By Pat Church  

Little did I know when I started this journey in 2004 with the USGTF that I would enjoy it so much. It all started back in the late ‘1960’s at New Orleans Country Club, Louisiana, where my father was an instructor. I would “go to work” with him as often as I could. My chores would include working in the shop dressing mannequins, filling tee bags, doing inventory, dusting and other things, etc. These chores allowed me to get to the driving range to hit balls or watch my dad and other instructors give lessons. The fuse was lit, and I kept golf in my life since then.

I helped many friends learn the game on a casual basis and totally enjoyed it. When a new course was opened less than a mile from my home, I applied for a position as a course marshal. That led me back to teaching and the USGTF in 2004. After completing the first two certifications, I decided to continue on to the Master Golf Teaching Professional level. What a wonderful decision!

I started teaching full time, specializing in helping women get started in the game and continue to improve. Our course also had a strong junior program, so I also worked with The First Tee program and Nike junior camps. We also had a contract with the University of Oregon to teach their physical education golf classes and had many wonderful college age students. Anybody recognize the name Marcus Mariota? He was a great student!

The most wonderful group I became involved with is The Special Olympics golfers. They are, by far, the highlight of my career. I was the local program coordinator from 2004 until 2019. During this time, I was honored be selected as one of Team USA’s golf coaches that went to Athens, Greece, in 2011, and then again in 2015 in Los Angeles. I was also the Team Oregon coach in 2014 in New Jersey. All of these athletes hold a very “special” place in my heart.

My teaching career has slowed a bit now – by choice. Semi-retirement is setting in for me, but I doubt that I will ever stop helping golfers. I also enjoy playing in the United States Golf Teachers Cup every year, winning the Ladies division twice, but more importantly, seeing all of my buddies and enjoying the new courses we play.

I owe all of this success to the fuse that was lit by my dad, then fanned by the USGTF. I thank the instructors of all the certification courses and the membership in general.
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