The Player Development Award recognizes a PGA member who has made extraordinary contributions and achievements in conducting and/or supporting Play Golf America initiatives. Congratulations to PGA Master Professional Ed Oldham, Director of Instruction at The Ranch Country Club, for being the 2020 Player Development Award Winner!
Oldham grew up in North Platte, Nebraska. His dad was the Dean of Students and the golf coach at North Platte Community College. It was his dad who introduced him to the game. Oldham played his first round of golf when he was about nine or 10 years of age with his dad and one of the college players. As a young teenager, he would be dropped off at North Platte Country Club in the morning on his dad’s way to work and he would stay there all day playing and practicing. His dad went on to become a PGA member and was the Head Golf Professional at three courses including Glenwood Golf Club in Glenwood Springs.
In high school, between his junior and senior years, Oldham was offered a job by the Head Golf Professional at North Platte Country Club, Rich Skinner, PGA. He worked in the pro shop and took care of the carts and the range. It was that summer Oldham decided he wanted to be in the golf business. Skinner was a good teacher. In fact, he won the Nebraska Section Teacher of the Year Award in 1988 and was inducted in the Nebraska Golf Hall of Fame in 2018. The mentorship of a noted teacher like Skinner certainly made an impression on Oldham, who followed in his footsteps winning Teacher of The Year in Colorado in 1999 and 2013.
Oldham’s first job as an Assistant Professional was at Rifle Creek Golf Club working for Steve LeDonne, PGA. The course closed for the winter and there were two Assistant Professional openings in the Denver area. Oldham interviewed for both and was hired on at The Ranch Country Club. He thought that he would be there for two or three years, but this October marks 38 years Oldham has been at The Ranch CC.
What does it mean to you to receive this award?
I was very honored to hear that I won the Player Development Award. It’s always nice to be recognized for what I do. All of my early influencers were coaches and they had a huge influence on what I have done in my career. I am proud to be a coach to many wonderful people in this great game of golf.
What are the qualities you possess that you believe supported you receiving the Player Development Award?
I have a passion for teaching and coaching the game of golf, a desire to help every person who I work with and continue to try to improve myself through education.
What are two tools you use in your profession that help you with your success?
From a technology standpoint, I use Trackman and K vest. Trackman measures everything about the ball and club and K vest measures what the body is doing. Having more information about the student allows me to do a better job coaching them.
From a personal standpoint, having the ability to make a connection with people and showing them how much you care about their game is important. If you can’t make a connection with the person in front of you, nothing else matters.
As it relates to golf, what is the best piece of advice that you have received and what advice would you give to others?
When I went through the interview process for PGA Membership back in 1985, Earl Svenningsen, PGA, told me to never stop learning. That was great advice and I would pass that advice along to others. As a coach, there are a lot of resources available to you and you should learn from as many as you can. In the past two years, I believe that I have completed seven different certifications and I am always participating in online learning courses. Go watch good teachers teach. In the past 12 months, I have spent time with “master of the modern short game,” James Sieckmann and one of “GOLF’S Top 100 Teachers in America,” Bill Harmon learning from them. The more you learn, the more “tools” you will have in your toolbox to help your players.
What is your proudest moment as a golf professional?
I have had a lot of moments that would make me proud, but the proudest moment is probably when Jennifer Kupcho won the Augusta National Women’s Amateur in 2019. I have coached Jennifer since she was in 8th grade. She has accomplished a lot in her career so far, but I think the win at Augusta stands out.
Share something about yourself that others may not know.
My wife and I go to the Hot Springs Pool in Glenwood Springs a couple of times each year. It’s a great spot for recharging the batteries. It’s a great spot.