A.J. Nelson - Swing Essentials LLC
Swing Essentials provides you with affordable, individualized one-on-one lessons from a PGA-certified golf pro from the comfort and convenience of your home.S wing Essentials offers a true one-on-one experience. Our PGA-certified professional puts a personal touch on each and every lesson, giving you the confidence to know that your lesson is just for you. Here is how it works:
Pull out your smart phone and snap a short video of your swing using your camera.
Preview your swing and when you’re ready, submit your videos for professional analysis.
Within 48 hours, you will receive a personalized video highlighting what you’re doing well plus areas of your swing that could be improved.
How old were you when you got started in golf and what eventually pulled you into becoming a golf professional?
My parents have pictures of me holding plastic clubs as early as the age of three. However, golf is a very expensive sport, and with very limited junior programs back then, I was usually relegated to the driving range about once per month. Then, when I was fifteen years old, a golf course was being built about a mile down the road from where we lived. When a friend of mine and I dropped by to see if it was going to be a public or private golf club, the head pro asked if we wanted jobs. That job took me from high school into college. When in college a friend of mine asked me to come work with him at a club closer to school. I took the Assistant Professional job there, and got enrolled in the PGA PGM program. Once I graduated with my Class A Membership, I started looking at how to make instruction more convenient and less expensive. With the help of a terrific web and app developer, we have made PGA instruction available to anyone with a phone or tablet at an affordable price. It’s been a wild journey, but I’ve been blessed to have supportive and extremely talented people in my corner.
How do you stay current with the latest developments in teaching methods?
Our Swing Essentials Golf App has really taken off. Our social media campaigns have been tremendous and other golf professionals have reached out with their kind words and these have started amazing conversations. These discussions have led to a wealth of knowledge, and an increased learning of new tools and techniques being used all across the world.
What are 2 trends in golf that you’re excited about?
Two trends that I’m excited about is the increased use of technology, and the growth of junior golfers. Traveling across the east coast, technology is being used on the golf course with T.V.s in the golf carts, or on the range with our teaching app, or even in the restaurant with apps for grab-and-go food. Secondly, PGA programs like the PGA Junior League have increased junior participation across the U.S. by over 300%. It is especially noticeable when you go see golf tournaments. It’s wonderful to see more juniors in the crowd.
Do you specialize in teaching any facets of the game?
The moment of truth in a golf swing is the impact position. After instilling a good grip, ensuring correct posture, and establishing proper alignment, I like to work with my students from the impact position backwards. Understanding what is going on at impact allows me to identify what is working well, and what changes the player can make to immediately hit the ball better. After identifying the student’s strengths and weaknesses, I enjoy working with the student to create a tailored player development plan that helps the player track their progress and achieve their goals.
What sets you apart from other golf professionals?
The PGA Membership is a brother/sisterhood. I really enjoy learning and collaborating with other PGA Professionals. I think the use, and impact, of the Swing Essentials Golf App provides an affordable golf application that sets me apart from others in the industry. It offers another avenue for students to implement their instruction. It’s a golf lesson that travels with you – a PGA Professional in your pocket wherever you go.
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
We just went global! I woke up to a golf lesson request at 3:30am and thought to myself, “Who is golfing at 3:30am?” and when I checked the IP address, the lesson came in from Ireland! Since, then we’ve received golf lesson requests from Brazil and Canada. The growth has been terrific and we’re really excited to keep up the tempo.
What has been your most challenging experience with a student and how did you handle it? How did you overcome it?
We work with Wounded Warriors and help out with the Salute Military Golf Association with our heroes from Walter Reed. It is truly a blessing to use golf in helping our veterans rehabilitate. One of my students had an injury, and with the right instruction, he was hitting the golf ball further and straighter than before his injury. The power of golf can be exquisite.
Do you actively play competitive golf? Any recent bragworthy performances you’d like to share?
I play in some Mid-Atlantic section events, but my time is usually spent on the lesson tee or providing virtual instruction. The players in our section are extremely talented, but my New Years’ resolution is to play more golf next year.
Is there a highlight from your career in golf that stands out above the rest?
I recently began coaching as PGA Junior League coach. It has been a rewarding journey and I really enjoy teaching juniors the foundation of a good golf swing while having fun and instilling proper etiquette and sportsmanship. We have grown the participation rate ~200% and it keeps growing.
Any advice for someone considering pursuing a career as a golf teaching professional?
Golf is a hard business. My advice would be to surround yourself with the best folks in the industry, and ensure you have the support of family and friends. Lastly, most PGA members work on the weekends and holidays, so make sure that you make time for your family and friends.
Anything else you’d like to comment on while we have you?
Thank you for the opportunity to sit down and interview with you. These types of interactions grow the game and introduce more folks to the this beautiful sport. Thanks for the time and I look forward to our continued conversations!