Golf Instructors

  • Brian Short

    Brian Short
    PGA Head Golf Professional

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    Brian has been the PGA Head Golf Professional since 2017. He was our PGA Assistant Golf Professional since 2003 at the Penn State Golf Courses. His teaching backgroung includes running junior programs, clinics, teaching PGA PGM Player Development classes at Penn State as well as 15 years of private and group instruction. Brian was elected to class A PGA Membership in May 2010.

    Brian's Golf Tips

    Splash the Sand!

    Do you spend too much time in the sand? Do you take more than one or two shots to get out of the bunker? Well there is a simple and easy way to get your ball up and out in a hurry.

    The sand shot is the only shot in golf where you forget about the golf ball. The most important idea to think about when hitting a sand shot is to splash the sand onto the green. The big question is how do you splash sand onto the green? You start with your stance, have a good knee flex and let your arms hang down naturally. Second, the alignment of the clubface and your feet should create a “V”. This will allow you to swing on a more upright path, which will allow you to slide the clubface under the ball without digging deep. When swinging the golf club, try to keep a quite lower body, meaning there is not a lot of weight being transferred from your front to your back foot. Another important aspect of splashing sand onto the green is to remember to always follow through on your swing. If you do not follow through on your swing it is more than likely the ball will stay in the bunker. If you have any questions or concerns about sand shots feel free to contact one of our P.G.A. Golf Professionals for further instruction.

    Always be ready to Hit

    Plan your shot and pick your club while approaching the ball.
    Carry a spare ball in your pocket. When in doubt, play a provisional.

    Don't Waste Time

    Never record your scores on or near the green.
    Don't leave your bag in front of the green. Leave it off to the side towards the next tee.
    Give instructions only on the driving range.
    When a ball is lost for two minutes wave the following group through.
    Drop off cart passenger, and then go to your ball.

    On the Tee

    The first player ready to hit should do so.
    Watch other players drive so you can determine location of ball, if necessary.
    After hitting, return to your clubs and be ready to proceed.

    On the Green

    Park your cart and clubs to the rear of the green, in line with the next tee.
    Line up your putt before your turn.
    Putt continuously until you hole out, unless restricted by another golfer's line.

    Picking up

    Take a maximum of eight strokes on any fairway.
    If you are a low handicapper, pick up after a triple bogey.

  • Garret Cwalina

    Garret Cwalina
    PGA Director of Instruction

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    Garret is in his 2nd season at the Penn State Golf Courses.

    Garret is a Penn State Professional Golf Management graduate in the class of 2021 and a PGA Golf Professional with over five years of teaching experience with advanced and beginner juniors, high school, adult, and senior golfers. He is a U.S Kids Certified Coach and uses a fun-first teaching style, allowing his students to enjoy getting better and learning a game they can play for a lifetime.

    Garret is available for individual or group lessons. To contact him, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    Garret’s Golf Tips:

    Have trouble with long-distance putts? Try using a metronome on your phone. Find a tempo to use that feels comfortable for you. Take the club back on one click, and hit the ball on the next one. This drill will create a consistent tempo with every putt, crucial for distance control.

    Chipping is a valuable skill that can save you several shots in a round of golf. I notice far too often that players chip with the same stance as a 7-iron. Have your feet close together and choke down on the club one inch. Open the clubface, so the bounce of the club is exposed.

    Struggle hitting iron shots behind the ball? Try putting a golf towel down 1 inch behind the ball. Then try hitting the ball without making contact with the towel.
  • Denise St. Pierre

    Denise St. Pierre
    PSU Women's Golf Coach

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    Director of Instructional Programs at The Penn State University with twenty-seven years of teaching experience at several facilities located in Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania.

    She was recently awarded one of the top 50 Professional female instructors in the country from Golf for Women Magazine. She is in her 22nd season as Head Coach of the Penn State Women's Golf Team.

    Denise's Golf Tips

    Posture Yourself for Better Performance

    Aaahh, spring has finally arrived, time to dust off those clubs and head out to the golf course. This is going to be your year. You’re finally going to figure out how to correct that slice or hit that drive just 20 yards further! You will head to the driving range to "figure" out the new move to improve your game. Hold it right there!

    The very first thing you should do is make sure you have a chance to make a good swing by positioning your body in an athletic stance. Golf is a "sport" and like any sport it is essential to be in a position with your body that will allow your it to move yet remain balanced. We call this type of movement in sport "dynamic balance". It is necessary to striking a golf ball consistently. The key to allowing your club to travel on the correct path, which will result in allowing your ball to travel on your intended target line, is to start your swing with the correct posture. There will be some variations to this depending on your body type but the common features are what separate the high handicappers and the low handicappers. Try the following method to making your posture a solid "habit" and assuring yourself the opportunity to make a balanced move through the ball.

    Start first without a club. Stand up tall so your legs are straight, shoulders are back, and the back of your head is aligned with your spine.

    Place your hands on your hips and tip slightly forward until you feel your tailbone stick out.

    Let your arms go and hang them straight down from the shoulders. Unlock your legs slightly. (If your knees are bent to much you will feel like you are sitting or your knees will appear over your feet, this will make turning very difficult)

    Keep the chin up so the back of your head remains on the same line as your spine, this will allow your shoulders to make a full turn in the backswing. (Your friends may tell you to keep your head down this is not TRUE)

    You are now in an athletic position, you should feel the weight on the balls of your feet, your feet should be shoulder width apart measuring from the insides of your feet, your eyes will be looking down at the ball, your arms should feel loose and freely hanging from the shoulders. You are now in a "ready" position to strike the golf ball.

    Practice this 60 times a day for the next 21 days and you will make a new habit of your posture position! Just have FUN!

  • Greg Nye

    Greg Nye
    PGA Instructor / PSU Men's Golf Coach

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    Greg has served twenty+ years as a Member of the PGA teaching several students of the game, throughout Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. Greg, a four-year All American collegiate player, is in his 22nd season as head coach of the Penn State men's golf team. His knowledge of the game and coaching skills has awarded Greg many accomplishments in particular 1987 Mid-American Conference Coach-of-the-Year.

    Greg's Golf Tips

    Chip before you pitch when appropriate.

    With all of the different pitching clubs we see advertised these days many golfers young and old begin to see the high pitch shot greenside as the only shot. These clubs of various lofts between 52 and 60 degrees definitely have uses when you are faced with a true pitch shot. The definition of a pitch shot is maximum air time, minimum ground time. This shot is used when the golfer does not have much green to work with, and must get the ball up in the air so as to get it stopped quickly on the green near the flagstick. When the golfer has ample green to work with the easier shot to play is a chip shot. A chip shot is defined by minimal air time maximum ground time. Learn to use your old friends the 6, 7, 8, and 9 irons to produce these easy to play chip shots. The chip shot is easier to play for a several reasons. One, the chip shot requires a much simpler physical motion (like that of your putting stroke) to produce the shot, and two the target that you land the ball on is much closer to you than the pitch. Lastly, it is easier to predict a straight first bounce of low chip shot than a high pitch.

    To chip a ball use a narrow, slightly open stance, and center the ball. Lean slightly to your left with your upper body to help insure a descending blow on the ball. Move your arms in a one levered pendulum motion, accelerating slightly through the ball. The ball will jump the grass around the green, land quickly on the green, and roll the rest of the way to the flagstick.

    I have been around golf my entire life, and enjoyed listening to the secrets of those highly skilled golfers that have passed this way before me. I have repeatedly heard them say that, "a good golfer will always looks to get ball on the ground and rolling as soon as possible, and they prefer to chip before they pitch if it is possible to chip" I urge you to practice chipping with your 9 - 6 irons around the practice green, then when the situation on the golf course requires a chip you will be ready for the challenge.

1523 W. College Ave, State College, PA 16801