FAIRBORN, OH – The Southern Ohio PGA is thrilled to recognize Chris Yoder, PGA Director of Youth Player Development at Scioto Country Club, with the 2022 Southern Ohio PGA Teacher of the Year Award presented by GOLFTEC.
Chris Yoder, PGA Director of Youth Player Development at Scioto Country Club, is the 2022 Southern Ohio PGA Teacher of the Year presented by GOLFTEC in recognition of the significant impact he has made in the junior golf community. A prominent junior golfer himself, Yoder earned early success in the game as a member of Ashland High School’s 1998 State Championship golf team. His career continued to the collegiate level where he was a four-year letterwinner at Wake Forest University between 2000-2003 before returning as an assistant coach at his alma mater under Head Coach Jerry Haas. After six seasons coaching multiple future PGA Tour players including Bill Haas and Webb Simpson, Yoder returned to his home state as the Ohio State University Men’s Golf Assistant Coach. He continued his journey to become the best coach possible by joining the staff at Scioto Country Club and beginning the PGA Associate Program in 2012. Yoder has since built a robust junior program at the facility to grow junior golfers at every skill level. Starting with a Drive, Chip & Putt prep series, players advance to Beginner, Lily Pod, Rising Star and Elite Team programs with the goal of developing all aspects of the junior’s game including course management and mental game in addition to the swing. His programs have developed junior golfers individually as well as the community as a whole. In 2021, Yoder had the honor of coaching both the Ohio Junior Champion, Tyler Sabo, and the Ohio Amateur Champion, Max Watson, in the same year. He has been recognized as a U.S. Kids Top 50 Coach for his outstanding skills coaching the game. Yoder was elected to PGA Membership in 2015 and the 2022 SOPGA Teacher of the Year presented by GOLFTEC is Yoder’s first recognition of industry success from the Southern Ohio PGA Section.
Q: What does it mean to you to be named the Southern Ohio PGA Teacher of the Year?
CY: It is an honor to be selected by my peers for the 2022 Southern Ohio PGA Teacher of the Year. This award is for all my students and I am excited to share this with them. I love watching my students grow and helping them achieve their goals.
Q: What does an average day/week in your position look like?
CY: Through the junior golf programs that we have created, every day and week is different. Coaching and player development happens in multiple places, not just the driving range. Depending on the season and our upcoming tournament schedule, my time is spent at the range, learning center, golf course, traveling to tournaments for practice rounds, tournament coaching, team meetings, tournament prep, seminars, team workouts, etc. It is a lot of fun to coach players!
Q: How has your approach to teaching the game changed throughout your career?
CY: I love to learn and am constantly seeking out educational opportunities to gain knowledge on new and old swing philosophies, coaching, as well as the latest technology and club fitting. I started my career as a college coach and then I transitioned into teaching as an instructor primarily on the range. It was great to build up my teaching knowledge. Over the past several years, it has been very exciting to build our junior programs at Scioto with a coaching model blending my junior golf, coaching and teaching experience together.
Q: Is there a “Best Practice” you have utilized in teaching the game of golf?
CY: With my coaching background and PGA education, it has been fun to change and grow the culture of junior golf at Scioto through building a team and golf community. In doing this, we are making golf fun for kids. We are practicing together, working out together, traveling to tournaments together, enjoying team dinners together, helping each other through failures and enjoying the successes of each other together.
Q: Have there been any mentors or peers who have had a significant impact in your development as a golf instructor?
CY: There are many mentors and peers who have helped me along my career. Two of my biggest mentors are Dan Priest, my PGA Professional at Ashland Country Club where I grew up and Coach Jerry Haas, my college golf coach at Wake Forest. Dan Priest helped me fall in love with the game of golf by building passion and love for golf. Junior golf was important to Dan! Coach Haas was amazing to play for! I had so much fun playing for Coach Haas that he inspired me to get into coaching. Following my playing career, I went to work for him as his assistant at Wake for 6 years learning as much information as I could from him. The culture that both Dan and Coach Haas created is the culture I am bringing to our junior program at Scioto. Fun Team Environment!
Q: What advice do you have for a young professional looking to become a better golf teacher?
CY: Sitting in a seminar at the PGA Teaching and Coaching Summit several years ago, I heard something that really resonated with me – “Students don’t care how much you know until they know you care!”
Go learn as much as you can and then remember to keep it simple with your students – golf is a game – lets make it fun! Remember golf is played on the golf course not the driving range. It is easy to try and impress your students with all your knowledge, but always remember to care for them first. I fell in love with the game of golf as a junior and chose golf as my career because Dan Priest and Coach Haas cared first! Teachers and instructors can change swings, but coaches that care have the power to inspire and change lives.
This award bestows special recognition on a SOPGA Professional for excellence in golf instruction, along with overall performance. Promotion of golf, use of teaching aids, involvement in junior golf activities, teaching techniques, and articles published are some of the criteria considered for this award. Click here to learn more about the Southern Ohio PGA Special Awards and to view previous recipients.