Meet the Coach
PGA Coach Rylee Plitz Grows the Game by Focusing on Fun
By Brendon Elliott, PGA
Of the many hats a PGA Professional wears, being an individual who grows the game and preserves it for generations to come is at the core of what they do. There are countless champions of golf doing this essential works at golf facilities throughout the United States. PGA Members work tirelessly to create welcoming environments at their clubs and put in place amazing player engagement programming that not only plays an important role in the success of their individual club and their golfers, but also, and more importantly, ensures the continued growth of the game.
PGA and LPGA Member Rylee Plitz is the Head Professional and Lead Instructor at Eagle Ridge Golf Club in Lakewood, New Jersey. At this 27-hole public facility an hour south of New York City and East of Philadelphia, Rylee is one of those champions and keepers of the game.
We had the opportunity to chat with Rylee recently. We talked about her golf journey and she shared the work she is doing fostering the growth of the game and its sustainability going forward. Here's what she had to say:
When did you first pick up a club?
RP: I first picked up a golf club around the age of 11. Having an older brother who played and grew up in Canada, it was almost a must in the limited months of summer.
When did golf become your pathway as a career?
RP: Truthfully, it wasn't until I finally received permanent residency in the USA in 2016 that I could finally achieve my goals of becoming a PGA and LPGA Class A member. I knew once I started working at Eagle Ridge that this was something I could do as a career. Eagle Ridge has always been a busy facility with the opportunity to grow in the many departments of a golf facility. I saw first-hand what it was like as a Director of Golf, Head Golf Professional, Assistant Professional, Outing Coordinator, or a Director of Instruction as I was interacting with these positions on a daily basis.
Can you give me a short snapshot of your career to this point?
RP: I have been fortunate enough to have been employed at three different clubs, two growing up in Canada, and current club at Eagle Ridge Golf Club in NJ. I graduated from Monmouth University (West Long Branch, NJ) in 2008 and received a job offer in October 2008 and have worked in several positions including Golf Shop attendant, Associate Instructor, Director of Instruction, and finally Head Golf Professional the last five years.
What does the term "Player Development" mean to you?
RP: "Player Development" to me means exactly that, turning students into players and getting them onto the course quickly, comfortably, and confidently.
What is your objective when laying out player development programming at your club?
RP: When laying out programming, I make sure it incorporates time on the golf course. This is what Player Development is all about. I also find different ways to make our programs, teams, and classes FUN! If I am not having fun, then it is hard to expect my students of any age to have fun and want to come back. I am always laughing and smiling, and people notice that. Being creative in our classes and teams hopefully helps students enjoy themselves whether they are practicing or playing.
What programming do you offer at Eagle Ridge?
RP: We offer a number of programs:
- PGA Jr. League (13U & 17U) Spring & Fall
- Operation 36
- Get Golf Ready
- Junior 3-day summer camps
- Junior Club Team
- Fall High School League
- Pre-Season High School camps
- Junior Tournament series
What are your professional goals going forward?
RP: A professional goal of mine would be to keep developing players and possibly get more involved with coaching at a High School or College level. Receiving TPI Certified Level 3 is also on the list.