Adam Smith - Head Golf Instructor at The Country Club of Virginia
Adam Smith has spent his entire life around the golf business. He has had an extensive career serving the Richmond area as an awarding winning golf instructor. Adam was named 2008 Middle Atlantic PGA Teacher of The Year and was again recognized for being a leader in the MAPGA when he was awarded the 2016 Horton Smith Award for PGA education. He is a second generation PGA professional. And has been recognized on the Golf Digest Best in State list since 2010. Adam’s philosophy on the golf course and on the lesson tee is to keep it simple. He believes in golf fitness training, for mental and physical well being on and off the course. Adam enjoys custom fitting golf equipment for students and giving on course lessons to coach the total game. He is friendly, encouraging and makes having fun a priority. Adam met his wife, Kristen, at Radford University and they have been married for 23 years. They enjoy raising their three children, Logan(20), Carter(18) and Ellie(16) in beautiful Richmond, Virginia. The Country Club of Virginia is a private 54 hole golf facility located in Richmond, Virginia. It was established in 1908.
How old were you when you got started in golf and what eventually pulled you into becoming a golf professional?
I began my passion for golf when my father introduced me to the game at age 6. My father was the Director of Golf at The Country Club of Virginia, where I grew up learning the game. I played for my high school and continued competitively, as a golf team member at Radford University. Upon graduating from Radford in 1994, I turned professional and began teaching golf in Richmond Virginia. Always wanting to assist players to be better golfers, I have dedicated my professional career to teaching and growing the game of golf.
How do you stay current with the latest developments in teaching methods?
I stay current with the latest technology and best practices for teaching by attending national golf instruction conferences and often presenting during these conferences. I pride myself on learning as much as I can in order to increase the quality of each and every one of my lessons year-by-year. At The Country Club of Virginia, I have my hands on the latest and greatest in golf equipment and golf instruction teaching technologies. I’m well known as a leader for instruction, technology and golf equipment, within my middle Atlantic PGA region. I developed a golf instruction website in 2005 and published my first Golf Fitness instruction booklet in the same year.
What are 2 trends in golf that you’re excited about?
I am most excited about a resurgence of athletes who are interested in learning how to play the game… Perhaps it is thanks, again, to the resurgence of Tiger Woods?!
I am also very excited about the constant evolution and updates to the latest and greatest golf technologies, such as affordable launch monitor technology and golf simulators as well as high-tech golf equipment and bio mechanical performance monitors used to track golf fitness success. All of which make golf seem totally cool and exciting for golfing athletes everywhere!
Do you specialize in teaching any facets of the game?
I specialize in teaching tempo. I believe in a holistic approach to being relaxed and visualizing every shot, before it is struck. I pride myself on teaching golf Fitness and wellness so that my athletes are staying healthy and ultimately feeling happy. Grip, stance, athletic posture and proper alignment are a must, for my golf instruction, but after that, I believe that your golf swing is like your signature. You should understand it and you should love it.
What sets you apart from other golf professionals?
My students tell me that I’m the best golf instructor because I keep things simple. I make one set up change and one swing change, per lesson. I believe in regular, weekly instruction, in order for each and every golfer to systematically improve. I am constantly seeking knowledge from my fellow professionals in the golf industry. And, cohesively, and they call on me for advice, regularly.
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
My wife, Kristen, and I are enjoying the success of each one of our children. Very soon, they will all be off to college. Watching and assisting with their educational success and future career success has been a source of pride and excitement for both of us.
Professionally, I’m most excited about the forthcoming golf instruction learning center being constructed at The Country Club of Virginia in the Spring of 2020.
What has been your most challenging experience with a student and how did you handle it? How did you overcome it?
I am sometimes challenged by the parents of my elite junior golfers. Often, these parents can be overbearing. Unfortunately, this has a negative psychological effect on their child. To assist, I invite parents to the golf lesson environment and involve the parent in the teaching process. I create a healthy awareness, to both student and parent, that I am the coach, the student is the student and that the parent is and should stay in charge of the household, but not the golf swing! I suggest that the parent understands how to help nurture the golf instruction, but not interfere. This approach is a win-win for everyone!
Do you actively play competitive golf? Any recent bragworthy performances you’d like to share?
I’m an active golfer. I pride myself on playing in local pro-am tournaments and also Middle Atlantic PGA Section professional events. I play on a daily basis, with my students. They often book me for 9-hole playing lessons. Students like to see me demonstrate my tempo and shot preparation approach. From these on course instructions, they learn the best way to go about it on the links.
Is there a highlight from your career in golf that stands out above the rest?
My career highlights include winning the PGA awards in his Middle Atlantic PGA Section and Nationally. Since these awards are voted by my peers, they have true meaning to me.
Any advice for someone considering pursuing a career as a golf teaching professional?
I tell all of the young PGA men and women who visit me for golf instruction advice to be patient. Be patient with each and every student. Be patient at your facility and respect their policies. And be patient with yourself, in your pursuit to become the best teacher you can be. When you are patient, you have a better ability to learn. Students like patient teachers. And when it comes to teaching golf and pursuing a career in the golf business, follow your dreams. Never give up.
Anything else you’d like to comment on while we have you?
Please know that golf is the greatest game ever played. It brings family members and good friends together in a healthy environment with beautiful landscapes. Travel to play golf and see the world. Book a golf event, large or small, and bring people together. Take lessons with your local PGA pro, live a healthy golf lifestyle and enjoy a balance in your life that can be truly appreciated by all avid golfers. Enjoy your game!