I still remember the phone call to my parents telling them I wanted to take my Accounting degree for a ride in the Golf business. It was pretty quiet on the other end. It’s not that they were against it - more like didn’t have the concept of it! Having grown up in the 30’s and 40’s in rural South Dakota, the thought of making a living teaching Golf was foreign. Thankfully, they warmed to it after a while. In August of 2018, I celebrated 35 years as a Class ‘A’ member of The PGA of America thanks to the understanding of Maynard and Patricia Hatch.
I’ve taught thousands and thousands of students of all ages. I was named Golf Digests Best Teacher in South Dakota six or seven times – actually, I forget. My students have won numerous State Championships and have also played on every major Professional Tour (except the Seniors, don’t have anybody there yet).
I’ve been a trained Golf club fitter since 1991 – back when it wasn’t very popular. I was one of 100 PGA Professionals invited to PGA Magazine’s first two National Club Fitting Conferences in 2010-11 to discuss the business of Club Fitting, and the plight of today’s PGA Professional on the lesson tee in general.
I’ve also cleaned clubs, the hot dog roller, and the bathrooms. I’ve picked the range and run the vacuum cleaner. I’ve written the newsletter, done the e-mail marketing, and I’ve refinished woods…yep, woods.
On the lesson tee, I help people learn about good positions, good balance, and the rhythm and the tempo that’s good for that person. I’m always ready to tell different people different things based on their body type, their flexibility and their overall athleticism. I see the golf swing in shapes, and it seems everyone’s shape is a little different. If my student doesn’t learn, I can’t call myself a teacher.
That being said, my key to a successful Golf lesson is helping my student to play better. Rather than trying to impress with all the things I know, I’d much rather focus on the one, two, or three things that are going to make my student better, today. The idea is to help each person play better and enjoy the game more, not make everyone try to swing like Rory or Tiger.