A Major Issue Damaging The Game

Feb 24, 2019

Teaching the game of golf is my life, my livelihood and my passion. My academy puts food on the table, pays my bills, grows the game and allows me the opportunity to give back to my community. Each of these factors are very important parts of my life that I take very seriously and when I see a problem that affects any or all of those factors I take notice and address it with vigor.

The current issue that is damaging the growth of game, my livelihood and ability to give back to my community is uneducated "coaches" and non-professional "instructors" giving unsolicited advice to golfers. If, you have been to a range or a course you have seen these people and they are easy to spot. This is the group of people that plays the game and can shoot decent scores or not decent scores, but think that entitles them to teach others. A lot of them have helped at schools as an assistant, at clinics with other professional instructors or have friends and older kids they are helping. All the information they give is well intended and in an effort to make golfers better, but in reality they are making golfers worse and ruining any progress a golfer is making. What I find interesting about this group is the amount of texts and phone calls I receive from golfers and students complaining about them. This group is offending, upsetting and putting off new and experienced players. Some of them are so upset by these non-professionals they are walking away from the game. I had that conversation twice this weekend. One from a high school player and another from a brand new golfer who was learning and she couldn't get a moments peace to practice. A lot of parents, golfers and other coaches have had to tell these particular people to back off because a large majority of golfers already have coaches and are working on specific things.

This group is considered YouTubers or piggy backers because they regurgitate the most recent video they've watched or from a lesson they took. They also throw cliche terms and nonsense that the average players has no idea what they mean and it simply confuses they golfer and I've seen this first hand.

They don't realize the time, training, study, experience and natural talent that is required and goes into becoming a professional instructor. There is a reason people pay their hard earned money to professional instructors to improve their games, their significant others games, or their kids games. The feedback I have received over the past couple of months is anger and frustration towards these other individuals who aren't professional instructors. Again they are well intended in trying to help but they are hurting the game, their reputations and upsetting people to the point they are leaving the game.

This group doesn't understand the psychology, physics, physiology, game plans and improvement plans that are put in place for each individual golfers improvement. Everyone is different and needs to be taught with a different process to improve. That  vital part of improvement is ignored by the YouTubers and piggy backers because they don't know.

I personally wanted to see who the culprits were and verify the validity of the complaints so I recently went to work on my swing at a local heated range. Within 15 minutes it was obvious who the complaints were about and unfortunately I knew each one of them. I had 5 students that were there practicing and each student came down to tell me if they were told one more thing from any of these people they were going to freak out. Again I reminded them the information or help was well intended and to say thanks but no thanks. I then saw a father of student get into it with one of the piggy backers telling him to back off. I sat back and thought this is not only unacceptable but it is a much bigger problem than I imagined. 

Here is the best way to view this issue and why it is a problem. It is like a person who has read some info on Webmd then goes into a doctors office and begins helping patients. Or, someone who plays the guitar poorly, but tries to help a person who is taking lessons and has paid a professional to teach them. Or, someone who is learning tennis and they are approached and given advice by someone who plays just OK, but isn't a professional tennis coach. They haven't had the training, study, talent or experience like the professional coach but yet they still give advice like a professional.

In truth this group of piggy backers and YouTubers HAS NO BUSINESS COACHING OR TEACHING ANYONE! There is so much that goes into being a professional instructor it is an insult to those who have put in the time, energy, study, experience and travel to become an expert. This training comes over years and years of study, seminars, personal coaching, classes and traveling across the world to become an expert. The feedback coming from the average player who is receiving unsolicited advice from non-professionals is upsetting the core golfer, high school and collegiate parents as well as those players. This is a major issue that has to stop! But there is always going to be the person who's ego won't allow them to stop. They aren't content being the best player they can be. They unfortunately are hurting the game, hurting the professionals who depend on lessons for their livelihood and hurting the golf industry because golfers will walk away from the game instead of becoming enchanted by this magical game. 

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