By Pat Cole, member at Warkworth GC.
GolfHQ’s Hamish Grant has been coaching me for over 4 years. When we started, I had a 15 on my card, within a year it was a 5.
Here’s what I’ve learned about the benefits of a coach. I hope you find it interesting. And I hope it helps with your game.
3 things a coach will do for you right off the bat:
- Make sure you have the right equipment. Dead set, when I first met Hamish I was using a mix of clubs purchased from Warkworth Hospice. I still remember the “you gotta be kidding” feeling when I hit the first shot with my newly fitted clubs.
- Help you with your technique. A swing appropriate to your physical capabilities. A pre to post-shot routine. Short game tips. Putting. Whatever it is you need, these guys have the answers.
- Increase your understanding of your game. As club golfers, our ambition often doesn’t match our ability. Your coach will help you steer towards the possible and away from the potential round killers.
In my experience, the real benefits start when you invest in regular lessons and building a relationship with your coach.
Over time, here’s 5 things your coach will do for you:
- Be a great sounding board. A golf coach is a great listener. Hamish and I have wide-ranging conversations about life and golf. It helps you develop a healthy perspective on your game.
- Keep you on track. Whether you are a “swing tinkerer” or gently climbing up the age curve - your swing is always changing. Your coach is the constant that ensures your swing evolution stays on the right path.
- Help you with your “feel”. That innate awareness of where your club head is in your swing. Your feel slowly develops over time through hard work and taking on board your coach’s advice.
- Drop nuggets. On yeah, the nuggets! The little one-liners of infinite coaching wisdom deeply relevant to your game. It’s these golden moments of clarity that shoot your game forward.
- Take you for an on-course lesson. The ultimate in golf coaching – learning on steroids. I highly recommend it.
9. Your coach can take your game to a different level.
Let me give you an example. As my game has evolved, Hamish’s wise mentoring has allowed me to change my “relationship with golf”.
When I got down to a 5-handicap golf became a bit of a nightmare. My “golf identity” meant I felt I had to live up to whatever “mid-single-figures” means. I was totally consumed by trying to score and protecting my index. Practice and playing was a grind and no fun.
In an on-course lesson with Hamish I just said “mate, I hate golf. If only I could play a bit better then I would enjoy it more”.
He listened and over a few holes we talked it through. My expectation was hopelessly out of whack with reality. I am a club golfer not some genius. We all hit bad shots. I am not my score. We agreed to flip my comment around to “when I enjoy golf, I play better”.
With Hamish’s help I’ve been able to create a more balanced relationship with golf. Keep it simple - don’t really worry about good or bad. Accept whatever the outcome is. After all, you just created it to the best of your ability. As we say to each other just “tell your story walking”.
Changing your perspective is not a flick of the switch process. Getting off the score drug does make golf more fun. Like anything you learn, it also takes time and practice. Hamish and I chip away at it with every lesson.
You may feel that this sports psychology stuff is not for you. On the other hand, we know that the players we watch on the tele have this stuff nailed. Your coach is totally capable of delving into “high performance”. Why not give this free added extra a go? It could change your game.
Here’s another example of next level stuff.
10. Your coach becomes part of your team.
Your coach genuinely wants to help you make progress with your golf. It’s why they coach. If you invest in them, then they will invest in you. You do end up forming a bit of a team.
It’s great to stand on the first tee, knowing that whatever mess I get myself in over the next four hours, I have some tools to deal with it. And if I don’t, I can put it down to experience by booking a lesson and working out the answers with Hamish.
If I could sum up my time with Hamish, and the thing that I appreciate the most, it is that confidence I get from knowing he is on my bag.
To sum it all up.
With golf, like any sport, you get back what you put in.
Your coach has all the skills to help your game at any level. There’s heaps you can do. It’s worth the investment and giving it a crack.
The biggest benefit comes from the partnership that you form with your coach. That’s the secret to getting the most out of your game and enjoying golf a whole lot more.