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Coaching Golf- any advice?

Josh G

Hi TT,

Last year I was an assistant coach for a high school Golf Team, and this year, they've asked me to take the reigns.  I didn't play golf competitively in high school, but I played several other sports throughout HS and college.  I also coached hockey for a couple of years as well.

Basically I'm looking for advise from any players or coaches out there on how to make this the best season the kids have ever had.  Was there a favorite drill, motivational saying, best moment or anything that you remember fondly from your playing days?

Coachs, what do/did you do for your players?  Anything you can share that got them better prepared and made them have more fun would be great.

Honestly, I'm more interested in teaching these young men and women how to be good people, and showing them how to represent their school and this sport with honor and pride, but any drills, tips and trick you've come across would be much appreciated.

Thanks and wish me luck!

14 Replies

  1. Gary B

    I am the assistant on my daughter's HS team.  She is a senior playing her 3rd year of golf.  We usually start on the green with chipping and putting.  At the end of the week, I have a putting and/or chipping contest, and try to find a unique prize for the winner.  Sometimes it's something as simple as a gatorade, sometimes I get a club or putter donated, sometimes I give a stuffed animal head cover.  Just something to keep it light.  I will handicap so the best player doesn't will all of the prizes.

    The other thing I did was stand in the range and and have each girl hit 3/4 shots with each club.  I then made them a yardage scale for each club, so they would have an idea how far they hit each club.  This was really helpful for the newer girls on the team.  I would adjust them as they got better.  The top 3 girls didn't really need this, but seemed appreciative of my effort.

    We were fortunate last year that a couple of parents donated monies, so we ordered loudmouth skirts in the houndstooth pattern, and paired them with nice shirts.  The girls really liked the comments they got from the other girls in the conference.  They really stood out!

    Lastly, at the end of last season, I gave each of the girls that made regionals a head cover of the HS Mascot.  The mascot is the cardinals, so I found some cardinal head covers and presented it to them at the team dinner the night of the first round.

    Good luck, and keep it fun.

  2. Chris A

    During my high school golf days our coach was also the head football coach and kind of just phoned it in (if you understand what I'm saying.) luckily we had great dads and the pros at our home club helped us. On the practice range the pros would help us with our swings and on the coarse our dads would keep it light and let us have fun. We won regional and state my senior year. 

    My college golf years where more about swing mechanics and competition, but our coaches still made it fun. In my opinion your on the right track teaching sportsmanship and character. Let them have fun and treat every player equal no matter how they play. You will make a greater impact on thier lives they you could ever imagine. Have a great season and keep us posted throughout the season. Good luck coach!! 

  3. Speedy

    Congrats on the new gig bud!!!!  I'm sure you'll do great... 

  4. jordan p

    I have just started my senior year on high school and one thing that our coaches doesnt do that i wished he did was public showing we did good, like if i rolled a ten foot putt of got up and down that he would make the effort to walk over and give us the high five and clap, stuff like that to a high school player can change their their entire round from making it bad to changing their mind set and giving them confidence. 

    I will tell yall a story, yesterday, august 10th, my team played in a 24 team invitational and i am high 70s low 80s player and i started the first three holes triple bogey, bogey, triple bogey, bogey, then i got to the 390 yards par 4 and had 110 left to the green and i was very much in between clubs and i hit it short of the green and had a tough chip with the pin tucked on the green closest to me and on a down hill lie so i hit a high and soft flop shot and it was like 6 feet from the hole and a sunk the putt for par and it was a boaster for me but it would have felt so much better to have my coach clap and say good putt and give me that extra confidence.

    So josh has you coach these women just think that their confidence while they are playing can make the difference in the team score total. I wish yall the best of luck -Jordan

  5. No'l

    Just want to wish you luck and congratulate you. (I'm not a coach) But, go with your thoughts... I liked where you're going with it.
  6. Barry B

    Josh,

    I think your last paragraph is dead on!  Teaching your young men and women to be good citizens and ambassadors of their school and the game is paramount.  All to often in youth sports today that is forgotten.  With respect to drills and tips, from what I've seen on these boards on more than one occasion you are a very accomplished player.  I think once you get your feet on the ground you'll be able to watch your young players and offer sound advice to them.  I also think what Jordan P. said is important, as a coach you need to be your teams biggest cheerleader.

    Best of luck to you and your team this year!

  7. Sawyer Nix

    I would say to let the kids always compete.   Create games to have them practice skills (putting, chipping, bunker, hitting fairways, etc) and keep all kids busy.  The biggest mistake I see is letting kids go off on their own and do whatever they wanted.  Sometimes playing nine is ok and is certainly needed, but have purpose to everything that they do.

  8. tdogg21

    Oh dear god....you're molding our future??  haha...just kidding.  Good luck!  From my years coaching basketball, I would say the number one goal should be making sure the kids have fun.  But that will mean different things to different kids.  Some kids like to joke a little bit or goof off.  Others only have fun by winning or playing well.  If it was me, I would take at least a small part of each practice for some fun competitions.  Try to be creative (like chip a ball off a wooden sign.  closest to the pin wins).  Knowing what motivates each kid to have fun while still improving is the biggest test for a youth coach of any sport.  

    As for actual instruction, keep it simple.  Remember a lot of these kids are going to have a thousand things on their minds and golf might not be number one for them.  Try not to give them too many things to work on at one time.  When you see something that needs improved, make subtle changes to get them moving in the right direction.  Master little things and the big things will follow.

    Again, good luck!  Let us know how the season goes.

  9. Chris Hatem

    I played for my high school team and also in college. As previously mentioned practice drills around the green were great. But the most important piece of advice I have for you is to grab a cart and follow the players around the course. Go check in and see how someone is doing in their round. Sometimes competitive golf can be lonely. I've played many silent rounds in college. It is nice to have someone who cares how you are doing to come out and see how you're playing.
  10. george t

    Josh,

    Congratulations on the job and more importantly, good for you for wanting to help shape some young minds.

    I didn't play golf when I was a kid, but like you, I did play other sports.  One of the drills that always stuck with me was from high school basketball, where our coach wouldn't let us leave for the day until we made 10 free throws in a row.  Sure, some guys could never do it and they'd go home after an hour of trying.  But for me, it helped me to not only become a pretty good free throw shooter, but also to handle the pressure when game time rolled around.  It was easy to rack up a quick half dozen shots, but when you got to those last 3 or 4, you'd feel the anxiety building up.  Especially, if you'd already had a couple of shots at ten straight, only to miss the 7th or 8th shot.  I can't help but think this type of drill would be helpful not only with putting, but also chipping within a three foot circle.

    Good luck with the team!

  11. John L

    I just started my junior year in high school and I have played on the varsity team every year so far. The best advice I could give you would be to keep in mind that, even on a team, everyone is still playing individually. Just keep that in mind when holding practices and giving advice. 

    Secondly, try and keep all the events organized. We have a new golf coach this year and the last coach was very unorganized. He just did everything spur of the moment and none of the players liked having plans made last minute. Just try and keep the players informed on when and where practices and tournaments will be held.

  12. Richard H

    If at all possible, take the kids to see an LPGA or Web.com event (PGA events can be a bit pricey). Give them a chance to see some of the pros in action. I'd also suggest alternating a variety of scoring formats during practice rounds just to keep it fun and interesting. Plus, it should help you focus their attention on something more specific than just score. So if you're trying to help them avoid bogies or double bogies, etc., use a modified stableford scoring system to give them a little more incentive.

  13. Jake R

    As a higher ranked player in my region (7th) I thought that it was important on my team for the coaches to spate kids based on skill either into one group or two. This creates a competitiveness between the payers who have similar skill level. Also, don't worry too much about coaching the swing, help them develop sound techniques as well as a solid routine before all their shots. My team adopted a team phrase that we applied in every shot we hit (ie. Get it to the hole, Dedicate).
  14. Bryan P

    When I begin coaching golf about six years ago I was in a similar position. I had coached HS basketball for about 10 years but had no competitive golf experience. I learned most of what to do on the fly and by watching other coaches. As others have said, the most important aspect is keeping things light amd helping the kids stay relaxed. We all know this Is not a game that can be played well with intensity and going balls to the wall, as it can be in other sports. That's what I have come to love about coaching golf, the relaxed atmosphere and culture. Good luck and enjoy the experience.

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