Can You Teach Golf Without Certification?

While spending many an hour on the practice range testing equipment and new techniques I have often wondered what it would take to convey the knowledge acquired to other golfers that are struggling out on the range and whether you can teach golf without certification.

Having quite an outgoing personality I often offer some 2 minutes of advice where I see someone struggling with a specific area that I have sufficient knowledge of. Seeing positive results are extremely rewarding for both the golfer and me.

Although it is legal to offer lessons without certification there are many stumbling blocks on your path to becoming a recognized coach if you are not certified. Getting golfers to pay you for your advice is even more difficult, if not impossible.

Leaving the practice range or golf course is one of the most difficult tasks since I continually want to hit more balls, practice a little more, play a few more holes. And many golfers feel this way.

If having a career in the golf industry is your dream, pursue that dream. You can stay active in golf long after most other professional businessmen retire. Doing what you love is not a job, it’s a labor of love. Money normally follows when you follow your dreams.

Breaking into the golfing industry without qualifications is going to be hard. There is a lot of competition, but it is oh so rewarding.

Becoming a Golf Instructor

There are a few predominant careers in the golfing industry that will set you on your way to teaching golf.

Club Professional

Club professionals are generally employed by a golf club and are responsible for a wide range of functions from providing instruction, club repairs, managing the pro shop, sales, and marketing the golf club.

This provides access to a large client base for instruction as you are well-known to the member and regular golfers at the golf club.

Excellent results with coaching will enhance your reputation in the golfing community and expand your brand thus increasing your client base.

Golf Professional

This is not a professional golfer that plays on any of the golfing tours around the globe. Golf Professionals are excellent golfers that play off a scratch handicap or better.  The difference is that a Golf Professional does not make a living from earning tournament money.

To qualify as a Golf Professional you will have to demonstrate your golfing ability combined with your ability to run all aspects related to a golf course. Furthermore, you need to stay abreast of teaching techniques and golf equipment releases.

A magnetic personality that attracts people to your inner circle will go a long way to make it in this industry.

Well, only a certain distance though.

To qualify, you have to become a member of the PGA of America. Your golfing skills combine with theoretical knowledge obtained from a recognized college will stand you in good stead. Some of the better-known golfing schools are the Keiser University College of Golf, United States Golf Teachers Federation, Professional Golf Teachers Association of America, and the Jim McLean Golf School.

Golf Course Superintendent

Golf course superintendents are more geared towards the maintenance of the golf course than instruction.

Golf Course Architect

This is ideal if you are interested in designing what the golf course will look like and the technical aspects that make the golf course playable yet challenging.

The Many Challenges of Being a Private Golf Instructor

Being a private or independent instructor comes with a variety of challenges.

Finding clients can be rather difficult unless you have built a large base of golfing friends that are interested in receiving instruction from you. Having references will make it easier to grow your client base.

A place to provide instruction and operate from is another challenge that you will have to overcome. Most golf courses and practice ranges already have instructors operating from their premises and don’t take too keenly to coaches operating for free from their operations.

Will You Lose Your Amateur Status If You Receive Payment for Golf Instructions?

This is an important point and something you need to consider. Under certain circumstances, you can still play as an amateur even if you receive money for golf lessons. It is best to look into the specifics on the USGA site.

How much money can be made Teaching Golf?

Sadly, it is probably less than most people imagine. Studies have shown that golf instructors make on average $35,000 a year. Those at the top of their profession make just under $70, 000, although this is rare.

Obviously, this excludes those that work with leading professional golfers.

Key Factors in Becoming a Successful Instructor:

  • Love the game with all your essence!
  • Build interpersonal skills and the psychology of interacting with a variety of personalities.
  • Enhance your teaching skills. Not everyone is cut out to be a teacher. Learn how to explain easily understandable detail and how to use technology.
  • Be an excellent marketer. You have done all the hard work to know what and how to teach. Now you have to ensure that your brand is out there, and people know that you are in the game! Use references to your best advantage.
  • Know and understand the history of golf and golf instruction in detail.
  • Acquire in-depth knowledge of every aspect of golf and the components of the golf swing. Just having superficial knowledge of the golf swing won’t cut it. You need to know what causes problems and how to fix them. Swing problems experienced by beginners differ vastly from the instruction an experienced golfer requires to fix a specific fault.
  • Know your equipment and how to offer the best advice to your students.
  • Understand the benefits of training aids and drills.
  • Play some tournament golf and build a resume of your achievements.
  • Stay abreast of new technologies, training techniques, and theory including the rules of golf. Continuous learning is essential for your long-term success.
  • Maintain a low handicap to enhance your students’ confidence in your ability to play and teach the game.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a golf instructor and teaching golf without qualifications is not impossible, but it is a difficult road to travel on.

Achieving this dream is a long and arduous task that requires continuous work and persistence. The result is so rewarding when you see your students play better golf.

There is an easier way to do it though! Become a qualified instructor, I am going to pursue my dream to become a golf coach. If you are going to do something, do it the right way.

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Nick is the founder of GolfSpan and an avid golfer. He's not quite a pro but has over 15 years of experience playing and coaching golfers worldwide. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience when it comes to choosing the right golf gear and finding the right setup for your game.

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