Tail Brand Ambassador Nicole Weller is truly a "jack of all trades" in the world of golf, and we are honored to have her on the Tail Team! Nicole is the Head Teaching Professional at The Landings Club in beautiful Savannah, GA and plans all golf instruction and education programs for the membership there. Her background and education in youth golf, sport psychology, golf fitness, and competition have allowed Nicole to provide an all-encompassing program for thousands of students. Her goals are simple - Nicole strives to meet her students' needs, involve them in the learning process, encourage transfer training methods, provide feedback resources, and assist in making golf an anticipated and fun experience in their lives! We sat down with Nicole to talk about how to foster a love of golf in even the youngest players, her #1 tip for a beginner golfer, and why having fun should always come first.
1. Tell us about what your job consists of at the Landings and what you enjoy most about it.
I head up the golf instruction and education programs for our 3,000+ memberships at The Landings Club on Skidaway Island. I instruct but also create programs for members and staff, support our super cool golf organizations (LWGA, L9GA, LMGA), do a lot of behind-the-scenes marketing / office work / planning that most don't know about. I like to be organized and planned, so that's how I function to create, host, and evaluate what we could add or what might leave our instructional programming. I have a master's of science in Sport Psychology, am certified in Spirit of Golf, and love working with Vision54 concepts I learned from Annika Sorenstam's coaches Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott, so my passion isn't as much pure technique and high-tech detail but the mental and emotional basis behind how to become a better Practicer, how the mental and emotional aspect affects each shot before a physical motion is even made, and how to reach ones possibilities beyond just technique, which is only a small part of the entire equation.
2. What would be your #1 tip for a beginner golfer?
I suggest checking out a local PGA Get Golf Ready type program, and also starting with the small shots and working one's way up to the longer shots. The big swing is based on fundamentals of the small swing. It's like laying the foundation at a basement and building upon it. Putting first (letter 'Y'), chipping ('y'), pitching (L's and y's) and long swing (L's). Keep it fun and remember that skills take time to develop. Use fun training tools and easy challenges, and remember it's a game of Moments. You can have some extremely fun adventures through Golf! The way the game is being learned today is changing... shorter teeing starts, bigger clubs, less clubs, bigger holes, It's OK for Now guidelines that allow one to bypass competitive rules until a basis is established... it's about FUN first, getting hooked, and then developing the game as much as one would like!
3. How can parents help foster a love of the game of golf in their kids? What is some advice you would give to parents who want their children to play? What are some things they should they not do?
Parents and coaches should provide unconditional support in the best interest of the child. Understandably born out of the best intentions, we see over-coaching and constant feedback that doesn't allow a child to explore and try different things, which also creates a fear of making mistakes. Mistakes are how we learn, and I encourage mistakes in a safe setting for learning. Keep a child safe (physically, mentally and emotionally) and allow them to learn and do it 'kid-style' instead of adult-style. If children are just told how to do it from one perspective and don't learn to think or create on their own because of fear of failure or doing something 'wrong', the creative inspiration inside them is squashed. Society has become very results-driven (if a parent pays, results are expected to show and that puts a lot of pressure on the child). Focus on the process for very young children. Some great resources are Positive Coaching Alliance and a neat book called Daddy Caddy on the Bag. US Kids Golf also has a neat parent seminar.
4. Why did you decide to partner with Tail as a Brand Ambassador?
Per a reference from another sport industry colleague, I was introduced to a Tail Activewear opportunity; once I tried on several outfits and saw some ideas for the future, I was hooked! The fact that Tail has a local office [in Savannah] and they are like one big family makes it even better for me. I just love the overall Tail experience. It's so nice to have clothes on that seem like they are made just for me. Picking out my next day's outfit is fun and so easy now!
5. How does Tail apparel make a difference for you on the course?
It's just so fitting and easy to wear. I am sun-protective conscious and their UPF 50 fabrics help keep me even more protected. I love the colors and especially the fit of my bottoms...I wear out my Mulligan capris and ankle pants! No more buttons, zippers and snaps for me... just pull-on and good to go!
Thank you so much to Nicole for sitting down with us and catching us up on all she is doing in the golf industry! If you'd like to keep up with Nicole, check out her website here and follow her on Twitter at @Stick2Sports. Also be sure to check out her book, Stick To Sports: Let's Play Golf, and her memory game, which are perfect for teaching children to love the game of golf!