B.C. Coaches Gear-Up For Canadian Championships

British Columbia Golf Coaches Clockwise From Top Left: Matt Cella, Keri Moffat, Colin Lavers And Jennifer Greggain - Images Credit Jurgen Kaminski/BC Golf

With two Canadian Junior Championships coming up, B.C.’s four coaches will be at the national championships working with two provincial teams and two development teams.

The coaches will be travelling with 14 B.C. juniors to national competitions and coaching them throughout the week. Both of the championships take place the same week of July 31st - August 4th in Ontario, with the boys in Kingston at Cataraqui Golf & Country Club and the girls in Cumberland playing the Camelot Golf & Country Club.

As fortunate as our province is to have some very fine golfers on both the women’s and men’s sides, this seems a good time to acknowledge the behind the scenes contribution by the dedicated B.C. Golf coaches.

British Columbia Golf takes tremendous pride in having success at all levels of interprovincial competition and the accolades quite rightly go to the young - and not so young - players who represent B.C. so admirably on a regular basis.

But a key component of that success, particularly with the younger team members, is unquestionably attributable to the coaches who work tirelessly on their behalf.

British Columbia Golf’s plan this year is to double the number of certified provincial coaches working with their junior performance program. This golf season, 30 juniors will have received some form of coaching service at the national or international level of competition through the B.C. provincial team program. These players come from various regions of the province to represent British Columbia.

Jennifer Greggain and Keri Moffat bring an added dimension to the coaching staff with their experience as coaches at the college level. That experience is invaluable to the growth of the girl’s program as they transition from junior age girls to highly competitive amateur golfers on the national scene. 

Coach Matt Cella, is one of two coaches in B.C. who is a nationally certified golf coach with CDC. This is a mandatory certification required by coaches at the 2017 Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg for golf. British Columbia Golf is very fortunate to have Cella onboard as a coach and to guide the provincial boys team at Nationals in Kingston.  

British Columbia Golf is striving to have all provincial coaches highly qualified through the assistance of the PGA of Canada’s coach education program and is working hand-in-hand with them to increase the standard of coaching in this province. 

Colin Lavers is relatively new to the provincial coaching staff and he will lead a team to the Eddie Hogan Cup Matches in Portland, Oregon. British Columbia Golf has created a first ever, two-year performance program with the Eddie Hogan Team and Lavers has been vital to its design and development. Colin’s experience overseeing a National Junior Golf Development Centre (NJGDC) at Seymour Golf and Country Club is a real asset to the BC junior program. This a tri-partnership with Golf Canada, the PGA of Canada and BC Golf.

British Columbia Golf Player Development Manager Debbie Pyne says, “All four provincial coaches have an excellent rapport working together. They regularly share feedback and have a tremendous amount of respect for each other. It’s great to have a well-rounded team of coaches to build a new B.C. junior program. They are not shy on seeking advice and looking at ways to self-improve as a coach, especially from the national program at Golf Canada.”   

Pyne also added these thoughts on a couple of the coaches, saying, “Coach Keri Moffat, has been one of our long-term provincial coaches, just over eight years. She is very hands-on with the players and has an uncanny ability to motivate the girls to play their best golf. Last year, Keri was instrumental with the B.C. junior girls team winning the inter-provincial title in Nova Scotia at the Canadian Junior Girls Championship.” 

Pyne goes on to say about Jennifer Greggain that, “Jennifer is a new provincial coach this year, she is very passionate about coaching and has a solid understanding of what it takes to travel with a team to competition and get them ready for performance. Coach Greggain will be coaching a new girls’ development program at Canadians and we have set some lofty goals for her to achieve.”

Recently British Columbia Golf took the time to get some insight from the B.C. Team coaches regarding their outlook on what it means to them to be involved with these dedicated athletes and play a role in developing them while helping the players reach their potential both on and off the golf course.

Keri Moffat is coaching the Girls Provincial Team of Alisha Lau, Hannah Lee and Esther Lee while Jennifer Greggain will be coaching the development team of Angel Lin, Karen Zhang and Akari Hayashi.

On the boys side, Matt Cella will be coaching the Boys Provincial Team of recent BC Junior Champion Christian Zalli, his younger brother Ilirian Zalli, who came 2nd in that event, along with Keaton Gudz and Nolan Thoroughgood.

Colin Lavers will be coaching a development squad of Michael Crisologo, Sean Buckles, Joel Veenstra and Zach Ryujin. All players were selected from a combination of provincial training camps and competitions.

B.C. Team coaches Moffat, Greggain, Cella and Lavers offered their thoughts in responding to questions asked of them about their involvement in coaching and we share those here:

Q: What attracted you to the idea of being a golf coach in the first place?

Keri Moffat:  Many years ago, I began to wonder why my students were getting better at hitting golf balls in a practice setting but struggling to see results on the golf course. I realized there were more factors at play than just a golf swing. I had the privilege of training for a week with the founders of Vision 54, Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott, who opened my eyes to many different components of playing great golf. I never looked back after that week. I love overseeing the entire development of a golfer, not just working on one element.

Jennifer Greggain: I honestly didn't know how much I would love coaching until I was asked to do so. I have had the privilege to serve as the Assistant Men's and Women's Coach at the University of the Fraser Valley for four years, and it was in working with their athletes that I began to love coaching.

Matt Cella: I enjoy helping people and creating a long term path for people to follow and reach their golf goals. I found that I got great satisfaction from seeing someone achieve their successes from the help that I had given them. I have coached a lot of soccer in the past so I think helping athletes is in my genes.

Colin Lavers: I think that it was kind of a gradual attraction as I didn't get into the golf business originally with the idea of becoming a coach. As I started to work with more and more juniors, helping them learn the game and eventually compete, I realized that I loved the process of helping them improve.  From there I just tried to learn as much as I could about coaching so that I could better help them on their journey.

Q: What do you see as the responsibilities and long term goals of being a provincial/national golf coach - both at and away from the golf course?

KM: My responsibility as a coach is to ensure players stay connected to the real reason they play golf in the first place. I’ve seen so many kids burn out because the motivation with which they play wasn’t authentic. I want my players to express themselves and discover what works for them, a lesson they can apply to life as well. Once they connect to who they are as a golfer, their best golf shines through.

JG: The responsibilities of being a coach go much farther than the golf course. I firmly believe that preparation leads to success, so equipping my athletes with how to prepare themselves for competition is a high priority. At every event, I aim to arrive as the most prepared team there. I also feel that supporting our athletes is a huge responsibility of a coach. That may be with sorting out technical issues or course strategy, but also making them feel like their coach is supportive and positive no matter what.

MC: Number one, I think it's to be someone that the athletes have on their side and someone that they can turn to when they need to. My job is to allow them to perform at their highest level so whatever I can do to allow them to do that is my responsibility. That is whether they are having issues at home or school or something on the golf course. It's to provide them with a safe person to talk to not just about their game, but anything in general. I think the long term goal is to provide something fulfilling that when they become adults they can look back on and think, “Those were some of the best moments in my life”.  Making them responsible for themselves and their actions so that they become productive and positive members of society when they enter adulthood. Golf is a great game for learning about life as many situations you face in golf are mirrored in life.

CL: From strictly a competitive outlook, I think my responsibility is to do my absolute best to help the players perform at their peak in tournament situations with the long term goal of making Team Canada, playing college golf and turning professional. To do this I need to continue to learn about the golf swing and coaching methodologies, build plans for the players so that they can see their pathway and forge relationships with the parents so that we can all pull the rope in the same direction. From more of a holistic point of view, I believe it is my responsibility to help young athletes learn how to prepare for large events, understand that hard work is necessary, to set future goals, embrace learning/failing, build resilience and find joy in the process of becoming better.