CasaBlanca Golf Club Head Professional Mary Ochs is a committed individual who sets goals and usually attains them.
So when the former U.S. Marine decided to better herself in the golf world almost five years ago, no obstacle was going to stop her from earning her Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Class A Teaching and Club Professional designation.
“I started the journey in September of 2007,” recalls Ochs, a 10 year-resident of Mesquite and a native of White Bear Lake, Minn. “I just felt it was necessary in order for me to keep up with the changes in golf and also help my students at the same time.”
The word “journey’’ definitely says it all considering that the energetic Ochs spent thousands of dollars in expenses while also recording thousands of miles in travel to fulfill a void in her golf career.
The bottom line was that reaching the lofty goal would also enable Ochs the opportunity to help her students even more after she was encouraged by two key people within Mesquite Gaming.
“If it hadn’t been for the wonderful people of Mesquite Gaming including Ann Sunstrum and Cal Richardson, I never would have done this,” Ochs said. “It took continual encouragement and without their support, I might not have achieved this.
“I first had to submit my application to the LPGA. You must have a certain handicap in order to even take the Players Ability Test at Stone Creek Golf Course, Arizona. Once you pass that, you are then in the application process; and you’re considered an LPGA Apprentice.”
With lots more schooling in front of her, Ochs started the hands-on training by flying to Orlando, Fla., for her C Class which included four days of class work.
The next stop was in Stone Creek for Class B. After passing the book work, another trip was required to Phoenix for Class A testing. In order to keep her Class A status, she needs to keep up with the education and play in numerous tournaments.
“Each class was eight hours long,’ she said. “Then, you have to pass a written exam, and they’re not easy.”
Attaining the LPGA designation usually takes an average of eight years. Ochs’s dedication was evidenced by the fact that she completed her work and earned her Class A Teaching and Club Professional designation in 4 ½ years. She is one of only 1,200 women in the world to attain her LPGA Teaching
Class A status.
“Everyone has their own learning style and particular pace,’ she said. “I just stayed very focused. I fell in love with the educational process provided by the LPGA because I sincerely could feel the difference it was making in me. I really saw the value of what I was learning and knew that I could pass that on to my students.
“There was a special sense of satisfaction that I felt with every day. Golf is an ever-changing sport and in order to help others, people like me must be willing to keep bettering ourselves.”
Ochs enjoys changing the lives of others by teaching them the finer points of golf.
Among those who appreciate her work is Donna Murray, who once sat at home while her husband, Wes, played golf.
Wes, who had been playing since he was a kid, found the sport to be a rewarding experience. A former 40-year veteran of the banking business in Calgary, golf was relaxing for him.
Now, the couple plays golf together in what is a true example of bonding.
“When I started taking golf lessons from Mary, I hadn’t played golf in 30 years,” said Murray, who lives with husband in Mesquite for six months during the winter before returning to another home in Calgary, Canada during the summer. “I just didn’t care for golf and didn’t enjoy anything about it. When we moved to Mesquite, I didn’t play for the first year that we lived there.
“My husband always felt badly about playing golf without me, so I thought I’d give it another try. I love the game now. Mary has taken me from a golf hater to a golf lover.”
A good golf instructor can definitely change a person’s outlook on the game, as Mrs. Murray discovered.
“Mary took me out there and taught me in a way that made learning fun,” Murray explained. “I was focused on what she was telling me and she brought me from not having a good time to where I enjoy the game so much that I can’t wait to play again.
“I love her dearly.”
Married for 38 years, the Murrays are having the time of their lives on the golf course now.
“I just love the fact that we play golf together now,” Mr. Murray said. “A couple can really enjoy themselves on the golf course. We love living in Mesquite where the bonus is golf.
“My wife used to take three hours to play three holes. Mary is a remarkable teacher.”
Contact Mary Ochs, CasaBlanca Golf Club Head Professional, at 702-346-6764.