Holland College | Golf instructor reaps rewards of hard work
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Golf instructor reaps rewards of hard work

by Sherri Hogan

Anne Chouinard remembers the early days and the growing pains involved in launching a new venture.

My, how things have changed at the Canadian Golf Academy.

The culmination of five years of hard work has rewarded the facility and its director of golf as the best in the country, according to the annual golfers' choice awards conducted by SCOREGolf Magazine.

Chouinard was chosen the best golf instructor and the Academy the best practice facility, two of the 14 medals bestowed on Prince Edward Island this season by what is considered the most reputable publication for the sport in Canada. The province was also selected the best golf destination.

While Chouinard is honoured to be named the best instructor in the nation, it pales in comparison to the satisfaction she has for how the Academy has grown to the point of being recognized as the best of the best.

"I think that's the big one for me at this point in my career," said the CGA's director of golf. "I'm not really, maybe, driven enough personally. I'm not looking for awards for myself. That's not what drives me.

"When I came to the Island, I wanted to build a school with a great staff who would work with the golfers and help them improve."

Chouinard had a vision of what she wanted the school to be like, professionally run with the ability to nurture the student.

"I think it has materialized. I'm really proud of where we are now. In the last three years we have been really, really strong. The instructional staff has meshed together, they are a great team, all the support staff from the shop, to the lounge, to the range people. It's a great, great award to get and it tells us how good they are, the whole team. It's not so much me but how the team has been working together."

But as much as Chouinard distributes the accolades, the CPGA pro has had her hand firmly on the inner workings since the get-go.

She is as much the Academy as the Academy is Anne Chouinard.

She does admit to being a "pretty hard judge" and for that reason, would not have believed climbing to the top of the nation was possible this quickly.

"I am very critical and probably because of that I didn't think we could come this fast . . . to my standard I thought it would take a little longer. But I see the good things our staff does."

Getting to the top and staying there can be two totally different tasks. So Chouinard isn't about to rest on the laurels. She continues to make subtle changes in the programs, remodelling some of the formats, trying to find ways to enhance the product.

"I'm looking to improve for 2004 and a great contributor is the student," she said during a rain-forced break.

Feedback from the client is important. She values and reacts to their opinion. When responses indicated the chipping class was too long, it was shortened.

"Week to week we make adjustments," said the recently-engaged Chouinard, who will be married in October to Kent Hudson. "We try to modify as we go. We actually improve along the way during the year. We're pretty flexible that way."

To be named best instructor was rewarding for the swing coach for LPGA star Lorie Kane of Charlottetown.

"I fell like it's a recognition of past efforts more than current. I feel that it's a reward of previous effort."

She is always learning, watching the best teachers in the world and "picking their brains" about different aspects of the game.

So what makes an instructor Canada's best?

"I think it's a melting pot, it's a package," said Chouinard on the anatomy of a golf instructor. "There are deserving teachers all across the country. If you look at these people and what they do best, they obviously have a great eye, they can detect what to work on and the order of what to do first. And then how to communicate what you want the student to do. You learn to adjust with time, you keep trying different things.

"Teachers are very analytical. They have to be. Being able to change your style to match the student is key," she said.

"And the philosophy, the knowledge, of everything that applies to performance."

For more information about this release, please contact:
Sara Underwood, Media and Communications Officer
Tel: 902-566-9695
Date: Friday, July 25, 2003