- How did Barry Finch become the head coach of the Cambodian national golf team?
- What is your philosophy on coaching golf?
My philosophy for teaching golf is to utilize focused skills test and to concentrate on the short game first. I’m not a fan of hitting thousands of balls in the driving range. I advise the team to ten shots and keep track of how many are in the selected area and then repeat the test trying your best to beat your previous score. Same goes for chipping, pitching and putting.
- What are the challenges that you face as head coach of the national team? How do you work around them?
The major challenge of being coach of the National Team is getting all the players to train together at the same time. Financial support for the training is also difficult to come by and so the players have to pay for a lot of the expenses involved with being on the team.
- After the first national team qualifier back in January of this year, all attention shifted to preparations for the SEA Games. Can you tell us about the different aspects of players’ game you have been looking at? What did you do to improve them?
Since training began on 16 February the initial focus was on short game. Phase two was about on course training and we were very fortunate to have the facility at Grand Phnom Penh and Garden City for that phase of our training.
Phase 3, which we are into now is about team building. If we are committed as a unit we will perform much better. Each player on the team has some strong and weak points both technically and mentally. I work with a couple of them one on one each day to help them understand how to make the best of the strong points and how to improve on their weak ones.
- Now that the competition day of SEA Games is quickly approaching, how are you mentally preparing the players for such a big event?
Cambodian people are a proud people, I simply remind them that they are doing this for their country.
- Cambodia`s performances in the last couple times at the SEA Games were a bit unsatisfying. Now with the new mandate of the CGF and an official national team coach, expectations are a bit higher. What could we expect from the national team and do you have a certain target in mind?
My goal for all of them team is to commit to doing their best. Train like it is important, think like it is important, and perform like it is important.
- What do you think of the current level of golf in Cambodia? How far do you think it will reach in 10 years time?
Golf in Cambodia is amazing. Considering the lack of coaching that has been available to them they play “golf” amazingly well. I put golf in parenthesis because sometime they don’t completely understand all the rules and often times do not follow what most of the world considers to be proper etiquette.
I think golf will boom in Cambodia. We are in the process of creating the grassroots development project for young people in preparation for the 2023 SEA Games here in Phnom Penh and currently the price of playing is going down a bit.
- What is up next after the SEA Games?
Following the SEA Games, CGF and MOE will focus on the grassroots development project. Next January we will have qualifying again for the National team and perhaps we will send a team to the Asian Games in Indonesia.
- Anything you would like to say to the Cambodian golf community?
About Golf in general;
- Be a gentleman at all times.
- Respect the rules.
- Keep in mind that it is a game.
- Give as much time to your short game as you to your long game.
- Enjoy nature (trees, ponds, birds, etc.) while you are on the golf course.
- Support junior golf. There is no greater gift you can give a young person.
- Cherish the friendships you have with your golfing buddies – they will last a lifetime.
We from Cambodia Golf Today wish Coach Barry Finch all the best with the upcoming SEA Games in 2017.