MICHIGAN?S CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN RESORT BLENDS TEACHING OF THE STARS, PLAYING EXPERTISE AT 90th PGA CHAMPIONSHIP AT OAKLAND HILLS CC
BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. ? The Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville, Mich., is a facility that this week will boast the best of its PGA Professional staff inside and outside the gallery ropes at the 90th PGA Championship.
Brad Dean, the PGA director of golf at Crystal Mountain, is one of two Michigan PGA Professionals competing in their first PGA Championship at Oakland Hills Country Club. Dean will be getting support inside the ropes from one of his students, Korey Mahoney, an Eastern Michigan University graduate, turned mini-tour player and aspiring PGA Tour professional. This week, Mahoney will serve as Dean?s caddie.
Meanwhile, Crystal Mountain PGA assistant professional Adam Schriber, one of six teaching professional on staff at the resort, is busy this week at the practice tee coaching his star pupil, Anthony Kim, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour this season and the world?s No.
Schriber appeared Monday with Dean as the opening program at The PGA Learning Center presented by American Express at Oakland Hills Country Club. The 6,000-square foot center is located at the main spectator entrance, and makes a spectator?s golf oasis. The PGA Learning Center attracted 1,700 visitors Monday, and during Championship week 85 PGA Professionals, including approximately 70 from the Michigan PGA Section, will provide free lessons for spectators from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Visitors will find an air-conditioned hub of golf that includes a putting green, full swing hitting bays, golf swing video analysis, video screens for live tournament feeds, interactive computer kiosks, golf simulator and a stage for clinics.
Dean earned his trip to Oakland Hills after finishing tied for 15th in The PGA Professional National Championship last June at Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, Ga. The last time he saw Oakland Hills was in the mid-1990s during a Section pro-pro event.
?It?s definitely changed; a lot of bunkers that weren?t there before, a lot of trees are gone, and the course is obviously longer,?
said Dean. ?You get a lot of roll off the tees. The length to me really matters on the par-3s, and other than that it is not that bad if you can keep it in the fairway.?
Having a talented caddie who competed in the 2002 U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills also will benefit Dean?s preparations.
?Korey and I have known each other for the last 13 years. I?ve taught him for that long, and he?s going to coach me this week, and he?s a wonderful player and I think that he will help me out a lot around these greens,? said Dean. ?And, Adam and I have taught together for several years at Crystal Mountain. We help and we learn from each other. We have six others beside us.
?We all learn together and we get better by watching others and there?s a lot of give and take between the instructors. It?s awesome to have Adam there, and having a lot of top-level players there lining the range every day.?
Dean shares a few similarities ? both professionally and as a father ? with the other Michigan PGA representative in this week?s field.
Reigning PGA Professional National Champion Scott Hebert of Traverse, City, Mich., also makes his debut in the Championship and in June celebrated the birth of a baby daughter one week before winning the National Championship.
?Scott and I each have had babies this summer,? said Dean. ?My wife gave birth to a baby boy, July 28. Everyone?s doing well and hopefully they will be down here. As for Scott, I expect him to do well this week.?
Kim?s amateur career, which included finishing fourth in the 2002 Junior PGA Championship, is just part of a legacy of contact with PGA Professionals that continues today at age 22.
Schriber does not restrain his
expectations for his student this week
in the season?s final major.
?It?s a great golf course for him and I like our chances this week,? said Schriber. ?I don?t think there?s a bad golf course for Anthony. As far as I?m concerned with Anthony, the best is yet to come.?
?I think he?s just maturing as a player. It?s kind of the process he?s followed at every level. It took him a little while to adjust to the college game and being away from home and being out of his element.
He blossomed his sophomore year in college and I see that happening now in much the same way.
?He made some mistakes last year and talked about it, and got an education,? said Schriber. ?You don?t see 22-year-olds sit there and look after a $1.6 million year and say, ?Hey, I screwed up here, here and here, and I want to change.? I think he?s very special that way. A lot of people would have been satisfied with his rookie year and he was very much not satisfied.?
?The most thinking that he does is his set-up and his start. We do a lot of drills and spend time in the gym. There?s a lot of coaching to what we do, having him use his time correctly. ?
Schriber, who first met Kim when the future star was just 10 years old, reconnected when Kim turned 14 and spent between two and three months at Crystal Mountain Resort for intense golf training.
Schriber said he won?t take the credit for a student such as Kim, who has natural talent, but he does believe that he has encouraged Kim to work on one area that has produced dividends ? creativity.
?I?m very proud of that,? said Schriber. ?Anthony has excelled at perfecting trouble shots and developing that special touch around the greens you need to be successful.?
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