It’s wonderful to see young boys and girls taking up golf in our country. Parents are doing their best to make them play golf without the help of the golf federation or the local associations.
But that’s the only positive thing happening for golf in Pakistan. We say we are a poor, third world country and so cannot bring golfers from other parts of the world. We used to have Pakistan masters where local professionals would play with international players to gain experience and earn good money. Even the caddies would learn and make good money from their work.
Most juniors are big fans of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, watching them on TV. Unfortunately our young kids don’t know Pakistani pros because they are seldom shown in action on TV.
Golf is not expensive in Pakistan. Anybody can go to any club to play golf, taking good care of the dress code. Denim jeans aren’t allowed in any golf clubs around the world. Golf is such a colourful game. Four golfers playing in one group wear different clothing.
In our golf culture amateurs love to do golf coaching. Some of them can identify the problems but don’t know how to fix them. One thing I hate is that sometimes while I am teaching they will come and say he should do this or you should tell him to do that. Thus they disrespect coaches. The person who is taking lesson thinks in his mind that maybe my coach is not capable enough to teach. So the coach loses his professional respect and value.
Once a gentleman interfered while I was giving a golf lesson. I told him to come and teach my student. "I am going home," I said to him. "It’s the most pathetic feeling. If I come to your office, sit in your chair and start ordering your manager you will never forgive me."
I have been a qualified professional teacher for twenty eight years. Golf teaching degrees are the hardest to get. Believe me you have to learn several aspects of the game: teaching, playing, rules of the game, club, fitting, management of golf carts, pro shop, organising tournaments.
Not many coaches pass them easily. Then it is your practice. The more you teach golfers of all levels the better you get as a coach. The reason is that you gain experience. Nothing can beat experience. You can’t buy it; it only comes with practice. I have a few degrees from around the world. Every year I do refresher courses to be able to teach at the highest level. You don’t learn this in a few days. I sacrificed my professional golf for teaching.
It’s two different professions: playing professionally and teaching the game. But teaching is the most satisfying profession because golfers come to me to improve their golf with high hopes and expectations. The point for me to teach a novice is that he is fresh without any muscles memories. As a coach I can set his golf swing the way I want according to his age, body and muscles strength.
I do not believe in swing change and comparing one golfer to other. Everyone is different. Good communication is very important for a coach. I can get my message across and keep my students motivated. This way things happen quickly and enjoyably. If golfers on the course find out that the playing partner is new, they get nervous and forget whatever they knew. When they come back to their coach they have almost lost their swing.
There are two kinds of golfers. Swingers don’t hit the ball hard; they have very flexible bodies; they can move around with nice soft swings. Hitters on the other hand are those who hit hard. We, the Pakistanis, believe in hitting the ball as hard as we can.
Short game: When I was a professional player, I did not practise the short game. I believe a good golf ball striker will always have advantage, but you must know how to hit chips, pitch, bunker and trouble shots.