9 Questions With John Stahlschmidt
John Stahlschmidt, Senior Head Instructor & Director of Operations, TOURAcademy
A native of St. Louis, MO, John played collegiately at the University of Alabama (1994-’99), where he was a four-year letterman and captain of the 1998 squad. After a short professional playing career on the mini-tours, in which he won a Pepsi Tour event, John turned his attention to teaching. As Senior Head Instructor for both TOURAcademy TPC Sawgrass and PGA TOUR Golf Academy World Golf Village, John oversees the daily operations at both academies. He also serves in the role of Director of Operations for the TOURAcademy brand. His students include LPGA Tour golfers Paige Mackenzie and Marcy Hart, CN Canadian Women’s Tour winner Samantha Richdale, sports radio talk show host Dan Patrick, NFL players London Fletcher and Leon Hall, and five-time Arizona State Amateur Champion Ken Kellaney. John is a regular contributor to Golf Tips magazine, the Arizona Golfer, and PGATOUR.com, and is also featured in the TOURAcademy Home Edition DVD collection.
Q: What’s sweeter: Breaking par (72) or beating Auburn in football?
A: Beating Auburn in football, of course.
Q: What’s your fondest memory as a player?
A: Qualifying for the U.S. Amateur in 1996 and nearly making it to Match Play [John missed by two shots]. My father caddied for me, too, which was kind of fun.
Q: You also competed against Tiger Woods in a junior event?
A: It’s known today as the Big “I” Junior Classic. I had made a hole in one in the second round to make the cut but I didn’t have a good third round. In the final round I teed off first on the 10th hole at Pinehurst No. 7 and I was just making the turn when Tiger was teeing off on the first hole. So I got to play nine holes behind Tiger. We all knew who he was. I mean he won nearly every junior tournament.
Q: What do you remember about the first time you broke par (72)?
A: I was 12, and it was at my home course in St. Louis, Old Warson Country Club. I was playing in the group behind Hale Irwin, who was a member, too, and I beat him that day. I shot 69 and he shot something like 70. We talked about it afterwards. He congratulated me on a good score.
Q: What do you consider to be your greatest teaching achievement?
A: It happened just a few weeks ago. One of my students, Samantha Richdale, got her first win with me helping her. It was on the CN Canadian Women’s Tour. She shot 65 on the first day, with eight birdies!
Q: What’s the best tip or piece of advice you’ve ever received?
A: It’s a quote I read from Hank Haney. It says, “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” What it means is that your students are only going to buy into what you’re trying to teach them when they know that you’re in it for their best interest. You show a genuine interest in seeing them improve.
Q: What question do you get asked most by your students?
A: How do I become more consistent?
Q: And your answer?
A: I would say you need a game plan for improvement, and you have to work toward that game plan. It’s a process that takes time and there are going to be ups and downs, but at the end of the day you have to stay the course. You can’t change your game plan because you had a bad hole or bad round. You have to stick with it.
Q: What made you get into teaching?
A: Growing up and playing golf, I know how frustrating the game can be and how it can give and take away. The reason I got into instruction is to help people reach their true potential, whether that’s to win a professional event or break 100 for the first time. I just really enjoy the satisfaction that comes along with watching people succeed in the game of golf.