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June 8, 2017

James Kinney: Train Students to Practice Properly

James Kinney is the PGA Owner/Operator and Director of Instruction at GolfTEC in Omaha, Nebraska. He is the four-time PGA Nebraska Section Teacher of the Year.

James Kinney on the importance of training students to practice properly:
As golf professionals, we realize the importance of proper golf instruction. Playing better golf increases the enjoyment gained from the game, which reinforces the notion that helping golfers improve is a vital aspect of growing the game. What sometimes goes unaddressed is the significance of proper practice. At GolfTEC, there are procedures we go through with students to ensure they practice properly. First, we ask questions to ensure students have grasped the information discussed during the lesson and know how to apply it to their practice sessions. What did we work on today? Why is it important? How are you going to work on this? What are your goals for practice? We then provide specific drills to work on that reinforce the movements and positions we strive to achieve in the golf swing. Through our state-of-the-art video practice bays, students can see exactly what they’re doing and make corrections in real time. They can view video feedback from their instructor with notes that help guide their practice. Also, notes from their lessons are accessible remotely on the Player’s Performance Center, a private and secure database that houses their progress from day one. Finally, practice is available and encouraged on our practice putting green. The technology available in our hitting bays and putting aids on our green make it attractive for the student to come to the GolfTEC facility to practice.

James Kinney on the business impact of training students to practice properly:
The introductory lesson a student takes at GolfTEC is $125. Lessons packages range from three to twelve months, with lessons occurring every 7-10 days. We encourage 2-3 practice sessions between each lesson. Practice time within the GolfTEC facility can be purchased to coincide with the student’s lesson package. Practicing at GolfTEC offers the advantages mentioned above, making it worth it for students to package the lessons and practice time. 75% of our students will purchase practice time. The other 25% generally live too far away to make frequent visits to our facility feasible. Over the past twelve months, active students are up 25%, student renewals are up 10%, and referrals are up 11%. We work with high school, college, and even professional golfers. But one recent achievement about which I am very proud is having a twelve-year old student of mine go all the way to the Drive, Chip, and Putt finals at Augusta National. Improving skills via video feedback, drills, and goal-oriented practice allows us to do our part in growing the game.

If you would like to email the author of this Best Practice directly, please email jkinney@golftec.com