Meet the Pro: Palm Beach Par 3 pro matches lessons with students’ style

Kellie Stenzel, director of instruction at the Palm Beach Par 3 Golf Course.

Kurtis Boggs/The Coastal Star

By Steve Pike

    It’s unusual for a par 3 golf course to have five highly respected teaching professionals. It’s even more unusual when that facility’s director of instruction is a member of Golf magazine’s Top 100 Teachers in America, Golf for Women magazine’s Top 50 Teachers and Golf Digest magazine’s 50 Greatest Women Teachers.

    Such is the partial résumé of Kellie Stenzel, director of instruction at the Palm Beach Par 3 Golf Course, which isn’t your usual par 3 course. Its 18 holes sit along the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway; and its new clubhouse features a second-floor restaurant (Al Fresco) that offers some of the better ocean views in Palm Beach County.

    “This place has really changed in the 12 or 13 years I‘ve been here,’’ said Stenzel, who splits her time between the Palm Beach Par 3 and Palm Beach Country Club. “The community has really been behind the entire project, from the re-design of the golf course (by World Golf Hall of Famer Raymond Floyd) and now with the clubhouse. It’s a totally different place.

    “The golf course always has been good, but since we opened the restaurant and pro shop, it’s just become a destination. A lot of people are getting introduced to the facility for the first time and realize we have something special something.’’

    A native of Geneva, N.Y., and a graduate of Furman University, where she played on the women’s golf team, Stenzel has been around golf her entire life. Her grandfather, Robert Stenzel Sr., was head professional at Churchville Golf Club near Rochester, N.Y., and her father, Robert Jr., played briefly on the PGA Tour and was coach of the University of North Carolina men’s golf team.

    Stenzel, 48, played professionally, mostly in Europe, Asia, South Africa and Australia, before she turned to teaching more than 20 years ago, guided by such well-known instructors as Mike Adams (former director of instruction at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens), Todd Anderson (former director of instruction at The Breakers Palm Beach) and legendary teacher Bob Toski. 

    “I’ve been lucky to work with my dad and some great teachers and learn a lot about the golf swing,’’ Stenzel said. “My teaching philosophy is that everybody has different strengths and different body types. I kind of a build a swing around each individual and change as few things as possible. I allow the students to make the changes they want.’’

    To match her teaching philosophy, Stenzel hires teaching professionals with different strengths and methods of instruction.

    “I don’t want cookie cutter teachers who do the same things,’’ she said. “We have some great teachers here at the Par 3 with excellent people skills. Everybody has a different personality. One teacher is going to mesh with one personality and another teacher with another personality.’’

    Stenzel has authored three books: The Women’s Guide to Golf: A Handbook for Beginners; The Women’s Guide to Consistent Golf; and The Women’s Guide to Lower Scores.

    “I’m in the process of getting the ‘Beginner’ book re-done,’’ she said. “Surprisingly, it’s still doing pretty well, but is hard to find right now, so it’s time to get it re-done.’’

 

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