The Head Professional at Oglebay Golf channels his passion for golf to continually improve and grow the programming at his facility in Wheeling, West Virginia.
The core objective of Go Futures is to grow the game. In our spotlights, we showcase the achievements of our industry professionals’ player development programs.
Oglebay Golf’s Head Golf Professional Shane Rice dedicates his career to growing the game for the future of golf in Wheeling, West Virginia.
Question: How many overall participants did we have through your programming?
Answer: This year, we had 317 active participants in our programming. 32% of those golfers were new participants to Oglebay junior programs.
Q: Summarize your plan for continuing to grow your facility’s programs.
A: My vision to continue growing our programs is by continually improving our current offerings. I hope to develop a more streamlined system of communication with parents and guardians of our junior golfers and, perhaps more than anything, grow a larger base of volunteer coaches, while growing our marketing efforts.
Q: What are the strengths to your facility and location? What are the challenges that you face?
A: Teaching at Oglebay is special! Oglebay has five golf courses that cater to every skill level imaginable. From our the Par 3 course, to the executive 9-hole, to our 3 18-hole courses, blessed to have these facilities at our disposal. The generosity and understanding of the park leadership and our ability to offer junior golf participants access to these facilities at little to no cost is vital, and critical to retention of golfers.
I believe instructional programs are great, but they lose some of their value if there are barriers to getting on the course. Being able to give instruction on the Par 3 Course or at one of our two driving ranges is ideal. At nearly every junior clinic, we are on both the range and on-course in the same session.
Q: Why do people come to you and why do they stay?
A: I believe people come to me for instruction for two reasons. First, I believe the knowledge I have gained over the past 22 years has given me the ability to break down patterns in swings, both good and bad, and formulate a plan to overcome them. I also let it be known to students that there is no one swing fits all. My strength as an instructor is to work within a person’s natural patterns, and to maximize their abilities. There are zero tour swings that are identical, however, they all have certain universal components to them. If I can point to any pattern that has been proven to be successful at the highest level, then it is feasible, and that is what I take to my students. Teaching is something that requires constant study, whether it is keeping up with the latest launch monitors, equipment, biomechanics, psychology, etc. I believe in data and statistics of all forms, and that seems to be something my students in large part enjoy.
Second, I build relationships. To me, a key component of a good teacher is to learn more about your students. My students and I talk about what’s going on in their life away from the course. This shows that I truly care about them which reduces anxiety and provides an environment more conducive to learning.
Q: Please share a story of a student (current or former) who has stood out because of their passion for learning and playing the game, personal growth, improvement, tournament success or major achievement such as winning an award, earning a scholarship or becoming a PGA Pro.
A: I think we will truly see the accomplishments show in the next 4-10 years, however, several Oglebay Junior golf participants were high school state champions this year for Wheeling Park High School, while many others achieved goals of playing for their various school teams. I am proud of all my student's accomplishments.
Q: What is your drive to grow the game? What gives you the most joy on a daily basis?
A: To me, growing the game of golf is the fundamental function of a PGA Golf Professional. Personally, I was only able to get into the game because an Assistant Pro, Mike Sears, at the public course I worked at as a kid provided me with equipment and waived his fees for me for lessons and clinics. I hope that someday my students will look back at me with the fondness I look back on for Mike Sears. The health of this sport, golf facilities and current and future PGA Golf Professionals is dependent on what we do now. The PGA Golf Professional role has significantly changed the past couple of decades, but again, I believe our greatest value is growing the game any chance we get.
Q: Why did you choose golf as a career?
A: I chose golf as a career because I love the game, it’s really that simple. I went to the final round of the 1994 U.S. Open at Oakmont when I was 15 and had no idea what golf was. As I watched Fred Couples, Ernie Els, Arnold Palmer, and others that day, I fell in love with the sport. The following week, I got a couple of used clubs, and that was it - I was hooked. By the end of that year, I was working as bag and cart staff member at a public facility, and the Assistant Pro was showing me the PGA school work. When I was 16, I had decided I was going to be a PGA Professional.
Since that time, what I believe has kept me in the golf industry is trying to inspire the next generation of players, much like I was inspired. I often tell kids that this game will open doors to them that may not otherwise open, and they will learn a lot about a person by playing a round with them. While I entered this profession for one reason, I stayed in it for many reasons. That is the beauty of working in the golf industry. There are numerous avenues you can go, and we all have strengths and weaknesses, but at the end of the day, we love golf. We love to play it. We love to see people playing it. We love to help people play it.