I want to find a coach that will make a difference

Once your child has started playing golf, started to progress and is beginning to enter a few competitions, you need to start thinking about finding a coaching and training environment that will benefit him or her.

You should start this process by making sure your child has the right coach. The first coach your child has will be fundamental to their development – this is where the foundations of the game are put in place. The right coach should also be able to advise you on all the other areas of the game, such as competitions, physical training etc.

You may need to accept that your child’s first coach, as good as they are, may not be the coach to take them forward as they progress in their golf career. It is also important to note that paying extra to get a better coach is money well spent. The next section will help you find the right coach for your child. Check with your local golf association for recommendations.

Track Record

The first thing to look for when choosing a coach is their track record. Look for a coach that has had success with junior players at an appropriate level. Ideally, a coach should have a good history of working with regional and or provincial champions and national standard juniors. Unfortunately, coaches with such good track records may not be readily available. It is, however, vital that you have some input from a coach that knows what it takes to progress in terms of coaching, training programs and competition.

It’s certainly acceptable to ask a coach about their track record and coaching successes. If a coach doesn't like to be asked, it is likely because they don't have a track record – so you'll only offend the ones you don't want to work with. Another good source of information is to ask other parents at practice and competitions, though you should be careful as some parents will tell you with great certainty who the best coaches are. As a general rule, it’s better to ask parents of older and more experienced juniors that have been around for longer and who are more likely to know the coaches in the area.

Qualifications

There are many levels of golf coaching qualifications, awarded by many different bodies. Perhaps most significantly, these qualifications show only that a coach has been on a course – they show no indication of what they have achieved. The most common qualifications in the Canada are from the PGA of Canada. The PGA of Canada is currently in the process of redefining its certification process to align with the Coaching Association of Canada’s National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP). Within this new certification program, individuals will be able to attain four different levels of coaching certification, as listed in the following section.

The four levels of coaching qualifications are:

  • Coach of new competitors context
  • Coach of development competitors context
  • Coach of high performance competitors context
  • Coach of elite competitors context

The best way to find which coaches have which qualification in your area is visit the CPGA web site.

Training venue

Finding the right training venue is an important component in your child’s development. Look for the following in a training venue:

  • Good facilities: well-kept grass turf or decent mats; quality range balls
  • Access to a golf course for on-course training
  • Variety in practice facilities, including putting greens, short game area, target greens
  • Covered or indoor facilities for inclement or winter weather
  • Good access to these facilities. (Ask yourself how much training will be done indoors, particularly during the winter)
  • Proximity to home. A player may often train three or four evenings a week and traveling can be a scheduling challenge, especially when trying to fit in school work.
  • Look for venues that have a good group of players of similar standard and aspirations
  • Look for venues that have successful older players for your child to aspire to
  • Look for venues where your child can get the ideal combination of individual attention and being part of a team among friends
  • Watch a few coaching sessions. Look for sessions that appear fun while promoting a strong work ethic
  • Most importantly: You need to find a coach that wants to make a difference!