David La Pour - Colleton River Club Learning Center
As a class A PGA Member since 1991, David has worked in several different positions in the golf industry including Assistant Golf Professional, Head Golf Professional (Broken Sound Club), and Director of Instruction (Colleton River Plantation Club). David started teaching exclusively with Dave Pelz in 1996, and after his 8 years with Pelz, created the WP Golf Institute in St. Paul Minnesota (2003). In 2008 David accepted the position of Director of Instruction for Colleton River Club in Bluffton, South Carolina, where he developed and oversees the Colleton River Golf Instruction program.
During his tenure with Pelz, David appeared on The Golf Channel six times, as well as ESPN. He has published numerous instructional articles, 12 Instructional shows titled “Managing Your Golf Game” and has worked with tour players such as Bill Glasson, K.J. Choi, Ty Tryon, John Harris, Miguel Angel Martin, Mike Sullivan, Tom Shaw, Wayne Mc Donald, Justin Doeden, Michael Pittelli, Melissa Mc Namara, and Blake Kennedy.
Nominated for national PGA of America teacher of the year (2001), David was recognized by Golf Digest as one of the Top Teaching Professionals in Minnesota from 2005 to 2008 and in South Carolina from 2013-2020. In 2013 he was selected as the PGA Teacher of the Year for the Carolina Section/ HHI Chapter, 2019 Top 50 Instructor for Operation 36, along with nationally ranked Top 25 PGA Jr. League program.
Acquiring his TrackMan Masters status in 2014, David also uses Titleist Performance Institute, Apple/V1-Video, BodiTrak, K-Coach & Tour Tempo to help his students succeed. In his spare time, he enjoys playing tournament golf, testing the limits of TrackMan, Scouting, and spending time with his family in Bluffton, South Carolina.
How old were you when you got started in golf and what eventually pulled you into becoming a golf professional?
I started playing golf when I was seven years old with a seven iron. It turned out that the local golf club, Racine Country Club, was my baby sitter during the summer and I learned to play golf there. After high school & college golf teams, I decided to try and play for a living which turned into learning the profession and eventually specializing in golf instruction.
How do you stay current with the latest developments in teaching methods?
I continually keep updated with current trends through the PGA of America, Proponent Group, CoachNow, and hosting teaching summits at the club I work at. I also attend and/or speak at golf seminars around the country and am currently on the Carolina PGA Section Teaching & Coaching Committee and Hilton Head Island Education Committee.
What are 2 trends in golf that you’re excited about?
I really like the rediscovery of the game of golf because of the virus. I have been busier this year than last year and see a lot of interest in people who never have played the game. I am also excited about places like Top Golf and indoor places that try and grow the game of golf.
Do you specialize in teaching any facets of the game?
Because of my eight years with Dave Pelz, some people consider my short game & putting instruction a specialty, but I have purposely stayed away from specialization because this game is so much more than one facet. I have seven building blocks that round out my teaching philosophy.
What sets you apart from other golf professionals?
My teaching philosophy is to help students “Manage Your Golf Game” which is a holistic approach that uses the 7 building blocks that I have developed to improve peoples golf games. This is a cumulation of 30 years of teaching golf in 40 different cities around the US. I’ve watched golfers from the Sam Snead era all the way to today’s golf.
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
I am looking forward to the next chapter in my personal and professional career. Although the membership/students are great, Colleton River Club where I am currently employed is not my last job in the industry and I have a dream of opening my own Learning Center and Golf Academy where I can continue the spirit of the game while growing it.
What has been your most challenging experience with a student and how did you handle it? How did you overcome it?
The most challenging student is the student who wants instant gratification without much effort. Mostly an American thing, some students have an unrealistic view of how good they are and how much work it takes to actually improve. I make an effort to explain their problem and offer different ways to improve their golf, including games, drills, and feedback.
Do you actively play competitive golf? Any recent bragworthy performances you’d like to share?
I do play in the Hilton Head Island Chapter of the PGA and have won a few events including local charity events. My lowest score in competition is 67.
Is there a highlight from your career in golf that stands out above the rest?
I’d have to say the work I’m most proud of is the 12 years at Colleton River club and getting the 2,100 sq. ft. Learning Center built. I personally donated $18,000 in golf lessons and 1,800 hours of work to get the facility up and running in 2017. Now it is a tremendous asset that not only increased our lessons and club sales by 50% each year, but it will be an asset that the membership and club will enjoy for years to come.
Here is a link: Colleton River Learning Center
Any advice for someone considering pursuing a career as a golf teaching professional?
When I speak at PGA or other trade seminars, I try to remind fellow golf professionals that we are farmers of the game and if we don’t grow our own crop from junior golf to senior golf, we won’t be able to harvest anything. Observe successful teaching professionals in your area, most of them are happy to share what they have learned. I have a mentor page called Coaches Corner that I share with PGA Golf Professionals where we discuss how to teach golf. I invite your readers to join us! Here is the link: Coaches Corner
Anything else you’d like to comment on while we have you?
Thank you for promoting this great game of golf!