CAMARILLO, Calif. -- For PGA Professional Alison Curdt, parting ways with one of the most prestigious golf clubs in Southern California has turned out to be a blessing.
In 2007, she became the first female golf professional at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks. But in 2014, the club decided to go in another direction.
Curdt decided become an independent contractor, which allowed her to use her vast teaching abilities at the course of her choice.
For a short time she set up shop at Angeles National Golf Club in Sunland, but last November jumped at an offer to become the director of instruction at Wood Ranch in Simi Valley.
Curdt develops and coordinates student-centered programs for golfers at all levels. Curdt is well-versed in video analysis, club fitting, golf fitness and the mental side of the game. Her vast skills have drawn rave reviews from the club's membership while also drawing new members.
Her unique ability earned her a chance to be on the Golf Channel's "Swing Fix" show, hosted by fellow instructor Michael Breed.
Two weeks ago, Curdt was named National Teacher of the Year by the Ladies Professional Golf Association, an award given annually since 1958 to the female golf professional who has most exemplified her profession.
Curdt had been named LPGA Western Section Teacher of the Year in 2012 and 2015. She is also the youngest of 11 women who have achieved PGA Master Professional status.
When LPGA Teaching and Club Professional president Dana Rader called Curdt to inform her she had been chosen, Curdt said she was floored with emotion.
"A wave of happiness washed over me like I had never felt before," Curdt said. "To be recognized by my peers for my contributions to the LPGA, my students and my work is an amazing feeling that leaves me humbled and grateful.
"In hindsight, it was a total blessing for me to lose my job at Sherwood. It had to happen for me to find the career path I feel like I am supposed to be following."
One quality that makes Curdt exceptional is her unique approach to teaching. She focuses on the physical and mental, making use of her master's degree in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University, earned in 2013.
Being able to help her students navigate through the often-complicated mental side of golf has given Curdt a unique niche.
Oaks Christian School senior golfer Tori Roeske has been working with Curdt since last spring. Much of their work together has been focused on Roeske's mental approach.
"Golf has the ability to bring out the best and the worst in you, so you need to find a way to stay positive, even in the worst situations," Roeske said. "With the help of (Curdt), I've learned to stay patient and not get down, even after I make a mistake like hitting a ball of out of bounds.
"I've gotten better at grinding and finding a way to score even when I'm not hitting it like I want. I started to play better when I focused less on what I was doing and just enjoyed being out playing."
The national attention Curdt has received may pay off in more students. Curdt said several LPGA players have reached out about working together and she continues to have more local golfers show up at Wood Ranch.
Curdt and Wood Ranch decided to keep her as an independent instructor, allowing her to handle her own business while bringing non-members to the course for lessons.
"I love it here at Wood Ranch, it's been a breath of fresh air for my career," Curdt said. "The staff is so supportive of me and what I'm doing. Austin (Peters, the head professional) is just awesome to work with and so is (general manager) Charlie Zimmer. And I love the membership. They have been great to me."
While teaching and pursuing her doctorate degree in psychology remain her top priorities, Curdt is trying to devote time to her own game. She's taken a few lessons with well-known teacher Brady Riggs.
"It's cool because I really embrace the student role," Curdt said. "I want to get better as a player and, at the same time, seeing how Brady approaches teaching is exciting. We ask each other questions and it helps both of us.
This article was written by Bob Buttitta from Ventura County Star and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
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