The sport of golf has adopted a context approach to its instructor and coach development in order to best serve
the participants in each stage of the Long-Term Player Development Guide. This approach ensures that the
instructors and coaches working with participants in a particular context are trained specifically in the areas where
these participants require expertise.
The PGA of Canada’s National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP), developed in collaboration with Golf Canada and the Coaching Association
of Canada, features three distinct streams:
- Community Sport
The Community Sport Stream is a phase of development where participants are being initiated into the game. This stream is aimed at supporting young children ranging from 6-12 years of age. There is a wide-range of sports using volunteers as the core leader in the early development of young participants. The sport of golf has recognized that to be more accessible, volunteers must be at the heart of the model.
This grassroots level of leadership is open to individuals who are not members of the PGA of Canada. They must complete a two-day workshop culminating in them being trained as Community Golf Coaches capable of delivering the CN Future Links Learn to Play program. These Community Golf Coaches will play a vital role in supporting other PGA of Canada professionals at club level junior programs by assisting with the administration and/or delivery of the program.
The Instruction Stream is designed for PGA of Canada professionals who work with individuals looking to learn the skills required to play the
game, often recreationally. Being involved in the learning of the core technical skills may also be a precursor to competing later in their development.
The Instructor of Beginner Golfers context is one which trains instructors working with an individual who is new to golf or has minimal experience in the sport. This training prepares them to support individuals learning the fundamentals of the full swing and short game as well as golf terminology and the basics of navigating the golf course.
The context of Instructor of Intermediate Golfers is focused on participants becoming more a part of the core golfing population. They will have had at least a moderate amount of exposure and experience in the sport, will play multiple rounds in a given season and may have become a member at a golf course. The focus of these participants may now be based around lowering their scores, often achieved by further development of previously learned technical skills. These individuals will begin to expand their knowledge and skills while being introduced to course management, basic mental skill and ensuring their equipment is well suited to them. Local and regional competition may be of interest to some of these individuals.
The very experienced golfer will be best served by participating in instruction within the Instructor of Advanced Golfers context. Often regional, provincial or national competition may be a reality for these participants. While these individuals may be serious competitors, they generally are not training as or living the lifestyle of an athlete. Golf for these individuals is often recreational and there is not a motivation to further their game to evolve into a high performance amateur or professional. Their technical skills will be of less importance and usually only require small refinements. Their main focus becomes the controlling of thoughts and emotions, strategy and tactics, using highly fit equipment and performance on demand strategies.
PGA of Canada instructors are trained in each context to enable them to best serve the individual and their golf needs as they follow the natural progression. Instructors will only be certified in a specific context once they have completed the PGA of Canada workshop training and passed the respective evaluation process as identified in each context.
The Competition Stream is focused on training golf coaches, primarily PGA of Canada professionals. This stream is aimed at any individual or team of athletes looking to learn the skills to compete in the sport of golf. Some young competitors may have dreams of following a pathway of development that leads them to a provincial/national team or beyond to compete on the world’s best professional tours. It is not uncommon in this stream for athletes to pursue a subsidized education through a golf scholarship at an American NCAA school or a Canadian post-secondary institution that offers a competitive golf program.
The coach who has completed training and certification in the Coach of New Competitors context will understand the uniqueness of coaching young athletes aged 12-16. Topics such as seasonal planning; initiation of an appropriate physical training program; technical skill development; and teaching games for understanding will be of high priority during coach training. Coaches who have been trained in growth and development as well as how young people learn will nurture these young athletes.
As within every context, the developing athlete has unique needs. A Coach of Developing Competitors, playing the role of both coach and role model, will now be supporting the athlete in the development of a yearly plan as these athletes have made golf their primary sport and are often competing on a very regular basis. The skill level of these athletes is at a level where they are competing on recognized national junior tours, playing events such as the CN Future Links Championships and may be involved with a provincial high performance team or Team Canada. Physical training, mental skills and strategy and tactics are a high priority to the athlete and coach in this context. They are now living the life of an athlete and the coach will support them in optimizing sleep, nutrition and other areas of a healthy active lifestyle.
High performance athletes are rare. In Canada, these athletes will be the high performing members of Team Canada, competitive NCAA Division I or II athletes or having success on the largest developmental or highest level professional tours. A Coach of High Performers will have a priority focus of performance on demand, very small refinements in numerous areas, strong tracking of performance and long-term periodized planning.
Parents, athletes and golf organizations can discern which type of certified coach is best suited for the athlete’s individual needs. The athletes in this stream may range in age from 10-55 depending on when they decide they require formalized coaching in the skills necessary to compete at their chosen level.
Instructor and Coaching Program
The NCCP for golf endeavors to accommodate all levels of golfers and athletes regardless of what stage of development they may find themselves. All instructors and coaches will undergo rigorous training that is entirely specific to the type of participant or athlete they wish to work with. Athletes, parents, instructors, coaches and associations will know the defined pathway for training and certification of golf instructors and coaches.
The natural result is that participants will benefit from the best available instruction and coaching which in turn will enable the athlete to achieve their goals.