It takes a while to discover true passion for a hobby or a career. Lauren Tallman had been exposed to golf as a youth, but the experience was not the bucolic one that many associate with their first encounter with the game. She returned by chance in her 20s and this time, golf kept its hold on her. Lauren is a teaching professional at Ravenwood Golf Club, near Rochester, and answers our questions today about what she considers important in the continuation of the game’s growth.
1. Tell us your name and how you got interested/involved in golf as a youth.
Hello everyone, my name is Lauren Tallman. I began playing junior golf when I was 8 years old at a local public golf course in Ithaca New York. My father played in the men’s league there and would sign me up for the summer golf camps each year. I stopped going to the camps after two summers… I remember not enjoying going to golf camp because the golf instructors would only allow us to hit 7 irons and we never got to play on the golf course! In 2009 my friend convinced me to play on the college golf team at Tompkins County Community College (we were the only girls!) and my love for golf was sparked.
2. Tell us a bit about your competitive golf experience in your younger days.
I did not start begin playing competitive golf until I was 20 when I was on the Tompkins County Community College golf team. I enjoyed playing against men and women from other schools, and that sparked my interest in participating in other local competitive events. I began to play in local amateur events and realized I wanted to continue to play at a higher level.
3. What epiphany did you have that led you to the PGA of America and a teaching professional position?
Originally I had attended college to earn a degree in Sports Management. This degree is very similar to Golf Management, and I made the decision to pursue becoming a Class A PGA member shortly after playing golf at TC3. In 2010 I moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where I studied at the Golf Academy of America for 16 months. While there I taught golf lessons and fit golf clubs at PGA Tour Superstore. I fell in love with teaching golf and helping people play to their potential- something that I never felt when I was a junior golfer because the instructors did not want golf to be “fun”. From that point forward I made it my mission to make sure that every single student of mine has fun while learning a swing change that will help them reach their maximum potential.
4. Give us bit of history on the locales you have represented as a teaching professional.
In 2013 I moved from Myrtle Beach South Carolina to Bath New York to work at Bath Country Club. David Thompson was the Head Golf Professional at the semi private facility and showed me the ropes of working at a green grass facility for two seasons. In 2015 I was hired at the Country Club of Ithaca and worked under Martha Wells. Martha allowed me to discover what my true passion is in the golf business- teaching golf. At the CC of Ithaca I ran junior golf programs, adult clinics, and offered many individual lessons. In 2016 my peer golf professionals in the Central NY PGA voted me for the “Assistant Golf Professional of the Year.” I relocated to Victor New York in the spring to pursue teaching my own golf instruction business full time at Ravenwood Golf Club and Eagle Vale Golf Course.
5. Run down the responsibilities of a teaching professional, including the tasks that might not be apparent to students.
As a business owner running my own golf instruction business there are a few tasks that my students may not be aware of. The first is the amount of emails that I spend writing and responding to. In a normal day I will be in front of my computer for 2-3 hours responding to my students. The second task would be creating a schedule for the upcoming season well in advance. This is very tedious and difficult because we cannot predict the weather 6 months in advance.
6. As a teaching professional, what are the most important tenets of your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy circulates around ball striking. There are many ways to swing a golf club, but generally impact position is similar for the best players in the world to achieve center of the club-face contact.
7. Give us an idea of your recent competitive history. Also, what do you work on to stay sharp.
I began playing competitive golf late in my youth (23 years old). I am still learning to handle my excited nerves that I get on the first tee. I think this gives me a great insight into what my students feel when they are nervous. In 2016 I won a CNY PGA pro am golf tournament with the score of 69. I look forward to participating in more pro am golf tournaments in 2017.
To keep my game sharp I make sure to spend the majority of my free time between golf lessons working on putting, chipping, and pitching. This helps me keep my feel in between competitions.
8. In competition, on what do you focus to achieve your greatest success? We know that golf and competitive golf are dissimilar, so what does a professional rely on (mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically) to compete his best?
I believe think positive and positive results will occur. Getting negative on the golf course is the quickest way to have a bad round. Golf is a game of misses, it is extremely hard to hit every shot perfect. Make sure your misses are in the correct place and golf will become a LOT easier.
9. What question haven’t we asked, that you wish we would? Ask it and answer it, please.
-Question- What have you done to personally help grow the game of golf at a local or national level?
In 2015 and 2016 I enjoyed running the PGA Junior Leage golf team at the Country Club of Ithaca. We enjoyed great success and earned a record of 7 wins and 1 loss to our opponents in the Southern Tier area. I was nominated the All Star Team coach both seasons and enjoyed reaching state semi-finals. In 2017 I relocated to Victor, New York in the pursuit of doing what I love on a full time basis. Currently I am an independent golf instructor at Ravenwood Golf Club and Eagle Vale Golf Course. I have established the LPGA Girls Golf of Greater Rochester program at both of these facilities. This program has introduced 36 girls ages 7-14 to golf through marketing to local schools and businesses. I hope to grow this program further this season and for many seasons to come. In addition I also conduct U.S. Kids Golf Level 1 clinics at both facilities for boys and girls, as well as a Pee Wee (ages 4-6) program that is completely booked until end of June.