champion’ group, who had won once or twice but been on tour for a while, and a ‘non-champion’ group who’d been on tour a long time and never won.

Then using statistical analysis software she analyzed and compared the groups and compared them by personality traits. The analysis said that on eight of the personality traits, the ‘frequent winner’ group was different from the other two groups, and the level of statistical distinction was at the 95th percentile and above. On the 9th trait compared, the level of statistical distinction dropped down to the 60th percentile.

The difference between the champions and the other players is night and day. The champion group lines up on these traits and the other players do not. Those eight traits existed; Dr. Deborah discovered them.

A Case Study

(From Jon Stabler) Gary McCord had known us for quite a while, in fact he had us consult on Tin Cup. When he turned 49, he’d been commentating already for a while, he liked it, life was good but he wanted to take advantage of the opportunity the senior tour presented. He wanted to play, but he didn’t want to change his life. He didn’t want to give up the commentating, he didn’t want to go into a major effort to get ready and came to us for help.

A little back story on Gary, he played 376 PGA tour events in his PGA tour career, he made 242 cuts, no wins.

After we got the results back of his assessment, it became somewhat obvious where his challenges were. He only lined up on two of the eight champion traits. He was off the mark on the other six, but there were two of those, one in particular that was the most damaging.

He measured very high on the abstract scale. The frequent winners on tour do not. They only measure slightly above average on the abstract side of the scale. His biggest challenge is quieting his mind and making a decision he can commit to in a short amount of time.

The old cliché is ‘paralysis by analysis.’

On tour, if you are the first to hit, you have 40 seconds by the time you get to the ball. You can’t think about all the options. You have to come to a decision pretty quickly and play the shot. If you are over the ball and still thinking about what you are supposed to do and what you need to do and think about whether you have the right target or whether you have the right shot, or making adjustments because the wind just came up, there is no way you are going to hit the ball well.

Once he understood that, he was able to keep it simple, game plan the night before, so all the thinking is done when in a more relaxed state. Secondly, listen to your intuition. What we found is that people high in the abstracts scale have really good intuition or first impressions. Go with the first impression. Don’t over-think it. Thirdly, on the putting green, read the putts from behind and below the hole and then stop. Don’t second-guess it, don’t go to the other side of the hole, it will just give you too much information, you’ll get confused.

With that work and basic mental routine information, Gary was able to go out and win in the rookie year on the senior tour.

He won 2 out 17 events with the same guys he couldn’t beat on the regular tour.

————————-

About Jon Stabler

Jon Stabler is co-founder of GolfPsych. Along with being a co-researcher and co-author in the personality study of golfers and the resulting book, “The Eight Traits of Champion Golfers”, Jon has developed and conducts our GolfPsych group schools and Instructor training programs. He has worked with numerous competitive juniors, pros and college teams including TCU, SMU, A&M and Baylor.

Jon invented the Mind Meter used in GolfPsych schools & programs. It enables GolfPsych clients to quickly learn to manage emotions and attain optimum tension levels for golf shots.

About Dr Deborah Graham

Dr. Deborah Graham is a licensed Counseling Psychologist specializing in golf performance. Working with professional and amateur golfers from around the world, her client list includes over 380 players on the PGA, LPGA and Champions Tours, 21 of which she helped guide to 31 major championships. She was recently chosen by Golf Digest to their first Top 10 Sport Psychologists in Golf list!

Beginning in 1981 with a study of LPGA players she determined the statistical differences between champion and average players on tour, collecting data with the assistance of LPGA hall of fame member, Carol Mann. The findings helped earn her doctorate and discovered 8 critical personality traits for success in golf. This study was duplicated on the PGA and SR. PGA tours with the assistance of her husband, Jon Stabler, again finding the 8 champion traits and forming the foundation of the GolfPsych mental game training system. These studies and their Tour experience resulted in their book, “The Eight Traits of Champion Golfers”, published by Simon and Schuster in 1999.

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5-Star Walker Receives Prestigious PGAs of Europe Award http://www.pgae.com/news/5-star-walker-receives-prestigious-pgas-of-europe-award/ http://www.pgae.com/news/5-star-walker-receives-prestigious-pgas-of-europe-award/#respond Wed, 26 Apr 2017 10:30:02 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=18693

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Keith Marriott Becomes PGA of Switzerland President http://www.pgae.com/news/keith-marriott-becomes-pga-of-switzerland-president/ http://www.pgae.com/news/keith-marriott-becomes-pga-of-switzerland-president/#respond Wed, 26 Apr 2017 07:01:04 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=18734

The Swiss PGA held its General Assembly 2017 at the Golfpark Holzhäusern.

Bruno Griss [pictured left] was leading the assembly at his last year of his 6-year presidency. In his presidential speech he reviewed the achievements made during his two presidential terms and he acknowledged the contribution of all the board and committee members during that time.

The members elected Keith Marriott [pictured right, alongside General Secretary, Irene Oberländer – centre], Head Pro at Golf de Geneve as new SPGA President 2017-2019. All the existing board members have been elected for an additional 3-year term. To replace the vacancy in the baord, Gianlucca Patuzzo, GC Lugano was elected as new board member.

The assembly was visited by more than 130 members. They received greeting messages from our partner organizations ASG, ASGI and ASG GolfCard Migros. Luca Allidi, ASG board member, highlighted the importance of a close cooperation between all players in the Swiss golf market. Hans-Peter Schild, Head ASG Migros GolfCard, emphasized that Swiss PGA Pro are now allowed to take PR-exams in any of the Migros Golfparks (upon pre-registration and no teaching on the driving ranges). Yannik Odiet, ASGI representative and Swiss PGA member reiterated that more than 70% of their members have a handicap of higher than 27. That is a big business opportunity for golf teachers. To support the golf Pros, ASGI with the support of the Swiss PGA will now introduce a new Golf Pro Search engine on its website.

Many of the participants enjoyed the dinner after the General Assembly meeting old friends.

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New Rules of Golf Decision Limits Use of Video Review http://www.pgae.com/news/new-rules-of-golf-decision-limits-use-of-video-review/ http://www.pgae.com/news/new-rules-of-golf-decision-limits-use-of-video-review/#respond Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:01:20 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=18730

The R&A and the USGA have issued a new Decision on the Rules of Golf to limit the use of video evidence in the game which takes effect immediately.

The two organisations have also established a working group of LPGA, PGA Tour, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America representatives to immediately begin a comprehensive review of broader video issues that arise in televised competitions, including viewer call-ins.

New Decision 34-3/10 implements two standards for Rules committees to limit the use of video: 1) when video reveals evidence that could not reasonably be seen with the “naked eye” and 2) when players use their reasonable judgment to determine a specific location when applying the Rules. The full language of the Decision can be found here.

The first standard states “the use of video technology can make it possible to identify things that could not be seen with the naked eye.” An example includes a player who unknowingly touches a few grains of sand in taking a backswing with a club in a bunker when making a stroke.

If the committee concludes that such facts could not reasonably have been seen with the naked eye and the player was not otherwise aware of the potential breach, the player will be deemed not to have breached the Rules, even when video technology shows otherwise. This extends the provision from ball at rest moved cases, which was introduced in 2014 (Decision 18/4).

The second standard applies when a player determines a spot, point, position, line, area, distance or other location in applying the Rules and recognises that a player should not be held to the degree of precision that can sometimes be provided by video technology. Examples include determining the nearest point of relief, or replacing a lifted ball.

So long as the player does what can reasonably be expected under the circumstances to make an accurate determination, the player’s reasonable judgment will be accepted, even if later shown to be wrong by the use of video evidence.

Both of these standards have been extensively discussed as part of the Rules modernisation initiative and The R&A and the USGA have decided to enact this Decision immediately because of the many difficult issues arising from video review in televised golf.

The standards in the Decision do not change any of the current requirements in the Rules, as the player must still act with care, report all known breaches of the Rules and try to do what is reasonably expected in making an accurate determination when applying the Rules.

Video-related topics that require a deeper evaluation by the working group include the use of information from sources other than participants such as phone calls, email or social media and the application of penalties after a score card has been returned.

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “We have been considering the impact of video review on the game and feel it is important to introduce a Decision to give greater clarity in this area. Golf has always been a game of integrity and we want to ensure that the emphasis remains as much as possible on the reasonable judgment of the player rather than on what video technology can show.”

USGA Executive Director/CEO Mike Davis said, “This important first step provides officials with tools that can have a direct and positive impact on the game. We recognise there is more work to be done. Advancements in video technology are enhancing the viewing experience for fans but can also significantly affect the competition. We need to balance those advances with what is fair for all players when applying the Rules.”

The R&A and the USGA will consider additional modifications recommended by the working group for implementation in advance of 1 January 2019, when the new code resulting from the collaborative work to modernise golf’s Rules takes effect.

Find Out More @ www.RandA.org

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PGA of Holland 2017 CPD Schedule – Open to All PGA Members http://www.pgae.com/news/pga-of-holland-2017-cpd-schedule-open-to-all-pga-members/ http://www.pgae.com/news/pga-of-holland-2017-cpd-schedule-open-to-all-pga-members/#respond Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:16:34 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=18704

Various events from the PGA of Holland’s extensive 2017 CPD schedule are open to all PGA Member Professionals from across the PGAs of Europe’s Member Country PGAs.

Details can be found below and by clicking the links to enquire/find out more.

DATE TITLE PRICE HOURS LOCATION
22 May Force Plate €180 8 The Dutch, Netherlands
18 Jul Decade Course Management Systems Seminar, Scott Fawcett €250 ex VAT 6 The International, Netherlands
31 Jul Jo Mayo/Jeff Smith/Sasho Mackenzie €300 De Goyer, Netherlands
12-14 Sept Instinctive Golf Coaching European Summit €600 24 TBC
09-10 Oct Bioswing Dynamics Level 1 €500 16 The Dutch, Netherlands
11 Oct Bioswing Dynamics Level 2 €250 8 The Dutch, Netherlands

18 July – Decade Course Management Systems Seminar, Scott Fawcett

31 July – Jo Mayo/Jeff Smith/Sasho Mackenzie

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Are You Ready For Your Golf Club’s Biggest Challenge? http://www.pgae.com/ask/are-you-ready-for-your-golf-clubs-biggest-challenge/ http://www.pgae.com/ask/are-you-ready-for-your-golf-clubs-biggest-challenge/#respond Fri, 21 Apr 2017 10:57:07 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=18625

An innovative professional who is visible to members, visitors and guests and who understands the needs and challenges facing a modern golf club,’ was the final attribute in a job advert for a Director of Golf at a private members club.  

Jane Carter looks at the growing trend to put PGA Professionals at the heart of what is often a golf club’s biggest challenge: growing the business.


Too often conversations with golf club committees start with the words, “We have stopped the PGA Professional’s retainer. We just didn’t think we were getting value for money.” When you quiz them further it’s clear that, in their eyes, value for money is all about driving more revenue. Quiz them again on how they are expected to do this and ‘marketing’ is the buzz word.

A quick scan of the Situations Vacant pages reveals much the same: ‘Be responsible for a marketing strategy which covers all areas of golf operations,’ ‘boost membership,’ ‘increase green fee income’ and ‘improve the visitor experience’ are just some of the things clubs now want their PGA Pros to be responsible for.

Like it or not, the trend of putting a PGA Professional at the heart of revenue generation is a growing one, and what a fantastic position for you to be in. As I have written in this column before no one should know the business better than you. Are the members happy (retention?). Is the golf course busy? (Visitor/society business) If not why not? Is there a steady pipeline of potential new members? All of it revolves around the PGA Professional.

Many Professionals worry they don’t have the right skills but I guarantee that if you understand your golf club business, selling it is not that tough. You are already doing more than you think. The trick is to leverage that even further – and make sure the business knows you are at the heart of it.

However, the biggest issue facing the Professional when asked to market a golf club is simply whether the club really means it: I have seen enthusiastic marketing committees, newly recruited marketing managers and PGA Professionals buzzing with ideas to drive more revenue, suddenly hit a brick wall when it starts to actually happen. What started out as a happy collaboration can quickly turn to recriminations.

So if a golf club is turning to you to take the lead in revenue generation, here is my top ten checklist of the steps that you need to have in place:

  • Check that the golf club is really signed up to increasing the business. They may say they want more visitors but when they start appearing do the moans start coming? Setting revenue targets is the best way to test that commitment.
  • Know the business. Understand the green fee yield; course utilisation; membership attrition (especially in the newer member category); membership recruitment and how successful it has been in the past. Deal in facts not fiction.
  • Sit down with the golf club committee and set revenue targets around visitors and societies. Be realistic and careful to manage the expectations and fear of committees about too many visitors. Interestingly, they never feel they can have too many members!
  • Write a marketing plan. Perform one activity every week in the summer and less frequently but still regularly in the winter. It sounds a lot but consistency and repetition are the key.
  • Pricing is crucial. Sit down with your committee and agree a green fee pricing matrix for all times of the day, week and year. You would be surprised how innovative you can be. Discounting is part of any price matrix but also look for revenue generation through better green fee yield, upselling and repeat business.
  • Collect data. It will be at the heart of everything you do. Remember the old adage that 80 per cent of business is driven by 20 per cent of customers. It’s vital that you know and communicate with that 20 per cent on a regular basis…and your golf club will love you for it!
  • Surround yourself with the right tools: a marketing plan, a pricing matrix; a easy to manage and segmented customer database, an email campaign system, a mix of offers and promotions and a spreadsheet to monitor results.
  • Get ahead. Successful marketing happens because of successful implementation. Write your green fee marketing schedule for 2017 now. You know what is happening next year and the key events you can target. Don’t wait until they are upon you and probably at a time when you are at your busiest.
  • Agree a commission structure. If the business grows (and it will) you want to be rewarded for your efforts. Make it performance related and set realistic and achievable targets. If the green fee revenue is currently £30k and you believe you can grow it to £40k ask for a higher rate of commission on that £10K worth of ‘new’ business.
  • Tell them what you are doing and show that it is working. This is even more crucial in a volunteer structure where members don’t really see the day to day operation of their golf club. Set up a simple report covering the key revenue streams and send it round every month. Ask for a regular slot at the main general committee to give your report.

Building their trust in you to do a good job will take time and it’s important not to drive things too quickly. Green fee business is the simplest way to start but ultimately membership recruitment and retention are all significant revenue generators and as the trust builds so can your input in those key areas.

This article appears courtesy of Golf Retailing. For more information and to subscribe to the Golf Retailing Newsletter visit www.golfretailing.com.


Jane Carter is the Director of Golf Unlimited offering marketing strategy and implementation advice to golf clubs. She regularly delivers ‘Visitor and society marketing’ and Membership retention and recruitment’ workshops on behalf of England Golf.

For a full list of workshops now and in 2017 go to www.golfeducation.co.uk or contact her directly at jane.carter@golfconsulting.co.uk.

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Applying a Yield Pricing Criteria to Your Group Booking Business http://www.pgae.com/ask/applying-a-yield-pricing-criteria-to-your-group-booking-business/ http://www.pgae.com/ask/applying-a-yield-pricing-criteria-to-your-group-booking-business/#respond Fri, 21 Apr 2017 06:19:10 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=18646

The last part of the series of articles from Promote Training, the golf club management eLearning specialists, looks at how any club can apply yield-based pricing criteria to their group booking business.

It is difficult to talk of driving green fee revenues in a group-booking context without talking about variable pricing strategies. And you can’t talk about variable pricing strategies without talking about yield management. According to Wikipedia yield management is:

“…a variable pricing strategy, based on understanding, anticipating and influencing consumer behavior in order to maximise revenue or profits from a fixed, perishable resource”

Understanding, anticipating and influencing your customers starts with the analysis of the correct data – a statistical trawl of what’s going on within the business, especially on the golf course. The depth and level of the data we can derive and the analysis thereof drives the criteria we can use to vary our pricing points.

Month

Many clubs are operating a basic variable pricing strategy already – they charge a lower amount for winter group bookings knowing they’re a ‘harder sell’. Conversely, some coastal clubs with great drainage actually charge a premium.

Day of the Week

Again, some clubs are already doing this. At its most basic, they are charging a premium to play at the weekends. Some charge slightly more to play on a Friday as well. In most cases, Monday to Thursday is lumped in together and priced the same.

Number of Participants

This one is less practiced in the UK industry and a significant opportunity. A group booking of 120 people is extremely precious and quite rare (in most clubs) – why wouldn’t you price it accordingly? You probably wouldn’t get 120 paying visitors if the group booking didn’t exist – so you can afford to lower the price and still be significantly better off. Conversely, a group booking of 8 people isn’t as lucrative in terms of monetary value and may restrict a larger booking enquiry coming in afterwards – isn’t that something that should be charged at a premium?

An important additional point to your terms and conditions are needed here – “If any discounted or agreed price is on the basis of a minimum number, this set price will only apply if on the day the set number of participants attend”. A golf day arriving with less than the number confirmed could push the price up – that’s not something easily communicated to the organiser if they didn’t know it could happen.

Tee Times Booked

All clubs have popular and unpopular tee times. Unfortunately, many clubs only have a gut feeling as to when they are. Knowing precisely what your peak and off-peak tee times are allows you to vary the price for group bookings. If 2pm is usually very quiet, why wouldn’t you offer a discount? If 9am is usually very busy, why wouldn’t you charge a premium?

Sales Window

We’ve already spoken about our desire to increase the sales window – to encourage organisers to book early so we understand the future group booking trends earlier and can take action as required. A variable pricing strategy that encompasses this criterion can help shift the window.

Exceptions

This is a slightly different criterion but something that needs to be considered carefully – those odd days that confound our data-driven criteria. For instance, Mondays in April may be quiet – but what about Easter Monday? That has the potential to be quite popular. Fridays in September may be quite busy – but what about the week the Head Greenkeeper is doing his biannual hollow coring and top dressing? Should you be charging a premium on this Friday for a course in less than perfect condition?

No Catering

It’s probably an unfortunate consequence of a wider society change that in many clubs, group bookings are choosing to have less and less catering elements to their event. Where once the majority of bookings had a sit-down 3-course meal at the end of the day – at many clubs today they are in the minority. So, can we box a little clever here and add a silent ‘No Catering’ surcharge to the events that have little or no food? There’s nothing more frustrating than an enquiry coming in afterwards that want the full 3-course presentation dinner included but can’t get the tee times because a booking with no food at all has already confirmed.

The word “silent” in this instance means that the organiser doesn’t get to know they’ve been charged it – it simply gets added onto the green fee. Keeping it silent in this way provides a great opportunity to offer a discounted catering up-sell nearer the date of the event. It will be perceived as a discount by the organiser but won’t actually be a discount for the club – it will simply be the removal of the no-catering surcharge.

A variable pricing strategy based on just these seven criteria can have a dramatic impact on a golf clubs’ group booking revenues. In some instances many prices will be discounted – sometimes quite aggressively. In other cases, by understanding when we’re busy prices will be increased. But in both circumstances, they will be priced on a fixed criteria derived from historical fact. From a quantitative perspective, that’s something difficult to argue against.

Promote Training give away a Group Booking Pricing Tool with their “Driving Green Fee Revenues” eLearning course. Visit www.promotetraining.co.uk to learn more about this, and other strategies to grow your club’s green fee revenues.

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PGA of Canada CEO Gary Bernard Announces Early Retirement http://www.pgae.com/news/pga-of-canada-ceo-gary-bernard-announces-early-retirement/ http://www.pgae.com/news/pga-of-canada-ceo-gary-bernard-announces-early-retirement/#respond Wed, 19 Apr 2017 07:01:02 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=18750

Gary Bernard, Chief Executive Officer of the PGA of Canada, has announced early retirement plans starting later this summer the association’s President announced in a news release Tuesday.

“It is with a strong sense of impending loss that I inform you of the decision by our Chief Executive Officer to take early retirement. Effective July 31, 2017, Gary Bernard will leave his post as Chief Executive Officer of the PGA of Canada to focus on his health, his family, and to pursue lifestyle dreams,“ Steve Wood, President of the PGA of Canada wrote in an email to members released Tuesday.

“Gary has been with us 14-years, and has been CEO since 2010. During that time, he has significantly strengthened our financial position, our education program and our brand. He has brought the PGA of Canada to a position where it is regarded as being among the most respected in the world.”

Wood, Director of Golf Operations and Head Professional at St. Boniface Golf Club in Manitoba, said that the CEO’s departure is not related to, nor would it alter, the association’s current evolutionary process. “We have been in a change process for several years and we are confident that we will emerge from this process better equipped to serve our members and drive our brand. Gary is leaving us in a strong position financially, with a healthy and vibrant membership base, one of the best training programs and insurance packages in the business and a trained and experienced national office team capable of maintaining operations.”

“The golf landscape is shifting dramatically due to lifestyle realities that have the potential to impact every organization in the channel. We are looking at those shifts, at our operations, at our professional skill sets and assets to implant a business model that will best meet those realities and enable us to better serve our members.”

“Gary is an energetic and strong leader and a loyal and committed friend to the PGA of Canada and he will be missed,” Wood said.

Established in 1911, the PGA of Canada is the second oldest and third largest professional golf association in the world. The PGA of Canada is a non-profit Association comprised of 3,700 golf professionals across the country.

Since joining the PGA of Canada as a National Education Learning Facilitator in 1995, Gary Bernard moved up the education ranks to become the association’s Chief Executive Officer in 2010. He took over operational management of the PGA of Canada following the 2009 recession and embarked upon a significant financial turn-around, guiding the PGA of Canada to record seven consecutive years of surplus.

His Masters degree in Education has heavily influenced his management style. Staff training and development and Board development and leadership training have been hallmarks of his management. Turning his training skills to membership performance, he increased the conversion rate of ELITE Cohorts into “Class A” designation. He introduced a new professional development platform, which has received strong support from golf teaching professionals. He is a strong believer in the use of technology to deliver operational efficiencies.  Under his tenure, his team implemented the PGA of Canada digital magazine; became the first to use drones to enhance the broadcast of PGA of Canada events and has maximized the use of social media to strategic advantage.

He is a past Chairman of the National Allied Golf Association.

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Mobile Technology and Future of Travel http://www.pgae.com/ask/mobile-technology-and-future-of-travel/ http://www.pgae.com/ask/mobile-technology-and-future-of-travel/#respond Sun, 16 Apr 2017 04:21:44 +0000 http://www.pgae.com/?p=12860

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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