One of the first questions Colby Wollitz poses to new players at the The Golf Academy in Louisville, Kentucky, is “Why do you play golf?”
It’s essential for the athlete to know the answer to that question to manage expectations. It’s essential for the coach to know the answer to help the player reach his or her goals.
Is the player looking to win, whether it be the member-member or the state amateur?
Is the player mainly interested in the social aspect of the game?
Or is it mostly about escaping the office grind? Nothing like a breath of crisp air and a long walk in a green space to clear the mind.
Most players will fit into more than one of these categories throughout the course of their golfing life. Even the best in the world, notes Wollitz, like to escape to an island every so often to tee it up barefoot with their buds. (See Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas and Smylie Kaufman on any number of bro trips.)
With high school and college athletes, Wollitz likes to get away from the range and play the “spin the wheel game” to mix it up on the course. Whatever club the wheel lands on is the club they have to pull for the next shot.
A PGA coach can do everything from tighten a single-digit player down to scratch, to help an executive get through an important round of customer golf without breaking any windows.
Figuring out ways to relieve the stress that sometimes accompanies social golf is part of a coach’s job.
For juniors, Wollitz said, the focus must first be on fun. But he’s also found that most of the youngsters he coaches feed off of competition.
“I think that everybody deep down wants to get better,” said Meghann Stem, a PGA professional at Glenmoor Country Club in Canton, Ohio.
It’s the coach’s job to help get them there.
Wherever your golf journey is heading, let’s get you there. There are nearly 29,000 PGA Professionals ready to help. Find yours at pga.com/journeys