Becoming an Elite Coach in the Digital Age

Jeff Smith
Coach/Instructor to PGA Tour Players

Founder, Course Kings – @RadarGolfPro

The evolution of a coach, a leader, a catalyst, comes in a lot of forms and fashions. The evolution of this week’s guest on The Secrets to Winning is a story of setting your mind to accomplish a goal, and not only attaining that goal, but shattering it.


Jeff Smith, commonly known in the golf social media circles as @RadarGolfPro and one of the brightest instructors on the PGA Tour, is leading a revolution in the golf teaching world when it comes to the use of social media, not for self-promotion, but for data, philosophy, and education. It’s the dissemination across multiple platforms that has made Jeff Smith a top instructor in the world. He’s led players to PGA Tour wins and Rookie of the Year awards, mini-tour winners, and he’s got a booming business in the college ranks. So many people are coming to him in Las Vegas at TPC Summerlin wanting his information and wanting a lesson. It’s very impressive how he has built his brand to become an elite instructor on the PGA Tour.


I was willing to go into a level of detail that people really had not seen before, and I wasn't afraid to do it. I was very confident in what I was saying, and I felt really good about the changes I was helping people make in their golf game.


But how did it all start? Where did he come from? Jeff wasn’t an overnight sensation by any sense of the word. It took years and years of studying the golf swing, even when he was working as a department store manager at Target in California. Yes, shocking. So for all the people out there listening right now who feel like they haven’t had the perfect pathway to their success, I bring to you a good friend, Jeff Smith.

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1:25 – Building an online/social media presence as a coach


4:00 – What made Jeff’s content resonate more than other coaches?


8:40 – Handling criticism from other instructors and players


11:20 – Sometimes, less is more when it comes to working with players


15:00 – Jeff’s start in golf right after college


18:20 – Early career shift: Going from the golf course to Target management


21:40 – Getting back into golf after 10 years


23:35 – Utilizing technology to teach before it became mainstream


30:00 – Jeff’s #1 skillset and how that has made him elite


34:40 – The one mental mistake that young PGA Tour players make once they earn status on tour


37:00 – Helping a player understand the “cost” that comes with a mechanical change


41:00 – A deep dive into what confidence really is


44:45 – The parallels between Jeff’s professional poker career and golf instruction


47:30 – Jeff’s advice to young coaches who are looking to grow their expertise and brand

I realized something early on - most coaches I was dealing with were teaching how they played or what they felt when they were playing. I took a step back and started to analyze that and put it to the test from a measurement standpoint utilizing Trackman, 3D, biomechanics, Force Plates, etc. It didn't match up. What they were saying they felt was NOT what they were doing.

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