Golf is a popular sport that has become a part of mainstream recreation in many countries. Many people are interested in learning the sport and improving their techniques, which often leads them to finding a professional golf instructor. Golf instructors typically work at high schools, universities, municipal golf courses, private country clubs, driving ranges or golf resorts, and they sometimes work with professional golfers. The day-to-day activities of a golf instructor vary, but they usually encompass duties such as giving golf lessons, coaching golf teams and advising clients on golf clubs and proper fittings.
Golf lessons given by a professional golf instructor generally focus on several areas, including the student’s swing, club use and putting. Classes typically last between 30 minutes and an hour, and they usually take place at a driving range or similar practice facility. The golf instructor watches the student in action and points out errors, such as poor alignment, unnatural rhythm in the swing, feet position and improper bending of the elbows. The instructor also can give advice about how to use each golf club; for example, using irons versus woods to achieve the desired distance or ball placement. Most instructors help the student improve putting skills as well.
Many high school and college golf programs employ a golf instructor to coach and lead classes or golf teams. These types of golf instructors might spend their time teaching the rules of the game and how to keep score. They also might coach students who already have experience playing golf, in order to help them improve their handicaps and scores. In this instance, golf pros might focus instruction on direction and distance with repetitive exercises.
Some golfers utilize their instructors when buying and selecting golf clubs. The golf instructor typically understands the strengths and challenges of the student and can provide expertise on which clubs will highlight their natural abilities and make up for their weaknesses. Many golfers have different gripping positions on club handles, and having the golf instructor available to assist with golf club fittings can be beneficial to the golfer's performance.
The Professional Golf Association has a program, the PGA Professional Golf Management Program, that certifies the golf instructors found at the majority of golf courses. This certification can take up to eight years and consists of classroom training, on-the-job training and passing the Playing Ability Test. Before choosing a golf instructor, a student might think about the areas in which he or she needs to improve and find a golf pro who is particularly adept at teaching in that area.