BURNSVILLE, N.C. -- Even the best golf instructor can face concentration challenges teaching the game at nearly a mile above sea level. Yet, Breanne Hall -- the first amateur to ever win the Michigan Women's Open Championship and now PGA director of instruction at Mountain Air Country Club -- is enjoying every rarefied minute of it
The mile-high experience not only can take your breath away, it can take away some of your students as well. After arriving "on mountain" just a handful of months ago, Hall noticed that a considerable portion of the club's membership comes and goes for weeks at a time, so she adapted her techniques.
Success all starts with a new attitude Hall has fostered — one that has created a dramatic increase in student participation particularly among women. Among the adjustments Hall has had to make since taking over as the PGA director of instruction at the famed Burnsville, N.C., facility in one is nurturing an ongoing relationship with several students she may not see for months at a time.
"With a few of the women, I try to keep in touch with them through e-mail when they are off mountain," said Hall from her perch at Mountain Air, a mountaintop community and country club located a half-hour northeast of Asheville. "I do so that when they get back we can pick up right where we left off."
A graduate and former collegiate golfer at the University of Toledo in Ohio, Hall dabbled with trying to make it on tour in 2004. "But without sponsorships, it's a tough road to travel down," she said.
Shifting gears, Hall worked at several places including a private course in New Jersey before ending up at the Grove Park Inn resort in Asheville, where she earned her PGA certification while becoming the head golf professional. This past spring, she took over a new position at Mountain Air.
Hall is one of only 57 women with PGA status in the Carolinas PGA section and one of just 800 in the nation. She will soon join an even more elite group of dual PGA/LPGA instructors when she completes the last level of LPGA later this year.
"Both programs have really prepared me and educated me for where I am today," Hall said. "It's important to make sure you are constantly learning."
The move to Mountain Air, the third highest golf course east of the Mississippi featuring an elevation drop of a remarkable 900 feet, was a "complete change" for Hall. "But it's been a really nice change," she said. "Although I like all aspects of the golf business, I really have a strong passion for teaching the game."
Her excitement for her work shows. Included among her clinics are a "Get to Know the Pro" series and a ladies' "Happy Hour Golf" program for women.
"The biggest thing was I wanted to make it [learning golf] fun for women," Hall said. "I tried to put in some new programs that were enjoyable but where we were also learning and improving. With 'Get to Know the Pro,' I get to play with the women and they get to know me. It helps build relationships with the members."
According to former Mountain Air women's club champion, Margie Cuckler: "Bre has really energized the Mountain Air membership in her new role. She has been a welcome addition."
Hall said she is looking forward to really raising the bar for her students in 2014 — her first full year at Mountain Air.
"I really enjoy the family atmosphere at a private club," she said. "[After giving up the dream of playing professional golf] I eventually caught the passion for teaching. It's one of those things that makes you feel good, to see someone improve. It's particularly special at Mountain Air. It is a fantastic member-family atmosphere, and the members and staff have really made me feel right at home."
Learn more at www.MountainAirCountryClub.com.
About Mountain Air
Mountain Air is a mountaintop community and country club located a half-hour northeast of Asheville, N.C. Winner of numerous national and international awards including the prestigious "Gold Award for Best Community in America," this multi-generational community boasts one of the nation's most dramatic golf courses overlooking spectacular scenery in every direction. Members also enjoy a mountaintop airstrip runway, full-service amenities, a family friendly atmosphere and miles of nature trails through its own Old Growth Forest Preserve. www.MountainAirCountryClub.com
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