Where to Start:
Understand Your Students’ Needs

Adam Smith, the Middle Atlantic PGA Section’s Teacher of the Year in 2008 and 2016 PGA Professional Development Award Winner, is the PGA Head Golf Instructor at The Country Club of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia.

One of the most important aspects of coaching is to keep the student’s best interest in mind. Our players are at their best when their interests are being met with good instruction. This same notion applies to golf fitness programming.

As a golf coach, I am asked to give advice on golf swing movement improvements. The way I coach is very Socratic – for example, “What do you think you need to do in order to improve?” is a question I often ask of my students.

Truth be told, most golfers cannot get into the athletic positions necessary to swing properly. This is where the golf fitness trainer comes in. I recommend that every golf student undergo a golf-specific fitness evaluation, known as a “screening” in the world of Titleist Performance Institute (TPI). This evaluation will guide the golfer through a routine of exercises designed to increase mobility, and can serve as a bedrock for your golf fitness program because it helps you and your student establish a starting point.

The first step is for my student to meet with a certified golf fitness trainer. This new relationship builds an understanding that future golf lessons will be more productive and their skills will improve more rapidly. I email the student and certified trainer, suggesting they get together for a screening. The trainer quickly replies to the student to set up a meeting, including me on the email so I am kept abreast of their intentions.

After a few physical fitness training sessions, the student has a better understanding of their mobility issues. Also, they gain knowledge in what they need to do to improve their movements. The trainer and I discuss the student’s needs and I can then speak intelligently about the training routine while my student and I are on the lesson tee (pictured, far right).

All golf coaches should feel responsible for the health and wellness of their students by enlisting the services of certified trainers who have knowledge of the golf swing. If your facility does not have trainers onsite, look at the local golf fitness scene for help. Perhaps you can form a relationship with a trainer looking to do the same. My advice to all golf coaches is to partner with a golf fitness trainer, while keeping your students’ best interest in mind. It’s a winning combination that can be a catalyst to something special.