Player Development & Putting Lesson

Campus Director Tim Eberlein discusses the process of becoming a Class A PGA Pro
Campus Director Tim Eberlein discusses the process of becoming a Class A PGA Pro.

On Tuesdays, Tim Wilkins normally leads our Attitude & Motivation class, but today, because one of the instructors was out sick, he filled-in for another class, and we had a guest speaker: Campus Director Tim Eberlein.

A lot of students, me included, have asked about the process of becoming a Class A PGA Professional, and Tim was there to give us the lowdown. Let me boil it down for you: it takes about three years once you get a full-time job working 30+ hours a weeks at a range, golf course, or other green grass facility. The cost is about $5,000. I think that’s the route I want to take, but before I do, I’ll definitely want to pass my Player Ability Test (PAT). You have to shoot between 152-155 at this 36-hole, one-day event to pass the test.

Tim also spoke to our Golf Fundamentals class and talked about the importance of setting a variety of goals: personal, financial, golf, and family. I’m working on my list of goals now. Tim also discussed player development and offered the following list:

1.) Full swing – if properly fit, you shouldn’t have to practice this as much
2.) Short game – chipping, pitching, bunker play, and putting
3.) Specialty shots – draws/fades, low and high
4.) Course management
5.) Psychology – visualization and the mental game
6.) Fitness/Nutrition/Exercise
7.) Practice routine
8.) Fitting

Of these eight things, would you believe that the most important aspect of player development is fitting? Tim explained that if your clubs aren’t fit to you, it can create a series of detrimental compensation moves and even lead to injury! Shaft length and lie angle play a huge role in determining whether or not golf is fun or whether a player has to make a different swing to compensate for each club.

Get to know Fred Barr. The man is very well connected in the golf industry
Get to know Fred Barr. The man is very well connected in the golf industry.

During the 2nd hour, Placement Director Fred Barr payed us a visit. Fred has a 95% placement percentage. That means more than 9 out of every 10 Golf Academy grads gets a job upon graduation. That’s huge because it costs a little over $34,000 to attend all four semesters. When you graduate, you need to get back out there and make some real money! Fred is very well-connected, and he’s one of the reasons why I decided to go to the Academy to begin with. He offered several pearls of wisdom including:

“Don’t let anyone tell you what you cannot do in this industry.”

“Revenue is like oxygen. Put the word on your forehead so it’s the first thing you see when you look in the mirror in the morning. You need it.”

“Life ain’t fair… Get over that!”

Fred is a good guy to get to know. He believes in domination through saturation: a Golf Academy grad at General Manager, Assistant General Manager, Head Pro, etc.

Getting the SAM PuttLab calibrated
Getting the SAM PuttLab calibrated

After Attitude & Motivation, we recorded our initial swings (using a 6 iron) on the V1 Swing Analysis system in Golf Fundamentals and then edited a PowerPoint presentation in Microcomputer Applications. Then it was time for my putting lesson with PGA Instructor Jay Friedman. I got on the SAM PuttLab to analyze my aim, swing path, and centeredness of contact. After a few minor adjustments, we were able to improve my numbers for swing path, but my aim was still a little off. Jay thinks my eyes were coming down on the outside of the golf ball rather than directly on or a little inside of it. To compensate for what I’m seeing, I’m really closing the face at impact, swinging from inside out, and missing putts to the left. I’ve got some drills to do in the next week. I have an aluminum yardstick and some knitting needles. I’ll let you use your imagination.

Side note: Today I was elected 1st Semester Class Representative. That means I’ll be speaking on behalf of my classmates in front of our school’s executive committee. Pretty cool.

On the schedule tomorrow: Business Management and History of Golf.

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