Former French Restaurant Owner, Vincent Gastaldi, fulfills lifelong dream with the help of the Leadbetter Golf Academy Instructor Certification program.
“In order to fulfill my passion and start my teaching career, I sold the restaurants and passed the French training in parallel with the Leadbetter training.”
For Gastaldi, a successful French restaurant manager living in Paris, becoming a golf instructor was inevitable from a young age. Born in Brunei, a small nation in Southeast Asia, Vincent lived in Argentina for two years before eventually moving to Paris, France at the age of 10. Introduced to golf at 12 years old, Vincent began to realize his love for the game and his passion for teaching.
Vincent recalls, “I caught the ‘bug’ and the passion for teaching at 15 years old. There was an initiative launched at the golf school in Paris where I trained. Students, including myself, had to give a golf lesson to a beginner. We introduced local school teachers to our discipline, and it was a revelation for me. I spent two hours at the driving range with a history teacher who was delighted with this discovery. It was this day that determined my passion and my goal in life, to transmit to others what I was given. At the golf school in Paris I had an exceptional golf pro who took me under his wing and decided to follow me in my goal, to become a golf teacher. Since that day I have worked very hard to fulfill my dream. My coach set up a rule– I had the right and the duty to be an assistant coach during all of his lessons. It lasted about three years, during which I gained experience and began to understand golf training.”
However, at the age of 19, Vincent was presented with a business opportunity and decided to start his own business. He opened a restaurant in Paris and a second one a year later.
Vincent recalls, “I have always had the goal of becoming a teacher, but this was a great opportunity for me, and it has shown to be extremely beneficial to the rest of my career. I was fortunate to gain maturity and experience. In order to fulfill my passion and start my teaching career, I sold the restaurants and passed the French training in parallel with the Leadbetter training.”
Q: Why was this LGA Certification the right fit for you? Tell us about your Leadbetter Certification journey.
“I started the Leadbetter certification thanks to the Leadbetter Evian academy. The Director of this golf course helped me start and finance the Leadbetter training. In a constant search for learning, this training allowed me to learn in addition to the French training, and to acquire fundamental concepts. Learning and passion are, I think, the keys to becoming a good teacher. Being in constant search for learning, having the humility to learn from each person and being open and attentive allows us to improve each day. It was important for me to follow the teachers during my training period. During my training of a year and a half, I had the chance to follow the courses given by Jean Phillipe Serres, who integrated me very well during his courses and allowed me to see concretely the expectations of Leadbetter training, preparing me to become the best teacher. I am very grateful to him because he passed on his knowledge very well with passion and that helped me become a better golf instructor.
I also followed the other pros at the Evian academy. Their respective experiences allowed me to acquire knowledge on the golf swing and communication with the students. I managed to follow their lessons during this training and see their skill levels and years of experience. It was very instructive for me.
In Leadbetter training, the first aspect addressed is the technique, starting with learning the fundamentals. This Leadbetter training prepares us to know technically what is right, the main faults of the players and their corrections in order to transmit the most effective learning possible. A very interesting part of the training puts a point of honor on the faults encountered mainly by David Leadbetter and his means of correcting them with the appropriate exercises. This allows us, our young golf instructors, to know the frequent faults of our students, to be able to approach them as calmly as possible, to correct them as quickly and as best as possible.
The role of the teacher is to teach, to know the communication channels of his students and to best transmit the information that will lead the student to performance and success. Each person is different and I think the strength of each teacher is adaptation. The physical aspect of our discipline has evolved considerably over the years. We, teachers, must, therefore, evolve with our sport, and realize that the physical aspect and essential for the desired performance objective. Part of the Leadbetter training is linked to this performance area. This is an aspect that interests me a lot– understanding of body movement and the acquisition of a fluid and coordinated movement.
The most challenging part of the certification for me was the language barrier. I took parallel English lessons in order to be as ready as possible for this certification. In our profession, it is important to speak good English to be able to give lessons to everyone.” (Editor’s note: LGA Certification will soon be available in French and Korean language)
Q: What do you think is/or will be the biggest benefit of the LGA Certification?
“The main advantage of certification, above all, is the learning acquired during it. In addition, it brings real credibility to the certified teacher and brings international notoriety.”
Q: What are you doing now? What do you hope to do in the future?
“I’m lucky to start my career at the Evian Leadbetter Academy. In the future I intend to continue to learn with the best and to develop my activity in the world of golf, in France or abroad.”
Q: What type of golf instruction do you want to focus on moving forward?
“Within the academy, I am in charge of the golf school with 80 children in the class with me. It is an audience that I particularly like because it is the future of golf. My age allows me to have easy communication with them, which allows me to transmit my knowledge more easily. In addition to the children, I try to make myself known by giving lessons to certain professional players on the Pro Golf Tour and the ALPS Tour. It would be a real accomplishment for me to be able to teach at a high level and to create new generations of players.”