How to Become a Golf Instructor
When many people think of a golf pro, they picture famous golfers like Tiger Woods.
However, most golf pros do not play on the PGA Tour. They are the managers of golf facilities and provide lessons to amateurs, conduct local tournaments, and focus on growing the business of golf. If you are interested in becoming a golf professional, there are several steps you can take to reach your goal.
Enroll in a Golf School
When you think of all the professions that you encounter on a daily basis, virtually all of the individuals have had some formal training and education. It is safe to assume that you want your family physician to have professional education and credentials with an understanding of current technology and practices. The same goes for the high school teacher, the plumber, and your dentist. The golf profession is no different.
In a formal golf educational program, you will avail yourself of training and instruction from expert golf professionals who have experience in the field and classroom. You will learn all facets of the golf industry and if teaching the game is of special interest, you will build a foundation of coaching and teaching that propels you into the golf instruction market with the tools to be successful. Taking lessons from an individual who “learned on their own” is never good advice. Would you hire a general contractor to build your new home who “learned on his own”? I would guess you would prefer someone with the credentials and education to get your house built the right way. There is no better place to get started in a golf career than the Keiser University College of Golf and Sport Management program. The College of Golf offers associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs for individuals who want to make a difference in the golf industry.
Teaching is a unique skill. In the end, a great golf instructor is someone who is a problem solver. The problem may rest in many different areas for each golfer. To be successful, the essential skills of a golf instructor include communication skills, likeability, knowledge, and the ability to encourage and motivate golf students.
Staying up to date with the latest technology trends is essential for modern golf instructors. The days of standing on the range with a few training aids and a bucket of range balls have been replaced with video analysis, launch monitors, and pressure plate sensors. Understanding the physical limitations of each client is critical in prescribing the best path towards a student’s improvement. The best golf instructors are highly educated in the physics of the golf swing, the biomechanics of the human body, and the technology used to measure student performance.
Employee or Independent
If teaching golf is your passion, there are a variety of options for you as you pursue a career in teaching. Some golf instructors operate independently, while others are on staff. As an independent golf instructor, it allows you more mobility, even visiting students at their homes. In today’s environment, teaching online is fast becoming a way for students to connect with their golf instructor. Working independently also gives you maximum flexibility when working part-time around a full-time job.
The more traditional golf instruction option is working at a facility as a golf professional responsible for teaching the patrons of the golf facility. As an employee of the facility, the golf professional will not only teach the game, but also administer golf tournaments, manage the golf shop merchandise, and promote the game within the community. The golf profession is a wonderful career for those that thrive in a service-focused environment with the ability to interact with a wide spectrum of golf enthusiasts.
There are some golf instructors with the sole responsibility of coaching and teaching. The Director of Golf Instruction works with the professional staff in offering golf improvement programs to juniors, women, beginners, and players of all skill levels. One of the reasons golfers quit playing the game is due to frustration in learning to play. A competent golf instructor mitigates these challenges and significantly improves the new student’s ability to learn the game. Too many golfers try to learn on their own or through a friend or colleague. The ultimate goal for the Director of Golf Instruction is growing golf participation, and with improved golf skills, studies show that golfers will play more golf!
The biggest challenge for a new golf instructor is not knowing what to do with a student or how to help them get better. The problem is getting a potential student to sign up for a lesson. Growing your teaching business involves three distinct pillars of marketing. The first step is to build your customer base. The second step is to get your existing customers to come back after their initial lesson. Finally, an appropriate pricing strategy must be established that is focused on your core audience.
No matter if you work part-time or full-time, whether you work independently or as an employee of a golf facility, part of your responsibility will be to build up your clientele. Personal marketing is key in building up the three pillars in marketing your teaching business. Today, this is referred to as organic marketing and involves personal efforts in networking, speaking to groups, building referrals, capitalizing on social media, and many other similar initiatives. There are many strategic marketing ideas to drive clientele to your instruction program. Rest assured, the business of teaching is just as important as the services you provide your golf students! Why should someone take a golf lesson from you? If you can answer that appropriately, share your answer through personal marketing.
For those golf instructors that enjoy competitive golf, make sure and allocate time from your schedule to compete in local and regional golf tournaments. Competing will help you become a better instructor while reminding you of the challenges and pressures of the game. It is sometimes very easy to forget what it is like to be nervous on the first tee. Competitive golf is not for everyone, but it is an advantage for golf coaches who occasionally play in tournaments. Performing well in tournaments also lends significant credibility to your teaching program. Students will listen attentively to your instruction when they know you are “walking the talk” when you explain golf concepts, swing dynamics, and the mental challenges of tournament golf.
Gain Deep Knowledge
Becoming a highly skilled golf instructor takes a lifetime of education, training, and coaching experience. It is difficult to be great at anything if you only do it periodically. For those that choose this career path, the intrinsic reward of helping new golfers play the game can nurture your own desire to improve your teaching skills. One of the best ways to propel your teaching skills is to attend golf instruction seminars and conferences. This is a great way of learning from more experienced golf instructors and develop industry connections that can help you in your career. Networking will allow you to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry and build relationships that will help your career grow as you gain new knowledge and skills.
Is Golf Instruction for You?
While becoming a golf instructor may seem like a dream job for many people, keep in mind that you will be outside much of the time working in the hot summer sun and cold winds of spring. But if teaching is for you, inclement weather will do very little to deter your passion. Is a career in golf instruction for you?
Becoming a golf instructor requires a unique blend of an analytical mind and an outgoing personality that works well with people. An analytical mind helps you make judgments on a golfer’s swing and develop a lesson plan that addresses their primary difficulties. An effusive personality helps because people respond to training when they feel the instructor understands their unique situation and is ready to work with them closely to build the correct skills and outline steps to improvement.
However, you are working with people, and likability and warmth are qualities that will go a long way in a teaching environment. At the end of the day, golf is a social sport, and utilizing social skills to improve golfer’s games is a useful teaching tool.
Each student will have different learning styles – some like it light and fun, others are serious and determined. A professional golf instructor is an exciting, constantly challenging occupation. Whether becoming part of an established golf course or operating independently, it does not demand tremendous overhead, and you can get started quickly. Patience, perseverance, and commitment to ongoing training will be critical elements in helping you grow and prosper as a golf instructor.
Contact us to get started today on your path to become a golf instructor with a degree from Keiser University College of Golf and Sport Management!