Coaching a Winning College Golf Team, Part 2

Continuing our college golf coach series, here are some things a great college golf coach should do:

1. Master Emerging Technologies

College golf coaches should fully utilize the internet and all the emerging applications that it contains. From electronic communication with potential recruits, to monitoring recruits’ performance in a more detailed fashion via their golf schedules, tournament finishes and overall stats, to getting swing videos from potential golfers – there are numerous ways that a college golf coach can optimize the time he spends on recruiting through productive uses of the internet. Coaches who don’t leverage technology are behind the times and will eventually lose out to more equipped coaches.

2. Keep Detailed Stats on every Competitive Round

The best way to improve is to know the cause of your problems. Detailed stats should be kept and recorded after each qualifying round or tournament round. Over time, these stats (see below) will show a player’s strengths and weaknesses. Then, a coach should periodically sit down and meet with each team member individually to address the reasons why his stats are either improving or getting worse. This will lead us to our next recommendation – the player development program.

Stats should always be compared to the best golfers in the world – the PGA Touring Pros. Luckily, all their stats are published by the PGA Tour, so you are able to compare yourself to specific pros or to a certain spot in the rankings.

Stats to be kept and compared:

  • Strokes Gained (or Lost) Putting
  • Scrambling % and Distance from Hole after Chip
  • Hidden Shots (my own metric which highlights extra shots like water hazards, out of bounds, or other times when a player fails to have at least a putt for par (e.g., a flubbed chip near the green)
  • Distance (in feet) from the Target – from different yardages
  • Greens in Regulation Percentage
  • Fairways Hit Percentage

When looked at together, it’s much easier to figure out how many shots a typical golfer is losing to a touring professional (compared to the best PGA pros like Tiger Woods and the lower tier players as well). Knowing that you are losing 2 strokes from putting, 1 stroke from your chipping, 2 strokes from your approach shots, 1 stroke from various hazards, and perhaps 1 stroke from your driving is invaluable as you decide where to focus your improvement efforts and how much more work you have to do before you reach the tour level.

3. Initiate a Player Development Program for each Team Member

When we were in college, a coach would focus more on recruiting and spent less time working with his team members to help them improve their games. Some coaches don’t have the prerequisite experience you would prefer in a college golf coach. There is not much you can do about that lack of knowledge besides choosing not to join his team in the first place. However, even coaches who have been on Tour previously or have much playing experience tend to leave their players to their own devices to pick up better course management and other golf skills.

It is our view that a coach should initiate a player develop program which is customized to the needs of each of his 10-12 team members. We will dig into this development program in our next post.

The Golfer’s Library: Read some of the best golf books ever written

  1. The Best Books about College and Junior Golf
  2. The Best Golf Instruction Books
  3. The Best Short Game Books
  4. The Best Mental Game Books
  5. The Best Professional Golf Books
  6. The Best Pro Golfer Biographies
  7. The Best Golf Strategy Books
  8. The Best Books about Famous Golf Matches
  9. The Best Golf Fitness Books
  10. The Best Golf Fiction Books
  11. The Best Golf Travel and Famous Golf Course Books
  12. The Best Spiritual or Religious Golf Books
  13. The Best Golf Humor or Golf Comedy Books