Peer learning Research tells us that learning with peers of similar ability can increase motivation and skill acquisition. This can happen in several ways. Firstly, imagine that a coach is conducting a chipping class. The technique is usually explained and then players will individually practice. This is a good format. But even better, the coach could explain the chipping technique and then pair players up. Each pair could be tasked with helping each other implement the technique explained by the coach. The process of explaining the chipping technique to a peer will force class attendees to process the information deeper. Of course, the coach should oversee the session to correct misconceptions, but the process of helping each other can promote knowledge retention. Secondly, watching someone with similar ability play a chip shot correctly (a coping model) may be more useful than watching an expert (a role model). Especially for beginner golfers, the skill of a coach is non-relatable, but the skill of a peer is not. By watching a peer successfully play a chip shot, the confidence and performance of the beginner golfer may increase.
Narrow focus Although we know that players can only focus on one or two corrections at a time, it is easy to deviate from this rule of thumb in private lessons. If a player is doing well, it is easy to move on to new things. Alternatively, coaches may introduce different concepts simply to fill the time. Whatever the reason, players can leave lessons with multiple swing corrections and a misunderstanding of where to prioritise their focus. In a group class, it is easier for coaches to focus on one concept and stick to it. For example, a class on ball position stays very focused. Players will learn the correct ball position(s) and be able to experiment with how the ball flight changes when moving the ball forwards or backwards. Consequently, players will leave the class with very specific knowledge that they can implement as and when they choose.
Social When coaches know all attendees’ names (or provide name tags), group classes can be a lot of fun for the coach and the golfers. By making introductions by name, attendees can meet new friends and future playing partners. This is worth the price of entry for many players! After all, no matter how much golfers enjoy playing, the social aspect is usually equally as important. Group classes are an excellent way for coaches to tap into that need.