September 4, 2015

Trent Wearner: Make Your Students’ Practice Competitive

Trent-WearnerTrent Wearner, the 2004 and 2014 Colorado PGA Section Teacher of the Year, and the author of “Golf Scrimmages,” is the owner and PGA director of instruction at Trent Wearner Golf Academy in Englewood, Colorado.

Trent Wearner on the importance of making your students’ practice competitive:
In 2006 I wrote my book “Golf Scrimmages” while in search of ways to make practice engaging, fun, competitive, and simply put, not monotonous. We needed to add pressure to practice, and make the transition between the range and the course easier. Phil Mickelson has done this perfectly with his legendary Tuesday practice round money games at majors. Some of the games our students benefit from most that address individual aspects of the game include Drawback, Chipping and Pitching Median, Eighteen, and 100, along with several that elevate one’s decision-making, strategy, and mental toughness. The common theme is that they all make practice more competitive and add to the preparation that can help make your players more mentally strong and emotionally prepared. The key is to be able to give the players the tools to not only play well when they have their “A” game, but for when they actually have a bad day of, say, ball striking, and still realize that they can still salvage a decent score.

Trent Wearner on the business impact of making your student’s practice competitive:
I have had 28 students play in national USGA events, nine win individual high school state championships, and almost 80 students who played or are playing college golf. My website, Golfscrimmages.com, which launched in May, plays a big part in all of these students’ practice plans and in all of our junior and even beginner programs. It lists all the various games/competitions one can engage in during practice and a way to enter scores, compete against fellow members/students and, ultimately, track progress. It costs $49 for an individual (whether it’s an amateur golfer or a professional), while the cost for 25 people (i.e., a team or a teacher’s full stable) is $585, or roughly $23 per person. The professionals can then pass that cost on to their students, asking for the exact amount to break even or a little more to make a bit of profit. Our students, through this type of practice, are able to handle the pressures felt on the course with more success. We’ve signed up over 200 people in two short months, with more teams and even a junior tour signing on. 100 percent of our long-term coaching students at my academy, located at Meridian Golf Club, use the program, and word of mouth has helped make the academy a highly sought out destination. It’s also been a great mechanism for parents looking to get their kids to practice more, but to do it in a fun way so that it doesn’t seem onerous and mandatory. Taken together, it’s been a win for all.

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