What Makes A Great Golf Coach?
Golf Monthly Top 25 Coach, Paul Foston, has been a qualified PGA Professional for over 40 years.
During this time, he’s helped guide five players to victory on the European Tour, and he’s served at a number of golf clubs, including London Golf Club, where he was head professional from 1993-1995.
Today, you’ll find him at the Paul Foston Golf Academy in Ashford, Kent.
We asked Foston the question: What makes a great golf coach?
As well as possessing a great amount of knowledge about the game, for Foston, passion is one of the most important factors.
“Energy, enthusiasm and passion. I think you need all three of these qualities to be a great golf coach,” he says.
“This can be infectious, which is obviously a good thing for the student.
“You also need to be patient and constantly be offering encouragement.”
The passion part might be easy when you’ve loved the sport for so many years – so what other qualities are required?
Understanding The Pupil
As Foston explains, the key skills which determine how good a coach is, are understanding the subject and being able to convey the teaching in a clear and concise way.
“People learn in different ways,” says Foston, who’s recently launched his ‘My Golf Masterclass App’.
“The ability to understand a person’s learning style, whether it’s visual, auditory or kinaesthetic, is crucial.
“And you’ve got to adapt your coaching style to the needs of the pupil.
“It’s about getting on their wavelength.”
Foston has taught players of all standards – beginners, Tour pros and all levels in between – but no matter what the ability, it’s the skill of helping students to understand and discover for themselves which is key.
“My goal is to help my students understand what they are doing so they can go away and practice their skills and drills by themselves,” he explains.
“Ultimately, you want to make them their own best teacher.”
It goes without saying, a great golf coach will have a tremendous amount of knowledge about the game.
However, as Foston is keen to point out, “you don’t want to impart all that knowledge all of the time on everyone”.
And talking of knowledge, a great golf coach never stops learning.
“Other coaches do different things and you pick things up from them as well as the players you work with.
“You’ve always got to be looking at players and different techniques and be open to learning because the game is evolving.”
And as well as being up to speed with the technical aspects of the golf swing, a great golf coach should always be looking to widen their overall knowledge.
“The best in the business have a broad understanding of the game and the different areas of performance.
“Health and fitness, the mind, technology, we’re able to go into great detail now and you have to keep learning.”