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Inside “The Secrets of the Golf Whisperer”

March 14, 2017

His business may be known as “The Secrets of the Golf Whisperer,” but it is no secret that Dan DeMuth knows how to coach the game of golf. For many clients, his process has helped them relate to all aspects of their vision. DeMuth has gone from professional golfer to highly successful golf and business coach. His career was inspired by a sudden inability to keep the ball in play and lack of control over where he wanted to hit golf shots during his time at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan, where he was enrolled in their Professional Golf Management (PGM) program. This inspiration triggered a realization for Dan—the way an athlete or person performs in their respective profession is a direct reflection of their inner state. This belief and his growing expertise on the mental aspect of golf is evident through his coaching processes, passion for helping others reach their potentials and various success stories.

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Dan’s coaching process is unconventional but proven to be highly successful. The purpose is to demonstrate to the student how the power of focus and concentration can improve not only your golf game but business aspirations and personal goals as well. People learn quickly how beneficial this can be. Attention to detail such as keeping your focus on the target sounds very simple but can be overlooked. “Keeping your focus on the target” is not only a sports metaphor but a tactic that provides tangible results both on and off the golf course. The workshops intend to not only make you aware of your mental process but to create results through newfound awareness in business, personal goals and golf. It is the client’s awareness of self-interference that is able to help them to make positive changes through DeMuth’s coaching process. This realization allows his clients to overcome let downs so that they are able to refocus and, in a majority of cases, move beyond what they didn’t believe was possible.

The topics that are covered in theses workshops that help clients reach their full potential, include, but are not limited to: power of focus, broadening perspective, engaging self and others while strengthening relationships, examining perception vs. reality and embracing change. The end goal is to help the client become more self-aware of his or her thoughts and responses on and off the course. The mind plays an intricate role in golf, often being overlooked.  These focus-based exercises help one examine his or her thinking process in different situations and how it affects performance. Once a client’s habits and reactions are realized and understood, Dan aims to help him or her discover ways to deal with different situations.

A statement that Dan often uses in his coaching is, “there is no coaching, if there is no target.” Meaning, as a teacher, it is impossible to provide instruction or help if you do not know what the person wants out of their own experience. In turn, this mental process intrigued him to the point where he felt he needed to share his experiences with others to help them realize their possibilities.

“There is no coaching, if there is no target.”

The beauty of Dan’s philosophy is that it does not only have to apply to golf, it can apply to business, and frankly, everyday life. He has had success with all types of people in business, school, sports and of course, golfers; whether that be top performers or the casual player who is looking to learn and improve as well as business and leadership teams.

One of Dan’s past clients was Wells Fargo who used his workshops and exercises to explore how they could work better together as a team. They had prior issues with being on the same page and having one voice. Many of the employees were in different stages of their professional careers and needed to better understand each other’s goals and aspirations.  Dave, the Vice President, noticed that one of the easiest ways to improve upon these bad habits and issues is to focus on establishing better communication efforts and setting common goals.

Dan and his team conducted an offsite retreat in Northern Minnesota for seven of the team members. They were not told what they would be doing in order to have no expectation and preconceived notions heading into the two-day retreat. On the first day of the retreat, they participated in several assessment activities, a cooking activity as well as activities on both the putting green and driving range to allow for the experiential learning. Dave said what he noticed when doing these activities is that it allowed his team to realize how well they could perform without being told how to do the exercises, even non-golfers were performing better than they ever thought they could; it was Dan’s coaching process that allowed for them to see new possibilities. It was at that time in the discussions that they could all relate to some of the key issues that they were facing. Dan later explained to the group that when given safety to explore and room to fail that they will learn fast, thus they can take on a lot of challenges to succeed.

The team members applied the learning while they played eight holes centered on the intent of mapping out a strategy. Dave stated that they learned through this experience that often our perceptions are different than the reality. Having a clear intent while having new tools to deal with interference made their goals much more attainable. They concluded the session by discussing individual visions for the upcoming year and through discussion, they learned new developments that they never knew about each other. New insights about each other improved their communication and helped get them a common understanding of vision and goals moving forward.

Dave mentioned that the coaching process allowed Wells Fargo to make key decisions that allowed them to save over $300,000 on one initiative alone.

Throughout the years, Dan has also had success coaching multiple junior golfers including Preston Kopel who participates in the Minnesota PGA Junior Golf Association. Preston became a student of his on June 30th and has seen massive improvements in his game with his scoring average dropping from the upper 70’s to 72 in tournament golf. He credits building confidence in himself by his recent ability to let go of bad shots which allows him to become a fearless golfer. It has also been very helpful for him to communicate to his parents on what his vision and goals are both on and off the course. DeMuth’s approach is often to work with both the parent and athlete. This enables them to learn how to communicate with one another when dealing with the breakdowns and breakthroughs in addition to developing a clear vision and goals.

“With Dan’s help, I now feel like I’m attacking the course rather than the course attacking me,” emphasized Kopel. “This newly discovered confidence has allowed me to be more clutch under pressure and execute [the gameplan] more effectively throughout the round.”

Another parent whose kid, Kyle Ringhofer, received instruction from Dan had this to say, “we were able to see such a difference in the way our son enjoyed the game of golf. At one point, he was ranked third  in the state for high school golf.  However, for us it was more so about his ability to apply his learning to all aspects of his life.”

Dan’s experience with different types of groups and people demonstrate how important the mental aspect of everyday life is. He continues to prove this with the success his customers have in their respective industries using the same philosophy of concentrating on intent and a target.

The Minnesota Section PGA consists of PGA Professionals who are experts in the game and business of golf. Our mission is to promote the enjoyment and involvement of the game of golf and to contribute to its growth by providing services to golf professionals, the golf industry, people who play golf or would like to start playing golf. PGA Section Offices oversee the 41 geographic regions throughout the United States and provide the grass-roots network for the nation’s 25 million amateur golfers and with the PGA’s 27,000 members.

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