Tips for New Coaches
For those of you that are new to coaching golf, a group of us tried to put our heads together and create a list of some suggestions that might make things a little easier for you as you take over. By no means is this a list of everything, but these are some helpful guidelines for you. We wish you the best in your start of coaching golf in Indiana. If you have any questions, please email me.
- Join your association. If you coach boy’s golf, you need to be a paid member of the Indiana High School Golf Coaches Association (IHSGCA). Go to www.ihsgca.net and click on the join the IHSGCA link.
- If you coach girl’s golf, you need to be a paid member of the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association (ICGSA) and the Indiana High School Golf Coaches Association (IHSGCA). http://www.icgsa.org/portal/Intro.aspx and www.ihsgca.net In order to nominate golfers for Academic All-State, All-State, Coach of the Year, Mitch Winger Award, etc, you must be a paid member by the deadline date. Please make sure you register so you don’t prevent one of your golfers from receiving an award. Deadlines can be found at the above websites.
- Pay attention to all deadlines for awards, tournament entries, etc.
- You must take the online rules interpretation quiz. Ask your AD how to access this.
- The IHSAA requires that all schools turn in their sectional entries by a specific date. Your athletic director will know this date, and it can be found on the IHSAA website. Make sure your entry is turned in on time.
- Know the USGA rules as well as the coaching rules for the IHSAA. Teach your golfers the rules. Purchase USGA Rules Books for each of your golfers and go over the rules with them. Educate yourself and your golfers. Knowing the rules can really prevent slow play when there are rule questions.
- Keep the USGA Rules Book with you during all matches and tournaments and ask that your players do the same. Also, the USGA has a large decisions book that in quite specific. Get a copy for yourself.
- Make sure that your golfers put identifying marks on their golf ball every time they play. This avoids any confusion as to if it is in fact their golf ball.
- If your athletic department may pay for golf balls, order the golf balls well before your season starts. Order team equipment well before the season starts.
- Teach your golfers how to complete scoring after a match. Two signatures are required and make sure the golfers look over the score they are signing for before they sign. Every year golfers get disqualified (or must take a high score) for signing for an incorrect score than they made because they didn’t check the score on each hole before they signed the card. When golfers read scores, sometimes they make mistakes and so the golfer should double check scores after scores are read off.
- Stress pace of play. Encourage your golfers to play ready golf and keep pace with the group in front of them. Slow play can not be tolerated.
- Have a meeting with your home golf course and ask their expectations of you and your team. Make sure your golfers understand those expectations. If you host events, make sure you reserve tee times ASAP.
- Have a parent meeting with all parents and explain your rules, your expectations, etc. Tell parents how a golfer earns a varsity letter, how you decide who will play, etc. Be clear and communicate.
- Encourage your parents to walk in front of the group they are watching so they can watch where golf balls might go and so they don’t get in the way of groups playing behind the group they are watching. Also, tell parents that they should not get involved in rules interpretations. If parents see a ball go in a hazard, they can help with that, but otherwise they should not get involved.
- Parents should not be communicating with their son or daughter. Ask parents to stay at least 60 feet away to avoid any issues.
- Create an email list for all parents so you can communicate with them. If you cancel practice due to weather or some other reason, let parents and golfers know ASAP.
- Communicate with other coaches on start times of matches and tournament and decide how many golfers your opponent can bring to a match/event and find out how many you can bring to an event. Also, contact opposing school/coach a few days before a match/tournament to confirm date and time. Clear communication can prevent problems.
- Use sound judgment during practice and matches when it comes to weather. Keep your golfers safe and don’t take risks when weather is a threat.
- If you cancel a match or tournament, let your opponents know ASAP.
- When hosting a match, go over the rules with the teams that are participating. Have a meeting with all golfers and coaches before you start to discuss the rules and to answer any questions.
- If you host a match or tournament, have scorecards filled out and ready to be passed out. If you have a shotgun start, use a highlighter and highlight the holes each golfer will start on to avoid confusion or eliminate scoring errors.
- If you are the visiting team for an afterschool match, the rule of thumb is to be ready to play as quickly as possible when getting off the bus. You may be able to hit some practice putts, but don’t expect to hit balls unless you are playing in a large tournament.
- Call in your match/tournament scores to your local newspaper and radio station.
- Email all invitational scores to the IHSGCA website - http://st-ihsgca.org/ihsgca/resultsform.html
- Host a banquet at the end of the year and recognize the accomplishments of your golfers.
- Promote sportsmanship at all times.
- Ask questions to any veteran coach who may be able to help you. Or email the IHSGCA Executive Board if you have any questions. Their emails can be found on the IHSGCAs website.
- Send out tournament information well ahead of time to each participating school. Include tee time information, contact information, course information, entry fee information, information about if coolers can be brought out on the course, rain dates, etc. Include a rules sheet.
- Set the course up in terms of length and difficulty according to the ability of the teams in competition.
- Mark the course well so coaches and golfers are clear about water hazards, out of bounds, ground under repair, etc. Have drop zones to speed up play.
- Establish a rules committee and try to have the local PGA professional on the committee.
- Have a starter who has the golfers introduce themselves, has them identify their golf balls, has them exchange scorecards, etc.
- Have spotters on holes that will create lost balls and delays.
- Have cards made and highlight the hole they start on if it is a shotgun start.
- Give every golfer a rules sheet.
- Have carts for all coaches and identify each coach’s cart.
- Have score sheets with all the schools and the names of the golfers playing. Post scores at the end of the tournament.
- Have awards for the top team(s) and individual(s) and recognize them after the tournament.
- Try to include range balls and food as part of the entry fee.
- Cart groups between holes if the walking distance is great.
- Make your tournament first class.