What Should I Look for in an Academy?
It is becoming more common for golf facilities to hire someone to be in charge of instruction, or run an Academy. The biggest questions that I usually get or here from other people is: “What should I be looking for in an Academy?” This is a great question and one I am sure many parents have asked themselves.
The main thing I would look for is who does the Academy cater to. Some Academies are soley focused on Elite Players but has no opportunities for beginner/intermediate players. Other Academies cater more towards beginners without having better instruction or coaching opportunities for advanced/elite players.
In my opinion, both of these Academy models are flawed. A great Academy should have enough systems in place to take a junior from a straight beginner to an advanced or elite player. An expert junior coach should be able to take a junior from the time he is 6 to the time he is 16 and still keep it interesting and challenging. Expert junior coaches are hard to find. An expert coach should be able to speak in depth about the mechanics of the swing while being capable of keeping it simple, engaging, and fun for the youngest juniors.
Would you trust your kid with a doctor who didn’t specialize in children? Parents take their children to Pediatricians for a reason. Teachers in school specialize in certain grades in order to relate with the children. Golf instruction is not different. You should do your research before joining any Academy. It is typically mandatory of me that we meet for an evaluation before entering the Academy. That is not to scare anyone, that is to show families how well of a system iGrow Golf has.
Performance and performance tracking is also another factor that sets great junior coaches apart from the rest. Are you seeing results? Is your junior getting better? If you asked your coach today to prove to you they are getting better could they show you documented proof? A great coach should always be able to show proof when asked questions. The biggest key performance indicator is how much are they enjoying the game, and how many strokes have they improved on the course. Without the first, the second will rarely happen.
All in all, your junior should connect with the coach. The two should be able to relate to each other. The coach should foster and nuture learning and self discovery. Your junior should be excited to see their coach each week. If this isn’t happening, you may want to look somewhere else.