For Peter Cliff or ‘Cliffy’ to most, 2020 marks thirty years as a PGA of Australia Member and the current Head Coach of Central Coast Academy of Sport JNJG Golf program. Peter has an impressive playing background having 35 Pro Am wins, highest placing of 3rd on the NSW PGA Order of Merit, T-12th in the NZ Open an Australasian Order of Merit event, Peter has twice shot 60 in his professional career and has achieved a remarkable 7 holes in one. His success as a Professional Player was based on a very good technical game and his transition to the coaching ranks has been a transition that has benefitted many of his student athletes.
Golf is a game that is ever changing, courses are being designed to cater for technological advances in equipment, the innovations that compliment equipment development is always ongoing, technological advances in shaft technology, GPS monitoring, launch angles, putting laboratories, shaft mechanics, swing assessments, biomechanics, computer technology and the list goes on is always advancing. Golf tuition is evolving with use of more technology, 3D imaging and video. This coupled with the use of more scientific biomechanical methods is making it more individually targeted and efficient. For the golf coach these transitions and advances mean coaches have to keep pace with an ever-changing field of play and instruction.
Peter has been associated with Shelly Beach Golf Club since 2004, and during his time at Shelly Beach he has been involved with the CCAS Golf Program both indirectly as a Guest and/or Assistant Coach and directly as the Head Coach. Peter has been involved with the CCAS Golf Program for a remarkable fifteen years. The past seven as the Program head Coach, a position he both enjoys and takes great pride in.
Peter achieved PGA Australia ‘AAA’ rating (the highest available) in 2004, achieved due to his commitment to the PGA’s Continuing Education Program (CEP). When you reflect on the everchanging environment in golf, ‘AAA’ rating is essential, it is a way to keep abreast of the changes, the CEP is designed to equip coaches with the tools to assist their students and this has held very true for Peter Cliff. One of the world’s best golf coaches is well known for saying: “He who wishes to teach must never cease to learn” Gary Wiren Master Professional PGA of America. When reflecting on his time with the Central Coast Academy of Sport Peter Cliff said:
“It has been an amazing experience to be part of the golf journey of so many fine young golfers. To watch them grow as golfers and young adults. With great pride I have watched their achievements and have felt very privileged to have been involved in some small way to help them along that journey
Peter has helped over twenty students into the PGA of Australia, athletes who advanced via the PGA Trainee program to full Membership of the Association, Peter had one student on the LPGA Tour, and Peter is regarded as a PGA Trainee Mentor. Peters junior program at Shelly Beach Golf Club was acknowledged as the best in NSW in 2019, a worthy recognition for a person committed to the sport and his students.
Peters coaching philosophy when assessed is underpinned by the importance of education, learn the right way to achieve better results, work on establishing solid foundations as 95% of all problems can be tracked back to poor alignment, posture or grip, aspects probably taught in lesson 1, 2 and 3, sound fundamentals remains a key to an athletes success, his preaching of following the process and not the outcome will resonate with all his students. Not doubt Gary Wiren would be proud!
Like the others in the series a key question is where the sport of golf is heading in the future, Peter again gives some sound advice for the sector he is so involved with:
“Golf will head towards more 9 hole play for time poor participants and possibly shorter 9 hole golf courses for beginners. Golf tuition is evolving to more technology and video but is also more scientific biomechanics which is making it more targeted and efficient.
Golf is in a strong position with the focus on junior and women’s participation but will need to keep focus on golf club memberships and golf course profitability to keep the game growing. Keeping struggling country clubs going will be the concern of the whole golfing community if we are to keep the game moving forward.
It is still one of the best games for teaching honor, self-discipline, self-reliance and courtesy. So I hope that in 10 years time the game is stronger than it is now because as it has shown in the last few weeks with the corona virus outbreak people need golf in their lives for the social interaction and mental health relief”.
When you hear and read of Peter’s commitment to the game of golf, it is easy to understand the CCAS Golf Program will remain as one of the highest performing programs in the suite of sport program offerings. Congratulations and thanks to Peter Cliff for his support of the CCAS and the many local athletes who have been supported by his genuine care and commitment to the sport.