Every golfer will tell you that the game is fun, but they also know better than anyone that it can be a game of occasional frustration.
More than 250,000 new golfers have flooded onto courses and driving ranges throughout the country over the past 18 months and a major focus now is to how to keep them engaged.
Brandon Rave’s theory is simple; get them playing better as quickly as possible.
A nominee for the 2020 Victorian PGA Game Development Professional of the Year, Rave coaches predominantly at the Melbourne Golf Academy due to the imminent closure of the Bulleen Driving Range where he has coached previously.
With travel to China where he has established golf academies and worked to enhance the golf coaching available in China becoming difficult, Rave channelled his energies into helping growth sectors that were suddenly emerging.
He has written a coaching curriculum for the Fairway Birdies women’s group – a group established to help women new to golf get from the driving range and out onto the golf course – but it is the accountability he places on his students that is producing results.
Rave knows that golfers who play better play more often and that it takes an element of hard work and dedication to get there.
“I give all the ladies homework and videos to do, even if it means that they buy one golf club and practice their takeaway position 50 reps a week before they came to the next class,” Rave explains. While his methods may not be for everyone, Rave found that the retention was higher for the ladies that actually did the drills. And, believe it or not, they got better by practising.
“In other sports, that’s just the norm. The expectation is that you practice twice a week, work with your coaches and take steps as an individual to get better,” Rave adds.
“In golf there seems to be this assumption that because anyone can play it should be easy to be good.”
People play golf for so many varied reasons however Rave believes if you want results you need to be accountable.
“What I’m trying to do is change the mindset of coaching. That you can be assertive at the right times because ultimately you need to know that there is accountability in sport,” he says.
“We can set up social cohesion and everything but then the environment we’re going to set up is a social one. There’s going to be some accountability in the training.
“You get the most satisfaction out of that when you see improvement and you put in the work. That equals retention in my opinion.”
Eschewing traditional beginner clinics, Rave is convinced that by adopting such an approach that the attrition rate of those who start and those who continue on to be golfers embedded within the industry is reduced significantly.
“We found that there’s been better retention, people who go on to join a club, buy golf equipment and get real lessons,” Rave says.
“They’re the ones who will likely stay in the game and influence their daughters and their friends in a genuine way.
“My job is to get them into the game and get them to stay in the game.
“If you have 30 ladies in various groups a few might say that he was a bit of a tyrant but they will also acknowledge that they improved a lot using my methods.
“They’re the ones I want to keep in the sport.”
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