A Father’s Inspiration
Finding the right coach to achieve success is extremely important. Mark Guttenberg understands this from the perspective of both student and coach. It was Guttenberg’s father who first inspired him to play golf. When he was ten years old, his father had weekly golf dates and would sometimes let Guttenberg come along and caddy. When one of his father’s fellow players noticed that Guttenberg had a natural swing, he told his father that he should let the boy take lessons. “And that’s where it all started,” says Guttenberg. “I started playing golf at the age of ten and knew right away I was going to be a golf pro.”
His father further increased Guttenberg’s determination when he took him to the US Open at Congressional Country Club, where he saw Arnold Palmer on the putting green. “He had this knock-kneed putting stance, and this really charismatic way about him, and when I saw that, I just knew I (had to) do this one day,” Guttenberg says. So he did. After he accomplished his dream of competing in the PGA Tour, Guttenberg decided to give back and pass on what he had learned by becoming a golf coach.
Giving Back Through Coaching
Guttenberg was a head pro at a golf club where he started to become more involved in teaching. However, when that club bought more houses and took away from the driving range, Guttenberg decided to leave. An acquaintance who had nine golf courses that he wanted teachers for called Guttenberg up and offered him 60,000 customers and a facility where he could teach them. Guttenberg jumped at the opportunity. “I become enamored by the aspect of teaching, the idea that people could come to me to talk about something I love so dearly, pay me money to make them better at what they could do,” says Guttenberg. “I couldn’t believe that I could make a living at that.” The gratification he gets when he sees a student leave with a smile is heartwarming.
A Torch Passed Down by His Own Coach
Guttenberg had had a coach of his own who made him feel like Superman. Now he wants to make his own students feel the same way, passing down the passion from generation to generation through coaching. “(He made me feel) like I could really achieve my dreams, and I try to instill in my students that they can do what they want to do,” he says. “I try to give back like he gave to me.”
Finding the Right Coach For Your Child
Parents seeking a coach for their child have to trust that the coach has the child’s best interests at heart. They also need a good relationship and rapport. “If you and the parents and the kids aren’t on the same page, nobody’s going to win,” says Guttenberg. Although a coach needs to know how to play the game, there’s more to it. “A great coach has to know more than the mechanics of a golf swing,” he says. “You have to be able to motivate your students. You have to be able to empower them and believe in them no matter what.” There will be good days and bad days, and a coach has to know how to get the child up and keep them going through those bad days.
Support Your Child’s Coach
For parents to get the most out of their coaching investment, they should support the coach. “If your child is taking lessons, find out from the coach and from your child what the coach wants you to do,” he says. Nobody wins when Guttenberg gives a lesson and the student comes back two weeks later and didn’t work on what they were supposed to work on, because he or she worked on what the parents thought the child should do instead.
“It’s really not about how great the coach is,” says Guttenberg. “It’s really about how great the parents are. It’s what the parents have done to support and follow up with the development of the kids that makes the difference.”
Novices Need Coaches Too
It’s not only children just learning the sport of golf that benefit from coaches. Novices can also learn and improve with a coach. “The first and most important thing, even if you just took one or two lessons, is the basic fundamentals of how to hold the golf club,” says Guttenberg. He breaks it into four letters — GASP — that teach the proper Grip, Aim, Stance, and Posture. “If you don’t do those correctly, your swing will not evolve properly,” he says. “Fundamentals are very important.”
Lessons, both for children and novices, should be catered to the student. “The type of lesson that you get has a lot to do with you as an individual and your personalities,” says Guttenberg. “So the first part of every lesson for me is an interview. I want to know more about the student.” Guttenberg also wants to know what his students would like to get out of their lesson so he knows how best to pass on the torch of knowledge to the next generation of golf pros.
Contact Information for Mark Guttenberg
You can learn more about Mark Guttenberg at his website, where you can also find his email address and phone number.