30 Dec 2004
Understand teaching credentials
This will be my last column as there will be a new golf writer for the New Year. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your support during this year and thank you for the opportunity to share some of my knowledge and insights about the game with you. Please check back on my website www.golflessonsorangecounty periodically to check out new programs and drills I will be posting.
I also want to make some recommendations about how to choose a teacher. You should look for a teacher who is trained and certified by the LPGA or the PGA and has the knowledge and experience to help you meet your goals. I say this because unfortunately
there is no requirement in golf that a teacher must be certified. Anyone can declare themselves a professional, print up business cards, find a place to teach, and start giving lessons.
An LPGA teaching professional will have completed five years of training and testing by the time they receive Class A status. They must undergo two separate reviews before a panel of six Class A peers who evaluate their teaching skills and they must have a passing ratio of 75% in areas of ball flight analysis, communication skills, club fitting and understanding the student in order to obtain this credential.
Look for a PGA Professional with a Class A-6 certification because that is the classification of Teaching Professionals who are employed only as teachers of the game of golf. This is their job and they invest time and money learning the skills needed to help their students improve. There are many good teachers whose PGA certification is other than A6, but you should research them. What training they have, how many years have they taught and who the certifying organization is are important considerations.
A Master status is the highest classification which can be achieved. While the requirements are slightly different to achieve Master Professional status in both the LPGA and PGA, it requires being a Class A member for a minimum of 12 to 15 years and a vast amount of continuing education. A Master Thesis must also be submitted and reviewed by a board to earn this title.
There are some other organizations that certify teachers and the only requirement is an internet or learn by mail program in order to become certified as a Teaching Professional. Master Teacher status can be earned in just one week of live training.
Of course word of mouth and personal recommendations by other students of an instructor are always a good indication of a teachers skills and a good way to choose a teacher. But if you do not have a recommendation then I suggest you find a Class A LPGA or Class A-6 PGA Teaching Professional to help you learn to enjoy the game of golf better.
Here’s wishing you all nothing but pars and birdies in 2005.