Bill Schmedes III
Director of Instruction
Forsgate Country Club
Monroe Township, New Jersey
Interview with Matt Ward
Over the year’s Bill Schmedes has developed a well-deserved reputation of excellence in the golf instruction world. He is known by many of his contemporaries as one of the top golf coaches in the country. He has studied under some of the top golf coaches in the world and has assisted over 14 tour player’s on the PGA, LPGA, European, and Korn Ferry Tours
THE SCHMEDES STORY:
As a successful junior golfer my goal was to always play the game for a living. Growing up though I never had any type of consistent coaching and when I did try a few lessons the results never made me want to come back. That led me to dive into the world of trial and error, observation, and understanding what worked for my game and what didn’t.
As I grew older and began to play college golf I quickly realized that shooting low 70’s in tournaments wasn’t going to get me to the PGA Tour! I was offered an Assistant Golf Professional position following my freshman year of college and jumped on it. The facility at the time also had one of the largest golf academies in the area which allowed me to dive head first into instruction at a young age helping each day with clinics, individual lessons, and golf schools.
I went 2 months without a day off and I loved it! I found out how much I enjoyed helping other golfers ,because of my own struggles, and it’s turned into 16 year career now.
You wake up in the morning — what’s the driving passion?
To help all of my players to continue to improve so that they’ll want to play at the club more. It’s a win-win!
Candidly, what’s the approximate percentage of professionals who really understand swing mechanics and can properly communicate such information that clearly improves performance for students?
What’s the best way for those looking to find a teacher to begin such a search?
Word of mouth. Who are your friends or fellow members working with or talking about? Use the internet, do they have a webpage, what are they about, watch their videos, how do they communicate, could you see yourself wanting to spend time with this individual?
Then interview the teacher prior to any first lesson. It’s your time and money. Spend wisely!
When meeting for the first time – how critical is it for golfers to be totally candid about what they’re seeking to accomplish and equally on the other side how important is it for a prospective teacher t be equally candid on what it will take for the goals of the student to be met?
One of the most important things that either party should/needs to do. The teacher should be driving the bus on that though in my opinion. If he or she isn’t then it’s someone I wouldn’t want to work with.
There’s no way to begin providing the proper road map for the player without a lot of great questions upfront.
When students start a relationship with a teacher — what are key benchmarks illustrating the intersection is meaningful and productive?
It certainly depends on the players goals but for most club players I look at the following: Is the player enjoying their time with the teacher during the session; is the player improving during lessons; is the golfer enjoying the transfer training between instruction and on-course training and is their handicap trending in the right direction.
What are the signs a teacher / student relationship is not working effectively and may need to end?
One of the parties not holding up their end of the bargain that should have been discussed in the initial lesson/evaluation.
Plenty of teachers use video-taping to assist their efforts. What’s the most appropriate role for using this technique and when does such usage go into overkill mode?
Video can be very powerful if used correctly. I think too many coaches get caught up in “looks” or “positions” and loose sight of performance and what works for the player in front of them though.
There’s a lot of different ways to see similar results. It just has to match the player. I often use video to capture the “before” videos so that I can then show them their improvements based on where they started.
The teaching process can also be a static exercise with teacher and student simply reviewing matters in hitting golf ball after golf ball from one fixed position. Do you engage students via actual on-course situations and the mental engagement for proper decision-making when playing?
Most certainly. Golfers come to us because they want to improve their golf game. The game is played on the golf course and not on the practice facility. There has to be an all encompassing training program for any player that truly wants to improve.
How much do you engage with performance coaches and those on the equipment fitting side when teaching? Do you include such integration in your teaching and if so how is that coordinated?
Yes, I have what I call my advisory team that consists of professional I outsource my players to. That includes mental, fitness, club fitting etc.
I want my players to have the wisdom of the best professionals that I have access to. It would be silly for me to try and wear all those hats while also being 100% proficient in each of the areas.
Best advice you ever received from one of your mentors — what was it and who from?
I was once told something similar to this and it’s always stuck with me “Bill, players don’t care how much you know, they just want to get better. Most don’t care how either. Show up everyday with great passion, treat your last lesson as if it was your first, and you will always have a full lesson book”. I was told that by Patti McGowan.
For more info go to:
Among his honors include:
“Best Young Teachers in America” – Golf Digest
“Best in State” (New Jersey) – Golf Digest
“Top 30 Golf Instructor” – Golf Tips Magazine
“Top 25 Elite Junior Coach in the USA” – FCG
“Master Junior Coach in the USA” – FCG
“Top 50 Kids Coach” – US Kids Golf