Sarah Bennett, Head PGA Teaching Professional at Three Rivers Golf Course near Chelmsford, UK, is one of the most experienced female golf professionals in the UK and makes extensive use of technology within all aspects of her coaching.
We caught 5 minutes with Sarah to find out a little more about how technology helps to boost and promote her coaching business…
Q. In which ways do you make use of technology in your day-to-day business?
I have a newly designed website which gives me the flexibility of online booking in conjunction with my old fashioned PGA diary! I feel the initial step for any client when booking is vital to communicate with their chosen Professional, so I always add a human element together with the technology. We can forget that booking a golf lesson for some is a big step, we can offer assistance and guidance making the customer feel at ease, which can’t be replicated solely with online booking.
This year I‘ve also finally become involved with Twitter and have a business Facebook page, which again helps me to communicate with my clients and other colleagues.
And then well, what can I say about the iPad! I use it with a JC Video app, using the split screen function enabling clients to view specific changes. The iPad is compatible with my newest edition of the Swingbyte 2, which is not currently available in the UK but I would recommend a look for sure when it launches. My customers have really found the visual aspect of using the iPad beneficial.
Due to my most popular lesson duration it is not logistically possible to use the Casio EX high-speed camera but it is still a super piece of equipment at 1/1000 frames second.
I still make use of my notebook but now combine it with technology, including the PGA Swing Guru app.
Q. What’s been the biggest change in your use of technology?
Social Media has been my biggest advancement this year in really growing the different arms of my business, and I’ve received very encouraging feedback so far!
Q. What do you do to ensure you keep up with fast-moving technological advances within the industry?
I visit the PGA Golf Show in Orlando each year, which is amazing and so much of my research is done that week. I attend the Demo Day and being a TPI Qualified and Plane Truth Instructor have access to the two of the best resources in the industry and the technological advances they use.
I also communicate with other instructors both in the UK and abroad, and keep up to date with social media experts who have really helped me to gain a greater understanding of the purpose of each platform and their uses.
I have a regular look at the apps that are available out there, especially the ones that can help me to reduce the volume of paperwork I have!
Q. How important do you think it is that pros ensure they keep up with the changing technological aspects of golf business?
I think for any professional businessperson it is vital to have an understanding and up to date knowledge of technological advancements, especially from a coaching perspective. But what’s really important is having the skill to utilise each one in the most effective and suitable way for each different client. I would certainly not use video with each pupil as this may not be fitting with their learning style, there is a danger to coach by “numbers” and not ball flight with the pupil becoming reliant on video.
I still think the best form of advertising is word of mouth and offering exceptional customer service, customers like to feel they are special, just because we all use and understand technology not all of my customers do so I need to make sure I allow for that.
Another tip is to make sure a professional’s use of new technology is carefully weighed up in this economic climate as unnecessary expenditure, or investment you might not get a proper return on, can harm the business without the correct research and calculation.
Q. What is your favourite piece of tech? [e.g. iPad, Casio, Twitter/social media]
I must admit without my iPad I could not email, video, use analysis apps, Tweet or check Facebook on the move!! I like it so much I have just changed to the iPhone. However, I do like a good discussion at the end of the day so it’s important to get the mix right!