Bitesize Golf - The vision
David Gosling began playing golf in the seventies when he was just 8 years old, in the days when woods were actually made of wood and irons were practically impossible to hit because they were all thin blades. Junior members were very rare at most golf clubs and most of Dave's friends at school thought golf was an old man's game and thoroughly boring.
After quite a long spell of watching his father trying to play and spending an apprenticeship pulling his dad's trolley around the local course, the day came when he was presented with his first set of clubs. That was it, the green light came on and Dave was completely taken with the game and at times the passion became obsessive. During the summer breaks he would get picked up at 06.00 in the morning by the head greenkeeper and play golf the whole day long. This often meant playing 5 rounds in a day and a long walk home in the dark. Coming from Plymouth in the South West of Britain it was the traditional pasty that kept him going on these halcyon days.
Dave's mind was set on becoming a member of the Professional Golfers Association at around 12 years old, the love of the game, the chance to spend your working life at the club and the dream of playing for a living appealed more than anything else. Whilst playing in a golf tournament some 7 years later, his opponent who was a golf professional happened to mention he needed an assistant for the forthcoming season and before the end of the round, Dave had an offer to start his PGA apprenticeship.
After working through his time as an assistant professional in England, Wales and Scotland and after becoming PGA qualified, he finally found his own club pros post in Gloucestershire. During these years of training, Dave always seemed to find an affinity with the junior members and coached hundreds of them to improve their games, 14 of which have subsequently become professional players in their own rights. It was this background of playing and loving the game as a youngster that has spurred him to encourage as many other youngsters to take up the game and make it one of their own sporting passions.
As the golfing season of 1999 came to a close, it brought about a period of reflection regarding the way he was actually coaching youngsters. The current system, which was being used by almost all other professionals, was to make junior lessons available on a Saturday morning at little or no cost, and pupils could turn up whenever they felt like it. The crucial factor for the coach was to encourage pupils to return enough times so they could grasp the swing basics and enough knowledge to be in a position to maybe go out and play some holes on the course.
What kind of system was this?
As system that had no structure, one where the valuable teachings were being given away for little or no recompense for the coach, a system where the teacher hadn't a clue who was going to turn up from one week to the next. The situation whereby pupils who were quite competent because they had attended several sessions were in a class with youngsters who were taking part in their first ever golf lesson.
On the surface this is a recipe for chaos, can you imagine a school teacher being faced with this situation, how can anyone benefit from such disorganisation. With all of this to contend with, it is also quite customary for the Head professionals to give the whole of the junior coaching to their newest assistants who are often not PGA registered and have no experience of any form of coaching.
There had to be a better way
Through the winter of 99, David set about forming a structured programme of lessons at his own golf club, a series where pupils would learn everything they would need to know about golf as well as many lessons they would find useful in all aspects of their lives.
Etiquette, honesty, respect and consideration for others, playing by the rules and learning how to play all the golf shots needed to get round the course were all bundled together in week by week modules. To keep interest levels at a peak, there were weekly challenges and quizzes to make sure pupils were listening and understanding what they were being taught.
This formula was an instant hit with kids and parents, grandparents and teachers and word of mouth marketing soon kicked in. Within a short while there were five levels with all classes full and a waiting list that stretched for 36 weeks.
What if other pros followed this model?
In 2001, a decision was made to create a company that would take this model to the market and encourage other professional coaches to adopt the programmes and grow the game. One by one they came on board, the business grew and grew and so did the numbers of participants.
By 2006 the numbers were becoming quite impressive...
850 Golf clubs in 8 countries
1,500 PGA Professionals registered
80,000 levels of the programme had been run
There were series of tournaments that culminated in regional, national and international finals and many of today's top young players came through these events and shone brightly at a very young age.
The company continued to grow rapidly and a decision was made by the board to seek further investment to take the business onto the global stage. An investor was found but this took the company in a different direction and David was relieved of his position and the company was taken from his control.
The vision, desire and passion still burn stronger than ever and Bitesize Golf is a reincarnation of these ideals, systems and structures. There were many projects that were placed on ice that can now be brought to fruition through Bitesize Golf and all restrictions and barriers to growth have been removed.
David is extremely proud of these products, they form the most comprehensive education available in golf and possibly any other sport. Pupils who embark upon these levels of progression can be absolutely assured that they will receive the ultimate in sports education and player development. By progressing through the levels, the young golfers will acquire the skills and knowledge that can take many years to learn. This system accelerates learning because it uses many different learning modalities, which appeals to the widest audience possible. It makes complex subjects and skills much easier to understand because it uses metaphors and visual graphics within the books and tasked focused drills and routines during the coaching sessions.
By making the sessions vibrant and exciting, the pupils are in a heightened state of awareness, their brains are more alert and information is readily absorbed and logged into the memory banks. David has taken what he learned whilst studying for his diploma in sports psychology and added knowledge and research over the past 25 years. Linking the research with real life practical situations on an almost daily basis is what makes Bitesize Golf unique and powerful.