Juliet Little - Montammy Golf Club
Montammy Golf Club in Northern New Jersey is a full service private country club, located in the rolling hills of the Palisades above the Hudson River, in Alpine, New Jersey. Founded in 1966, it was designed by Frank Duane, a renowned architect who previously had worked with Robert Trent Jones and then Arnold Palmer. Mr. Duane constructed a rolling, tree lined golf course that is picturesque and challenging. Over the last five years, the course renovation plan has transformed the course into Bergen County’s country club emerald gem.
How old were you when you got started in golf and what eventually pulled you into becoming a golf professional?
I started playing when I was about 10 years old. I played multiple sports a year, including golf on the weekends with my dad. After college I was a school teacher for a few years and looking for a change. A close friend from my high school golf team who became a PGA professional told me that it would be a great career move for me, especially being a female since there weren’t any in the section at the time. So I made the switch, started working at a nine-hole facility and began the PGA and LPGA process.
How do you stay current with the latest developments in teaching methods?
I keep up with various certifications and attend as many teaching and coaching webinars and seminars as I can. I’m active on social media, following not only the greats in the business but also my fellow professionals that I have known throughout the years. I’m also a member of the Proponent Group which is a network of teaching professionals and coaches that share ideas and trends in the industry.
What are 2 trends in golf that you’re excited about?
Technology is constantly on the upswing, lending tremendous help to any player hone their skills and giving teachers and coaches the extra tools needed to support their students’ growth. I also think the game of golf in general is still growing as a trend since we are still in the midst of a pandemic and the influx of people learning and playing the game has been tremendous.
Do you specialize in teaching any facets of the game?
Although I teach all facets of the game, most of my students prefer lessons dealing with on-course management, including club selection, different lies, navigating distance control and shot selection.
What sets you apart from other golf professionals?
When I get new students that are referred from current students, they usually say they come to me for help because I am simple and to the point, and that’s what they need when learning something new. I’m not overly technical, especially teaching beginners, and I am encouraging with a dose of reality. I figure out how they best learn, and tailor their lesson regimen to that and what their goals are.
What has been your most challenging experience with a student and how did you handle it? How did you overcome it?
My most recent challenging experience was more of a mental one than a physical one. I recently had a new student come to me who hadn’t picked up a club in years. She said the last time she tried to learn she took 15 lesson-series and by the end she still couldn’t hit the ball. She was so discouraged that she quit and didn’t revisit it again until recently when she was told by a friend who is a student of mine that she should come see me and give it another go. She was so discouraged that her attitude was very self-deprecating, so we had a long talk about her journey and with a few light-hearted words of encouragement,
I eased her into the basics of her setup. With slow movements and the ball on a tee, she mostly made contact every time. As she saw the positive results, she started to have a little more faith in herself and reiterated to me what and how she was going to practice on her own time. My student that referred her to me showed me a text from her a few days later saying how grateful she was for the referral, working with me, and how much better she felt about giving the game another try. I saw her the following week and she had already made so much progress practicing what we discussed, and her mindset was way more positive.
Sometimes it’s not the physical limitations that may hold someone back, but the mental as well, and our job to figure it out for each individual student.
Is there a highlight from your career in golf that stands out above the rest?
As much as my focus is on teaching and playing the game, I’m also an advocate for women’s golf. I recently rallied for the first Women’s Section Championship in the New Jersey PGA Section. It was a 54-Hole event in September held in conjunction with the NJPGA Section Championship. We had 4 female professionals participate out of the current 20 that we have, and I’m hoping the participation numbers will grow in the future.
Any advice for someone considering pursuing a career as a golf teaching professional?
Don’t get complacent at one facility. Try to move around every few years when you are a young professional. You can learn from many seasoned professionals at different types of facilities, all while continuing your education and figuring out what your niche is. Read books, attend seminars, and take lessons from experienced teachers to see where you want to best put your attention and make yourself as successful as you can be.