Sean Kennedy - The Cliffs
Sean has been learning about evidence based teaching and coaching since 1997. He uses a continuous skill building processes to allow players to adapt and develop the techniques needed to lower scores. His long term clients are introduced to how physical, mental and emotional skills all coordinate in the performance arena.
Learning what to measure, when to measure it and most importantly how evaluate the measurements. Too many students are judging the wrong outcome in the learning process. Changing habits is difficult. Sean helps keep the student on task and accountable. Every human has their optimal recipe and Sean can assist in discovering the right ingredients.
How old were you when you got started in golf and what eventually pulled you into becoming a golf professional?
My father would take me when he played with his mates on Saturdays and rare Sundays. I was 5 or 6 years old and would grab onto his bag as he tugged the trolley handle ambling toward the next shot. He is a lefty so I had this mirror image to watch. He eventually had a five iron cut down and I would pop off the trolley and swipe at the ball he placed on the ground, occasionally striking it, mimicking the movements he made in his attempts to move the ball. At seven years of age I was old enough to join the summer junior golf program and quickly got hooked, made friends I still connect with and started my journey in the game.
I played competitively as junior on into college, but decided that being a professional chemist would be better than being a professional golfer or golf professional. One year of graduate school proved my wrong. A friend, mentor and PGA Golf Professional gave me chance and used my skepticism to point me toward understanding the skills of good golf. My quest continues.
How do you stay current with the latest developments in teaching methods?
The advent of the internet and connecting with fellow seekers and searchers has never been easier. Facebook and other social media outlets allow everyone to question the “seems as if” approach to teaching to actually being able to understand how players apply forces and torques to the club through their bodies and out into the ball to produce a desired shot. Before the availability of online communities I attended seminars and shadowed other teachers who were producing players who were improving their golf skills.
What are 2 trends in golf that you’re excited about?
How 2 dimensional video can be turned into a 3 dimensional model of the player.
Do you specialize in teaching any facets of the game?
I love to teach all skills of the game but have a knack to help players understand how to use their wedges around the greens to turn three strokes into two.
What sets you apart from other golf professionals?
I only teach and coach golf. Early in my PGA career I was lucky enough to be guided into the study and research of how a golfer moves a club. I have studied human movement with Gray Institute founder Dr. Gary Gray. I continue to develop my understanding of how humans move from experts like Dr. Mark Bull, Dr. Young-Hoo Kwon and Dr. Sasho MacKenzie. Still having that scientific curiosity keeps my dynamic and I try not to let confirmation bias run my understanding. What I am teaching today may not be what I am teaching tomorrow.
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
Having the opportunity to teach and coach with Top 100 professionals like Erika Larking and Tim Cooke.
Do you actively play competitive golf? Any recent bragworthy performances you’d like to share?
I still play tournament golf. Nothing too bragworthy. I am not as good I as believe I am. I always look forward to testing my skill against my fellow professionals and skilled amateurs.
Is there a highlight from your career in golf that stands out above the rest?
Becoming the Director of Instruction at The Cliffs in 2012 is the greatest thing that has happened in my professional life. I am so lucky to be associated with a team of professionals all working toward the goal of making each members golf experience memorable each and every visit. Plus, the members at The Cliffs have been some of the most grateful learners I have had in my teaching/coaching career.
Any advice for someone considering pursuing a career as a golf teaching professional?
Learn about the forces and torques on the golf club. Learn how humans move to produce those forces and torques. Learn how humans learn to move. If you are learning those things when that player is in front of you you will have a process to make your best guess better every time.