Get in the game with Ko Olina Golf Club’s new Director of Player Development, Marcus Judge.
Ko Olina Golf Club has been planning ways of making the game of golf more attractive and enjoyable for both the beginner and experienced golfer. With a recent hire, the club took a great stride in enhancing those strategies.
Last November, Marcus Judge was introduced as Ko Olina Golf Club’s Director of Player Development. A Class-A PGA member, Judge is one of only 16 PGA-certified player development professionals in the country. And that is out of 22,000 certified PGA members, mind you. Judge’s strategies on making the game of golf all-around more fun are innovative and philosophical. Some of his theories may seem obvious, but his tactics as a club director center primarily around developing the player from an individual standpoint.
Defining what player development is Judge says, “player development is getting those who have never played before into the game, giving them an orientation of what the game is about. It’s also addressing those who used to play and identifying and breaking down their barriers.”
Raised in Woodbridge, England outside of London, Judge was fascinated by golf well before he had even swung a club. On a family vacation at age 13, Judge received his first golf lesson and has been hooked (no pun intended) since. Upon graduating from University of Canterbury, Judge accepted a position with a golf market research company, which led him to California. After the luster of that position wore thin, Judge followed his natural instincts to become as knowledgeable and educated about the game of golf on the course and off. He dedicated himself to learning all aspects of the golf industry from operations, retail, instruction and player development. For over a decade, Judge worked at Haggin Oaks Golf Complex in Sacramento under the tutelage of Ken Morton Sr., a two-time PGA National Professional of the Year winner.
Continuously following his internal compass, Judge almost serendipitously was guided to Hawai’i and Ko Olina Golf Club as a longtime friendship between Morton Sr. and Ko Olina Golf Club general manager Greg Nichols helped cement Judge’s newest position.
“When I saw Marcus’ background I knew that it fit our needs perfectly, because what we have been trying to do here is be a leader in player development. We want to coach the public and make our staﬀbetter teachers,” says Nichols.
Judge identifies time, money and fear of embarrassment as three key reasons why both newcomers and experienced golfers have strayed from playing the game more. Using player development tactics, Judge and the professional staff at Ko Olina Golf Club are introducing ways for golfers and potential golfers to overcome common limitations.
From a time standpoint, some say golf can be a bit too consuming. 18 holes of golf can be considered leisure for many golfers, but two to three hours or more on a course can be daunting, particularly for youth golfers or beginners. Judge has begun proposing and organizing options for round play that would include 18, nine or six holes per round.
Ko Olina Golf Club offers an exceptional junior golf program, as their Kidz Club Junior Golf Academy is designed specifically to introduce the fundamentals, while maintaining an atmosphere of fun and enjoyment. The Kidz Club has seen remarkable results, including the development of Mariel Galdiano, who at 13 was the youngest competitor in the U.S. Women’s Open in 2011.
From an instructional perspective, Judge designs schemes and teaches his philosophies with the intent of alleviating or at least limiting the fear of not performing well on the course. He remains adamant in his stance of teaching each golfer as an individual.
“Everyone is different. I wouldn’t teach one person the same thing as someone else because they are not the same person. I wouldn’t teach you to swing the same way I do because my body is not the same as yours,” says Judge.
“I’m not going to teach you to swing a golf club like Tiger Woods or Jim Furyk. Everyone is different, there is no model swing.”
Judge honestly believes that most people have the physical ability to swing a club, hit accurately and maneuver that little white ball around a course, but it is their own mind that sets them back.
Judge teaches golfers to embrace and focus the challenge of the game, knowing that the only true competition on a golf course is the one you have against yourself.
“It’s all up to you. You don’t have to react to a ball—the ball just sits right there waiting for you. No two rounds of golf are the same and no one is perfect. No one has ever gone a round in 18 shots,” Judge adds.
Player development is a method of putting all the pieces of a golf experience together. The common goal, and what drives Marcus Judge on a daily basis is seeing golfers, whether men or women, boys or girls, enjoy the process the way he has since he first swung a club.
The longest golf course in the world is the par 77 International Golf Club in Massachusetts, which measures 8325 yards.
Ko Olina Golf Club is located at 92-1220 Ali’Inui Drive, Kapolei. For more information call 676-5300 or visit www.koolinagolf.com.