7 Tips for Junior Golf Parents to Finding Your Best Golf Coach

As the parent of a Junior golfer it’s important to release them to the professionals as soon as you can!

Our son, S3, has only had 2 coaches over the last 13 years.  Junior Golf coaches are called, Coaches, Swing Coaches or Instructors, for the most part –as differentiated from Coaches of a particular golf team –a high school or college team, for instance.

S3’s first swing coach was PGA Professional John Clay –a fine instructor, a fine man and a good family friend to this day.  When John moved to a different location, we had to find a new swing coach.  At a summer junior golf skills clinic at Olympia Hills Golf Course, we first met Tim – PGA Professional Tim Harford.  Tim was great with these youngsters, S3 was 7 years-old, I knew we had found our new swing coach.  Tim has been S3’s coach for the last 11 years and the 2 of them have produced great results!

Here are 7 tips to get you started:

1.  Select a PGA Professional Instructor.  In most cases, family and friends are not suited to be your Junior Golfer’s golf coach.  It is better to get proper instruction from the start, than to have your Junior Golfer exposed to some bad habits and having to fix them later.  A PGA Pro is your best choice.

2.  Consider the distance. Your coach probably has a driving range he or she likes to use; the closer they are the easier it will be to fit your practice schedule.  Proximity doesn’t kill the deal in the selection process but it should be a consideration simply for time sake.  I realize that in some cases you have no choice.

3.  Consider his or her track record.

  • Ask for referrals.
  • Ask about the success of their students.
  • How many have placed in or won tournaments?
  • How many are on junior high or high school golf teams?
  • What is their rank on the team?
  • Have any made All-District or been Regional or State qualifiers?
  • Are any attending college on a golf scholarship?

This is a big deal.  You want your Junior Golfer with a successful coach.

4.  Consider the cost.  Here in San Antonio, the price ranges from $25.00 per hour to $100.00+ per hour.   More expensive is not explicitly better; many times you are paying for more than the Pro, it could include range use, overhead costs, and secondary fees.  Usually we get 5-lesson packages from Tim and worked out a discount for range balls to go along with the lessons.  This made for a very reasonably-priced package. Don’t be afraid to ask!

5.  Consider the coach’s temperament. Go watch your candidates give a lesson to a kiddo about your child’s age.  How is the instructor with this age group?  You will see differences, so go watch several lessons by different PGA Pro’s.  Be sure to select a coach who tells the students what to do, rather than one who tells them what not to do.  This is very important.

6.  Consider the coach’s teaching style.

a. How much does the coach talk during the lesson?  We have found that less is better.  You will see some coaches that talk incessantly and give their students a zillion things to remember.  Run the other way!  Your child’s brain is a sponge and if they soak up all that chatter they will be overwhelmed and never get any better.

b. S3’s Coach, Tim, keeps instruction simple and to a minimum.  For the past 11 years we have never seen Tim raise his voice or get angry.  He is soft-spoken and has an amazing knack for giving his students only 2 or 3 things to work on when their lesson is over.  And his students improve their golf game!

7.  Consider the coach’s interaction with your Junior Golfer.  You won’t really know this until you have had a few lessons.

  • Ask your kiddo if they like working with Coach X.  You may be very surprised at the answer if your JG tells you they don’t like this coach, but didn’t want to say anything because it might upset you.  You must ask this question because if your JG doesn’t like the instructor, they won’t learn much, if anything.
  • Does the coach return your calls, texts, or emails promptly?
  • Are they willing to work your child in for a lesson on little or no notice?  If this one won’t, there are plenty that will.

When you find the right coach, you and your Junior Golfer will know it.  You will have made a good and trusted friend.  And you may have two different coaches, one for initial instruction and one for more advanced techniques.

Now, start looking!  Have some fun!! – Sam

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Bryan Wilson on September 5, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    Excited to find this site. Our son is 11. Looking for a coach where we live. Excited to explore things on this site for help and advice.

    Like

    Reply

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