The Swiss PGA Apprentices' Autumn Week - a highlight of the association's education programme

Whats App Image 2021 10 22 at 19 32 33

After an uncertain period with all the short-term adjustments that the Swiss Professional Golfers' Association, like any other sports organisation, has experienced, the education programme was able to restart normally this year and the Swiss PGA apprentices were able to meet again on various occasions. The last meeting of the Swiss PGA apprentices and the education programme’s supervisors took place last week at GolfPark Holzhäusern. It was the annual Autumn Week, one of the highlights of the Swiss PGA apprentices' calendar.

Each year, all apprentices of the Swiss PGA three-year training program meet on three occasions: during the Spring Week, at the Apprentices' Championship, and finally during the Autumn Week. These are events "where all the apprentices can meet and have the opportunity to exchange a lot of information, also regarding their respective experiences. These exchanges are important because they allow the apprentices to expand their network and learn from each other's experiences, to gain other points of view and new ideas," explains Nikolas Baer, member of the Swiss PGA Education Commission.

The programme for the 2021 Autumn Week consisted firstly of two days during which the apprentices attended various teaching and coaching modules, followed by two further days of the European Education Level System (EELS) -Industry module. "In this module, for the first time, we managed to cover eight different topics related to the golf industry at the same time," Nikolas says. "Instead of working on one topic at a time and separately (e.g., SWOT analysis of my working facility, marketing, finances,...), the apprentices worked in groups and experienced how to process all the information needed to fully analyse a working facility and how to take it further. They were also able to learn about the tools needed to develop a golf academy."

Each year of the apprentices’ training introduces topics specific to their level of advancement in the curriculum. While the “first years” were, for example, introduced to video swing analysis and the all-important subject of their thesis work, the “second years” focused on cause and effect during teaching. They were also tested on their ability to handle "trouble shots" (rough, bunker, very low and very high shots). The “third years” were able to work together on their upcoming exam topics, were introduced to pre- and in-swing principles and the D-Plane model (determining the conditions at impact causing certain types of ball flight). Finally, they were made aware of all the teaching tools already at their disposal.

During this intensive training week, the atmosphere was great: "There was a lot of interaction and discussion, a real atmosphere of exchange was present, very friendly, communicative, inspiring, with a lot of goodwill from the trainees. Their motivation and that of the experts present was very high!" summarises Nikolas Baer, who is very enthusiastic about the outcomes. Second year apprentice Kasper Meijer, based in Grindelwald, was also delighted at the end of the 4-days training: "This week was definitely the best training experience I have had in the Swiss PGA so far. The atmosphere was very relaxed and fun, we learned a lot and had a lot of very good discussions." More accustomed to this intensive training week, third-year apprentice Luca Benedettini says he has always found the Autumn Week particularly interesting because new inputs that are necessary for the training process are always presented. This year, he was made aware of "staying updated, observing how the other pros work and finding out what each golf club has to offer that is interesting." While Kasper will continue and complete his Swiss PGA training next year, with the long-term goal of becoming more involved in the association's activities, Luca Benedettini's goal is to become a freelance golf instructor next season.

Photo: 2021 Swiss PGA Autumn Week, GolfPark Holzhäusern | Swiss PGA