Devoted professionals can get in the swing as golf coaches
Golfers who don't have Tiger Woods' awesome skills need not despair - they can still make their mark by becoming a coach.
"There are two types of professional golfer - touring professionals who play in tournaments and teaching professionals who act as coaches," says Lee Parker, director for training at the Hong Kong Professional Golfers' Association (HKPGA).
A coach should be devoted to helping their students achieve his or her aims and ambitions, Parker says.
"A coach has to be outgoing and positive, and have a desire to help people," he says. "He or she should be a good listener who knows the needs of students and is flexible to adjust to individual learning styles, wants and needs.
"The technology and skills in golf are ever changing, so a coach needs to be open to new ideas."
HKPGA offers a two-year, part-time training programme that includes 20 rounds of competitive golf and 60 hours of classroom study on subjects such as psychology, bio-mechanics, equipment technology, communication, marketing and business skills.
The programme has no academic requirements. Individuals, aged above 18, with good golf skills are eligible to apply and will need to have their playing skills tested. The fee is HK$30,000.
Those who qualify as coaches are then recruited by clubs, driving ranges and golf schools. Parker says coaches can be employed in-house or work on a freelance basis, adding that monthly salaries vary from HK$15,000 to HK$50,000.
He adds that lessons are usually scheduled on weekends and holidays to accommodate the busy schedules of Hongkongers. "Most of the time, you are working when other people are not, but the best thing is you get to play golf," he says.
The increasing popularity of the sport, especially among young people, adds to the demand for coaches, Parker says.
"There is a growing trend of coaches crossing the border to give lessons and local students going to the mainland for lessons."