As parents, we spend an inordinate amount of time making sure that we find the ideal situation for our children. From finding the perfect pediatrician, the perfect school and the perfect “everything,” we consider, discuss and conduct extensive research to find “only the best” opportunities for our children. When it comes to enrolling our kids in golf instruction, we should also equip ourselves with the insight needed to find the perfect instructor -- who will properly supervise, nurture and enrich our children.
PGA professional Ralph Landrum is a junior golf expert. With numerous years of hands-on experience working with thousands of junior golfers, as well as experience teaching and mentoring other teaching professionals, Landrum has keen insights as to what characteristics make the finest junior golf instructors.
Landrum advises parents to consider the following:
1. Look for the seal
Landrum strongly suggests that parents “look for the seal” and seek certified PGA or LPGA members.
“By securing the services of either a PGA or LPGA professional, you can be assured that the individual has received extensive training on how to most effectively teach the game of golf and know how to ensure that students ultimately achieve success and confidence out on the course,” says Landrum.
2. Ask for recommendations
Landrum equates finding a qualified instructor to finding a new doctor.
“While you could go ‘doctor shopping’ online, most of us find healthcare professionals by asking our friends and family for recommendations,” notes Landrum.
Finding a qualified teaching professional works by the same premises.
There is no truer testament of golf professional’s teaching style than watching them in action. Landrum suggests you observe the potential instructor teaching youngsters around your child’s age group. You should be able to determine how well he or she to relates to young golfers, how well they can inspire and engage and how effective they are in helping kids succeed and have fun (after all, even the smallest victories your child achieves should be celebrated!).
4. Follow the happy kids
A great junior golf instructor will be surrounded by happy kids! Many of the country’s top junior instructors have devoted themselves to developing strategies and techniques designed to evoke an optimal learning experience for each individual child -- and in the process, most have accumulated a sizable following.
Landrum also notes, “There are other unique skills needed to teach kids as compared to adults. The youth golf instructor should be more than capable of creating a fun, safe environment. He or she also needs to be a little quicker on their feet due to shorter attention spans!”
5. Search for intangibles
One of the best things about the game of golf is that it provides an opportunity for kids to learn some of life’s most valuable lessons: integrity, respect and discipline. So along with helping your child to drive the ball 200 yards, your teaching professional should also teach your child on-course etiquette and sportsmanship along with other values which can be used both on and off the course.
Ralph Landrum, PGA is the Director of Instruction at Landrum Golf and a Camp Director for the PGA Junior Golf Camps. He is one of only two PGA Master Professionals in the state of Kentucky and the only one to be certified in instruction. Ralph won the prestigious PGA National Player Development Award in 2014 as a result of his efforts to bring adults and juniors to the game of golf. He will be leading the PGA Junior Golf Camps at World of Golf this summer. You can learn more about Ralph and the PGA Junior Golf Camps by visiting www.pgajuniorgolfcamps.com.
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