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USGTF anyone?


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#31 Parker19822

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 11:46 PM

I've always felt that the PGA program is more of a way to learn the golf course business, and not really a way to teach golf. Almost any good instructor is going to criticize the PGA teaching manual for being out of date, and overall, a poor instructional manual.

I understand that the PGA is like a fraternity to "weed" out those who aren't truly committed. 80% of the guys on this forum would love to quit their day jobs and work at a golf course if they could get paid enough, so making an expensive and time committed program to find those truly dedicated makes sense. However, the program produces golf business professionals and not golf instructors. As I mentioned in my response earlier, good golf instructors have either learned from a master teacher, or they are so passionate/ obsessed about the golf swing and helping golfers get better, that they do their homework on their own. Hell, there are non-certified golfers on this forum who could probably give a better golf lesson than half the USGTF and PGA instructors in the USA right now.

I know a class A instructor at a very prestigious San Diego golf resort who has stopped giving lessons and barely plays anymore because he spends all his time in the pro shop running the business side of things. I think this is the case for a lot of head pros at mid-high end facilities. When a PGA member gets his class A, he makes a conscious decision to either go down the instruction road, or the business/ management road. That's why courses have "head pros" and "directors of instruction."

In the end, I don't think it matter if you're a USGTF or PGA certified instructor. A good instructor is a good instructor. Period. However, if you're in geographical location with a competitive golf market, most courses only want guys in the PGA program. I'm not saying that is good or bad, it's just the way it is.


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#32 iteachgolf

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 12:38 AM

View PostParker19822, on 10 January 2010 - 11:46 PM, said:

I've always felt that the PGA program is more of a way to learn the golf course business, and not really a way to teach golf. Almost any good instructor is going to criticize the PGA teaching manual for being out of date, and overall, a poor instructional manual.

I understand that the PGA is like a fraternity to "weed" out those who aren't truly committed. 80% of the guys on this forum would love to quit their day jobs and work at a golf course if they could get paid enough, so making an expensive and time committed program to find those truly dedicated makes sense. However, the program produces golf business professionals and not golf instructors. As I mentioned in my response earlier, good golf instructors have either learned from a master teacher, or they are so passionate/ obsessed about the golf swing and helping golfers get better, that they do their homework on their own. Hell, there are non-certified golfers on this forum who could probably give a better golf lesson than half the USGTF and PGA instructors in the USA right now.

I know a class A instructor at a very prestigious San Diego golf resort who has stopped giving lessons and barely plays anymore because he spends all his time in the pro shop running the business side of things. I think this is the case for a lot of head pros at mid-high end facilities. When a PGA member gets his class A, he makes a conscious decision to either go down the instruction road, or the business/ management road. That's why courses have "head pros" and "directors of instruction."

In the end, I don't think it matter if you're a USGTF or PGA certified instructor. A good instructor is a good instructor. Period. However, if you're in geographical location with a competitive golf market, most courses only want guys in the PGA program. I'm not saying that is good or bad, it's just the way it is.
Agree with pretty much all of this.  The PGA does NOT teach you how to be an instructor.  That is done through hard work and learning from an individual/individuals not a fraternity of pros.  Most guys in the business are by no means great golfers, but that doesn't mean you can't be a great golf pro.  As I've said the PGA isn't the end all be all, especially in the teaching area, and the USGTF really hold virtually no weight in the golf industry.  If you want to be a great teacher, work your butt off and if you are good enough you will create a book of business, learn from the best teachers in your area, and read everything you can get your hands on.

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#33 titleiststafferpga

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 09:57 AM

The PGA of America's Teaching Manual does not "teach" you how to teach golf, it gives you the foundation of understanding the laws, principals, and preferences.  Once you become a PGA Professional it is up to the individual to where he/she wants to become an expert in golf.  For some that is strictly runing a Pro Shop, General Manager, Teaching Professional, Head Professional, or Director of Instruction.  Depending on what avenue he/she takes that is where they go to seminars, learn from the "best of the best" in the industry, and become mentored by another PGA Professional who all ready is excelling in that area of the golfing business.  Just because someone is a Head Professional and own his/her golf shop and has to spend a lot of time managing it since is is most likely a huge revenue for their income, DOES NOT mean they are not good instructors and/or good players.  Yes there are many club pros out there that don't play very often, but if you give them a chance to practice......they will impress you.  For someone to say that anyone in here that are not PGA Professionals can give a better lesson..........you are very wrong.

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#34 iteachgolf

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 10:53 AM

View PostlansdowneHP, on 11 January 2010 - 09:57 AM, said:

The PGA of America's Teaching Manual does not "teach" you how to teach golf, it gives you the foundation of understanding the laws, principals, and preferences.  Once you become a PGA Professional it is up to the individual to where he/she wants to become an expert in golf.  For some that is strictly runing a Pro Shop, General Manager, Teaching Professional, Head Professional, or Director of Instruction.  Depending on what avenue he/she takes that is where they go to seminars, learn from the "best of the best" in the industry, and become mentored by another PGA Professional who all ready is excelling in that area of the golfing business.  Just because someone is a Head Professional and own his/her golf shop and has to spend a lot of time managing it since is is most likely a huge revenue for their income, DOES NOT mean they are not good instructors and/or good players.  Yes there are many club pros out there that don't play very often, but if you give them a chance to practice......they will impress you.  For someone to say that anyone in here that are not PGA Professionals can give a better lesson..........you are very wrong.
So someone who is not a PGA member can't give as good a lesson as someone who is one?

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#35 gvogel

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 11:32 AM

This topic is very timely for me.

I am a 7 handicap, and I want dearly to get into the golf business. I am a 7 because I lack the type of flexibility that enables some of you to outdrive me by 40 yards, and i get nervous around the greens. Yet, I love golf, and I am able to hit shots - I have pretty good control over my golf ball. And, on occasions I have been able to watch better players, better than me, and offer sound advice.

So, I am enrolled in the USGTF seminar at the end of this month. I view it as a start - just that. would I give anything to study with Butch Harmon - you bet. I don't particularly care for Haney because I don't believe in the "one plane" or "on plane" golf swing. I would prefer to help most players play more like Nicklaus or Watson; a bit of leverage helps players who lack tremendous wrist flexibility get more distance. So, let's just say that I am of the Nelson school, not the Hogan school. I admire players who can get a lot out of the "Hogan" swing; it just never worked for me.

BTW, I won a club championship, played in the State Amateur, so I am better than the average bear. At 56, I think that I could get to 5 realistically with lots of work on the short game. But, i don't think that being a great player has as much to do with teaching as other people do. I understand why a good grip is essential to releasing the club properly, and why proper balance is very important. I understand what happens when a proper weight shift is made, and what happens when it is not made. And, most important, I think that I have a very good understanding of where higher handicap swings break down, and how to help fix them. I honestly believe that some PGA pros don't have that understanding, because the basic swing was so easy for them from the start.

Having spent most of my life first working for and then running a small business, then as a commercial banker, and lately as an accountant, I really don't feel the need to attend PGA or SDGA schools to help me learn the business side of golf. in fact, i could do a pretty good job of teaching accounting to PGA apprentices.

I am willing to go wherever I need to in order to help people play better golf - be it Malaysia, Australia, or Alaska. Since I live, breath and eat golf, I think that working in the business is probably the only way I can make a decent go of it for the long term.

Guess I'll have to report back after my experience with the USGTA program!

On Sundays, I used to play hickory

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#36 titleiststafferpga

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 12:06 PM

Would you rather get a lesson from someone who is a 5 handicap and knows the general side of the golf swing, or would you rather recieve a golf lesson from someone who is an accomplished player, has thousands of hours under the belt of watching an accomplished teacher give lessons, attended numerous teaching/coaching seminars, gives a ton of lesssons with documentet sucess and has the proper initials next to their name?

I rest my case

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#37 gvogel

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 12:13 PM

View PostlansdowneHP, on 11 January 2010 - 12:06 PM, said:

Would you rather get a lesson from someone who is a 5 handicap and knows the general side of the golf swing, or would you rather recieve a golf lesson from someone who is an accomplished player, has thousands of hours under the belt of watching an accomplished teacher give lessons, attended numerous teaching/coaching seminars, gives a ton of lesssons with documentet sucess and has the proper initials next to their name?

I rest my case

And I will reply. I have taken lessons from many of the best. Started with an old Scottish pro who was about 5' 6" tall. His diminutive stature kept him out of the ranks of very good players who could score. But, his attempts to keep up, and his study of the swing with guys like Bobby Jones and Leo Diegle and others of that ere, gave him an understanding of the swing that was second to none. Abrasive, yes. Knowledgeable, extremely. He had a very good track record of producing excellent amateur players in the area. And, because of his length, he might have been a 3 or 4 handicap. but he could get a lot out of a whippy shafted 46" driver back in the days of steel and persimmon.

Playing and understanding the swing are two different things. Give me the guy who had to work really hard to understand how the swing works, instead of the guy who was gifted enough to get a good working swing in a short time, and I will take the guy who was challenged every time.
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#38 titleiststafferpga

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 12:21 PM

gvogel - your post still stays within my point.........the person you are talking about has a proven track record of success with helping his students, studied the swings and sounds like mentored under somebody.  However, the majoirty of the TOP teachers are accomplished players.  If someone who shoots inthe high 70's once a month will not be a good teacher or have the customers.  Students want to see their instructors hit shots, or do a playing lesson.  If the teacher CAN NOT produce on the course during the lesson, the chances are the student will not come back.

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#39 iteachgolf

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 06:47 PM

View PostlansdowneHP, on 11 January 2010 - 12:21 PM, said:

gvogel - your post still stays within my point.........the person you are talking about has a proven track record of success with helping his students, studied the swings and sounds like mentored under somebody.  However, the majoirty of the TOP teachers are accomplished players.  If someone who shoots inthe high 70's once a month will not be a good teacher or have the customers.  Students want to see their instructors hit shots, or do a playing lesson.  If the teacher CAN NOT produce on the course during the lesson, the chances are the student will not come back.
Which of these TOP teachers are accomplished players, and currently play at a high level?  Who are these PGA Teaching Pros that are "an accomplished player, has thousands of hours under the belt of watching an accomplished teacher give lessons, attended numerous teaching/coaching seminars, gives a ton of lesssons with documentet sucess and has the proper initials next to their name?"  

Butch, Leadbetter, and many big names would love to shoot in the high 70's right now.  But I guess they didn't go through the PGA program so they don't count as good teachers.  The initials mean just that.  There are an overwhelming amount of teachers teaching tour players and have full lesson books who have no affiliation with the PGA.  Heck many of the big names, including Hank Haney and Jim McClean offer their own certifications and will flat out tell you the PGA is a big waste of money and time.   To say someone can't be a great teacher because they don't have PGA after their name is flat out ignorant and many choose not to be a PGA member for reasons other than not being able to pass the PAT.

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#40 Sigalep18

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 08:51 PM

View Posttitleiststafferpga, on 11 January 2010 - 09:57 AM, said:

The PGA of America's Teaching Manual does not "teach" you how to teach golf, it gives you the foundation of understanding the laws, principals, and preferences.  Once you become a PGA Professional it is up to the individual to where he/she wants to become an expert in golf.  For some that is strictly runing a Pro Shop, General Manager, Teaching Professional, Head Professional, or Director of Instruction.  Depending on what avenue he/she takes that is where they go to seminars, learn from the "best of the best" in the industry, and become mentored by another PGA Professional who all ready is excelling in that area of the golfing business.  Just because someone is a Head Professional and own his/her golf shop and has to spend a lot of time managing it since is is most likely a huge revenue for their income, DOES NOT mean they are not good instructors and/or good players.  Yes there are many club pros out there that don't play very often, but if you give them a chance to practice......they will impress you.  For someone to say that anyone in here that are not PGA Professionals can give a better lesson..........you are very wrong.

I work for the USGTF, and I respect the work of the PGA of America and its professionals.  

However, I would challenge the statement that I cannot give a better lesson than a typical PGA pro.  I have worked 21 years now as a teacher, played the game to a high level (having once been a +4 handicapper and a winner of 4 mini-tour events) and have been fortunate to have been around some very good teachers - both PGA and non-PGA.  And frankly, I have seen no difference in the teaching acumen, at least in the many teachers I've been associated with.

Yes, we have Class A PGA professionals come through our program, and in many classes I conduct there is at least one assistant sent by his PGA pro, paid for by the club.  I am disagreeing with your statement that the USGTF does not carry much weight; maybe it doesn't with you and your club and the area in which you live...I will not dispute that that does happen to us.  But we have far too many successful members nationwide to say the USGTF carries no weight anywhere.

But I would also like you to consider this:  most of our members are very accomplished professionals in their own right, and very intelligent.  We are not talking about stupid or unknowledgeable people.  If they are successful at passing our class, they can give a competent lesson to at least an average player right off the bat.  I've seen it personally, and that is the standard we set for full certification.

You might want to know that when our golf course needed someone to teach, our PGA director of golf turned to me...because he knew I was well-qualified.  If you're in a position to hire someone strictly to teach and will not hire that person solely on the basis of his/her being non-PGA, even if they are well-experienced like myself, you may well be passing over the best person for the job.

In closing, you might want to consider the statement your former CEO, Jim Awtrey, made in the May 1996 edition of Golf Shop Operations.  In arguing for expanding the qualifications for PGA membership, he said that there are many fine, qualified teachers who are not PGA members "because we won't let them be."

Edited by Sigalep18, 11 January 2010 - 08:53 PM.


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#41 titleiststafferpga

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 10:48 PM

This thread is getting way out of hand.  Many of the top teachers WERE or ARE great players.  They have the playing resume to back it up.  What I was trying to say is someone who has the credentials and has the playing backround will be an excellent intructor.  Someone who is not, will have a rough road.  
Yes the USGTF has produced good teachers, but those good teachers most likely have great playing remues.  That goes the same with someone that is PGA.  They too will have the playing resume to back up their credentials as a teacher.  No matter what avenue one takes to get into the buesiness, students WANT their instuctor to have that playing resume.......unless I am 100% crazy.....which I have been told before ;)

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#42 titleiststafferpga

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 11:18 PM

iteach - your post is very accurate...........yes there are many good teachers out there that are not certified with the PGA or USGTF, but they have the playing backround.  I don't know you, but have read your posts and can tell you know the golf swing; very well.  I bet you have the playing back round.  You might not have played on the PGA Tour, but you have the scores to back it up.  I bet you give playing lessons.......if you gave a playing lesson and stunk it up, do you think he/she would come back?  I bet you get lessons from people seeing you hit golf balls, its a way of life.  

In no way shape or form did I ever mean for my posts to be ignorant......my thing is to be a good teacher not only do you have to know the swing, but you have to have the playing backround.  Without the two, it will be an uphill battle.  Not saying it has not been done or never will, but will be very difficult.  

Take a former tour pro...say the hooters tour......say his name is John Smith........John quit the tour, never went through the PGA Program or USGTF program.......becomes a Director of Instruction as XYZ Club.  A year later, John is one of the most popular teaching pros in the area.  Why?  He had the playing resume.  

The PGA is not by all means the only way to go........but I am biased and I believe its the right way to go.  The USGTF is another avenue to go, but many people on this thread feel that it does not cary as much weight.   Maybee I had a bad experience with someone I knew who was with the USGTF.....its time I re-open my eyes.........  Maybee I have not seen or heard of enough sucess stories with USGTF Teaching Pros..........maybee its time.  

Eitheir way, if you go USGTF, PGA, or any other certification.........without the proper game I believe its hard to become a great teacher without it.

Sorry to anyone that I might have ticked off.......did not mean any of my posts to come off that way.

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#43 gvogel

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 11:59 PM

I've been thinking about this topic all day.

Hank Haney, the current teaching guru, had the driver yips so bad that he had to quit playing for awhile. And, the swing that he came up with to cure his driving yips would be the antithesis of what you would show a young, talented aspiring golfer as a model swing. But, no one doubts (except me because i am a Byron Nelson, two plane advocate - for most people) that Hank can teach. O'Meara and Tiger sure like his theories.

Now, Butch, at his age and weight, is probably challenged to hit the ball very far. Put him on the courses that the seniors play, and I doubt he could shoot a good score. But, with the knowledge that he gained from his father, being around his father's pals (Mr Hogan, for one), and the talent that he has helped shepherd onto the PGA tour, you would have to say that he is a great teacher. Not a great player, but a great teacher.

Teaching and playing are two completely different things. I will agree that having been a very good player would help one to be a good teacher. Could help one to be a very good teacher, if said player really understood what he was doing to play great golf. But, often times, the great player is more of a "natural", and his experience as a player does not translate into helping less gifted golfers reach their potential.

I have heard that there are some really stupid guys on the PGA tour who play great, understand their own game to a limited degree - which is great in competition because it helps to not over-think a situation. They are talented, and they play what works. But teach someone else - I don't think so.
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#44 titleiststafferpga

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 10:29 AM

Your point is well taken and has great merrit.  

Butch might not be able to play the game now that he once did, but he was able to play at a high level once upon a time.  There ARE plenty of great players out there that do not KNOW the golf swing at all and that will not make them great teachers.  I believe these two traits are common amongst the great teachers in our business.

If you look at the resumes of all the great teachers, I bet that the majority of them all played the game at a high level once upon a time.  Now there still are some good teachers out there wether or not if they are PGA, USGTF or others that do not have the playing resume of the Hank Haneys of the world.  But to get the status of the Harmons and Haneys I believe having the ability to play and have it documented is crucial.  This is just my opionion and is what I have  gathered from hearing very accomplished teachers in my section of the PGA.  They all have a common trait; they are or were great players.

For me, I will never be a Butch Harmon in the teaching business, and I don't want to.  I enjoy ALL aspects of being a golf professiona, from member relations, tournament operations, playing, teaching, merchandiser, etc, etc.  

I know there are lots of guys on here that want to teach, and I hope they can.  Yes they can go with the USGTF or the PGA PGM Program.  One is longer and more expensive than the other.  They both give you the foundation to understand the basics, from there its up to the individual to take that information and build upon it.  Is one better than the other, some say yes some say it doesnt matter.  If you want to land a high profile job, I would believe you would need the PGA, but I could be wrong...........and I am sure someone on here will inform me of that ;)  If you want to be a driving range and just teach you can't go wrong with either one.  Either avenue you choose, you MUST find a very very good teacher in your area that has recieved the awards and see if you can watch them teach..........then ask if they can help you with your own game.  that way you are watching one of the best teach and at the same time he/she is helping your game too.



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#45 Sigalep18

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 09:42 PM

View Posttitleiststafferpga, on 11 January 2010 - 11:18 PM, said:

iteach - your post is very accurate...........yes there are many good teachers out there that are not certified with the PGA or USGTF, but they have the playing backround.  I don't know you, but have read your posts and can tell you know the golf swing; very well.  I bet you have the playing back round.  You might not have played on the PGA Tour, but you have the scores to back it up.  I bet you give playing lessons.......if you gave a playing lesson and stunk it up, do you think he/she would come back?  I bet you get lessons from people seeing you hit golf balls, its a way of life.  

In no way shape or form did I ever mean for my posts to be ignorant......my thing is to be a good teacher not only do you have to know the swing, but you have to have the playing backround.  Without the two, it will be an uphill battle.  Not saying it has not been done or never will, but will be very difficult.  

Take a former tour pro...say the hooters tour......say his name is John Smith........John quit the tour, never went through the PGA Program or USGTF program.......becomes a Director of Instruction as XYZ Club.  A year later, John is one of the most popular teaching pros in the area.  Why?  He had the playing resume.  

The PGA is not by all means the only way to go........but I am biased and I believe its the right way to go.  The USGTF is another avenue to go, but many people on this thread feel that it does not cary as much weight.   Maybee I had a bad experience with someone I knew who was with the USGTF.....its time I re-open my eyes.........  Maybee I have not seen or heard of enough sucess stories with USGTF Teaching Pros..........maybee its time.  

Eitheir way, if you go USGTF, PGA, or any other certification.........without the proper game I believe its hard to become a great teacher without it.

Sorry to anyone that I might have ticked off.......did not mean any of my posts to come off that way.
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I appreciate you re-considering your opinion regarding the USGTF, but I now want to address the issue of playing ability.

One of the most knowledgeable and able teachers I have ever come across (he's a friend of mine) has always had a hard time breaking 80.  Yet, during the height of my mini-tour days, he provided me with invaluable advice in getting me over a couple of swing hurdles I was experiencing.  He lives in San Diego and has taught a good number of mini-tour players, because he has that good of a reputation.

I can give quite a few more examples, and I don't think they are isolated examples.  In all likelihood, I have probably had more experiences with such teachers with this level of playing ability than you, simply because our PAT is not as stringent.  As a PGA pro, I'm guessing most of your peer group are/were outstanding players, so your experience with teachers who were not is likely more limited than mine.  It's understandable to see where you're coming from as a result.

One thing I think that we can agree on is that, the better the player you are, the greater POTENTIAL you have to be a better teacher.  Obviously, this is because people like you and I know what a truly good golf swing feels like, while those who can't break 80 don't.  However, intelligence and persistence go a long way in mitigating this factor.



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#46 cbrian

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 10:03 PM

Teaching ability has nothing to do with playing ability.  It might help break that trust barrier with some students, but I don't think that is a huge issue.  Some of the teachers that I want to work with the most are not good players... and to my knowledge, never have been.  Successful players have the opportunity to  better understand what its like to play tournament golf at high levels, but that doesn't mean that they will have the ability to diagnose a problem or effectively communicate what they want a student to do.  

As for USGTF vs PGA vs etc:  I don't know of any program in the world that is going to give you the real world experience needed to be a good teacher.  When you start weighing in other advantages I think there is a clear winner, but that has nothing to do with learning how to be a good teacher.  Also, I think we are about to see a bunch of new information come out about the swing/game and that will really affect how the game is taught.  So in that regard, no program has a leg up right now.  

I picked my path based on my situation and I think everyone else should do the same.  Becoming a good teacher is going to depend on you and your love for the job.

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#47 titleiststafferpga

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 08:29 AM

Sigalep18 - I don't disagree that there are good teachers out there that can not or never did play the game at a high level.  What I am attempting to say is to be one of the best teachers (i.e. Hank Haney, Butch Harmon, Jim McClean, etc, etc, etc) all played at some sort of elite level of golf.  

Obviously there are teachers out there that have a hard time shooting in the 70's, and I am not disputing that......my thing is to be the best of the best, being an acomplished player during some point in their life is a common trait.

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#48 Manchild

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 09:27 AM

I think the biggest beef(lack of better term) with the USGTF is that to young PGA members guys who have dedicated their lives to the game and put in time to do so.  See teaching lessons as the gravy to the job,  the one element that will earn some money.  The USGTF no matter how a member still wants to spin is just a one week course with no PAT then whammo they are in the industry earning money.  This doesn't make them poor teachers just not really the same.

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#49 KYMAR

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 02:01 PM

To manchild I see what you are saying but at the same time. The qualification of PGA membership is simply prohibitive to many people. As has been stated by a few posters who have gone the USGTF route they have a love for the game, the ability to effectively communicate with people, and bills to pay. So "paying the dues" cleaning carts and restocking the snack machine for years on end simply isn't an option. And i don't think that anyone should tell someone that they cant chase their dream if someone feels the USGTF is their best Avenue to do that. The fact is The PGA does "weed out" those it considers undesirable. I can imagine that there have been many who in their late 20's have decided to try to get into the golf instruction business but simply find that they aren't "PGA material" for reasons that have nothing to do with character, ability or desire.

And to titelist's points. The history of sports definitively shows that many a great coach have been average at best players. Coach K at Duke, Phil Jackson, Mike fratello. Tony Larussa and Tommy Lasorta in baseball just to name a few. Many of these were good average pros. But some never made it as players at all. Sometimes physical limitations or even the mental game have held people back from excelling in a given sport. But some times those are the very best instructors.

And to both points, the bottom line is that a golf instructor who can't effectively communicate with their players or identify that particular players faults simply won't last long in the business. The converse is obviously true. A good teacher who can make golf more enjoyable by improving a students game will succeed. No matter what Letters follow after his name on his Business card. So Maybe the argument should be, Go to USGTF and get their certification and expect to bust your butt generating business.
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#50 Manchild

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 03:53 PM

To KYMAR,  you should do some research as the coach's you mentioned,  all were pretty successful at the games they coached. The USGTF will never find its way into the country club or established elements of the golf industry as it preys on the people who sorta wanna get into the industry.  Although I definately respect the inginueity of the USGTF err (AMWAY) for finding a way into the industry if one really does not want to go the PGA route they should skip the USGTF.


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#51 KYMAR

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 09:02 PM

Manchild it looks like you are the one who needed to do some research. But here you go, I have done it for you.

Mike Krzyzewski- Never played professionally

Mike Fratello- Never played in college or pro

Phil Jackson- NY Knicks 6th man for most of his career. Her did lead the leauge in personal fouls in 75 though!

Tony Larussa- A career minor leaguer. A few stints on various MLB teams.

Tommy Lasorta- Bounced around the minors for the better part of his career as well.
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#52 gvogel

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 11:08 PM

This whole topic is interesting.

There is a PGA pro who teaches at the dome where I hit balls. He played on the tour, he played in the Masters. A certain lady took a bunch of lessons from him. After the 7th lesson, she was still hitting her back with the club at the end of her backswing. That's not a great way to try to hit the ball, especially if consistency is important. I don't know why the pro doesn't do something about that; maybe he feels that she is helpless, maybe he feels she will work it out for herself. Maybe he just doesn't care. I see plenty of his students, and a lot of them collapse their left arms at the end of the backswing. I guess the pro thinks that extension is unimportant. Lots of his students can't hit it out of their shadows because of the "power leak" at the end of their backswings. But, "he played in the Masters, so he must be correct."

There is another, younger pro who is working toward full membership in the PGA. I know four men who take lessons from him religiously. They must love his stihck; All four of them have lousy grips and lousy posture. And the young pro overlooks those faults and talks about plane. Without athletic postures and decent, and I mean only decent, grips, how are they ever going to improve, let alone swing on plane.

I think that there are knowledgeable teachers, and charlatans. And, it doesn't matter where one goes to get certified, because there is no consensus in golf as to what a proper swing is all about; unlike skiing, where there is a fairly strong consensus about proper technique, good golf has been played with some unorthodox grips and stances. But, that is not the norm; a good grip and stance should be a prerequisite before extension, plane and release are discussed - it would seem to me.

The PGA is a strong union, that protects its members income levels. Yes, you have to be able to pass a more stringent PAT to belong to the union. But passing a more stringent PAT and being a good teacher are two different talents.
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#53 ChipMD

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 12:41 PM

In reading  these blogs i have acquired and interesting question.....looking for opinions on PGA vs. USGTF. Any responses to credablility in teaching in other sports? IE: I have been playing pool for over 20 yrs. Have numerous tournament wins on a national level. Have taught 3 National champions directly and hundreds of others. Looking for feed back on transfering my teaching skills to the great game of golf. I have been an accomplished golfer for about 10 yrs now. 5 handicap. With a great undertstanding of the game. Are my past teaching credentials viable in the golf industry? Can i make it seem as easy as i did in pool? Can i use these accomplishments to promote my golf teaching career? Any replies I would be thankful for.

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#54 Parker19822

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 07:32 PM

View PostManchild, on 13 January 2010 - 09:27 AM, said:

I think the biggest beef(lack of better term) with the USGTF is that to young PGA members guys who have dedicated their lives to the game and put in time to do so.  See teaching lessons as the gravy to the job,  the one element that will earn some money.  The USGTF no matter how a member still wants to spin is just a one week course with no PAT then whammo they are in the industry earning money.  This doesn't make them poor teachers just not really the same.


I'd just like to make clear that USGTF members do have to pass a PAT in order to become a Level III instructor (Two round total of 166, or a 83-83 two day average). If you do not pass the PAT, or the written, rules, and verbal tests you must also take, you will not be given your teacing credentials.

Also, the USGTF course is expensive, which means that if you don't have the game or a basic knowledge before you start the program, you probably won't be willing to risk the money. All the guys in my graduating class had great golf games and were shooting in the 70's.



Here is an experience I've had that has shaped my view about golf instruction.

When I was getting ready for my USGTF program, I took lessons with the best instructor at my local course (we'll call him George). George has been teaching there for 15-20 years or so as a class A PGA professional, and has won numerous amateur events all around Souther California. After 3 months of taking a lesson every other week with him, my game got worse. I practiced for at least 2 hours everyday, and my scores did not improve. Although I liked him as a person, George taught me very little and I felt I had wasted hundred of dollars working with him.

I eventually met a guy who was a regular on the range (we'll call him Chris), and he began to help me with my swing. I don't think Chris ever played any competitive golf when he was younger, but holy cow did I learn a lot from him. The guy is obsessed with the golf swing and is knowledgeable about the Golfing Machine, Hogan's 5 Fundamentals, and pretty much everything in between. Did I mention he is a self taught scratch golfer with a beautiful swing? After a couple months of working with Chris on the range (for free!), I was able to pinpoint the biggest issues with my swing, and I was able to improve my game.

Chris is an accountant in his early 50's and he helped my game more than an experience and seasoned Class A PGA professional!!!

The point I'm trying to make is, the only criteria for being a good golf teacher is knowledge, understanding, and communication. Nowhere does it say you have to have won a mini tour event or played collegiate golf in order to know how to help people improve their games. Obviously, the better golfer you are, the more potential you have for becoming a great teacher, but golf skill does not trump knowledge and good communication.

*Disclaimer* Do not go out and take golf lessons from your accountant based on my story. Posted Image

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#55 fryfly

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 01:09 PM

View Postmtstartup, on 10 January 2010 - 07:24 PM, said:

View PostlansdowneHP, on 10 January 2010 - 09:31 AM, said:

After reading this entire thread.........I have to respond!

As a PGA Professional, and a Head Professional.......I wear many hats and one of those happens to be teaching.  When I hire new assistants, I only hire PGA Apprentices........USGTF does not cary the weight that the PGA does.  To pass the PAT with the PGA of America you have to be a good player.  One person posted a 5 handicap can do that.......ya right.  You would have to have two career rounds in one day with a handicap like that.  Unless you are a two handicap or better, don't attempt it until you can get your handicap down and most importantly produce those scores in tournaments.  If anyone wants to teach either if its full time at a driving range or being more of a club pro, you have to play the game and also know the golf swing.  Just because you understand the grip, swing plane, and setup does not mean you can disect someones swing and give "professional advice."  You have to know the cause of the problem.  Understand the laws, principals, and preferences that all relate to why the ball is flying the way it is.  So many people out there think they know the swing just cause they can break 80 a few times a month.  

One member posted that working as an Assistant did not pay much and he did not learn how to teach so he basically left......PERFECT!  That is called the weeding out process, means he was not ment to be a PGA Professional.  You have to work your way up from the bottom, put in the hours and the dirt pay, pass your PAT and start your book work.  Then you start to learn once you prove you can make it in the business.  For someone to say the PGA does not teach you how to teach, that is 100% wrong.  

Becoming a PGA Professional means your an expert of the Game of Golf.  That statement sais a lot.  Not only can you play, you also teach, mentor, coach, listen, run a business, tournaments, budgets, etc, etc, etc.  

For anyone that wants to get into the PGA, its not for everyone.........and there is a reason for that!

After reading all of these threads I had to give my opinion as well.  I have grown up and played golf in southern California my whole life and I can name only one PGA instructor I know that can break 80.  From what I have seen the PAT is a kind of joke, shot 78-79 from the white tees with middle pins on every green.
I became a USGTF instructor because they have their own PAT which is about the same as PGA and then you pass teaching, written and rules tests and then you are certified.  Either you know what you are doing or not, plus a lot of teaching is experience.  If you are no good you will get no repeat business.  The PGA of America Charges way to much for a 3-4 year program which then nets you a job a $12.00 bucks an hour as an assistant.  I do not know why anyone would do it.  Be a business man and open your own range or shop it would cost the same as a PGA certification.

guess it goes both ways to tell you the truth. I have been a memeber of the USGTF for 9 years, and yes I can play.I personally know 2 PGA professionals from Michigan, and they have been members for years. Both of them were in a joint venture together (Golf Specialty Store) with a private name that was very successful to say the least. I taught at their facility alot through the years because they did not really like to teach or really know how to teach. They often spoke to me on how when they went through the PGA program back in the 80's that they were not taught the fundamentals of the golf swing, but only to run a "Pro Shop" at a local municipal course. We have played a few rounds through the years and still to this day have a better game than both of the individuals I am referring to.
When I went through the USGTF class, the instruction was very in depth and gave me a great understanding of the fundamentals, and to the best of my understanding there were a few PGA apprentices that went through the program at the USGTF a month earlier because of the very fact that they were more in depth then than they (PGA)were in the past. Truthfully the USGTF has had such a big following in the past 10 years that the PGA had to step up to the plate to save face so to speak.  
In all reality you don't see many PGA golf shop pros playing in tournament these days, but you do see many amateurs that have been taught my USGTF professionals playing in tournaments and winning state school championships accross the US. Apples to Oranges....... If you want to learn how to run a golf shop at a local or private club, that take 4 years out of your life and work under a CERTIFIED PGA Professional. If you want to learn the golf swing in depth, either for yourself only or to teach on the side. Pay your dues, and take a class with the USGTF!!!!       The Worlds "Leader in the Field of Golf Instruction"


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#56 frikkie5000

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 03:24 PM

The program is a bit weak as far as the actual swing theory is concerned. The old ballflight laws are still being taught and some of the swing theory is a bit dodgy as well. That being said there is no way you can teach the intricacies of the golf swing in a week. The one area where the course is very solid is the teaching aspect. The course teaches you to teach, or convey knowledge in a very systematic and structured way, with a healthy dose of professionalism.

The one thing that bugs me immensely is the assertion that PGA guys do a 3 year program so they obviously know more about golf. I've seen the teaching curriculum of the PGA and that thing is a disgrace. Content wise the PGA program contains very little information on the swing and teaching, it just happens to be spread out a little more. Unless you are lucky enough to apprentice under a highly competent and passionate teacher you have no more of a chance to become a good instructor than any of the USGTF qualified instructors.  

I considered going to a AAA class PGA professional and having spoken to him extensively about the mental aspects of golf, I can honestly say this guy didn't know what the hell he was talking about. Yet he goes around charging people exorbitant amounts of money, professing himself to be an expert on the mental aspects of golf.

I don't think you can make blanket statements that include all members of the PGA or USGTF. As with any organization there will be highly competent and highly incompetent people to be found everywhere.

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#57 fryfly

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 01:30 PM

View Postfrikkie5000, on 06 May 2012 - 03:24 PM, said:

The program is a bit weak as far as the actual swing theory is concerned. The old ballflight laws are still being taught and some of the swing theory is a bit dodgy as well. That being said there is no way you can teach the intricacies of the golf swing in a week. The one area where the course is very solid is the teaching aspect. The course teaches you to teach, or convey knowledge in a very systematic and structured way, with a healthy dose of professionalism.

The one thing that bugs me immensely is the assertion that PGA guys do a 3 year program so they obviously know more about golf. I've seen the teaching curriculum of the PGA and that thing is a disgrace. Content wise the PGA program contains very little information on the swing and teaching, it just happens to be spread out a little more. Unless you are lucky enough to apprentice under a highly competent and passionate teacher you have no more of a chance to become a good instructor than any of the USGTF qualified instructors.  

I considered going to a AAA class PGA professional and having spoken to him extensively about the mental aspects of golf, I can honestly say this guy didn't know what the hell he was talking about. Yet he goes around charging people exorbitant amounts of money, professing himself to be an expert on the mental aspects of golf.

I don't think you can make blanket statements that include all members of the PGA or USGTF. As with any organization there will be highly competent and highly incompetent people to be found everywhere.


I agree 100%, and counldn't have stated that any better myself.

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#58 rfarrell51

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 11:02 PM

Wow. Re-reading this after 6 years or so. Anyone have anything to add? Just curious. USGTF sine 2003.
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#59 Hawkeye77

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 11:55 PM

View Postrfarrell51, on 03 December 2018 - 11:02 PM, said:

Wow. Re-reading this after 6 years or so. Anyone have anything to add? Just curious. USGTF sine 2003.

Well nobody added since spring of 2012.  

What would you like to share?
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#60 rfarrell51

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 01:31 AM

Just wondering if any of these folks had changed their opinion or if any newcomers had any stories to add. A lot of time has passed and I’d like to here if someone continued on with the USGTF or PGA.

Edited by rfarrell51, 04 December 2018 - 01:32 AM.

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