Coaching Schools, should I or not?

By Anthony Barkley
NZPGA Professional

Coaching schools have been around for many years at various areas around the country. Generally they consist of 3-4 days of tuition and practice including playing under the watchful eye of a PGA professional. They are quite intensive and each player will leave knowing they have been to a three day school.
The costs of these do vary between $500 (our GOLF180 school) and $1000 as some will be at resort courses or club courses such as ours. It’s about what you see as value for money as some will have higher expenses than others.
So will attending a coaching school benefit you?
As a golf coach we generally see a client for 30-45 minutes. We often use video or like myself, may use a Flight Scope Launch Monitor during lessons.  The environment is controlled with a nice flat surface so we can focus on swing related matters until we get to a point where a more uncontrolled environment is used or we go to the course. Can we do this is in 30-45 minutes? Not a chance.
So what happens at a coaching school? Clients work as a group but are generally coached as individuals. You work on a specific element with the coach and time is available for guided practice.
Guided practice is when you are given aspects to work on to improve an element of your game such as bunker shots. You then practice under supervision of your professional making your practice more effective which equals quicker and better results. Time is an issue in regard to guided practice so under normal coaching practices it’s not included.
I remember living in South Korea and visiting driving ranges to get my golf fix. Players used to hit balls like machines but at the same time coaches seemed to cruise from player to player. They would walk down the line watching each person helping when needed. This is what I would call guided practice and does work alongside individual coaching.
With a golf school we also get on the course and put changes into play but under supervision from the PGA coach. Learn to play of side hills, down hills, into the wind and how to get out of trouble. You then get to work on the same element the next day or progress to something new specific to a different section of your game. Then again head onto the course to put it into play.
The value to the client in my opinion is much higher than just doing the normal lessons. Don’t get me wrong as these are still very valuable but if you can commit to three full days of golf and be prepared to learn lots you will come out of it with a better understanding of your game as a whole. This is why I have set up the GOLF180 coaching schools here in Rotorua as I think it’s a great option for optimal learning. Maybe you could give one a go.