This past January saw an important event take place for high school golf and coaches alike. The inaugural High School Golf Coaches Conference took place in conjunction with the PGA Merchandise Show. Over 80 high school golf coaches from across the country descended on Orlando for two days of learning, networking, and growth on how to be a better coach for their teams and players.
Seth Waugh, CEO of the PGA of America stopped by to greet the coaches and welcome them to the conference. “It’s shocking to us all that this is the first time that you have been invited, but it certainly won’t be the last.” Seth went on to say, “I’m jealous of you all, I think being a high school golf coach is one of the greatest jobs on earth.” Suzy Whaley, the President of the PGA joined the group as well, “Each and every day PGA professionals try to change people’s lives and impact them through the game of golf, and job well done to all of you for doing the same.”
Friday’s education speaking panel saw the likes of top 100 PGA and LPGA teaching professionals, world-renowned sports psychologists, leaders on rules, inclusion/diversity and professional teaching models. Given that this was the first year running the event, we wanted to ask the coaches why they chose to attend the conference. “Professional development, a chance to get to a warm climate from Dallas, an opportunity to play golf, opportunity to learn some new coaching techniques (drills, examples), make some connections to compared ideas” Coach David Phillip from Texas.
Saturday saw a full day of talks, on-course instruction and golf played by coaches and PGA professionals alike at Timacuan Golf Club. Jeff Hay, a PGA professional and coach at the Sean Foley Golf Academy welcomes the coaches with a talk on golf academies for high school golfers. Brendan Ryan, a college golf recruiting expert, spoke on the college golf recruiting process for any coaches who have players looking to play varsity golf in college.
On course instruction saw some incredible teachers take center stage for the morning session. A putting guru and recipient of the 2019 Southern California teacher of the year, Preston Combs, put on an interactive putting clinic where he presented usable drills for coaches to use with all of their players. Brech Spradley who has appeared on Golf Channel Academy and is a FCG Top 25 Elite Junior Coach in US discussed the most common swing mistakes for a high school golfer and how to fix them. Cleveland Golf presented coaches with an opportunity to try their latest technology and line of wedges.
When we asked Preston why he wanted to be involved with the conference, his response was simple, “When I was first approached about presenting with the NHSGA, I immediately recognized a tremendous opportunity. The unique chance to share quality information with a group that comes in direct contact with young people learning the game cannot be missed. Helping to establish a solid foundation for players that age is essential to their growth.”
For many of us, our best memories on the golf course are from our high school golf days. Our high school golf coaches are a big part of that. If you are a high school golf coach or know of one, don’t miss out on the opportunity to attend in 2021. For more information, feel free to email NHSGA Manager, Chris Noble at Chris@highschoolgolf.org