《USGTF News》2021年3月期




For the past 10 years, we have featured a tour player each month in our USGTF e-newsletters. The USGTF has grown tremendously over these years and has developed many great teaching professionals in our ranks. For this reason, we will now be featuring one accomplished teaching professional in each monthly e-newsletter, as well. We started this in the February e-newsletter with USGTF member Michael Wolf. Now, it’s your turn. There are many of you who have incredible stories to tell, and if you’re wondering if we’re talking to you, the answer is yes! No matter what you have accomplished, rest assured others will find it of great interest. If you would like to tell the world about your experiences in being a USGTF member and a teaching professional – and why not? – in an upcoming newsletter, please contact the USGTF National Office at info@usgtf.com.
If you have not yet paid your 2021 membership fees, the time to do so is now! The scheduled increase in late fees, which was due to take place on March 1, has been extended one week. After March 7, the late fee will be $50. Please go to www.USGTF.com/renew today to renew your USGTF teaching license to remain a member in good standing and continue to be a part of this great organization. With the many new and upcoming member benefits such as the Member Search feature and Job Opportunities listings, as well as traditional benefits such as equipment discounts, group liability insurance, continuing educational opportunities and playing and networking opportunities among others, it has never been more important to remain a member in good standing.
Rafael Conde has been the president of the Mexican Golf Teachers Federation (MGTF) since its inception. Like many WGTF members, he came to golf from another career.
Prior to founding the MGTF, Conde served as a chemical engineer for companies such as Kimberley Clark and Frito Lay. He earned his Master Golf Teaching Professional certification in 1999 and at that point really got into teaching the game.
“Since then, I have been active as a golf teacher in Mexico, having the opportunity to certify many golf teaching professionals from all over the country,” said Conde. “Additionally, I am providing certification for caddies in many private golf clubs. Also, I hold a certification for consulting in agronomical treatment of golf course grass. This practice have offered me the opportunity to get in touch with golf club managers, greenskeepers and all personnel involved in the maintenance of golf courses.”
The MGTF has thrived under Conde’s leadership. The organization has made many inroads in the Mexican golf scene, and Conde plans to engage golf professionals who are not MGTF members to consider the benefits of certification. Conde notes that the upcoming year will provide a special challenge. “2021 is going to represent a special challenge due to COVID-19, but our efforts are going to be focused to promote certifications at all levels.”
He became the youngest winner on the PGA Tour in 82 years when he won the John Deere Classic in 2013, and quickly captured three major titles the next four years. Sustained stardom seemed certain for Jordan Spieth, but after winning The Open in 2017, he entered a slump that only now is he seeing signs that it may be behind him.
Spieth first captured the attention of the golf world in 2013 when, as a 16-year-old, he contended in the Byron Nelson Championship in his hometown of Dallas, Texas. He played at the University of Texas for one year before turning pro. Interestingly, he failed to get through the second stage of Q-School and had no status coming into 2013. Relying on sponsor’s exemptions, he played in several events until his breakthrough victory.
It has been speculated that Spieth and his teacher, Cameron McCormick, started a program to seek more distance, which led to Spieth’s prolonged slump. At the end of 2020, Spieth sought out the counsel of noted teacher Butch Harmon, and the meeting has paid dividends as Spieth scored two top-10 finishes in February. There’s an old saying, “Talent never leaves you.” Spieth is still young and undoubtedly will return to prominence soon.
To longtime USGTF teaching professional Matt Smith, there is no problem that canno be overcome. Smith is one of the most accomplished teachers and players in USGTF history. He is well known for his prowess in these areas, but he has also drawn the admiration of everyone who knows him for overcoming stuttering.
” I have the passion that helps me to feel like every student is family. I have overcome a stuttering problem, and feel like I can motivate my students to overcome any issue,” said Smith. However, that does not define him. What does define him is the excellence he continually brings to any endeavor he attempts.
The owner of the Matt Smith Golf Academy in Pataskala, Ohio, Smith averages 55 lessons per week, has 150 kids ages 8-18 in his golf academy, and sends anywhere from three to 10 kids a year to play college golf. He is also a WGTF Top 100 Teacher and the first winner of the Harvey Penick Trophy for Excellence in Golf Teaching. He is a voracious reader and mentions he tries to get better as a player and a teacher every year.
“I feel at 45 years old I am a well-rounded player and teacher,” Smith remarked. “This allows me to work on every aspect of a golfer’s game. I do playing lessons and short game in season. I have all the latest technology to use indoors in the winter time. I am blessed that being a part of the USGTF helps me to achieve my teaching and playing goals every year.”
Smith has an Instagram account that can be accessed atMattsmithgolfacademy2021. If you haven’t experienced the pleasure of meeting Smith in person, this is a great way of keeping up with him. And he’s sure to continue to make a splash in both the teaching and playing worlds.
By Mark Harman, USGTF Director of Education
Golf saw a resurgence in 2020, and the numbers back that up. According to the National Golf Foundation (NGF), the total number of rounds played increased by 14% last year – a record one-year increase. As COVID-19 forced people to take inventory of their lives and with many indoor entertainment options shut down, golf became a beneficiary. Not only did beginners become fascinated with the game, but many people returned to the game after years-long absences.
The NGF notes that the number of rounds played per year always fluctuates in the 2-3% range, mainly due to weather. So, a double-digit increase in rounds played, despite many courses being closed for months, means that once courses were open, it became hard to find a tee time at some places. And that’s a good thing! Teaching pros also took advantage of this surge in golfers as lesson books became filled. Anthony Benny, one of our fine members in Trinidad & Tobago, noted in the last issue of Golf Teaching Pro that his schedule is more filled than ever.
I know that where I teach, I have had no shortage of lesson-takers. Will the interest in golf continue? It will if the industry as a whole gladly welcomes all to play, and we as teaching professionals have an important role, too. Instead of saying the game is hard – how many times have we heard that? – we need to stress how fun it is to play. Our lesson programs can go a long way in retaining these players for the long haul.





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