We recently sat down with PGA TOUR Golf Academy’s Master Instructor, Anne Cain, to ask her about her experience in the industry, the ideal student, and where she see’s the sport heading.
1. What makes your ideal golf student?
There is no ideal student! My job is to learn everything I can about that student in the initial student interview. I then create a “snapshot” profile of them that factors in their age, experience, learning style, personality type, budget for time, etc. I will say that the students that see the most progress understand the need to take lessons and they need to practice “diligently” in between lessons. Diligent practice is mindful practice that includes using feedback (training aids) and measuring specific targets to track improvement. They also track statistics when they play and this helps us both know which weaknesses are costing that student the most strokes on the course. Obviously, we prioritize this in the next lesson.
2. What would you say to someone that is wanting to get into the sport later in life?
Golf is a fantastic sport to take up later in life because it has so many health benefits – you are outside moving and walking with no high impact movements. The social aspect is also very important. The only difficult part is that learning occurs at a slower rate compared to a younger person. So, as an instructor, I make sure we set realistic short and long term goals.
3. What advice would you give yourself at age 12?
Oh gosh, there is not enough space in here to cover that! Seriously, the best thing I did was to get into golf seriously at age 12. I was a great athlete and played multiple sports, but I settled on golf around that age. I was very driven and had some outstanding accomplishments through golf that allowed me opportunities to do some amazing things in life. And, now I am an LPGA instructor teaching and helping others with the game – which is something that I love to do.
4. Why do you teach?
Back when I was a touring pro, my love for the game started to diminish because I was working hard but not seeing the results I expected. Very often, some of my friends and competitors would ask for help. Even though I was competing against them, it brought me a great deal of satisfaction when I helped someone else! That is when I realized I might be better teaching the game instead of playing the game for a living. I really do love helping other people – and in golf I’m not only helping out with technical aspects. I am helping students with self esteem, emotional control, goal setting, dealing with adversity, etc. And I am very involved with my junior students on the planning and work required to have golf scholarship opportunities.
5. How do you see Golf impacting the younger generations?
Golf is a great game for young people as it challenges them early in life to develop skills they will need later in life. My concern is that the game takes a large investment of time and money in the current model. And, younger people are geared for “instant gratification”. I love the TopGolf concept for introducing young people to golf and getting them interested – we will see if it leads to them wanting to play “real” golf at some point.
6. If there is one thing you would like to see change with the game?
I learned the game on a Par 3 course that was lit up at night. It was such a great environment to learn and it was fun and quick. Once my skills improved, I got to move up to the 18 hole course. Those courses started disappearing in the last 25 years. But, I am starting to see that concept coming back and I’m hopeful we will see more in the near future.