An Oxymoron – Job Security in the Golf Business –

November 26, 2014
November 26, 2014

Golf CareerIn the past week, I have learned of 3 friends in the golf industry who have either been let go or have resigned. It is scary. How do you build security where your livelihood depends on the wants and needs of present and future golfers? The past few seasons, work / life balance, Pay $ for time & effort and the fact that so many professionals are leaving the industry I believe contributes to these factors. So whats the deal? I absolutely love what I do. However I can count about 10 people I know personally who have left the business in the last year. Working in this industry where the “bulk” of activity is: 28 weeks (Mid April – October 30 ) or 196 days (Provided we have perfect weather) or approximately 3000 hours (averaging 15 hours per day) or 2.7 million minutes to make enough money for an entire year is incredibly HARD!

Who is going to replace us when we retire if we constantly lose the best talent  in the business don’t have a process that moves quick enough with our changing world to make this job appealing and practical. it is a hard game being a golf coach and it scares me to think that this industry is declining. I have taught in a PGM Program for 14 years and have watched enrollment and student enjoyment lower each year.  They are looking at this Industry and are seeing this vocation as not prosperous. Why?  The guys coming out of the courses want a job being paid very well and remunerated for their skills based on the generation of expectations and when they don’t receive what they want they LEAVE.

So I ask you where does the passion come from? Where are the next round of golf professionals able to be found and how can this be looked at so we don’t lose our most talented to a secure job in another field. in summer of 2013 I had 3 teaching professionals working for me. As the winter came I kindly helped them find jobs through my friend at a chain of hot tub stores. Well, when summer 2014 rolled around, they were all too comfortable to come back to teach. They could’ve made an extra 40% wage teaching golf, as well as the hot tubs, but they chose to stay in the consistency of a paycheck.

As golf professionals we are not finding the right mix to make this industry sustainable and appealing for the next wave of future golf professionals.

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This blog post by Matt Diederichs nicely sums up how golf has changed.

So what can we do? How can this industry make the necessary shifts to stay profitable and enjoyable?

I don’t have the answers here, but things really need to shift. There are some indicators as to the toughness ahead for the golf business.

Below is part of a Maclean’s Magazine article titled Why Canadian Golf is Dying. Click HERE for the full article

“If you talk to a golfer, he’ll say the game of golf is fine,” MacKay says. “But if you talk to a golf course owner, he will say the business of golf is suffering because we overbuilt.” Don MacKay who has built and bankrolled more than 18 courses in Ontario. Macleans said The numbers are stunning. There are an estimated 2,400 golf courses across the country, while Statistics Canada pegs the number of golfers in Canada at about 1.5 million. That’s one course for every 625 players, or 14,500 Canadians—among the highest number per capita in the world. Moreover, Canadians appear to be playing less golf than they used to. A recent study by the National Allied Golf Associations, or NAGA, found that the number of rounds played on the average Canadian course has dropped 10 per cent over the past five years, with the blame falling on everything from waning interest to the time commitment required.

How did the industry end up in such an obvious hazard? Overly optimistic predictions about how many retired Baby Boomers would hit the links was part of it. But the real culprit was golf’s unhealthy relationship with North America’s overheated real estate market. Developers can sell houses for far more money if they back onto a golf course and the fancier the golf course, the bigger the premium. But not everyone who wants to live next to a golf course plays golf—so many courses sit relatively empty. Egos also play a role. “I watched in astonishment as people poured tens of millions into a course that they probably knew they weren’t going to get their money out of,” says MacKay, who once worked for a company that built golf courses.

Neil Haworth is a Canadian golf course designer who spent most of his career in Asia, where he’s worked on some of the region’s top courses, including Shenzhen Golf Club in Guangzhou, China, and Sheshan International Golf Club near Shanghai. He recently completed a renovation project at the Parcours du Cerf golf course in Longueuil, Que., that involved transforming nine holes of a 36-hole facility into a new, faster-to-play 12-hole executive course, the first of its kind in the province.

Haworth says one way to appeal to a wider audience is a greater focus on forward tee boxes, which often lack the dramatic vistas or challenging obstacles that the back tees do. He also suggests golf courses adopt slower greens and fewer bunkers, which are expensive to maintain and “tend to catch the golfer you don’t need to catch, because he’s shooting 120 already.” A change in attitude is evident at the professional level, too. For the first time in recent memory, this year’s U.S. Open was held at a course without any rough. As part of a $2.5-million renovation, North Carolina’s Pinehurst Resort ripped out the lush, Augusta-style turf that edged the fairways on Pinehurst No. 2 and replaced it with sand, hardpan and brush. The new look was sold as a nod to its century-old heritage. “It’s the way it should be,” gushed two-time U.S. Open winner Curtis Strange. But an equally compelling reason for the makeover is what it will mean for the grounds crew: They need 150 million fewer litres of water each year to do their jobs. Which should free up time—and money—to cut soccer ball-sized holes into the fairways, should it come to that.

So there seems to be ideas on how to attract people to golf, keep them interested and get new players playing more often. Maybe there should be a similar “SHIFT”  in employment on how to get them attracted, interested and stay!

 

How to Get Young Kids into Sports

November 19, 2014
November 19, 2014

A typical Sunday morning routine I am exposed to is seeing parents bring their young kids to the range for the first time. From as young as 2 years old, kids are being introduced to golf, which is a great start!

But it is almost comical watching these parents try and properly instruct their kids with golf techniques at such a young age. As people walk by and say “Aw, isn’t that cute” it reminds me of how being introduced to golf (or any sport) is a very challenging thing to do properly. Golf must be introduced in the right way.

At a young age, sports MUST be centered ONLY around play and fun.EB

“Cute” is a four letter word which is often tossed around in an inappropriate way in regard to young kids and sport. Instead of starting out in golf  being cute, this involvement needs to be regarded in terms of encouragement, awe and support.

Too often we look at the child’s involvement from our standpoint and not theirs. The only thing children can and should focus on, at this point, is having a good time instead of trying to be a perfect little golfer. This early formative experience will either contribute to your child’s ongoing love for golf or not. This time is crucial and detrimental and must be approached properly.

I just recently listened to this Ted Talk by Sarah Curtis and it is what I have always believed to be true. She is explaining how starting out in school with the introduction of play is a huge key factor in the success of children long term. It’s like she took the ideas out of my head. I was introduced to this Ted Talk by PGA Professional and child development guru Kate Tempesta who is the creator of the Early Birdies Program that I deliver to my students.

In this Ted Talk, Sarah Curtis quotes Evelyn Beyer, an ECE Specialist who said, “Young Children are often appealing and amusing, but they are more than “cute”; they are real.”

The problem with saying the word “cute” demeans what the true experience of coaching kids actually is. I coach Early Birdies, which is introducing young kids ages 2-5 into the game of golf, and I contend that these are some of the most outgoing, adaptable students that I have. While yes, they are cute, but in the midst of developing their personalities, they are so much more than just cute kids hitting golf balls. At these early ages, children are developing at such a rapid pace and scientists have proven that we become who we are in the world by the age of 5. I love that I have the privilege to be part of this early childhood development and that I can also encourage parents in a positive reinforcement way in terms of sport. If a child can play in sports, it offers the best possible way for a kids to learn and want to be involved in more sports in the future.

Research has shown over and over again that all children need to PLAY. It is a survival skill and needs to be cultivated. Play allows a child to have an idea and follow through with this vision. While play is highly important, kids cannot be left alone to teach themselves and be “let loose” in golf. There is an essential presence needed and that is of the coach. Play in the presence of the coach is essential as the response and working through challenges together allows the child to teach themselves how to learn, with a coach’s guidance.

A play-based approach to Golf Introduction teaches children how to approach experience and affirms that every experience is worthy of respect and encouragement. It is so important that parents build trust in coaches right away so that children can begin their involvement with sports right way as this is the best way to self expression and learning at such a young age.

So parents. next time you are bringing your young children to the range, let them explore and learn through PLAY and allow yourself to act just as an encourager and catalyst to your child’s involvement in Golf.

Helicopter Parenting in Golf

November 12, 2014
November 12, 2014

Referring to pHelicopter-Parentsarents who hover excessively over their kids to ensure that they experience every activity unscathed. Helicopter parents think they are protecting their children from all harm, but in sports they are seriously doing more harm than good. Golf is no exception.

From afar, I see so many parents who cross the fine line of support and encouragement and then in turn have a negative effect on their child’s interest in the sport. Some Golf tours that my Juniors compete on do not allow parents on the course, which in my humble opinion is the best thing for everyone involved, unless they are properly trained on caddying. I have seen and experienced firsthand (years ago) the negativity of Helicopter Parenting in Golf and since then it is something that I do not condone whatsoever. I allow parents to watch their children when practicing but when they are with Coach Doug, parents must keep their composure as their child is here to learn from me.

As a parent myself, we always want the best for our kids, but this does not mean that I can jump in at my daughter’s soccer game (I’ve had to LEARN how to practice restraint!) I now leave that up to the professional, her coach. I must state: I am not referring to personal experience with anyone I coach, but this is something I hold dear to my heart as I truly believe this is detrimental in Golf.

We just want to make our children’s lives easier and I totally understand why we feel the want and need to intervene, I still have this sometimes also. I have seen this at all levels of Golf, locally, provincially and internationally.

One thing I do stress is parental involvement in a support role rather than a coaching role. I love when I see keen interest from parents and I stress the value in including parents by showing them how to be supportive and involved. The parent most definitely holds a key role in the child’s ability to improve, it just needs to be approached from the right place.

By allowing your child to make mistakes in their own time and by letting them develop a healthy coach/student relationship, you are ensuring trust in your child and giving them the confidence to shine. Children will always see their parents as number one and the desire for parental approval never dissipates, which is why children THRIVE in an encouraging environment.

The only words that truly need to be said to your child (in any sport) are

“I Love Watching You Play”.
Changing The Game, John O’Sullivan

The Golf Technology Advantage

November 6, 2014
November 6, 2014

flightscope2It’s November, which means the snow is only a few weeks away. Now for most die-hards out there, this brings on such sadness, as it the end of the summer golf season.

Well, I am happy to sit here and remind you that just because the snow is falling, it doesn’t mean that you have to stop swinging!

Indoor Winter golf in Canada is one the best kept secrets in this game. In a way, the indoor golf season is a nice reprieve as it forces us to truly practice without being distracted by playing, like we are in the summer.

I urge you to find a local indoor golf academy, make use of their technology and keep practicing your game. When next summer rolls around, the hard work you put in all winter will have paid off! Golf used to be just a 6-7 month sport, but now with the awesome technology we have access to, pros can truly have a successful business year round.

Just yesterday I was a guest speaker at the Flightscope Certification Course, speaking about how this  technology allows juniors to hone their games. The crowd was enamoured with my stories of how Flightscope helped my juniors come out of last winter hitting 50-60 yards longer.

Juniors love the Flightscope technology as it simulates more video game-esque play. If you’d like to come try this technology out, come see us at our indoor winter academy at 1233 Dillon Rd in Burlington

Option to Quit Makes us Work Harder!

April 4, 2014
April 4, 2014

This is a great post by Greg Marker a trainer who has actually shown that if we are given the option to quit we actually TRY harder, finish tasks and attain goals. Believe it or not!

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This article leads directly to a discussion I was having with a parent about their daughter who has ADHD and during our lessons I have found it tremendously successful when she gets frustrated and down on herself, to give her the option to QUIT or she can decide what it is she wants to do. Now that’s not saying I allow her to end the lesson or walk out, but I simply put the decision in HER hands and it is an incredible motivator.

As coaches I think this is a vital part of our learning as we have to be able to know who we are coaching and how to motivate them as best we can. I guess sometimes it takes the “Road less Travelled”.

Read his article here:http://breakingmuscle.com/sports-psychology/why-the-option-to-quit-actually-makes-us-work-harder

 

Come On Pros…GET DOWN with it!

February 24, 2014
February 24, 2014

I’m 6’3 …. I remember growing up that my Dad would bring his colleague over, Norm whom I thought was the tallest man I had ever seen! ( I was 6 at the time) But I do remember looking WAY up and at times it was a little intimidating. So imagine the thoughts going through ANY and ALL of your Juniors under the age of 12. You are an adult. YOU”RE HUGE in their eyes! They are a kid. They equate your size, stature and appearance to that of their school teachers and their parents.

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So where they could be perceiving you as an authority figure or a potential “negative” influence on them, here is your BIGGEST and EASIEST way to show them you are not a threat…..

GET DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL!

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Kneel, squat, sit, bend over, whatever you do I can guarantee the MINUTE you do this and are now looking them right in their tiny little faces, you are going to WIN far more than you will lose their attention! Why?

 

Here are my TOP 5 reasons why this works and is something you need to do:

1. Leggo your Ego – Who cares what you look like! Lose the ego and you’ll gain massive influence

2. Kid Level – Now you’re on their level their eyes can fix on YOU and not wander all over looking up and around

3. It Shows You Care – Now they believe you are interested in THEM

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4. Gain Perspective – Take a Look around at what is at their eye level cuz it’s been a LONG time since you’ve been that small

5. It’s ALL about Them – The more you show a desire to be on their level and listen to what they are saying, the more there is no fear, no worry and no anxiety.

TRUST ME! Before you know it your kids won’t leave you alone and you will suddenly realize that being a small person comes with a whole different perspective….try it!

GET DOWN ON IT! Your kids will love you for it!

Golf Tip for Crisper Iron Shots

January 10, 2014
January 10, 2014

Hey just thought you might like to see this little video I recorded at the FGG Indoor Academy. If you have a problem with hitting those iron shots that are solid, crisp, and pierce the air then this video will get you there. Enjoy! http://youtu.be/0bAqB0xCW-s

Hey Mr. Marshal … Think before you speak!

December 31, 2013
December 31, 2013

This post is to all those golf course marshals / play co-ordinators / starters and attendants who need a friendly reminder to THINK before they speak the next time they speak to a slow moving group on the course:

This story was told to me yesterday by the father of a young 10 year old girl I coach. It made me want to share it and remember that Jr. Girls Rock!

“Funny story happened today.  She was paired up with a senior husband and wife.   The husband was not bad but the wife was …. Well let’s just say not the best I have seen.   The round was very slow.    After the turn, the Marshall who I did not see all day shows up out of the blue and drives up to my cart and says “do think you can pick up you daughters ball every once an while so we can speed up play”   I politely said “sir I am not sure I understand what you are requesting.   My daughter is 1 over through 9 what exactly do you want me to do”.    Alyssa who was standing not too far away heard the conversation and was so mad. She walked up to the golf cart took her ball from the cart walked to the tee box and bombed 180 yard drive right down the middle of the fairway.   The Marshall said “I am sorry I should not have assumed she was playing slow.”   At the end of the round he was waiting for us on the 18th hole and again apologized in person to Alyssa  after she made par….. Just love seeing that stuff people always assume girls can’t play.  Especially Jr.  girls. I Just Love it.    Don’t mess with her!”

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So don’t be surprised if you get to the golf course this season and you are greeted by a scene such as this and hear the words: “WE GOT NEXT!”

I suggest you just stand and watch!

Hit Longer Drives – Sequence For Distance

December 9, 2013
December 9, 2013

One of the biggest keys to hitting longer drives is utilizing the stored power available in an efficient swing sequence. So today we wanted to share with you a great practice drill to improve your swing sequence and this applies if you are a junior golfer or weekend warrior.

One of the biggest reasons golfers fail to hit consistent long powerful golf shots is they have the wrong swing sequence. Read more

Focus Golf Group Moves Indoors

November 7, 2013
November 7, 2013

Read a Blog post written in Golf News Now about our moving into the Burlington Fitness & Racquet Club.

Click HERE for the article

Click HERE for the Winter Academy Details