The landscape of amateur golf has changed dramatically since the sport obtained official sport status from Sport Canada in 2005. On a provincial level the sport of golf has also been transformed by becoming a part of the BC Summer Games in 2004 and the Canada Summer Games in 2009. This has resulted in much more funding being available for the development of our BC athletes.
It is the goal of British Columbia Golf to assist in the development of our athletes and aid them to become among the best players both nationally and internationally. As a result of the changes in amateur golf, the role of the golf coach has been transformed as well. A coach teaches much more than just the mechanics of the golf swing. Coaching now focuses on the development of all aspects of the athlete and includes such things as sports psychology, fitness training and nutrition.
Additional Coaching Information
- Becoming a Certified Coach through the PGA of Canada
- Learn To Compete
- Golf's National Certification Program
British Columbia Golf is committed to developing a well-rounded performance program as supported by the Long Term Player Development framework for golf in Canada. As stated in the 2022-2025 strategic plan of the Association, the goal of the Player Performance program is to Increase the number of competitive golfers and enhance their performance in BC, in order to develop Canada’s best players.
BC players and teams are systematically achieving national and international results at the highest levels of competitions through the core values of British Columbia Golf: ethical practices, inclusiveness, respectful and responsive programs and services. These services provide the guidance and benchmarks required to support the elite golfer effectively on the technical development pathway to enhanced excellence.
For more on British Columbia Golf High Performance camps and opportunities please contact Managing Director of Player Development, Debbie Pyne at firstname.lastname@example.org or (604) 279-2580 x206.
BC Golf Announces Newest Performance Coaches
In keeping with the tradition of offering top-level coaching and support for aspiring young golfers in BC, British Columbia Golf is pleased to present the latest additions to the High Performance team with British Columbia Golf.
Debbie Pyne, BC Golf's Managing Director of Player Performance - and recent recipient of Sport BC's In Her Footsteps...Celebrating Women In Sport Award, identified a need for regional representation for the Performance Coach positions and as such now welcomes Patrick Lago as the Vancouver-based Performance Coach and Conner Kozak as the Okanagan-based Performance Coach.
Says Pyne with respect to having Lago on board, "Patrick Lago is on the rise as a performance coach and we are fortunate enough to have him join our coaching team this year. He has a very successful academy, the Lago Golf Academy, and he is the recipient of the 2022 Dunc Sutherland Distinguished Service Award from the PGA of BC," adding that, "Patrick is very much a visionary coach and he brings an expansive repertoire of technology and resources to assist top-notch junior players in transitioning to the next level."
Regarding Kozak, Pyne said, "The addition of Conner Kozak as a new performance coach in the Okanagan region is a huge leap in the right direction. Conner will collaborate with Zone 2 and others in the industry to form a solid foundation as we advance to building a Team BC Performance program on a provincial level.
Conner is the right coach at the right time to help lead the new program. He brings a multitude of experience as a former varsity golfer and he is currently assisting with the UBCO golf team. He has over 5 years of coaching new competitors and young, talented juniors at the Okanagan Club," concluded Pyne.
In summing up the new duo, Pyne said, "Patrick and Conner have totally different skill sets and approaches to developing juniors. Their unique styles of coaching and leadership are advantageous in producing a multi-talented coach team for BC Golf."
Lago and Kozak will make their debut as BC Performance coaches at the upcoming NextGen Pacific Championship as Golf Canada’s NextGen Championship season kicks off from May 4-7 at Sunshine Coast Golf and Country Club in Roberts Creek, B.C.
Patrick is driven to coach high-performing athletes to reach their full potential, through the use of industry-leading technology and is passionate about personal development through continuously learning from the leading minds in the industry on biomechanics, ground reaction forces, fitness, nutrition and sports psychology.
Patrick has been recognized as a PGA of British Columbia Top 100 Golf Professional since 2018 and was the recipient of the PGA of BC’s Dunc Sutherland Distinguished Service Award in 2022 as well as the Regional Recipient of the PGA of BC’s Davie Black Professional Development Award that same year.
In response to being asked about his feelings as he starts his new role with BC Golf, Lago said, "I’m extremely honoured and humbled to have the opportunity to coach the next generation of elite golfers in the province of British Columbia, and I look forward to mentoring and coaching them to help them reach their full potential."
Asked what goals he may like to see reached in his capacity as High Performance Coach, he said, "My goal is for British Columbia to be recognized in the country as the province where the majority of the best Canadian golfers originate from and that BC golfers are winning on the provincial, national, and international stages."
Patrick's coaching experience includes a role as the Zone 4 Assistant Coach at the BC Summer Games in 2019 and the Head Coach at the BC Summer Games 2022. In addition to those roles, he was also the Head Coach for the BC Junior Golf team for the Eddie Hogan Cup in the Summer of 2022, Assistant Coach for the BC Junior Golf Team at the Canadian Junior Championship in 2022 and has coached Junior Golf Champions, Yeji Kwon and Martina Yu.
Patrick Lago can be reached at email@example.com
Conner has a strong background working with young players and has been the lead Academy Coach for 5 years at the Okanagan Golf Club, while also spending the last two as its Assistant Professional. He's held the role of On-Site Assistant Coach for the UBC Okanagan Heat since 2021.
An accomplished university player himself with the UBC Thunderbirds, Conner was a 2-time Ping 1st Team All-American with the NAIA T'Birds. As a member of the PGA of BC, Conner won the BC Assistants Championship in 2021.
He received the 2019 PGA of British Columbia Jack McLaughlin Junior Golf Leader of the Year award as well as the 2021 PGA of BC Jack Westover Coach of The Year and the 2022 PGA of BC Apprentice Professional of The Year award for the Interior Region.
Asked about his feelings regarding the new role, Kozak said, "I'm very honored and excited to be coming on as a High Performance Coach with B.C. Golf. It's definitely been a dream of mine since turning Professional to get to work alongside some of the most talented athletes in the province, and to now be in a position to assist them in working towards their goals is something I'm thrilled to be a part of."
He went on to add, "Right now our main focus is to provide our athletes with the best support possible to help ensure their continued development and success this season. I'm very much looking forward to the opportunity of continuing to develop and grow elite level talent in the Okanagan region so our talent pool in B.C. becomes significantly deeper."
Conner Kozak can be reached here firstname.lastname@example.org
Joining Patrick and Conner on the Coach Leadership Team will be Fitness and Strength & Conditioning coach, Nick Mueller. Nick is a Golf Performance Consultant, a Kinesiologist and a Fascial Stretch Therapist specializing in strength and conditioning for golfers. Nick’s specialty lies in mobility restoration, movement efficiency and power production and performance of the golfer.
You can check out his website HERE.
The Head Game
By Jim Ongena
I love golf! I love it because it’s challenging at all levels from beginner to professional and in all three domains: physical, mental, & emotional. I love it because I learn through it. Initially it’s learning the physical things like grip, stance, and swing. The swing alone is so complex it could keep me learning for a lifetime. Next comes the emotional and mental teachings which are even more challenging….even for seasoned professionals. These mental skills are the focus of this article as they become critical for elite performance.
For the vast majority of golfers, it’s swing mechanics that limit their performance. But once you get a 'dialed in' swing and can shoot low scores, it’s your mental skills that will make all the difference. Like any sport or challenge at the top level, your performance improvements require new skills that have little to do with your sport.
There are thousands of golfers who are capable of hitting a great shot but unable to do it consistently or under pressure. There is another level of golfers who can shoot even par on a good day then turn in an 81 another day. Even PGA pros can open with a 64 then miss the cut with a second round 75.
This is why I love golf….it’s challenging even after you become very good at it. Many top players have excellent swing mechanics, they practice often and use swing coaches when needed. The same players don’t practice mental skills as often or use mental coaches, even though they agree that the game becomes largely mental at the top level. This irony puzzles me. Maybe it’s because they’ve read Rotella’s book and know enough to get by.
Maybe there’s a stigma associated with working on thoughts, feelings, moods, and beliefs that make some shy away. Some use their dad or swing coach to help with this piece of their game. Most elite golfers know how to control their golf ball, they can hit a fade or a draw on command. When it comes to controlling their emotions however they are less skilled and cannot produce their best game under pressure.
Anger outbursts and inconsistent scores are evidence of this. Players at the highest level should know the difference between a thought and a mood, how these affect performance, and how to identify and alter them on command. Some have studied and developed these skills but many have not. If you want to win your club championship, get through Q-School, enter the LPGA, or prepare for the Champions Tour, you’ll need to sharpen your mental skills.
“Take a step inward in order to move forward”
Here is a partial list of some of the concepts you’ll need to explore: Fear, appreciation, flow, trusting, assumptions, beliefs, affirmations, reframing, detachment, pressure, anger, parking, filtering, optimism, centreing, worry, and the basics of thought management.
Thought management is an underrated skill I’ve taught for years as a life coach and just recently discovered the benefit to golfers. You will have thoughts during your swing, after a three-putt, while walking between shots, and driving to the golf course. All these thoughts have the power to serve you or destroy you, yet few people have developed the skill to effectively manage them.
Some thoughts you will need to summon at a moment’s notice while others are needed to prepare for an event months away. It’s advisable to utilize an expert to help you with these skills because discovering WHY you fluctuate from a 68 to 78 is not easy. Problems can be obvious but are often well concealed. The issue may be one of trust, confidence, or focus… any one of which will keep you out of the winners circle.
It’s no wonder that more and more professional players are spending more time with their head coaches…this stuff is complicated and confusing and has a serious impact on scores.
I love golf because it’s challenging and it keeps delivering even when you reach the top. If you are looking to reach the next level perhaps you should make mental preparation part of your overall preparation.
Jim is a well known motivational speaker, certified rock guide, and corporate trainer with the unique gift of developing high performing teams. Although he has four university degrees and eighteen years of teaching experience at the college and university levels, his most meaningful learning has come from his adventure experiences. Jim is also a performance pundit who helps golfers find their best game.