PGA/LPGA Professional Spotlight

Todd McKittrick

Director of Instruction, Blackstone Country Club

Todd McKittrick

Title: Director of Instruction, Blackstone Country Club, Peoria, Arizona.
Years as a PGA Professional: 17.
Top achievements / honors: PGA Teacher of the Year for the Chattanooga Chapter (2007, 2008, 2011, 2012). PGA Certified Instructor, Trackman Level 2 Expert and TPI Certifications in Golf, Junior Golf and Power.

Facebook: @ToddMcKittrick
Instagram: @toddmcpga

RELATED: PGA Professional Spotlight archive

What app is a must-have on your phone? Instagram’s Layout app. It allows me to turn basic pictures into side-by-sides in seconds.
What books would you recommend? Ben Hogan's "Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf", John Feinstein's "A Good Walk Spoiled: Days and Nights on the PGA Tour" and anything from Dr. Gio Valiente for the mind.
What podcasts would you recommend? "Sub Par" is the only one I listen too. Great interviews.
Who is your favorite golfer? It fluctuates who I root for but I would dream of swinging half as good as Adam Scott looks.
What is your most memorable round of golf? My PAT (Player Ability Test) at Torres Blancas Golf Club. Never before or since did I have so much riding on a round of golf.

The First Call: What made you want to pursue a career in golf?
Todd McKittrick: As a very competitive athlete growing up, I found the same fulfillment in coaching people to their goals.

TFC: What is your favorite instructional tip to share with a golfer?
TM: Showing players how to hit balls with purposeful shape. For most golfers, learning how to truly draw the ball is a momentous occasion.

TFC: What advice do you have for someone considering a career in golf?
TM: Think about the job you want in your 40s and 50s and interview a couple of professionals who have interesting positions. Ask to see their resumes and learn from their paths and timelines.

Look to work for and under the most talented, innovative and experienced professionals. You will never learn more than your experiences in the field.

Consider a variety of positions within the industry. There are only so many head pro and teaching roles, but tons of untapped opportunities for those with a creative mind.

Never stop golfing. You became interested in the business for the same reason we all did ... you loved the game. When you lose your passion for the game, the jobs become a paycheck, which rarely lead to happiness.

TFC: What is the best advice you have received on your career path?
TM: Never stop investing and educating in yourself. The dividends are immense.

TFC: Is there a particular area of your job that you find most rewarding?
TM: I truly enjoy the satisfaction of an adult learning for the first time. So often as adults people just except where they are and what they do as a permanent situation. Getting them to have an achievement in golf and propelling them to a new hobby is an amazing feeling.

TFC: What is one challenge you currently see in the industry?
TM: We ask people of diverse backgrounds and various socio-economic positions to get involved with golf, but it is truly a false narrative. There aren’t enough public low-cost spaces getting kids from various backgrounds into the game.

This continues the the spiral of claims that golf is exclusionary.

Make accessible and affordable low-cost entry points into the game. Make them 3-, 6- or 9-hole courses to avoid taking up valuable restate. Encourage developers to make it part of there public and recreational spaces. Challenge community leaders to support golf for the engagement and positive values that golf lives by and that no other sport does.

Allow these spaces to be parks like the UK. The costs to maintain can provide community jobs and a tax base compared to the straight expense of a green space or court surface of any kind.

TFC: Do you have a preferred style or philosophy for teaching golf?
TM: I call my teaching style student backwards. I just truly listen to them talk about their experiences, their job, watch their mannerisms and behaviors. My goal is to learn as much as possible in five minutes — plus there own social cues — as I can about the student. I then construct my plan around there learning style. When I identify and speak their language the learning is fast and the buy-in is natural.

TFC: Where is there room for growth within the industry?
TM: Quick and interesting golf courses in urban areas with walkable designs. In the late '90s and early 2000s every multi-millionaire built a golf course for real estate with water falls and rock features that were difficult and not walkable.

TFC: When you look at your career, in what area(s) do you believe you have evolved for the better? And how so?
TM: I am a much better listener and more likely to seek other experts for advice. Early in my career, I was fearful of not knowing everything and of running a risk of losing clients. Now I am more likely to refer clients in an area I am not as skilled. I'll admit my own shortcomings and go study/research to fill in the gaps. Amazingly enough clients seem to respect that approach so much better.

TFC: How does being a PGA/LPGA Professional add value to your brand?
TM: It is recognized symbol of expertise. It is viewed as a differentiator between people who work in golf and people who represent what golf is to the public.
I believe holding each other to a high standard further strengthens the symbol of our fraternal organization.