Not Just Par For The Course: Finding The Best Instructor For Your Junior Golfer

So you've got a young golfer on your hands. Your child has a love for the game and you think he/she has the basic skills to go with it. But you know that basic skills have to be built upon and the best way to do that is with some professional golf instruction. But how do you go about choosing the right coach for your child?

Find a professional

It's possible that your Uncle Chuck is an amazing golfer, but that doesn't mean he has the ability to teach your child the proper techniques. Your best bet is to find a professional instructor, preferably one who is accredited by the Professional Golfer's Association (PGA.) Instructors with a PGA accreditation are required to take ongoing courses to further educate themselves on golf and instruction skills. The techniques they hone by maintaining their PGA accreditation are passed along to your child. It's better to start with a professional, skilled instructor than to have to pay an instructor later to undo bad habits taught by a second-rate coach.

Location, location, location

Many instructors have preferred courses and ranges where they work. Are those places convenient to you? Will the commute back and forth be something you can manage for the long term? Golf instruction is an ongoing activity, and you will need to be able to fit it into your life as conveniently as possible. 

Look at the coach's track record

You may have been referred to a coach, but if not, ask the coach for referrals. Ask for both current and former students, so you can see why some have moved on. You also want to ask about the successes of their students:

  • How many have placed in junior tournaments?
  • Have any gone to college on golf scholarships or had partial golf scholarships?
  • How many are on high school golf teams?
  • Where do they rank on their respective teams?

Consider the costs

Golf instruction prices can range considerably. When you ask for price quotes, find out what the quotes include. Some quotes may seem high to you, but they might include driving range fees and ball costs along with instructor fees, while lower quotes may just be the cost of the instructor. It's always worth asking about packaged, all-inclusive fees, so you aren't hit with hidden costs you hadn't budgeted for.

Watch a lesson/Take a trial lesson

Some coaches may offer a free lesson to see if he/she and your child are compatible. If such a trial is offered, take the coach up on it. If not, be sure to watch the coach give a lesson to a child who is approximately the same age as your child. Watch the coach's style. Notice the following:

  • Does he/she raise his voice?
  • Does he/she give a lot of instruction the entire lesson, or does he/she just hit a few major points for the child to improve upon?
  • Is he/she patient? Easily frustrated? 
  • Is his style compatible with the way your child learns? Is he/she high pressure or laid back? Can you imagine your child enjoying his/her time with the coach, in addition to learning from the instruction given?

Golf is a wonderful way to learn patience, sportsmanship, discipline and success. A great coach will not only benefit your child's technique, but will also enhance your child's love of the game. Making the right coach choice will make a big difference in your child's enjoyment of golf, as well as his or her success in the sport.

For more information, contact Monticello Country Club or a similar location.