Joel Mercieca has students that he has been working with for almost a decade. He knows that if he doesn’t get better as a coach, he can’t hope to progress them to their full potential as players.
Ever since completing his PGA qualifications in 2011, Mercieca has been on a constant search for continual improvement.
Among his list of achievements in advanced study Mercieca has become a Trackman Certified Master, obtained his Titleist Performance Institute certification in Level 2 Golf Professional, Level 2 Junior Coach and Level 2 Power, achieved a K-Vest Level 2 certification in 3D Data and Biofeedback and earned Focus Band certification.
That – and the influence of some of the finest golf coaches both here in Australia and overseas – enabled Mercieca to achieve Australian PGA Professional Advanced Coaching recognition as he seeks to become the most complete coach he can be.
Currently based at Gainsborough Greens just north of the Gold Coast where he has his own fitting and coaching studio, Mercieca is forever seeking ways in which to advance his own education.
“You need to know how the body works, you need to know how the motion is supposed to work in regard to the biofeedback, you need to know how the club is affecting what the ball is doing,” Mercieca said of his interest in the study of biomechanics.
“That’s where the TrackMan data comes into it. The mental side of things is massive as well. If you want to have a well-rounded knowledge base of the entire game to be able to help people, they’re the avenues that you’ve got to go down.
“You just need to know that stuff. If you don’t know that stuff, then you’re going to fall behind, I think. And more importantly, you’re not going to get the message across to the student as quickly as possible.”
And therein lies the key.
While knowledge is indeed power, the way you disseminate that information to a range of students that includes tour players all the way through to 22-handicap club golfers, the application of that information is even more important.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very technical sport, but having all of the knowledge and then being able to pass that information over in a way that’s easily digestible by the student is one of the keys to being a good coach,” explains Mercieca, who began his PGA training first under Peter and Lee Harrington at the West Burleigh Driving Range and completing it under Mark and Sean Bath at Gold Coast Country Club.
“There’s definitely a place for technology in coaching beginners but you’ve got to be able to get the message across concisely and in quite simple terms.
“Somebody who’s a little bit more advanced might want a bit more information about why they’re doing something or a bit more justification as to why they’re doing it. But even then, a lot of the time elite students don’t really want too much information either.
“You’ve just got to profile each person that’s in front of you and work out how you can make them better the fastest.”
Mercieca had planned on travelling to the US to complete his Level 3 TPI qualifications in coaching and junior coaching before the COVID-19 pandemic stalled international travel.
It will form part of the next phase of his development as a coach and equip him further to get the best out of whichever golfers come into the studio.
“I do think that it’s very important as a coach to be adaptable,” Mercieca adds.
“I don’t ever see myself giving the same lesson twice in a row, that’s for sure.
“Every single lesson is different, every person’s different, everybody learns differently so being adaptable and knowledgeable across every aspect of the golf swing is really important.”
• PGA Professionals are the most knowledgeable and qualified people to help improve your game. To connect with your local PGA Professional and begin your journey to better golf visit pga.org.au/find-a-pga-pro/