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Golf and the game of life

With their online platform Me And My Golf, Andy Proudman and Piers Ward give lessons on hitting the greens. As coaches at professional golf tours, they know what it takes to become a world-class player. We talked about their mission, why they got into teaching and how golf is like the game of life.

12/01/2021 Text: Nadia Riaz-Ahmed – Photo: Matthias Fend Video: Dietrich Mangold   Reading Time: 6 min

Andy Proudman, Piers Ward and a student on the golf course in Kitzbühel, Austria.
Andy Proudman, Piers Ward and a student on the golf course in Kitzbühel, Austria, where they joined the World Final of the 2021 Audi quattro Cup tournament.

You two have been giving golf lessons on the Me And My Golf platform for 16 years. How did you get into golf in the first place?

Andy Proudman: I got into golf because I was really, really bad at it. And I hated being bad at any sport, so I was determined to improve. But it was incredibly difficult and required a lot of effort. It all came down to the challenge of turning around my disastrous play as a kid because I wanted to be good at the game.

Piers Ward: I spent a holiday at Quinta do Lago, a golf course in Portugal. Looking at the expanse of green hills, I thought, “Wow, that looks pretty cool.” Then I found out that my second cousin played golf and was pretty good, so I decided to speak to him. Before you know it, I was hooked.

Golf coaches Piers Ward (left) and Andy Proudman
Piers Ward (left) and Andy Proudman are golf coaches with a mission and great passion for the sport.

What exactly got you hooked on golf?

Piers Ward: It’s a combination of the skill and challenging yourself to keep getting better. I also like the fact that you get to spend a fair amount of time with people when you are playing golf. I’ve met all of my best friends through golf. No matter your level of play or where you live in the world, when you’re out on the course for four hours, you can really bond and forge a friendship. Plus, it’s a great release.

Andy Proudman: Once you get a taste of striking the golf ball well or playing a good shot, you can’t get enough of it and just keep coming back for more. Once most golfers catch the bug, they’re all in. I think golfers are never happy, never satisfied. They’re always trying to do better. That’s the beauty of the game. For me personally, it’s a lot like life. Golf tests the character and mind. You need to be patient and strong mentally to be able to deal with a bad streak. On the golf course, the tough times outnumber the good times. Golf is very similar to life in that way, too. It’s one of those sports that helps you develop as a person as well.

Is teaching golf a way to help your clients become better people? What do you enjoy most about teaching?

Piers Ward: It’s kind of like a drug. The more people you help, the more of a high you get. Whenever we’re at an event like the Audi quattro Cup World Final, it is just fantastic being able to work with golfers, providing solutions to their problems. For whatever reason, that’s what we’ve always wanted to do. Nothing beats the feeling of helping players. I’d like to see a lot more young people and those from diverse backgrounds, who haven’t had access to the sport for various reasons, taking up the game. It’s been very elitist in the past, which is why we aim to break down barriers with Me And My Golf. We want golf to be accessible for everybody.

Andy Proudman: For me personally, the desire to help people came from others helping me. When I was 13 years old, I had golf lessons with a coach and I remember how much I loved that time with him. I was always excited to go because I knew I’d learn new things and end up feeling great afterwards. That made me think, I’d love to be in this guy’s shoes and be able to give others the same feeling I get from my lessons with him. I guess that’s where my desire to take up coaching really originated – with receiving help from someone and wanting to pay it forward.

“We see embracing the pursuit of continual improvement as our responsibility.”

Piers Ward

Golf coaches Piers Ward, Andy Proudman and a student walking on the green.
For the coaches, spending hours on the greens together with your peers is not only one of the most beautiful aspects of the sport but also a great way to build friendships.

You have coached two-time European Tour winner Aaron Rai and countless other people around the globe. What was that like?

Piers Ward: We have known Aaron Rai since he was four years old and started coaching him when he was eleven. So we have watched him grow up into an incredible person and golfer. It goes without saying that we felt amazing when he won. Basically, every successful golf lesson feels like a win. Because it doesn’t really matter to us who the student is. I personally like to remember a lady who at first couldn’t even hit the ball. A few lessons later, every shot was suddenly great. That’s a fantastic feeling. 

 

How do you set yourselves and your online golf lessons apart from the competition?

Andy Proudman: People who watch our videos often say we make it look so simple. For us, there’s no greater compliment because we want players to watch our videos and then see results as soon as they head out on the golf course. That’s why we take complex golf techniques and translate them into a simple format.

Piers Ward: People can tell from our videos that we are intensely passionate about golf. One of our core values is care. That means we focus on bringing our love of the sport to life through the content we create rather than just uploading videos for the sake of it.

 

Is care your way of driving progress as a coach?

Piers Ward: At the heart of our various core values, which we live by and use to spur progress, is our unwavering care. We aim to deliver as much value as possible. Part of that is embracing the pursuit of continual improvement as our responsibility. We know what our capabilities are now, but what about in four to ten years’ time? We have to grow and stay ahead of the times.

Andy Proudman: The biggest question we ask ourselves time and again is: How do we make things better? We’ll review a video that we made six months ago and ask ourselves how we can take it up a level and increase its value, whether that means getting the graphics to tell a story about the user or something else. As Piers said, it’s really about continual improvement. As long as we keep on doing that, we’ll continue to help as many golfers as we can. Times change fast and so do people’s habits. It’s up to us to stay one step ahead and never lose sight of our goal to offer the best possible solutions to golfers’ problems.

Piers Ward: The pace of change is greater now than it has ever been. If you don’t keep up and fail to predict and understand the way things are moving, then you’re going to be left behind. And we don’t want that, do we?

“Golfers are never satisfied, always trying to do better – that’s the beauty of the game.”

Andy Proudman

A hole on the golf course.
For Proudman and Ward, golf is about more than putting a ball in a hole. It’s a game that tests the character and mind.

About the Audi quattro Cup

One of the world’s largest amateur golf tournament series, the Audi quattro Cup, celebrated its 30th anniversary this year. Some 70,000 golfers competing in teams of two participated in more than 500 tournaments in the 2021 Audi quattro Cup. The highlight was the World Final, which was held at the Kitzbühel-Schwarzsee golf club this year. The winners were teams from Italy and Paraguay.

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