I dabbled a couple of times with golf coaching holidays many years ago, but when I was put in charge of the largest free learn to play golf programme in the world at World of Golf in 2009 we decided that part of the pathway of learning that our new golfers would follow should include access to golf coaching holidays. With this in mind I contacted Nick Bishop at Your Golf Travel to get the best advice in the industry on where to take the customers and through Your Golf Travel we were also then able to get the best deals around as well.
We started the first beginners golf coaching holiday to Vila Sol in The Algarve in 2011 and it was a huge success, my wife and I now undertake at least 4 of these trips a year and some of the people coming now have been over 10 times with us.
The format is basically 3 nights, 4 days, Friday to Monday to minimise the amount of annual leave people have to give up. We have coaching in the mornings and then play 18 holes in the afternoon and then socialise in the evening.
I have found these trips to be the most stunning experiences. The relationship with the clients that come on the trips changes from being a customer to being a friend. You really get to know people over the weekend and also they get to know the other clients so well. In fact we have a divorcee and a widower who are now together after joining us on the golf coaching trips.
It is also incredible to see how people improve during a golf trip. In the picture is Sampa who like many of our clients had never played 18 holes before coming on the golf coaching trip to Vila Sol last autumn. Here she is teeing off on the first at The Old Course in Vilamoura. This was her second 18 hole game. She was petrified. She followed 2 more experienced players who teed off before her, one went in the trees to the right, the other out of bounds left, she boomed it straight down the middle. I gave her a 54 handicap for the trip. She chipped in for a par 5 on the second and pared a par 3 hole, getting 5 points for each of those holes. Admittedly, she only gained a handful of points on the other 16 holes, but wow does she remember those high points on that weekend. She started the weekend a beginner and returned a golfer.
The greatest part of the trips is the memories that the customers return home with, they say memories last longer than dreams so I try to encourage people to book a golf coaching trip and stop meaning to do it. Time flies and you have to grab the opportunity, especially as the deals available at Your Golf Travel make it so affordable.
Another factor for golf professionals and golf course owners to appreciate is what I call the cleaner syndrome. If you hire a cleaner, you tend to tidy and clean the house before they come round so it is not in too much of a mess. Well, on a golf coaching trip I find that the customers come and have a ton of golf lessons, play a load of golf and practice like mad before coming on the trip so their game is in as good a shape as possible for the trip. So the golf centres that I work at make a great deal of money out of the people I take on my golf coaching trips, so everyone wins.