Cape Cod’s Jane Frost gave up a playing career to become one of the country’s top golf instructors.By Rob Duca
Jane Frost rarely hits a golf ball when giving a lesson. Whether she’s instructing a beginner or a player with a scratch handicap, Frost’s goal is to listen, learn and adapt. Those qualities are a major reason why she has regularly been listed in national golf publications as one of the Top 100 instructors in the country and recently became one of only 55 teachers nationally to join forces with The Golf Channel Academy.
“One of the main qualities in being a good teacher is the willingness to let the lesson be all about them,” she says. “I hit balls only if I’m demonstrating something. You also have to be a great listener and communicator. If they’re not getting something, it’s my responsibility to shift the thought process and the exercise so they understand how to do it.”
Frost has been teaching golf on Cape Cod for 20 years, first at Holly Ridge Golf Club in South Sandwich, Massachusetts, and for the past decade as owner of the Jane Frost Golf Performance Center at nearby Sandwich Hollows Golf Club.
A Beverly, Massachusetts native, she joined the teaching staff at Middleton Country Club in 1982, where the head pro, Bart Brown, served as her mentor.
“He gave me lessons and a part-time summer job,” she says. “And then he allowed me to join the teaching staff as an assistant. Bart was always into the mental side of the game. He was a tremendous mentor.”
Frost was a talented player – she competed with the men’s team at Clark University – and a few Middleton members convinced her to go to LPGA Tour Qualifying School and attempt to earn her playing card. After falling short by two strokes, she spent time competing on mini-tours in Florida. But her heart was clearly in teaching.
“I was asked at one tournament to help with a junior clinic,” she says. “I realized that I was more excited to do that than to play in the tournament.”
By 1985, she knew her future was in teaching. “I just knew I wanted to go back and dedicate my life to teaching golf,” she says. “I’ve always enjoyed creating an opportunity for people to get better.”
Her performance center at Sandwich Hollows includes a club-fitting bay and a teaching bay that will allow lessons all year. On staff are Bob Quirk, who fitted clubs for more than 40 years on the PGA Tour, and former LPGA Tour pro Maryann Walker.
Frost’s lessons aren’t inexpensive. She charges $295 for one hour, but her rates drop as a player commits to more time. For 18 hours of lessons, the price is $3,450. That might sound like a lot of money, but Frost points out that golfers spend at least that much on equipment and greens fees, often leading to only frustration because their games aren’t where they want them to be.
Her lessons begin with a detailed questionnaire. She then asks plenty of questions as she attempts to gauge her student’s motivation and goals. “I need to understand what gets them excited about the game,” she says. “The more I know builds rapport. Once you have that you can start to make changes.”
Frost is careful not to overwhelm her students with too much information too quickly. Instead, she dishes out nuggets judiciously, using imagery and in some cases even a tennis racket to illustrate her points.
“As I say, I can feed you the whole elephant but then I’ll have to give you the Heimlich,” she jokes. “It’s about picking one thing and paying attention to that one thing. I don’t get into a laundry list of changes.
“As a teacher I need to be a chameleon that can change colors with every student I see, because everyone learns differently and their motivations are different. I’m a guide to help them achieve those goals.”
Her new connection to The Golf Channel will lead to increased exposure with appearances on Golf Channel Academy. “To have the power of [The Golf Channel] as part of my marketing campaign is very exciting,” she says, adding that the key to teaching golf is being a good listener and communicator, and then having the ability to provide the student with the necessary information without overwhelming them.
“If something’s not working, it’s not their fault,” she says. “There are no broken learners, only broken teachers. It’s my job to make the adjustment so they can understand it and then implement it.”