When I first started interviewing golf professionals, I had no idea how much fun it would be. Every time I sit down to research a pro, I learn something not only about them but about the game of golf. It’s both fun and educational for me to be researching all of these guys. The guy I am sitting with today has been around the golf industry for a long time. He is one of only 31 teachers in the world to have a Doctorate in Golf Stroke Engineering and finds himself on the top 100 year after year. Some even call him the “teacher of teachers”. That, and he’s a riot… I could talk to this guy for hours. He has endless stories to tell. I am looking forward to seeing him down at the PGA Merchandise Show. Enough from me… it’s my absolute pleasure to introduce you to one of the best instructors in the world… Chuck Evans.
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview Chuck. I appreciate it buddy. Let’s start from the beginning… how long have you been playing golf and when did you know that you were ready to devote your life to the game?
I started playing when I was 10 years old and like a lot of other kids played all other sports as well. As I got older I actually was more interested in football and was a 6’2″ 225 pound running back. In those days the average lineman was around 190 so I kind of ran over people rather than around them! It was quite fun!
One year we made it to the state finals in football and baseball. We lost both finals rounds because someone else did not do their job and that was the end of team sports for me. I realized that even if I did my job the outcome could still be determined by someone else so I dropped all other sports to focus on golf.
Wait a second… you have a “Doctorate in Golf Stroke Engineering”. What does that mean? How does one get something like that? (That’s very rare by the way. Only 31 people have one!)
This honorary degree was bestowed by The Golfing Machine. There are actually 3 levels of authorization, Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate. Each represents a different level of knowledge and contribution to the game. During the time I was with TGM I was the Director of Instruction and Education until Mrs. Kelley sold out to a group that I put together. My job was to train, evaluate, and test out potential AI’s.
You are one of the top 100 teachers. What does being on that list mean to you? Do you get more lessons because of that? Are you able to charge more being on said list?
Being nominated and recognized by your peers is very rewarding for all of the years of hard work. It is not an easy process, like some would think. First you have to have a minimum of 15 years teaching with 1,500 hours on the tee every year. You also need to produce books, videos, training aids… anything that helps/gives back to the game of golf. To be truthful it doesn’t help much in the way of driving business to someone; you already have a successful business of you wouldn’t have made it through the nomination process. I personally don’t charge any more than I did before being inducted.
There are a LOT of tracks out there where you live… but does it ever get too hot for you in the desert?
It can be pretty toasty here in the summer and like the old saying, “If you can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen!” I normally stay here year around but I’m inclined to take this summer and hit the road again like I’ve done in the past. Back in 2000-2001 I traveled 270 days a year, different city every day, and conducted teaching workshops and clinics. In that time we saw a little over 200,000 players!
We had a full crew that traveled together and looked like a rock concert when we would come to town…it was awesome!
I’ve always done traveling schools and those are usually set up with another coach at their facility with their members/guests. Once the school is complete I tell the attendees that if they want to stay on track then their pro is the guy/gal to see.
I remember seeing commercials for the Medicus years ago. Never owned one myself, but I am willing to bet you have a few around the house. Tell me a little bit more about your affiliation with that training aid.
About 6 years ago we merged my company with Medicus Golf. We had a very successful golf school and they have the training aids and one of the most recognized brands in the industry. Together we wanted to form a company that would encompass a total experience for the golfer. Training aids, performance equipment, coaching, and education.
Medicus Golf actually has numerous training aids and not just the Hinge Club. You can see them all on the site, http://medicuscorporate.com
My role is the coaching and education portion as well as researching new ways to help players develop, and sustain, their swing “patterns” more rapidly. We have been very successful in our approach to helping find their own pattern with a major emphasis on repeatability.
I get dozens of training aids a year from people around the world for evaluation and to be quite honest the majority of them just don’t do what they are designed to do! But once I have put them through their paces with players of all handicap levels I then forward to our Director of Product Management and Development, Gene Hoch, for him to test further. From there we have processes in place to determine if that product makes it to market or not.
You do a lot of public speaking. When you speak, what do you talk about? Are you actively looking for those, or do they sort of just come to you?
I do a LOT of speaking, everything from 1 hour to 2 days! The 1-2 hours are usually at PGA sections/chapters and or golf clubs for members and guests. The club speaking is more of a “golf talk” scenario where there is a lot of Q&A going on.
The full day, or 2 days are normally corporate events and quite a lot of the PGA section workshops. Of course most of the time the topics are about golf but I have done many events that have ranged from team building to building and branding your business.
Most of these events are handled through my agent but occasionally if I am out on the road he will solicit another event to fill any gaps in my schedule. I love the travel and speaking but to be quite honest I am not interested in traveling as much anymore so I limit these days to 5-7 days a month now. My schedule fills out very quickly and right now I’m booked until July 2012. We do however book back-up days in case of cancellations but events are rarely cancelled once they have signed the contracts.
My goal when doing these is to make sure the attendees have fun, learn a little something that can help their game or business, and to get them motivated! There’s nothing more boring than going to a seminar and listening to the keynote speaker in between dozing off!
You also do a lot of corporate outings. When someone calls to book you for one of those, how are those rates set? Do you charge the same fee for everyone or does it vary from one event to the next?
I’ve done outings for Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Proctor & Gambel and Fortune Brands just to name a few.
The rate depends on what they are asking me to do. If I am just the keynote speaker and it is a couple of hours then the charge is “X”. But if it is speaking at a dinner, then a clinic the next day on the course that is a different fee. Let’s just say it ranges from $1,500.00 to $5,000.00 plus expenses.
There are a LOT of great golf courses out there. But what is your favorite?
You were the Northwest Florida Player of the Year in 2010. Does that mean you have to play a lot of golf? Speaking of that, how much do you play?
Actually that was one of my juniors that was NW FL Player of the Year! I don’t have the opportunity to play much anymore. I think I teed it up 6 times last year.
It seems like you keep busy… do you still find time in there to give a lesson?
Unless I am traveling I am on the tee every day! My day usually starts around 4:30 AM. I answer tons of email, check a few website and groups that I belong to, have online meetings with people back on the east coast, a quick workout and then, at this time of year, am on the tee by 8:15. I only work on the tee 6 hours a day now after having been out there sun up to sun down 7 days a week for 40 years.
When I am traveling, and this is the part that people say, “Man that has got to be fun, almost like a vacation.” Well, it’s even MORE work and far from being a vacation!
For example the upcoming PGA Show. My day starts the same as usual except that it normally runs to around 11 at night. I have meetings, video shoots, media days, booth time. I do get to see people that I see only once a year, usually at the show, but it’s very rare that I have more than a few minutes to spend with friends there.
You are using Twitter and Facebook to promote yourself. You also have a nice website. Out of all the marketing you do, on and offline, what works the best for Chuck Evans?
We use any and all marketing types whether it be social media, print, infomercials, and direct response. It all works but after this many years, this year marks my 42nd year of teaching/coaching, it is mainly word of mouth.
Let’s say that I want to book a lesson with you. What does that first lesson look like?
First and foremost, what are YOUR goals?
Once those are established I then take you through a series of assessments; physical, mental, short game, and long game. I’ve been doing physical and mental assessments since 1980. Now you and I know what you can and cannot do physically, what you are thinking, how you most effectively learn, and how your short and long game compares to others in your handicap level as well as the best players in the world.
From there we move forward to your stated goals. I might add, that the first time I see someone it is for a 3 hour minimum. I personally do not believe that anyone can help a student in 30-60 minutes the first time they see them. They may be able to give them some sort of “band aid” for nothing for long term development.
Peter Kessler and I have become close over the last few months. You were recently interviewed by him. He is a riot on and off the air. Do you still keep in touch with Peter?
I’ve known Peter for a number of years and I see him every year. We don’t get to spend any time together between our schedules but I always enjoy talking golf with him. He is a wealth of information and a great guy.
What would you be doing if you were not teaching/playing golf? Can you imagine a life without the game of golf?
I have imagined a life without golf. In fact when my students ask me what I am going to do when I retire I say, “I guess I’ll get a real job!”
I have a couple of things on my “bucket list”. First, go to Katmandu; the highest place on earth. Next, and this one might prove to be a little difficult, I would like unlimited access to the Vatican Archives for one week! Who knows what I could find down there!
Ever had a hole-in-one?
I’ve had 3 hole in ones and 9 double eagles!
Your work has been featured in Golf Magazine. When you write an article for them, do they tell you what to write about or do you have some creative freedom?
I’ve had a number of articles in Golf Magazine as well as other major publications. Generally, you come to an agreement of what the reader is looking for and then write the article. Other times, I may call and say I’ve got an idea for an article and they will say yes or no and then sometimes they will call me for input.
Tell me a little bit more about howtobuildyourgolfswing.com.
http://howtobuildyourgolfswing.com started out as a blog of sorts because it was much easier to post updates then the static website. The original website http://chuckevansgolf.com hasn’t been updated in 6 years now and it is something that is on my project list for 2012.
You utilize V-1. Do you think that is a sign of things to come with technology in the game of golf?
Video has been around for a long time. When I first started using it the late 70’s the camcorders were huge. I had to run a wire from the camcorder to the TV to see the video. Then I would use dry erase markers to draw line and such. Before that I used the old “graph check” cameras.
I think today’s technology, in all aspects, is a tremendous tool for both the coach and the student… if used properly! If not it is a huge distraction! What I mean by that is if the technology is used to measure certain aspects of the body or the club to find a starting point then I think it’s fine. But if, on the other hand, the student/coach become so dependent on it that they can’t teach or hit a ball without it then I believe it’s a detriment to the learning process.
At the end of the day are we teaching people how to PLAY golf or how to play golf swing?
Speaking of technology, how has the Internet changed the way you operate? Does it make things easier for you as a professional or more difficult now that everyone is on the same level?
The biggest drawback with the internet is that ANYONE can now be an “expert”… just ask them!
Once again, it is a medium that has tremendous rewards for marketing. You can reach out and touch someone in China, for example, whereas before we were limited by our region and area of influence.
Junior golf is the future of this game. How involved are you with junior golf?
Medicus Golf is very involved with junior golf. We have been a sponsor for the AJGA as well as on a local basis with different state junior golf associations and junior golf tours.
What is Swingology?
Swingology is a term we use at Medicus to describe our training. All we teach is based on science but we present it in a way that the average person can relate to and understand.
Starting with your driver, and working your way through the golf ball, what’s in your bag?
Callaway driver, 3 wood and hybrid. Piranha irons, SCOR wedges and Medicus Over Spin Putter.
Tiger isn’t getting any younger. In your honest opinion, do you think he will break Jack’s record?
I thought he would a couple of years ago but now I’m not so sure. Tiger has shown the innate ability to win with whatever swing he’s using at the time. But mentally I don’t think he’s there anymore and that’s the edge he had on everyone else.
Since you went to Florida State, do you still root for them? I love their logo by the way!
I do… go Noles!
What’s the best round of golf you have ever played?
My best round was 64 back when I was playing competitively. Now it’s usually around par… a couple over, a couple under.
I know we talked a little bit about the top 100… but in your opinion, who is the best teacher in the world? Is it even possible to pick a “best” considering how many different types of swings there are out there?
I’m not sure there is a best coach in the world. I think there are MANY great coaches today. But the key is not the coach it is the player/coach relationship. Some coaches have a “method” that works with some players and not with others. Some coaches “coddle” their players and others don’t.
So while the information may be great that is coming from the coach, the player may not buy into it for some reason or another or their differences in personality keep them communicating.
It’s a new year… what does 2012 look like for you?
We are making some pretty big announcements at the PGA Show this year and will expanding into several countries outside of the USA as well as growing our Instructor base here in the US.
Chuck, thank you so much for taking the time to sit with me. That was a ton of fun. In all of the interviews that I do, I always give the artist the last word. Go.
I appreciate the opportunity Ricky. It’s always my pleasure to be able to do what I love to do. I would recommend to all of the young coaches out there to take time away from this business and spend more time with their families. I know we all start out the same way… we want to set the world on fire, teach all day long 7 days a week and to make a difference in players lives.
You can make those differences and still have time for a life! But do not take for granted those close to you that support your mission and your love of golf. My advice, and believe me I have made ALL of the mistakes one can make when it comes to this business, set time for your loved ones each and every week. Do something NOT golf related with them and do NOT answer phone calls or emails on that day.
Make THAT day special for them!