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PGA Champion & Golf Coach Derrik Goodwin On Growing Golf in Canada

Derrik Goodwin | Bisons Golf Head Coach | University of Manitoba Bisons

With most skilled young golfers constantly looking to go down south to play collegiate golf, I would like the program to get to the point where we are considered as a much more viable option for our top players to stay home and still have the opportunity to compete at a high level.

Derrik Goodwin

Bisons Golf Head Coach

University of Manitoba Bisons

× The interview with Derrik Goodwin was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.

You have had plenty of success in your golf career as a player, having won the PGA of Manitoba Assistants three times and were named the PGA of Manitoba Player of the year twice to name a few accolades. Who has been the biggest influence to your success as a player?

Getting into the sport at a bit of a later age as a junior, the tour professional that really got me interested in the game was Tiger Woods, just like most golfers around my age. His dominance and commitment to fitness made me really feel like golf was more of a sport and less of a game. I followed his career very closely as a junior and always wanted to emulate my swing after his.

When I first started playing, I played tons of golf with my dad. He would give me rides to the course before I could drive where I would stay there, practice and play from sunrise until sunset. He paid for me to compete in junior events and really supported me through both my successes and my failures.

Now competing as a professional, my father is my regular caddie. It has been great to share lots of my victories with him but mostly just being able to spend the time out on the course, continually trying to improve both our games and learn more about how to compete at a higher level has been very enjoyable.

In an overall sense, my dad has been my biggest influence.

You were named as the Head Coach of Bisons Golf during the 2019-20 season after having been an assistant for a few years. What is your long term goal while leading the program?

My long-term goal for myself is to continue to live by the founder’s mission while continually helping the program grow. The program’s mission is to create champions on and off the course to grow the game of golf in Manitoba through initiatives to develop more lifetime golfers that support amateur golf, club golf, and the business community.

The manifesto of the program is to provide an opportunity for young Manitobans to stay home for post-secondary education while experiencing university athletics and receiving financial educational assistance. The players in the program are made up of individuals who act as role models for youth.

With most skilled young golfers constantly looking to go down south to play collegiate golf, I would like the program to get to the point where we are considered as a much more viable option for our top players to stay home and still have the opportunity to compete at a high level to achieve their personal playing goals.

What are the three most important fundamentals you emphasize while teaching the game of golf to others?

Fundamentals in anything is the key to a solid foundation. The most important thing for the golf swing is the grip. Your hands control everything in the golf swing. Not saying that every golfer should hold the club exactly the same way but there are certain aspects of the grip I do consider a must; trigger finger and top 3 fingers position to name a couple. The golfer should understand how the grip can affect their swing and be guided to find the grip that best suits their style. As kids growing up, the first thing we learn to do things with is our hands and I consider the grip to be the command post to the golf swing. I will always start there.

The next two fundamentals I’ll go to are body alignments and ball position. Each can have a major effect on the development of a golfers swing and ultimately the direction the ball flies and the curvature it has. My goal for all my students is that they eventually no longer need me. I want them to understand what causes and effects each thing has on their swing so they can make adjustments based on what they want to see. Gaining an understanding of the fundamentals, especially these 3 keys is vital to making that happen.

What do you enjoy most about teaching golf?

Simply, I enjoy helping people. To me, golf is a sport you can play for a lifetime and we are always in the pursuit of improvement. In order to enjoy the sport, it really helps to play at a level you are happy with. It is my job to coach individuals to learn about how they can play better golf. The look on a student’s face when they hit a shot they never have before, or shoot a personal best score is what really makes me smile. I’m there to support my students through good times and bad times but helping someone reach their goals is what really drives me to do my best in each lesson.

When did you realize that you were going to take up coaching golf for a living?

It was about 8 years ago when I really knew this is something I wanted to do full time and for the rest of my life. I was uncertain about what career I wanted to do after high school. I have always loved sports and wanted to do something within that industry. I took a year off to figure things out and ultimately decided to attend a Professional Golf Management school in Lethbridge, Alberta. I loved to compete but knew I wasn’t good enough to play professionally for a living so decided to become a club professional. After teaching a few lessons, I noticed that the time would absolutely fly by during sessions. Now, waking up to teach and coach golf is what really gives me energy.

Matias Bueno Matias's Final Thoughts

Being able to interview Manitoba Bisons Golf Head Coach Derrik Goodwin was a great pleasure. He is a true golf professional in every sense of the word, and it shows from his illustrious resume. Having won several Manitoba PGA tournaments, he uses his wealth of golf knowledge and experience to coach others and help grow the level of golf at the USports level. Having both worked at St. Charles Country Club, I have been fortunate to follow the great work he has done as the Club Associate Professional and also with the Bisons golfers. With Derrik now offering virtual lessons, he is now able to continue to help golfers despite the global pandemic.

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