LPGA Teaching Hall of Fame / Author / Speaker
eduKaytion Golf – CEO – Director of Instruction Creator – Golf 8.5
Kay McMahon, LPGA and PGA Member and President of eduKaytion golf, posed a series of riveting, “against the grain” type questions before 110 members of the media as one of the headline speakers at the Tour Edge Multi-Manufacturers Media Day prior to the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando last month.
She passionately attested that golf instruction has gone down a dangerous path of becoming too technical and overcomplicated. Her solution is a program called Golf 8.5 that has evolved from her over 30 years as an instructor. Golf 8.5 is designed to simplify the golf swing.
The McMahon Story
I was a good athlete in so many sports growing up and through college. My parents encouraged, exposed and allowed us to experience so many activities. Golf was on the list, but not always the first on my list. My passion and desire was to be discovered in one of those sports to lay my claim to fame.
After winning two Minnesota Publinks championships, I started the journey to warmer climates, mini-tour playing, traveling and living in a VW van, working as an assistant golf professional at the Arnold Palmer-Ironwood CC in Palm Springs, CA, 3 Women’s US Opens and 9 Qualifying Schools. I ended up right where I needed to be following my life long passion – teaching. I joined the LPGA Teaching & Club Professional membership and was one of the first of 10 women to join the PGA of America.
Through the subsequent years, I have had the great fortune of many great mentors from Shirley Spork, Founder LPGA; Arnold Palmer, Patty Berg, Les Bolstad, premier Coach at the University of MN; Homer Martinson, Head Pro at my home club at Wayzata CC for 30+ years; Pat Lange, Master Clubfitter and LPGA, and the list can go on. With all the encouragement of those and many more, I rose in leadership positions and found my way to National President of the LPGA T&CP and other positions in PGA Sections. I was born to be a teacher and am so glad to be here. Through my journey and search for the golf swing – Golf 8.5 has been created to simplify how we can teach golf. My parents always believed that I was a pioneer. I am still on that path, “to go boldly where no one has gone before”.
You wake up in the morning — what’s the driving passion for you?
Every day is a new day and I just can’t wait to get to it. The driving passion – the creativity, the desire to be a teacher. . .to get so much done that I wish there were two mornings in every day.
There are plenty of people in the teaching arena — what do you do that’s not only different than others but more lasting and impactful
Many in the teaching arena use the word – simple – but make it complicated. I really do make it simple. It has been noted by other colleagues. I get more accomplished with a student by saying very few things and in a very short amount of time, as in minutes.
How should students shop for a teacher
Interview a teacher before taking a lesson. Very seldom is that done. Observe — from a distance — a teacher giving a lesson. If the student is having fun and looks as though there are changes being made, that is a good sign. Interview the student after a lesson. Ask what they learned? If the answer is specific, that also would be a good sign.
Outline the key responsibilities for both the teacher and student.
On the teacher side — find out exactly what the student wants — exactly and specifically. Give it to them – what they want. Summary – means giving them a very specific effective way to affect change. And this does not mean having to hit thousands of golf balls at the range. On the student side — ask questions. Understand why the changes will match what they want and how it affects the ball flight they want. Making changes is a “choice” item, meaning they need to buy in to what is being suggested. They have to want it — much like ordering at a restaurant — the selection is theirs.
What are the signs a teacher / student relationship is working and not working?
Communication both ways, meaning understanding, is a good sign. If the student is getting “it” and getting what they want, then both the teacher and student are happy and successful.
Over the last 25 years there’s been a tremendous gain on the technology side regarding equipment. Yet, despite the gains the overall improvement for men’s and women’s handicaps has been minimal. What’s not happening on the teaching front to improve this?
Teaching in the form of tips — like teaching with Post-It notes, whether in person or online, puts 1001 things into someone’s head that they are trying to do in 1.2 seconds. The net result? Impossible to comprehend. Technology adds more numbers to the situation. It can diagnose what is going on, but does nothing to say what to do or how to make changes. Simply put – how golf is taught needs to be improved sooner than later.
You say your teaching efforts are going places where no one has gone before — pardon the Star Trek connection. What do you mean by that specifically?
“Going where no one has gone before” – I am up against a whole industry. No one in the whole industry is talking about making teaching better. The traditional way of teaching may have worked, but it is not growing golfers. Golf 8.5 breaks new ground, new frontiers, simplifies the golf swing and will grow more golfers quickly. Golf 8.5 de-clutters the 6-in attic of the 1001 Post-It notes implanted in golfer’s minds by many teaching professionals. Golf 8.5 goes where no one has gone before and proves golf is simple.
You can change one thing in golf unilaterally — what would it be and why?
How we teach golf! Why? It needs to be changed!
The major golf organizations — USGA, R&A, PGA of America, PGA TOUR, LPGA — are all seeking ways to attract new players. This is especially so for Millennials, women and minorities. If you were counseling them what would you advise be done?
Staying on my same theme – review and change how we teach the teachers of the game. Some of my suggestions include making golf courses more playable. Have less carry distance over hazards. Fairways are cut too tight — often cut for the single digit handicapper. Lengthen height of fairways to a more playable height. Make golf courses more walkable — less distance from greens to tees. Create a friendly environment: Get rid of counters in the golf shop. Re-train staff for a customer friendly atmosphere. Review the dress code. We live in a “jean” friendly environment. Bring in new fun carts such as bikes.
Best advice you ever received — what was it and who from? Best advice you can pass along to those just getting started in the teaching arena.
“Two things can fix all the problems in the world – education and soap!” My father’s advice: Share your information. Self critique your teaching skills – learn something every day. Seek to be the best you can be.