How to Become a Golf Coach
If you’re passionate about golf, you might decide that coaching golfers should be your full-time job. Coaching can be an incredibly rewarding career when you see the time and energy you invest into a player lead to major breakthroughs. Becoming a golf coach means you need to master the game, get certified and find work.
Mastering the Game
Get the right instruction.Before you think about coaching players, you have to make sure your technique is as perfect as can be. For that, you need to ensure you have the right knowledge. The best way to do this is to get your own coach as you learn the game, as they can correct any mistakes or bad habits as you make them. You can find a golf coach at your local golf course or country club, as well as a directory for Professional Golfers Association certified instructors on their website.
- Alternatively, you can find plenty of golf training online. For instance, you can find numerous Youtube videos delving into the finer parts of the golf swing.
Practice as often as you can.The best instruction will only get you so far if you don’t compound it with consistent practice. While you don’t necessarily need the skill level of a professional golfer before you can coach, you want to ensure you have a complete understanding of every aspect of the game.
- Go to the driving range often to fine-tune your swing, work on your short game and practice your putting.
- Play as many rounds of golf as you can; this gives you the chance to encounter many of the potential problems your clients will need help with.
- Play with a variety of players, and don’t be afraid to ask for pointers and guidance.
Study the intricacies of the game.There are many facets to golf beyond the swing, which you should expect to learn if you hope to become a coach. Learning the game of golf takes a lifetime of study and practice, but you need to make an active decision to learn. A skilled coach or instructor can help you with the finer points of golfing, as can reading books and online publications on the sport. The following are a few examples of what you need to learn if you hope to master the game of golf:
- Golfing stance: The positioning of your feet can have an important effect on your swing, and understanding this effect can help you guide your students away from common mistakes.
- Physics of golfing: Several physics concepts, such as rotational inertia and mass distribution affect the design of golf clubs and the gameplay itself.
- How to strike the ball: Where you strike the ball affects its spin and flight path, concepts that must be understood if they’re to be explained.
- Adapting to the course: Be it wind or the sand traps, players must learn to do more than simply hit the ball as straight and as far as possible. Sometimes these adaptations have to be made on the fly.
Play in tournaments.If you want to master the game, you need the best competition. At the amateur level, you’ll initially start playing at tournaments held by local golf courses and clubs. If you perform well enough, you might then be eligible for regional and national tournaments. International tours are usually played by elite professional golfers, though you may be able to get to this level with enough dedication and practice!
- You can ask about local tournaments at the clubs where you play, while larger competitions will be featured on the websites of various golfing associations, such as the United States Golfers Association or the Professional Golfers Association.
- Take these opportunities to network with other players, but not while they’re trying to line up a shot.
Getting the Right Certification
Look into university education.While not necessary for employment, a Bachelor’s degree in Golf Management can help you find work as a golf coach. These degrees usually cover management and business practices as well as coaching, preparing you for every aspect of this career. Make sure to look for a program sanctioned by the Professional Golfer’s Association (PGA), as these offer higher quality instruction and internship possibilities. There are 18 universities with PGA accredited program; the complete list can be found on the .
Get certification from a golfer’s association.Individual amateur players might not necessarily ask for a certification before using your services, but many employers will require certification. Certification programs can be relatively short, with 5 and 7 day courses available. A quality course will offer training beyond golfing practices, such as golf psychology, biomechanics, nutrition and the differences involved in coaching at different competition levels.Some associations offering golf coach certifications are:
- Professional Golf Teachers Association of America: This association offers certification second only to the Professional Golfers Association. Completing this certification allows you to find work in various settings, from golf clubs to universities.
- United States Golf Teachers Federation: While not as prestigious as other organizations, certification with this federation still qualifies you to teach golfers at any level.
Get certification from the Professional Golfers Association (PGA).Obtaining certification from the PGA identifies you as a professional golfer. As such, it’s a lengthy and expensive process, but can give you access to better paying employment opportunities and the ability to coach elite professional players.Obtaining certification from the PGA can be done in three ways:
- The PGA apprentice program: this requires a certain level of ability with golf as well as being employed full-time in a golf-related occupation to apply, and involves a professional golf management program.
- Completing a PGA Golf Management University program: Several universities accredited by the PGA offer their own golf management program, which typically lasts 5 years. Graduates earn a Bachelor’s degree and can apply for PGA membership.
- Class A members of the Ladies Professional Golf Association can take advantage of the Test-Out option, allowing them to transition to member status within the PGA.
Keep an eye out for openings at high schools and colleges.It might not be as prestigious or pay as much as a country club, but teaching golfers in high school can still be incredibly satisfying. Even if you see yourself coaching professional players, starting in high school or college clubs can give you the experience you need to reach your goal.
Look for employment at golf courses and country clubs.These employers typically look for certification in the coaches they employ, though this is not always the case. Begin by looking for golf courses and country clubs in your city. They might not initially hire you as a coach, but keep in mind many professional golfers start as caddies to gain experience in the sport before coaching or playing themselves.
Start your own business.If you have the necessary mindset for business, you might want to start your own coaching business rather than relying on job openings. As you develop your client base, you might find yourself coaching from home, or at your client’s home. Keep in mind that it’s particularly important to be certified if you decide to start your own business.
Coach at the professional or national level.Unlike employment at golf courses, having professional golf clients almost always requires professional certification with the PGA. Professional golf players typically seek out their coaches, which is different from applying to a job opening at a golf course or program.Continue coaching the most you can and playing the best game you can, and you might be chosen to coach a professional player or the national team.
- Being passionate about the game can help you get through the lengthy certification programs.
- Network while you play tournaments. Look for employment opportunities and possible clients.
- Certification programs can be rather expensive, consider them an investment in your future.
Video: How To Become A PGA Pro by Mark Crossfield and Coach Lockey
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