Golf is a very different sport than many others given much of the team performance relies on individuals on the team playing their own ball. Coaching golf is even more difficult given your players are going to be scattered on a few different holes, players are varied in skill level from really good to beginners, and it is impossible for you to understand what is going on during an entire match since each player is playing their own game. For those of you that are new high school golf coaches, we wanted to share 4 important tips to prepare you for coaching a high school golf team.
- Seek help from other coaches – Many states have High School State Golf Associations where the golf coaches will get together to share best practices and help grow golf in the state. Although it costs money to join an association, it makes sense to join one especially if you are a new golf coach. Here is an example of the Golf Coaches Association of Wisconsin which is a very well run, historic association. Other coaches locally can be your best friends or your worst enemies.
- Know the rules of golf – Becoming an expert on the rules of golf takes years and even decades to master given there are always changes to the rules. We recommend making sure you have a copy of the USGA Rules of Golf book with you during matches. You can view the rules of golf online The USGA had a dedicated section on their website to make the rules of golf simpler and provide information and quizzes for people looking to become more knowledgeable on the rules of golf. USGA Rules of golf homepage
- Build relationships – Golf much like any business is a relationship-driven business. Depending on where your team will be playing and practicing, it is very important to develop a good relationship with the Head Golf Professional, Head Superintendent, Club Manager, and all course staff. The golf professional will be important to help you get course access and provide lessons to your players, the club manager will be key to having a successful year-end banquet for your team, and the superintendent will make sure your team is behaving on the course.
- Giving instruction – Being a golf coach is a tough job especially if you are not used to teaching golf as a full time job. If you are not well versed in the game, there are a number of resources out there both paid and free which can help give you advice on teaching tips and more importantly simple drills you can use for your team. Here is an example of a free article from GolfWRX citing 10 practice drills to improve your game. If you are looking for really focused drills and information on game improvement, I would recommend subscribing to a paid subscription with revolution golf. You will find out very quickly that some golfers will need much more help and motivation than others. Very skilled golfers are most likely taking lesson from the local PGA golf professional and as a coach, you should not interfere with those lessons. Spending your time and effort motiving the team and keeping the spirits positive will certainly help the team most given golf is a very mental game.
I hope these 4 simple tips will help you as a newbie taking on the challenge of coaching a high school golf team. Check out our high school golf blog for more resources and information that could be helpful to you and your team.