Nicole Weller, PGA director of instruction at The Landings Club in Savannah, Ga., has been named recipient of the 2013 PGA Junior Golf Leader Award.
Weller, 41, is the second member of the Georgia PGA Section to receive the PGA Junior Golf Leader Award, established in 1988, recognizing the PGA Professional who is a leader in junior golf and who reflects the ideals of those who work with youth.
A native of Lakeville, Mass., Weller is a 1994 graduate of Wake Forest University, where she was a member of the women’s golf team. She turned professional in 1995 and was elected to PGA membership in 1999. Weller was the 2012 Georgia PGA Horton Smith Award recipient for contributions to PGA education.
“We are blessed with a talented class of national award recipients who have always represented our Association at the highest level,” said PGA of America President Ted Bishop. “They have been natural-born leaders and impact-makers in their respective fields. Whether it is in the golf shop, on the lesson tee or in front of community leaders, we are proud that this award class serves as the gold standard in the industry.”
Recognized both locally and nationally as a youth golf leader, Weller is a self-published author of “Stick to Sports: Let’s Play Golf,” (2011), a sticker rewards book for children ages 4 to 8-plus, focusing on what Weller said is “rewarding effort, embracing healthy outdoor activities, and challenging individuals to get into motion.”
In 2012, Golf Digest recognized Weller as one of the “Top 50 Women Teachers,” and that same year U.S. Kids Golf listed her on its Top 50 Junior Instructor list. She also has been named to the Top 50 Growth of the Game Teacher roster by the Golf Range Association of America.
Weller will be honored during The PGA of America Awards ceremony Jan. 22, 2014, during the 61st PGA Merchandise Show at the Orange County Convention Center’s Chapin Theater in Orlando, Fla.
“I am fortunate to have learned about growing the game through shared ideas from a team of coaches throughout my career that include many great PGA Professionals,” said Weller. Her list includes Don Law of Boca Raton, Fla., the 2012 PGA Junior Golf Leader; Rick Murphy of Greensboro, N.C., (1988 PGA Junior Golf Leader); Rick Grayson of Springfield, Mo., (2011 PGA Junior Golf Leader); Brendon Elliott of Deltona, Fla.; and Kris Wilson of Asheville, N.C., president of The Littlest Golfer Inc. “They all have helped me be a better teacher,” Weller added.
Weller is a member of the LPGA Teaching & Coaching Professionals Division; a member of the SNAG Golf Advisory Board; the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf of Savannah Committee; the national PGA Youth Player Development Committee; the Georgia Junior Golf Committee and Proponent Group Golf. She is a proud partner with both Little Linksters and The Littlest Golfer and is a staff ambassador with The Littlest Golfer. Weller is a U.S. Kids Golf Certified Instructor and a SNAG Certified Instructor.
“I am excited about where we are going with the PGA Youth Golf Development program,” said Weller. “I see us coming together as an industry in working with youth, much like what has taken place in tennis. It is important that we keep the game fun and affordable for families.”
Weller began her golf career at age 4 through her father, who engaged his daughter in what she described “as year-round fun and challenging games” by playing golf at a par-3 course near the family home. “We played and had a great time,” said Weller. “It was where I began my love for golf and found that many of the same principles I use today in teaching and training began through what I experienced as a young girl. My interest in how to engage youngsters began when I started babysitting in the fifth and sixth grade.”
At age 9, Weller received her first formal golf lesson from PGA Professional Bob Day, now a PGA Life member, and a former head professional at Foxborough Country Club in Attleboro, Mass. Weller was co-captain of the Coyle & Cassidy High School boys’ golf team in Taunton, Mass., in 1990 and landed a berth on the Wake Forest University women’s golf team.
Weller went on to earn a master’s degree in sport psychology from the University of Tennessee
(1994) and entered into the golf industry as an assistant professional at Cherokee Country Club in Knoxville.
She quickly gained footing as a successful teaching professional at Fairways & Greens Golf Center in Knoxville and was president and site director for the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf of Knoxville (2002-2004), growing that program from 15 to more than 80 members.
Weller met her future husband, PGA Professional Ty Weller, when they were completing PGA membership Level II requirements. After they married, the couple relocated to Savannah in 2005, to The Landings Club, where she leads the golf instruction program. Ty Weller is PGA head professional at the Deer Creek Course at The Landings Club.
Weller’s background and education in junior golf, sport psychology, golf fitness and competition have allowed her to provide an all-encompassing program for her students.
“You are constantly learning and working toward developing a fun and comfortable learning environment for both youths and their families,” said Weller. “My latest work is helping to begin a League for Moms while their children are in school. The hope is to develop ‘clover leaf design’ courses that will allow all golfers, especially youth and families, the ability to play 6, 12 or 18 holes of golf based on time demand and finances.”