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Academy Blog

Major Success for RGA Student Hayden Miller

hayden Miller resizeHayden Miller, rising junior at Heritage High School, has been on a meteoric rise since joining the Raspberry Golf Academy team in 2016. He works primarily with RGA Director Patrick McGuire, alongside staff instructor Josh Apple. Miller never competed in tournaments outside of high school competitions and had never shot below a 70 prior to beginning his lessons, yet he has quickly become one of the best juniors in the area and has shot as low as a 66 in competition.

Over the last two months, his list of accomplishments continues to grow daily. It all started in early July at the Bobby Bowers Memorial Junior Golf Tournament when he shot a 71 to qualify as the three-seed for match play, then went all the way to the finals for a runner-up finish. He followed that with a win in mid-July at the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour’s College Prep Series at Maryland, shooting 77-75. The next week, he shot 74-74 to qualify as the two-seed for match play in the Bobby Gorin Memorial Tournament and would go on to win one match.

His success carried over into August, as he shot scores of 34-34-35 in Heritage’s high school tryouts to earn the number one spot on the squad. In the team’s first event, the Curly Licklider at Shenandoah Valley Golf Course, he shot a 69 to win individually out of 118 people, which was the lowest competitive score of his life at that point. His strong individual performance also helped his team get the victory.

He stepped away from high school competition and played in the Hurricane Tour’s Major Championship at Bristow Manor, shooting 75-77 to finish tied for third. He then returned to high school competition in mid-August and fired an incredible 66, the lowest score of his career, in the Loudoun County Public School Open at Algonkian Golf Course. His round was highlighted by a rare 29 on the back nine!

“Pat was definitely instilling the process in my head, which worked well in those tournaments. I was just thinking about the process not the outcome,” Miller said. “The routine and setup help a lot to reduce the stress and doubt, and just going over the notes for the courses more helps. And he’s obviously helped me with my swing. My swing has gotten a lot more consistent. In a span of two months I haven’t shot over 77 and that’s the lowest I’ve ever been.”

Miller began his journey with RGA with an evaluation from McGuire and Apple, as they analyzed every phase of his game, including full swing, putting, short game, process, course management and mental control. They scored his strengths and weaknesses and developed a performance coaching plan to address the areas of need. Much of the focus for Miller has been on areas outside of the full swing, with a heavy emphasis on his process and approach to the game. With increased awareness and knowledge to accompany his talent, the success was inevitable.

“We truly are a team at RGA,” Apple said. “Patrick and I work with players together to give them multiple perspectives and to make sure nothing gets overlooked. Each coach has strengths that allow the student to get more well-rounded and detailed lessons. I also get the opportunity to work with players like Hayden when Pat is away with his tour players. I had a great session with him on putting right before his strong showing at the Bobby Bowers.”

Miller has been on an impressive run and doesn’t seem to be slowing down, as he continues to work with the RGA team on a regular basis. His technical skills have progressed greatly since working joining the performance coaching program, but the mental and process leaps have been the biggest keys for him.

“I didn’t know anything about why the routine and setup mattered, why the process mattered. I would just go up and do something different every time, be thinking of way too much in my head and be thinking about my swing. Now I know my swing is almost never the problem,” Miller said.

Be sure to follow Miller’s success as he continues his high school competitions and plays in Hurricane Junior Tour events throughout the fall. Best of luck Hayden!

Is performance coaching for you? Patrick McGuire explains the best way to get better faster.

pateditPerformance Coaching vs Traditional Coaching vs “Quick Fix” Coaching

Traditional Coaching generally focuses on the mechanical causes and effects of a player’s shots, good or bad, and works for many players.  This style of coaching usually requires more time and repetition for players to gain confidence and improve. This style of coaching is a core belief, and will always be a part of our profession, and has produced results and multiple champions at every level of golf.  Lessons are often hourly based, and cover multiple criteria per session.

“Quick Fix” Coaching – Often, players who are working on the “effect”, vice the true “cause” of a shot, seek the “Quick Fix”, quick tip, or band-aid to solve their issue.  Tips such as “keep your head still,” “slow down,” “take it inside or outside,” and/or “you’re coming over the top” type discussions are designed to help a player feel better at that time, and “might” work for a short period of time, but generally do not get at the root cause of the real problem…a problem that is sure to re-appear. No real, long-term improvement comes from this style of learning or coaching, however a player may pick up awareness, which is certainly critical for improvement.  I believe this type learning and coaching is a great way to identify beliefs a player may possess.  Beliefs, however, can be useful, or very detrimental to their games.  This style of learning generally lacks structure and covers multiple things at once.

Performance Coaching specifically measures results from golf swings & shots, good or bad, and focuses more on how the brain interrupts what is physically happening.  It is process, mental and mechanics combined, which truly helps the player and coach get on the same page faster with respect to the “true cause” of an issue and the player’s belief system – the system most critical to execution and performance.  Performance Coaching uses the best from each style of coaching without being limited to positions or patterns to create awareness or change.  Lessons are more varied in length depending on the student and move quickly from learning to application.  This style of coaching focuses on a single issue at a time, to improve quickly and effectively.

I have designed several programs that focus on key performance factors and how to coach and learn faster.  The “Find Your Number” program is the first public offering of our performance programs.  My goal is to get people better and smarter about their game without taking years.  Through assessment, we assign a player a Number for their individual skills that more accurately reflect their current capability, as well as their potential for improvement.


Click here to learn more about Find Your Number.

RGA Director Patrick McGuire Launches New Performance Programs for 2017!

rga training rf

As the Director of Instruction and Founder of Raspberry Golf Academy, I can't believe how lucky we are to work with such great people and enjoy the success of our efforts through student results.   2016 was a great year for us and our students. 

We are working hard and looking forward to an exciting 2017.  We have new performance programs that will improve our student results and show off our coaches’ abilities.

Our new 2017 performance programs will be the talk of the town.  These programs are not for everyone.  They are for people who may have struggled with traditional coaching or reached a plateau in their game.  We have finally created a platform to see quantifiable gains in skill and performance. 

If you want to get better and gain results every lesson, stay tuned for our new programs.  Our first release will begin with the FIND YOUR NUMBER program.

We want to provide the best environment for our students and coaches to learn and improve.  It's what drives me.  I look forward to watching the success and stories of the year to come.

Director / Founder 

Patrick McGuire