Even the most highly skilled PGA Professionals can get better.
Which is why the recent ACE Divisional Conferences across the country not only benefitted PGA Professionals but also sent the key speakers home with new ideas to get the most out of their customers.
After 40 years in the coaching caper, you'd assume there isn't a lot Ian Triggs didn't know. That couldn't be further from the truth. With technology growing at record speeds and more emphasis being put on strength and conditioning, old-school instructors like Triggs are constantly having to evolve to keep up. The current coach of John Senden, who also took Karrie Webb to the top of the world, was one of several guest speakers at this year's seminars held in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.
Joining Triggs was Minjee Lee's instructor Ritchie Smith and Matt Jones' go-to man for help, Gary Barter. All three walked away better coaches than they were beforehand.
"These ACE seminars really are a great initiative by the PGA of Australia," says Triggs.
"Having Australian coaches presenting to all our local PGA Professionals is so beneficial because we really are conveying the right messages for our industry.
"We've had a lot of seminars with overseas coaches in the past and while they have been absolutely exceptional presenters, their subject matter and delivery probably didn't strike the right chord. It certainly didn't with me.
"There is no doubt Australian coaches are more open and understanding to each individual's needs and there is a reason why our players are performing so well on the international stage right now and it's because we have some of the best coaches in the world who are continually learning."
Triggs said this year's presentations were well received and gave him some inspiration to do things differently back at his base at Brookwater Country Club.
"There was some healthy discussion and I thoroughly enjoyed working with Ritchie and Gary," says Triggs. "The interaction between the PGA Professionals in attendance was fantastic. Questions were coming from everyone and they all learned a great deal about what teaching methods could work for them.
"We can all still learn, it doesn't matter how long you've been in the game. PGA Professionals need to understand how their customers are so different. As a coach you've got to keep an open mind and solve issues for all levels of golfers.
Having a broad knowledge and tailoring programs to individuals is the key and I personally picked up some new ideas from Ritchie and Gary, both do things a lot differently to myself."
Trigg said it felt like he "had gone back to school" and that the theory and practical sessions of the seminar were a resounding success.
"We discussed the fundamentals indoors and then went outside and showed the PGA Professionals what we teach, how we teach and why we do it a particular way.
"I've been coaching for 40 years and when I started I had to coach with my own eyes and tried to pick up things as I went. But today's coaches have technology that is so advanced it can often make you a little lazy trying to obtain results. You can actually lose the art of coaching.
"Ritchie also raised the importance of physical conditioning, no matter what level your customer is playing at. Don't be afraid to put your clients on programs to help with their conditioning. Whether it's physios or dietitians, it can only benefit their golf and ultimately their life."
And the Number 1 tip Triggs took away from the conference?"The most important key in being a success in your job is your level of care for the customer," Triggs revealed. "It's just so important. You've got to really care about the customer that comes through the door and show them how committed you are, as a PGA Professional, to get them playing their best. It's no secret that the PGA Professionals who care the most are the ones who are the most successful."
For more information on the PGA of Australia's ACE Program, click here.
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