Jason Guss, a four-time Michigan PGA Section Award winner, is the PGA Director of Golf Performance at the Jason Guss Golf Academy, located at Hawk Hollow Golf Course in Bath Township, Michigan and Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club in Grand Blanc Township, Michigan.
Jason Guss on the importance of maintaining a manageable number of students:
Retaining new golfers beyond the pandemic, when all other activities have reopened, will be a challenge for all PGA Professionals. As full-time coaches, the majority of PGA Professionals have more students than ever and for many, more than they can handle. It is important not to overload your lesson book weeks in advance, taking on more students than you can effectively serve. I’m on the range teaching six days a week right now, as most full-time coaches are, and there comes a point when you’re maxed out – it’s important to recognize when that time comes. As we get busier, we have so many clients and a percentage of them will be fly-by clients. They may be around for three or four lessons, and suddenly they’re just not around anymore. We should maintain a core group of clients and not push them aside to accommodate the fly-by clients. Because, realistically, when the trend in golf reverses course, which it will inevitably do, it is your core group of students who will be there with you. You don’t want to look past them now because there’s an influx of new golfers, and then go back to them when the new golfers have moved on to their next endeavor. I’m doing my best to help build the clientele of my other academy instructors and keep time in my own schedule for my existing clients. After all, the last thing you want to tell a long-time student of yours is that you can’t see him or her for several weeks. It’s smarter business to pass on new students to other instructors if you have an academy or perhaps to your assistant professionals if you’re a PGA Head Professional or Director of Instruction. It’s also important that the coach not be burnt out and exhausted when meeting a student on the lesson tee of his or her practice facility. Retaining these clients means giving them an amazing experience, and that’s hard to do if you’re teaching ten hours a day.
Jason Guss on the business impact of maintaining a manageable number of students:
As the owner of a golf academy, being this busy is great. It’s lucrative now and provides security going forward. And as mentioned, I am able to bring those new clients into our business, but pass them on to my other instructors. If the individual teacher at a course, club or range doesn’t have assistants to take on new students, these individuals will go elsewhere, a scenario no golf facility wants to have happen. It’s a balancing act that most PGA Professionals are dealing with every day, but overall a good problem to have. Get creative. Think differently. Do 45-minute sessions instead of an hour. Put small groups together. Partner with new teachers who are just starting out. It’s vital that coaches remain as fresh and energetic in their last lesson of the day, as they were during their first. Adapting to our current situation can make us all successful and go a long way in retaining many of our new clients.
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