My name is Zach Gerlach, and I am your Golf Coach. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the golf community in the Dayton, Ohio area. Learn a little bit about me by reading my story of how I became a Golf Professional and my coaching philosophy.
Ever since I can remember, golf has been my favorite game. I began playing golf at a very young age with the help of my Grandpa. I would create games and challenges for myself such as "This putt is to win the Masters Tournament." Between the ages of 11-14, I would get dropped off at our local golf course and play and practice all day. Playing with friends and family was also something I cherished as a kid. It was just me against the course, and I loved being in my own world while playing. I was always told I "went to the beat of my own drum" as a kid. To this day, that mentality still holds true haha.. I also played most mainstream team sports but Individual sports like golf, track and field, and tennis, I felt better relying on myself.
In high school I played on the varsity golf team and was fortunate enough to win a couple tournaments. I never had private lessons so my game was unique to me. I was able to develop my skills through hours of daily practice, and a creative imagination. People say "Golf is a mental game." The reason I fell in love with the game was simply because how immersed you have to be to play. Checking the wind direction by watching the trees, reading the greens, checking for yardages, selecting the correct club, etc. It has become a form of meditation for me over the years more-so than a competition. I've learned to appreciate golf and life for the true, underlying fundamentals of our human experience, but at the same time, I am relentlessly curious about life.
I took a hiatus from golf going into college, not because I wanted to but because I never knew, or was told, what the necessary steps were to play at the collegiate level. I did not know how to get on the radar of recruiters. Because of that, I try to make sure my junior golfers I work with now, understand the process and steps necessary in order to play college golf.
I decided to go the route that was recommended or instructed of me, which was to go to college anyway, even without knowing what I wanted to do for my career. The silver lining for me with college, initially, was learning what I didn't want to do, but also making some good friends along the way.
I went to Wright State for a couple years with the intention of studying finance or something practical in business management. After realizing I had no interest in what I was studying, I decided to search for other options. To my surprise, I found colleges that offered golf specific programs. I called to get more information and was basically sold over the phone. I left Wright State after my sophomore year, moved back home, and worked and saved as much money as I could to move to Florida and attend Keiser University College of Golf.
I had a transformative experience while attending Keiser University. Professionalism was a key fundamental of their curriculum. I made many new friendships and spent many hours after class talking to my professors, who were all PGA Master Professionals. I can't thank them enough for my experience.
While enrolled in the golf program, I worked at country clubs as an Outside Services employee. We are basically the ones who do a lot of the behind-the-scenes work for members and guests. I learned so much of the ins-and-outs of the golf business. I Graduated from Keiser in 2014 with a degree in Golf Management Science. After I graduated I received an opportunity to be an Assistant Golf Professional at Medinah Country Club, in Illinois. Being a Top 100 Country Club in the world, I was excited for the opportunity.
Unfortunately, this job was not for me either. I could not see myself becoming a golf professional that only worked in the golf industry, but didn't get to play much. I realized what I really wanted to do was coach. For me, I needed something more hands on and meaningful in terms of relationships and a building process. Not to say you can't make the most of where you are, but I wanted to make sure I experienced what I thought I wanted.
Once again, I found myself searching for a new opportunity. I found a company that I hadn't heard of before called GOLFTEC. I visited one of their locations to see what they were about and I guess I impressed the guy I talked to because I got an interview within a couple weeks and was hired on soon after that. It was 2015 when I started working there and it was a golf nerds dream! They specialize in measuring the biometrics of the golf swing and correlating them to skill level. With all the cameras and fancy tech, it was an easy sell for golf customers.
I only spent two years at GOLFTEC, because the primary focus on sales became exhausting and unfulfilling, and I just got burnt out. I would still recommend their company for the knowledge and training they offer to young coaches. I taught over 2,000 lessons with GOLFTEC and I appreciate the coaches I worked with and learning about the science of the golf swing.
When I left GOLFTEC in 2017, I decided to open my own coaching business. I was living in the Chicagoland area at the time. Leaving the safety net behind and opening my own business was gut-wrenching. It didn't help that at the same time I left my job to open my business, my then fiancé and I decided to split up, and she moved back to Ohio with our 1-year old son, Logan. I attempted to balance opening a new business with driving back and forth from Illinois to Ohio every few weeks to spend time with my son, but I couldn't.
About six months into my business I decided to close so that I could move back to Ohio to be closer to my son. After working some odd jobs, I landed a job at TopGolf in West Chester as one of their Golf Professionals. TopGolf was a fun place to work, especially getting hired on as the Golf Pro for big events. Overall, it's probably the most entertaining golf business in the industry. Unfortunately, the entertainment wasn't what I was really searching for. After spending about a year there, I decided to reopen my private coaching business at The Practice Center in Franklin, Ohio, which is where I am still coaching since 2018. I am also expanding my business to the Tipp City area, which is where I live now.
Today, I am happy to say that I am fortunate to be a Golf Coach and I appreciate the students I have had over the years that have supported my business. I've grinded out a career that I wasn't sure was possible, and the best part for me is that I get to spend quality time with my son. Some of my players I have worked with for awhile have become friends, which is great to experience in itself.
I know what it's like to create something from nothing. When I watch my players struggle and they feel like giving up, it reminds me of challenges in my life. Part of the reason I can stay calm when others are struggling is because of my past. I know how important having strong relationships and encouragement in life can be. I strive to be the most honest coach I can be, but at the same time restraining myself from giving too much information to my players because of how overwhelming change can be.
My coaching philosophy has evolved over time, but has also become simpler. Giving my players achievable goals typically means they can only focus on one element on a consistent basis. Whether that means working on Balance, Speed, Distance Control, Swing Mechanics, Course Management, or Pre-Shot Routine, etc. My goal is to listen to my players goals and help them develop a plan and process to achieve those goals.
I am looking forward to watching my players grow in this 2022 golf season!
Thank you for reading,