Tommy Moore is the PGA Director of Golf at Firestone Country Club, in Akron, Ohio.
Tommy Moore on the importance of implementing concepts that help students practice with a purpose:
There are many golf facilities with short game practice areas where members can improve their skills and PGA coaches can help them. Having a dedicated area geared towards chipping and pitching is an amenity that serves many purposes. At Firestone Country Club, we have changed the way members can utilize the short game area by designating hitting stations that are designed to improve their skills. When members arrive at their short game area, they will see three designated areas. There is one just off the green, one a flop shot out of the rough, and one further away, about 55-60 feet. The three hitting stations, coupled with the greenside bunker, will help members improve their games dramatically. We advise them to save 15-20 minutes before each round to hit three or four chips from each of the hitting stations and a few shots from the bunker as well, always stressing the importance of a proficient short game on their scores and handicap. With frequent communication to members, through email, newsletter, and of course, social media, we continuously educate our students on the aspects of the game that will help them improve the most, and also how to practice those skills in an efficient and effective manner. As PGA golf instructors, we understand that the quality of one’s practice is more important than the quantity. I tell them that the short game practice area is where they change their strokes.
Tommy Moore on the business impact of implementing concepts that help students practice with a purpose:
When it comes to real practice, the practice range has become only one aspect of a golfer’s improvement process. Instruction, technology, fitness, and nutrition are also a means to a better golf game. The short game area is as important as any of them, as those strokes around the green can not only increase one’s scores, but they can make those great drives that golfers like to practice seem irrelevant. Teaching the big picture, the complete package, is how students truly improve. Having them go to your short game area and chip for hours at a time may or may not help them – teaching them to use their time efficiently and with a purpose is a sure way to render positive results. We believe that designating short game hitting stations satisfies that endeavor. Golfers who practice better will ultimately play better. In addition, having a short game area is a great selling point to prospective new members, as it shows our long-term commitment to their improvement, and enjoyment in the game. Finally, a dedicated short game area opens up a multitude of teaching and player development possibilities for your teaching staff. We have implemented the designated areas with game-improvement in mind. I have communicated the importance of short game practice to our members and am confident they will recognize the benefits and utilize the area to its potential.
If you would like to email the author of this Best Practice directly, please email TomMoore@pga.com