1st Assistant Golf Professional
For Arrowhead Golf Club Assistant Golf Professional Andrew Ogata, golf is about the one shot that keeps you coming back. “It’s the only game you can never be perfect at,” Andrew says. “There’s days where you don’t miss a shot and get everything you want to, and then there are frustrating days.”
Golf is also about the teaching experience, the learning process, and the success after a series of lessons – even when one may not expect it. One of Andrew’s most memorable students was Luke, who participated in PGA Junior League Golf, a team format competition with children of all skill levels. “Luke was probably my smallest kid on the team. He’s on a green and he’s got this 40-foot putt. I pull him aside and say, ‘Luke, knock this in, bud,’ and he says, ‘Coach, I can’t. I’m not a good putter.’ I say, ‘No, you can do it.’ “Sure enough, [he] putts it, [it] rolls up the hill—it was not an easy putt to make—and he drained it. That look on his face is one of the reasons why we do what we do,” he says.
Andrew is a left-handed golfer. When he started teaching three years ago, former Head Golf Professional Billy Klemz had Andrew take his adult group lesson—right-handed. “It was to get an idea of what it felt like as a beginner,” Andrew says. “These are the growing pains [students] go through. That was one of the best teaching tools anybody could’ve ever given me. You don’t know how the swing feels and you’re trying to explain it to somebody and you have no idea. It’s a whole new language to learn.”
Andrew started at Arrowhead as a cart attendant seven years ago, but he’s been playing golf since he could walk. “My dad played, my grandpa played, so for me it was a nice way to hang out with them,” he says. “Then I played through high school, and it’s always been a part of my life somehow.”
Yet golf can be a frustrating part of people’s lives, without the proper mindset. “It’s a difficult game as it is, but you’re playing a sport where the ball doesn’t move,” he says. “You get to tee it up. Nobody’s throwing a slider or a curveball, and the ball stays still. And yet this game is so difficult and frustrating.”
The best thing to do with golf, Andrew says, is “keep it simple: it’s a hard game, and the last thing you want to do is throw another curveball into it.”
To book a lesson with Andrew, please call 630.653.5800 or stop in at the Arrowhead Golf Club Pro Shop, 26W151 Butterfield Road, Wheaton.
Assistant Golf Professional
Every golfer has a different level of expectation for their golf game. Some are high, some, not as high. Part of my responsibility as a Golf Professional is to help my students understand the difference between what they want and need in their golf game and finding a path to achieve both.
It’s not my goal to get you to play like the professionals on TV, or even make you better than your friends or family or coworkers; my priority is to help get you to a point where you can enjoy the game and build from there. I don’t believe in taking 2 steps back in order to take a step forward. Let’s have fun now, let’s get better now.
I gave my first lesson on the same day I played my first round of golf. I was 10 years old. My brother and I taught each other every time we played golf together. We weren’t discussing the benefits of a shallow swing plane that generates a positive azimuth and the effect it has on spin rates or dynamic loft. We weren’t even dissecting the limitations a golfer experiences with Upper Crossed Syndrome and how the anterior muscles inhibit proper rotational sequencing.
All we did was eat hot dogs and encourage each other.
Sure, we’d notice a thing here and there about the swing in hopes to correct it, but the core of our “teaching” was through encouragement. Encouragement comes in many forms: praise, ridicule, success, failure, compassion, kindness, collaboration, cooperation, etc. Ours was simple: We joked, we competed, we cheated, and we celebrated. Those were the best lessons because it always made us come back. It made us want to be better, improve, in our own game and in our ability to help each other.
We knew how to talk to each other and we knew how to listen to each other and that is the foundation of my teaching: Communication.
Getting my students to hit a good golf shot is the easy part. Getting my students to understand why they hit a good golf shot is the fun part. I learn just as much from my students that my students learn from me. I learn how you learn and with that knowledge I am able to provide you the right type and amount of information you need in a lesson. I keep instruction simple and I keep the lessons casual. Hitting a good golf shot is great, right? How about hitting that same shot with a group of people watching? Even better. By eliminating any doubt, fear, or intimidation from your inner golfing psychosis I can help you thoroughly enjoy the game.
Sometimes the game seems easy, most of the time it’s hard, but it should always give you a reason to come back, to be better, to relax more, to focus more, to celebrate more.
To find the enjoyment in the challenge.
And eat a hot dog.
To book a lesson with Matt, please call 630.653.5800 or stop in at the Arrowhead Golf Club Pro Shop, 26W151 Butterfield Road, Wheaton.