Pinay cops LPGA teacher award
A Filipina has been named Section Teacher of the Year by the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), the world’s premier association for female professional golfers.
Stephanie Yu, a teaching pro at the Manila Golf Club and Wack Wack Golf & Country Club, was chosen from among 450 teaching pros in the LPGA’s international section.
She joins winners from the other sections – Coach of the Year, Professional of the Year and Junior Leader – in the national awards to be held later in the year.
Yu is currently the only LPGA accredited teaching pro in the country. She was accepted into the LPGA in 2007 and got her Class A certification in 2013. She is currently working towards eligibility for Master Professional. She regularly attends workshops and seminars conducted by acclaimed golf teachers like Lynn Marriott and Pia Nilsson of Vision 54, the top golf school in the US, as well as Mike Adams of Bioswingdynamics and Lance Gill of Titleist Performance Institute.
Yu gives one-on-one lessons to golfers of all ages, levels and abilities, tailoring lessons to suit individual needs. She says she enjoys the challenge of teaching golfers of all ages and very different backgrounds and skill levels, from weekend warriors to first-time golfers to elite juniors. She even Stephanie Yu teaches non-English and nonFilipino speakers, relying on interpreters, translation apps, sign language and visual communication.
Several of her younger students have begun making a mark in the international junior golf circuit and are eyeing slots in golf programs in top US universities.
Yu develops her own programs and systems to maximize the time her students spend training. For example, she created a leveling system to assess a player’s skill and performance through a series of challenges, encouraging her students to achieve the goal of 20 stars. Her 2-2 program has seen her students drop strokes and improve in competitions without adding much practice time.
“LPGA is a great foundation for teaching, opening your mind to what’s out there and teaching you to think for yourself,” she says of the LPGA teaching philosophy. “They give you all the tools then you go out and learn and figure things out yourself, then make your own teaching philosophies and beliefs.”
Yu is also sought after for organizing tournaments, clinics and seminars for corporations, organizations and other clubs. She is a founding member of Peak Performance Golf Academy Philippines.
Although armed with an engineering degree, golf is in her blood. Yu comes from a golfing family; her father is a single-digit handicapper, as was her grandfather. She started playing golf at age six, chipping and putting in her grandparents’ backyard. She says she developed accuracy by not hitting her grandmother’s flowering plants. She also played in the junior golf circuit.
Before concentrating on teaching, she played competitively. She was the 2004 Vietnam Open champion, second Canlubang Open Amateur champion, seventh Sta. Elena Cup team champion and top seed of the 12th WGAP Luzvimin champion team.
Yu expressed hope that more Filipinas would join the LPGA, not only on tour but also as teaching and club professionals.