Jason Baile, the 2019 Carolinas PGA Section Teacher of the Year, is the PGA Director of Instruction at Jupiter Hills Club in Tequesta, Florida.
No matter the student, it is very important for coaches to focus on their outcome goals – what do they want to accomplish and what are they willing to do to reach those objectives? To have that buy-in from a student is crucial. You then have a player who is “all in” and trusts the expertise he or she will receive from your team. The question is: Do you have that right environment to match that trust and exceed their expectations?
At Jupiter Hills, I’ve brought in the help of golf fitness expert Lance Gill, who is on the tee and in the lesson bay with me and our students. We work as a team, each providing our expertise to create a checks and balances system for golfers. They get a holistic picture of what needs to happen for them to reach their goals. Once you’ve laid the groundwork for a team-based experience, there needs to be visual evidence.
Sometimes that means focusing less on technique and more on eliminating injuries. Lance and I may have a golfer come to us who is more of a “patient” than a student. In that sense, we’re trying to eliminate injuries, not create them. So, if they’ve had shoulder surgery, we’ll plan a program that includes motion enhancements that help the golfer swing freely without worrying about getting hurt.
In essence, we’re turning the coaching experience from transactional – one lesson, once a month – to transformational, where we’re actually morphing the golfer’s swing into something that can work for them and leads to accomplishing their goals.
For a noon lesson, our ultimate goal is to have a student arrive in our nearby wellness area at 11:15 to warm up with some stretching. By the time noon rolls around, they’re ready to treat the issues in their golf swing and enhance performance.
Any coach can create a wellness area – there’s no need for anything highly-technical. Establish a pad of turf with a stretching cage, medicine balls and something to throw them against, resistance bands and a stretching pole. The area can serve as a good base for students to use to warm-up. It can even be a place for group activities, where you can coach students on posture or proper pivot. When there’s an environment for success and improvement, it helps hold the student more accountable, too.
Golf fitness is one vital piece of the overall performance puzzle. Proper equipment, technique and mindfulness also play a role in making a coaching experience transformational. Put all those pieces together, and you can provide golfers with a holistic, outcome-based approach that’ll help them achieve anything they put their mind to when playing this game.