MDG Partner Profile: Golf Leadership Academy
With the ability to access tons of information, golfers are falling in the trap of not knowing where to look when they are struggling. Focusing on trying to have the perfect swing and reading too many conflicting bits of information, the culture of golf is one of constantly jumping from solution to solution without getting to the basics. Golf Leadership Academy sets out to change that culture with their ‘mindset and skillset’ approach to coaching.
Located out of a brand-new facility in Novi, co-founders Ben Bockin and Chad Elledge take pride in aiding golfers of all experience levels, skill sets and backgrounds. A proud partner of Metro Detroit Golfers and Brand25 Media, GLA was founded in 2018 and has already helped hundreds of Michiganders and other players throughout the Midwest improve their game.
Each bringing a wealth of experience and similar coaching philosophies, Elledge and Bockin worked together to create GLA. Elledge started at caddying at Meadowbrook Country Club at 13, developing a passion for both the game itself and aiding those who play it. He has been a PGA member for 13 years, guiding pupils to wins at the junior, club and NCAA Division I levels. He is a six-time nominee for Michigan PGA Section Teacher of the Year award.
“I just really enjoy helping in any way I can. I love this game and being able to help someone in it is just incredible,” Elledge said. “When someone is able to reflect on how far they have come and then set new goals to get even better, we take a lot of satisfaction in that.”
Bockin was born and raised in Wisconsin, honing his love for golf in the Badger State. He played professionally on what is now the E-Golf Tour, earning a victory at the Vail International Pro-Am. Throughout his years playing, he soon realized he got more satisfaction out of helping others rather than focusing on his own game. A graduate from the Professional Golfers Career College, Bockin has more than 15 years of coaching experience. While students of his have won at the prep, college and pro levels, Bockin said he takes just as much pride in one of those wins as he does helping a weekend warrior see success.
“Being able to help someone who is a 36 to 40 handicap get down to 10 or 12, we take great pride in that,” Bockin remarked. “But when I get a phone call and someone simply says, ‘I’m having more fun now than I’ve ever had golfing,’ that really makes us feel good and like we’re accomplishing exactly what we set out to do.”
GLA excels at working with beginner and average golfers.
“It’s all about getting to know the goals first and then reinforcing the skills needed to achieve that,” Elledge said. “We coach a process that doesn’t focus on the outcome, but instead focuses on learning from mistakes and embracing them. That helps to lower that anxiety.”
“We offer a student-centered skill-based approach versus the swing-centric approach that is the norm in the industry right now,” Elledge explained. “We aim to bring clarity, comfort, and confidence to our players out on the course. We do that by getting our students to achieve measurable progress in a reasonable amount of time.”
Many other golf instructors or services will offer a specific way to swing and try and get clients to mirror or mimic that as close as possible, recommending that the closer a golfer can get to the ‘right swing’ the more successful they will be. GLA counters this by focusing on what a golfer is looking to accomplish and building a program for them that will allow them to achieve that goal. GLA strongly believes that not everyone needs to have a perfect swing to play successful golf.
“It’s like the skills of a quarterback. There are a lot of successful QBs in the NFL, but not one of them throws exactly the same,” Elledge explained. “Some set their feet differently, some come over the top more and so on. Or compare jump shots in the NBA, not all shooters look the same.”
“We try to just have a simple approach that is understandable. We focus on the required skills instead of just looking at the swing itself,” Elledge continued. “People will say ‘you have to hit this way, or focus exclusively on the face, or the plane, or your hips or whatever. We work on applicable concepts first and then the swing usually of takes care of itself.”
Bockin and Elledge focus on guiding their players to solutions instead of telling them what to do or what’s wrong with their swing. By asking questions they encourage their players to think through their shots and have a better understanding of why the ball did what it did. Questions like, was my self talk productive or destructive?, did I have a distance or direction problem?, or did I experience a free swinging motion?, allow their players to start processing through their swing without jumping to mechanics right away.
“Making measurable progress in reasonable time is the key. Otherwise, this whole process doesn’t really matter. We never want to lack clarity on what someone wants to achieve,” Bockin said. “We‘ll help you to assess your current skill set and lay out the roadmap to achieve the desired outcome”.
GLA’s impressive facility has some of the latest offerings in golf technology including TrackMan, ForeSight GCQuad and GC2, SAM PuttLab and V1 Video Capture. Soon a Putting Perfection Platform will be installed which features hydraulics to mimic and create any possible slopes and breaks on a green. This technology allows players to get that measurable feedback and see the improvements they are making.
For more information, visit golfleadershipacademy.com or call 248-615-0550.