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Careers in Golf: Instructor

Aug 5, 2014

You’re a purist, the kind of golfer who wants to be participating in the game you love. The business of a golf course isn’t nearly as attractive as time on the greens. If you’re a people person who likes hands-on work, perhaps a career as a Golf Instructor is right for you.

While Golf Professionals are qualified to teach the game, they often focus on managing a golf facility. Golf Instructors, on the other hand, devote their time solely to teaching. You’ll find Instructors at just about any golf facility, including public and private courses, driving ranges and businesses that specialize in golf lessons. For cost reasons, instructors at municipal courses are often independent contractors, giving them great scheduling flexibility.

According to Matthew McConnin, a PGA Instructor at Golf Academy of America in San Diego, the best instructors have, “Great communication skills, patience, passion for the game, empathy, knowledge of swing/body mechanics and enthusiasm.” Many also have PGA certification.

“The title of PGA after one's name is a huge advantage over a non-PGA instructor,” said Buzz Gill, Director of Career Services at Golf Academy of America in San Diego. “An Advanced Teaching Certificate from GAA is also an advantage.”

Skill is important, but it won’t make or break you. However, the Playing Ability Test (PAT) is a prerequisite to register for the PGA certification program, and most Golf Instructors have passed it. In order to be successful, you must achieve a 36-hole score within 15 shots of the course rating at a PGA-approved facility.

Class of '12 grad Tony Brus coached his golf team to their first championship and was named Orange Belt Conference Coach of the Year. Learn more about this Celebration, FL success story.

At the end of the day, the best Golf Instructors are lifelong learners. “Good instructors can teach any subject matter they become proficient in,” said McConnin. Gill added that “Instructors can make the hardest game on earth more fun to play, and we must create an atmosphere of fun in order to compete with other sports, movies, theme parks, and family activities. The main focus of today's golf professional and instructor is to grow the game.”