De World Golf Teachers Federation heeft een wereldwijde standaard voor het opleiden van professionele golfleraren neergezet. Elk land zal door innovatieve en effectieve leermethoden innvulling geven aan de in dat land geldende eisen voor de opleiding tot golfleraar. De WGTF verleend vele diensten en organiseert wedstrijden ten behoeve van haar leden.
Het opleiden en certificeren van Golf Teaching Professionals was altijd het exclusieve domein van de PGA, opgericht in 1916. Echter, sinds 1989 is er met de USGTF en de WGTF een tweede opleidingstraject bijgekomen. Inmiddels is de WGTF een organisatie van grote naam en faam.
Mr. Geoff Bryant, voorzitter van de United States Golf Teachers Federation in Port Saint Lucie, Florida, had er een heilig geloof in dat er behoefte was om deze opleiding wereldwijd in te voeren.
Volgens de heer Bryant was er 20 jaar gelden een grote markt voor nieuwe en kwalitatief goed opgeleide golfleraren. Bryant, een voormalig skikampioen en skileraar wist dat sommige van zijn beste skileraren in staat waren om in een 7-daags certificeringsprogramma skileraar te worden. En als dat kon voor skiën, waar veiligheid en fysieke conditie een belangrijke rol speelden, dan moet dat ook voor golf mogelijk zijn. En...hij had gelijk!
Nowadays, the USGTF holds 4 levels of certification with continuing education through Golf Teaching Pro magazine, the official member publication of the USGTF. In order to achieve certification, candidates may choose to attend the level of certification they prefer and successfully pass the criteria required for each level. The playing ability test also includes a division for seniors and super seniors.
Prior to the existence of the USGTF, candidates with a desire to teach golf had to attend a three to four year apprenticeship program governed by the PGA. Ironically, these individuals did very little teaching. That's still the case today. Most apprentices work for minimum wage and spend most of their time selling merchandise, cleaning clubs, or taking charge of tee times.
Most USGTF members are entrepreneurs, well educated, and successful in other areas of life. What's more, they all love to teach golf. Because of their experiences from various walks of life, USGTF members find employment or create their own. They occupy all aspects of the golf teaching industry from head professionals at private and public golf courses, to those working at driving ranges, golf schools, indoor facilities, high schools, colleges and private teaching enterprises.
World Golf Teachers Federation
But the story does not end there. There's a global twist to all of this. In 1989, Bryant noticed an incredible number of foreigners traveling here to the United States to get certified. Their sentiments were always the same: they wanted to teach, not work as apprentices. Their own countries were not established to provide certification. Hence, the birth of the "World Golf Teachers Federation." Established in 1991, the WGTF is now the world's largest organization of golf teaching professionals. It boasts over 22,000 members and is comprised of 35 member nation federations. Because of help initially from USGTF examiners, all member nations are now conducting their own golf teaching certification courses.
One Universal Umbrella
According to Bryant, "It's simply a matter of history repeating itself. In the 1960's and early 70's, all ski resorts in this country hired Austrian and Swiss instructors. Similarly, tennis resorts hired Australian teachers. With the advent and growth of those teaching federations in our own country, these sports now depend mostly on United States citizens. Additionally, teaching professionals prefer to belong to an organization that represents their own country. The great thing about the World Golf Teachers Federation is that it ties us all together under one universal umbrella, so that we can benefit from interacting and sharing ideas with one another."
"All member nation federations adhere to the WGTF charter of bylaws, that has established a standard of uniformity and quality of golf instruction throughout the world. These bylaws were established to protect the rights of teaching professionals, and to provide certain obligations and benefits to each member nation. Furthermore, the WGTF is responsible for administering the biennial World Golf Teachers Cup. This is a six-day event held alternately in the United States and abroad. It brings together golf teaching professionals from all over the world, plus provides the opportunity to compete, exchange ideas, and foster life-long friendships."
An Organization of Inclusion
"While we are on the subject of the WGTF, I might add that our organization has always been diverse in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, and age. From the very beginning, the USGTF has been an organization of inclusion. This is one of our strengths that has had far reaching implications as we continue to grow worldwide."
"We are very proud for instance of USGTF members such as the late Julius Richardson, the first African American to be officially designated by Golf Magazine as one of the top 100 teaching professionals in the United States. By 81, Mr. Richardson continued to teach six hours per day year round, with a lesson agenda booked well in advance. He thanked the USGTF repeatedly for recognizing his lifelong accomplishments as a golf teaching professional and giving him the opportunity to belong to an organization of his peers. Unfortunately, this opportunity never presented itself to Julius in his younger years, simply because of the color of his skin. He has had an impact on the game that will be remembered indefinately.
I also asked Mr. Bryant about USGTF member benefits. It seems the administrative staff have all been hard at work over the years providing member benefits which are too many and varied to list in this article. However benefits include member liability insurance, group life insurance, ongoing refresher courses, a Level IV Masters certification course, educational and marketing material, and discounts on equipment with key golf manufacturing companies. Also of noteworthy interest: the annual United States Golf Teachers Cup, the biennial World Golf Teachers Cup and the World Golf Teachers Tour are extremely popular events among USGTF members.
Quality of Golf Membership
The one thing that was not difficult for me to perceive in this interview with Mr. Bryant was the passion he exhibited when talking about both the USGTF and WGTF, and the quality of their membership. Perhaps this, more than anything, characterizes the reason for the growth and sucess of both of these entities.
By James Gilmore, Denver, Colorado
Metropolitan Tee Times