Teacher Town Hall Panel Tackles Instruction Issues on PGA Forum Stage

Teachers or coaches? What makes a good instructor? What’s the most effective way to communicate with students?

Those were some of the issues addressed by a number of the brightest teachers/coaches/instructors in golf Thursday during a SiriusXM Teacher Town Hall on the PGA Forum Stage presented by OMEGA.

Five of the most respected teaching professionals in the land — Hank Haney, Jim McLean, Debbie Doniger, Michael Breed and Larry Rinker — shared their philosophies in a fast-paced, informative forum that showed the passion with which each teaches, and coaches, the game.

“We’ve always been referred to as teachers, but now people are saying we’re actually coaching,” beamed Haney, who has taught students ranging from Tiger Woods to Charles Barkley, and all skill levels between. “It’s not hard to look at someone’s swing, or look at their putting stroke, and tell them what they’re doing wrong. That’s identifying and diagnosing. But it’s much harder to get them to make changes and do what you’re recommending. That’s where coaching comes in.”

“I take a holistic approach to coaching, meaning I incorporate components of teaching and coaching whenever I work with a student,” said Breed, the 2012 PGA Teacher of the Year. “For me, it goes beyond the lesson tee. I care about every student who I work with – I like to know what they’re doing in their jobs or at school. That’s when the coaching comes in.”

Whether teacher or coach, Rinker said communication and caring is paramount.

“Every lesson and every student is different,” noted Rinker. “I learned the importance of communication by working with the great Bob Toski, who is here at the PGA Merchandise Show this week at the age of 92. “When you say we learn by watching and observing, that can be true when working with someone like Toski. He was a great communicator.”