Abby Welch, a lead instructor at the resort’s Tommy Cuthbert Golf Learning Center at Turtle Point, was recently named as one of Golf Digest magazine’s “Top 40 Instructors Under 40.” Both a PGA and LPGA certified golf instructor, Welch was the captain of The University of South Carolina Gamecocks’s golf team in college and has been teaching at the resort since 2005. After graduating from USC, she set off to be a PGA certified professional in instruction. Moving to Charleston, she worked as assistant professional at Wild Dunes for three years, prior to sharing her knowledge with guests of Kiawah Island Golf Resort. Routinely requested for women and junior players, Welch gives over 350 private, group and customized lessons a year.
With over seven years of PGA/LPGA teaching experience, Welch helps each student enjoy golf by adjusting to his or her learning style and “teaches backwards.” “We generally begin with putting lessons to build confidence. We then advance to chipping and finish the lesson with full swings,” explains Welch. “Players often become victim to information overload, so I make certain that all lessons are simplified and structured around fun. Golf is, after all, a game.”
Welch relies on open discussion about the individual student’s goals, lifestyle and expectations -- leading each lesson with the student discussing then showing off strengths while looking to work on weaknesses. Welch refined her abilities by learning from her peers, taking part in Hank Heney’s PGA Seminar, Rick Jensen’s Mental Seminar and Titleist Club Fitting Seminar.
According to Welch, for a student who really wants to adopt the game of golf during a weeklong Kiawah vacation, the ideal situation would be for the student to set aside five days of lessons. “For fully-customized instruction, we’d start with a private one or two-hour lesson,” said Welch. “Then, I like students to step away from instruction and practice on their own later in the afternoon or the next day. The second and third days, they would follow the same routine of lessons for 2 hours and then practicing what was just taught on their own. The last two days would reward her students for the hard work put forth the past three days by taking them out on the course to give a more tangible feel to what they’ve been taught and what they’ve been practicing.” To keep the momentum going and to engrain the skills learned, Welch advises all players to continue working on the points highlighted with their local hometown PGA professional.