B.C.‘s Jody Jackson Relishing Her New Role As LPGA’s Technical Lead Of Instruction
By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf
Brooke Henderson and Alena Sharp notwithstanding, the LPGA Tour is not exactly being over-run by Canadian content these days. But behind the scenes, one other Canadian is playing a significant role in another key area of the LPGA’s business.
Jody Jackson, a longtime resident of southern Vancouver Island and a former coach with British Columbia Golf, was named this past fall as the LPGA’s technical lead of instruction.
“It is really cool for them to have hired a Canuck as second in command on the teaching education side,” Jackson says with a touch of pride in her voice.
Jackson had been doing some part-time work with the LPGA for about 10 years before this new role was offered her. It came at a most opportune time for Jackson, who had been teaching out of Arbutus Ridge Golf Course in Cobble Hill.
“The ownership changed at Arbutus Ridge and unfortunately I was not met with open arms to move into what I thought would be an evolution of teaching there and then I was offered something else, so I left the green-grass facility and have been working with the (LPGA’s) global education team in a greater capacity,” she says.
Just before the COVID-19 pandemic began, the LPGA was transitioning from delivering more of their education to their teachers in an online format. “They asked me to get involved and I said yes,” Jackson says. “We had a pilot run of our first online delivery for Level 1 and that started in January 2020 so I was their first instructor to do that. I ended up creating some things that they liked and they said can you do more and more and more and then eventually I was named to the position of technical lead of instruction in about September or October of last year.
“They just needed somebody to kind of oversee the whole thing with regards to keeping all of the instructors on the same page. So now, after I was an instructor myself, in my technical lead role I oversee all of the instructors and keep them all on the same page and prep and help them with their live calls.”
The LPGA has partnered with Keiser University in Florida to offer its Level 1 to 3 courses to students attempting to earn their Class A status as instructors. Students are able to work from home and Jackson has become something of an expert in Zoom technology these last few months.
“They receive a live presentation that has been recorded and synchs with the LPGA manuals and they have to complete assignments,” she says. “Some of those assignments would be recording themselves and uploading a video of them teaching a drill, for example, or using a drill in a lesson, or teaching a lesson. Some of them will be analyzing a swing that we give them that has been recorded. So there is a variety of interactive ways to check on their understanding.
"Then they have quizzes at the end of the unit. . .we have live calls after every one to two units where we make the content or curriculum a little bit more practical, discuss things together and work in breakout rooms and those are all on Zoom. It is a combination of pre-recorded assignments that they’ll go out in the field and do either with students or by themselves and then a live class to bring it all together and make sure that we have answered any of their areas that they didn’t excel in during the grading process.”
Ideally, there would be some in-person teaching done and Jackson hopes that will be re-introduced once the pandemic subsides. Once a sense of normalcy returns, Jackson expects her new job to require some travel. For example, the LPGA had planned to do some teaching in Korea that had to be postponed because of COVID-19. “Some of these things that should be in-person have been put on our plate to deliver online, but they will go back to in-person somewhat when COVID is all done,” she says.
Jackson absolutely loves being involved with the LPGA. “Oh my God, it is awesome,” she says. “It really is. It keeps me on the front edge of new content and making sure that our content is up to date, I get to hobnob with some of the movers and shakers. The LPGA is pretty proud of being very leading edge in its research-based instruction and we want to try and stay there and I think the move to online definitely attracts more people to our program.”
Jackson and everyone else at the LPGA will soon have a new boss. Michael Whan, who was widely respected for the job he did over 10 years as LPGA Tour commissioner, recently resigned and was appointed the chief executive of the United States Golf Association. “He took this organization to the next level and he is going to be awesome for the USGA, no doubt about it,” Jackson says.
Jackson loves her new job but has not abandoned working with students at home. When you visit her website, you quickly realize that Jackson is not all about the golf swing. She describes herself as a performance coach, agent for mindfulness and game changer. She is a certified yoga instructor and is a proponent of the mPEAK (Mindfulness, Performance, Enhancement, Awareness and Knowledge) program.
mPEAK is a mindfulness training program for anyone seeking to achieve personal and professional goals as well as attain new levels of performance and success. Jackson is leading a Mindfulness for Peak Performance online program that runs for eight weeks from March 15-May 3.
For more details, visit her website at jodyjacksongolf.com.