The Benefits of Being a Golf Coach

You’re More Than a Golf Instructor. Be a Coach!

This is Part I of a two part series on Golf Pros as coaches rather than instructors. In this newsletter, the Golf Pro Advisor will discuss the benefits of being a coach.

The February newsletter will discuss how to package and price your golf coaching services.

Golf Instructor vs Golf Coach

“Golf instruction is the art of equipping and training golfers to play better golf through improved awareness of swing cause and effects as a result of the actions by their body, the club, and their effect on the golf ball.”

“Coaching is training or development in which a person called a “coach” supports a learner in achieving a specific personal or professional goal.”  (Source: Wikipedia)

Golfers tend to book lessons to fix a specific problem (inaccurate drives, poor bunker shots, bad putting, etc). They work with a pro only when a problem arises.

The golfer’s goal is not so much to improve his/her game, but to get the game back on track, back to its previous level.

Golfers who hire coaches have a different mission. Their goal is to improve their games. And that goal is very measurable: a lower handicap or improved tournament performance.

Coaches work with clients regularly over a period of time. A coach proactively identifies the obstacles to improvement and systematically addresses those obstacles rather than addressing a specific issue of concern to their student.

Coaches do not focus on the quick fix. They focus on long term improvement of the overall game.

Golfers have very different relationships with coaches than with instructors. They use instructors infrequently and only to address a specific problem.

Golfers with a coach may see the coach as frequently as once or twice a week. And their sessions may be very brief, as short as 10 minutes.

For instance, the golfer may ask the coach for a few pointers before and/or after a round of golf on a weekend.

Outside of coaching sessions, coaches regularly monitor their clients’ performance. Coaches check clients’ scorecards and will periodically follow them for a couple of holes to observe their play during a regular round.

Why You Want to be a Coach

Golf coaches have several advantages over golf instructors

  • Your Club leadership sees you adding more value for members
  • Members see you as adding more value
  • You develop a closer bond with your members
  • You can make more money

According to the National Golf Foundation, 11% of golfers take lessons. That percentage may be higher at your club.

Still, golf pros face a double whammy: low lesson percentages plus declining golf club membership.

This trend threatens not only pros’ income. It threatens their job security.

This is particularly true for high salary senior head golf pros. Your Golf Committee may want to cut costs by bringing on a new head pro at a lower salary.

Members may perceive golf instructors as interchangeable. But loyal “clients” will perceive their golf coach as irreplaceable.

That’s called job security!

And then there is the money. Coaches can work with clients for several months at a time.

That means they have a predictable income stream and they get paid in advance. We will discuss this further in the February Golf Pro Advisor.

Many thanks to Ben Hoffhine, Head Pro at Wykagyl CC for his contributions to this article.

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