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One of the most enriching parts of life — and golf — is learning from those who’ve come before you. There’s no substitute for experience, but when you can open yourself up to advice from those more seasoned than yourself, you can learn a lot.
That’s one of the best elements of the annual GOLF Top 100 Teacher Retreat. Each fall, we assemble some of the brightest teaching minds in the game to impart their wisdom on their peers. Some are there for the first time, wide-eyed and ready to learn; others have been coming for years and are more than happy to share the knowledge they’ve collected during their careers.
The week provides teachers with all kinds of useful information they can take with them and use to become better instructors. It’s a worthwhile experience for any teacher to take part in, but perhaps the best advice comes at the induction of new GOLF Hall of Fame Teachers.
This year’s class included Randy Smith, Mike McGetrick and the late Ben Doyle. At the induction ceremony in Scottsdale, Ariz., Smith and McGetrick (along with Brian Manzella, accepting the induction on behalf of Doyle) took part in a panel discussion led by Top 100 Teacher Kellie Stenzel.
The entire segment (above) is a worthwhile watch, but their answers to the question “What’s the best piece of advice you ever received” were particularly insightful. Check out the entire video above, or read below for answers from the entire class.
Get your own space
Manzella, speaking on behalf of Doyle, shared the best advice his mentor ever shared with him, which became a monumental part of Manzella’s career.
“He said, ‘Save up your money for about three years and get on the road,'” Manzella said. “Drive down the road in either direction and three year’s worth of savings can buy you a whole piece of property.”
Manzella took Doyle’s advice and saved up enough to buy himself land in Louisiana, which is where his teaching facilities now sit.
“Everybody here has probably got a story about the facility issue,” Manzella said. “If you can have your own little facility, even of it’s a 900-square-foot studio, Ben was 100 percent right.”
Do the right thing
The advice Smith received did not come in a single moment, but rather he learned it over his decades of teaching. Over the years, he watched and soaked up as much information as he could, and it helped shape his teaching philosophy as a result.
“You do the right thing whether somebody is watching you or somebody is not watching you,” Smith said. “I think watching other instructors and watching how they work around people [is valuable].”
It’s a simple life lesson, but one that guided Smith to the Hall of Fame.
Listen and learn
McGetrick was not always a golf instructor, but he learned some valuable advice in his previous career as an engineer.
“I had a boss who’s name was Steve Roselle,” McGetrick said. “He said to me, ‘Listen and learn. Don’t be outspoken.’ That’s always resonated with me. I’ve tried to always be a good listener.”
Sometimes it’s OK to sit back and observe. You might even learn something when you do.