Are you a golf coach looking to start coaching beginners’ golf? As I’m sure you’re aware, golf can be a particularly frustrating game for any player, but it’s particularly hard for those just starting out.
The game doesn’t come naturally for any self-starter or beginner, and that’s why most who are new to the game need and that’s why they need a good coach.
When it comes to teaching new golfers how to play, coaches need to have patience and a good grasp of the fundamentals of the game. At the base level, you are trying to get your students to master the core skills of golf; which are the grip, the stance, and the swing.
In this guide, we’ll go into a little more detail about what makes a good coach and how to introduce beginners to the game so that they enjoy playing just as much as you and I. Firstly lets tee it off with the basics of coaching.
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How To Teach A Beginner Golfer
Teaching a beginner any form of sport is always a challenge Particularly when it comes to a game as complicated and as frustrating as golf, there’s no wonder why approximately 14% of people who take up golf quit because the game is hard to play.
That’s where you come in.
As a golf coach, you’re not only a resource for technical information; you’re a motivator, a mentor, and someone who’s there to help your client enjoy the sport. Sure, you need to help your clients understand the basics of the swing, but that comes secondary to ensuring they’re having fun playing golf.
Providing motivation and setting realistic milestones are key to helping others enjoy the game. There’s no point in meeting your clients once a week to pick up from where they last left off.You want to challenge them to get playing or practising between your sessions. That’s where they can improve on what you’ve taught them and how they’ll grow into enjoying the game.
Making lessons enjoyable for adults is important but if you want to teach kids it is EVEN more crucial your lessons are enjoyable. Find out what age kids should start golf lessons with tips on keeping kids focused in our article.
One other key point to remember is patience. Everyone new golfer gets frustrated after their first lesson because of the expectation that they’ll turn up to the range and things will click straight away. Clients can easily get frustrated during their early lessons because they don’t see immediate results, and that’s where good golf coaches need to remember to be reassuring and patient.
If a client is used to gripping his/her club the wrong way it will take weeks or even months for for them to become accustomed to the correct grip, for your client to understand why they sometimes need to get worse in order to get better see our guide.
Next comes coaching good technique.
This is also vital because you need to ensure you’re not coaching bad habits into your students. Coaching bad technique can cause problems and even injuries later down the line.
From coaching the correct grip to keeping a steady stance, you need to ensure your student understands the basics before they get out onto the course, and that can take anywhere from two to three lessons to get right. Check out our guide on how many lessons it takes a person to become a competent golfer.
Here are four points you should be focusing on when coaching beginner golfers.
Teach The Right Grip
Believe it or not, having a good grip can drastically change your accuracy with the club in hand.
The critical thing to remember is to make sure your students aren’t gripping the club too tight. The harder they grip, the more likely they’re going to try to hit the ball too hard, and that causes fat shots. This might be a reason why your clients or people you know wear out their glove far too quickly. To see our complete guide on caring and cleaning golf gloves see our guide.
You should hold a golf club like your holding a birds head, not too hard so you will injured the bird but not too soft so the bird can escape.
When gripping the club, right-handed beginners should adopt a neutral pose with their left hand clasped around the top of the club, with their thumb pointing directly down the shaft. The club’s grip should then loosely rest in the cradle of your student’s hand.
The right hand then comes around the left, with your pinky finger interlocking with the forefinger around the club, with their thumb also facing down the shaft.
Keep A Steady Stance
The art of a good golf swing is keeping your head and body still while you rotate through the shot. Setting up, you want your students to first configure their feet shoulder-width apart, at a comfortable distance away from the golf ball.
To do that, your students should address the ball holding the club with a straight arm. Once over the ball, students should have a little flex in their knees and be tilted in their hips over the ball.
But it is vitally important that they keep their back straight and still as they rotate through the shot. Locking your back out prevents you from moving around mid-swing, which can cause you to chunk the shot or slice it.
If you have older or clients who are out of shape, perhaps they have muscle balances that are preventing them for bracing their core and keeping their back straight. Recommend them to read this article as it speaks about the 6 main muscle groups used in golf and how to strengthen them to keep healthy playing at any age.
Focus On The Backswing And Downswing
The backswing is perhaps more important than the downswing. It initiates the shot and can cause the player to hook or slice their shot if done poorly.
My top tip when coaching the backswing is to get your student to bring their club back in stages. I often use the hands on a clock analogy, where six o’clock is the starting point of the swing, 3 o’clock is half a backswing, and 1 o’clock is a full swing.
Start by getting your student to come to 3 o’clock, making sure they first keep their wrists locked and slowly bring the club back. Try to coach your students not to rush their backswing, which will lead them to strike through their downswing too hard and spoil the shot.
At the top of the swing, get your students into the habit of holding the shot for a millisecond. That helps them focus on keeping the rest of their body still before coming down on the ball. The downswing should follow a natural arc from the backswing, but do not forget to coach your students to follow through after they’ve hit the shot.
Rising after they’ve hit the ball, students should always aim to finish high with the club rising towards the target they’re aiming for.
Hit Down On The Ball With Good Ball Contact
Many people don’t realise that professional golfers compress the ball into the ground when they hit it. That’s how they get the ball to travel the extreme distances you see on the PGA and European Tours.
The goal of any shot is to strike the ball before you hit the ground. That’s a key point you should look to teach your students from the first lesson.
If you find your student taking a divot before the ball, you might need to think about how they address the ball, whether it’s too far forward in their stance or their body is moving too much on their downswing.
Typically the common cause is that they’re moving their body too much on the downswing. But that’s easily fixed by asking your student to reduce their backswing while also slowing the whole motion down, so they’re not trying to hit the skin off the ball.
That will help them bottom out after hitting the ball, creating a better connection on the shot.
The Rub Of The Green
Coaching beginners golf isn’t always an easy task, but it can be very rewarding. The key is to be patient and personable. Golf is already a frustrating game, so to get more people hooked onto the sport, coaches have to make their sessions fun and enjoyable to help students get into the game.
But remember, you also need to deliver a quality service that produces results for your clients, and that means rigorously ensuring they’re holding the club correctly, have good posture, and are hitting down onto the golf ball.
Once you’ve mastered these coaching points, you’ll start to pull in a ton of new clients on a regular basis.
Wondering if it’s better to hire a coach or learn how to play golf on your own? Why not check out our analysis of whether it’s better to go it alone or get golf lessons.