VanLoozen tapped by Michigan PGA for Teacher of the Year

By: Jacob Herbert | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published July 29, 2019

 Dave VanLoozen was awarded the 2019 Michigan Section PGA Teacher of the Year. VanLoozen teaches at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills and was honored for his overall impact on teaching and coaching at his facility.

Dave VanLoozen was awarded the 2019 Michigan Section PGA Teacher of the Year. VanLoozen teaches at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills and was honored for his overall impact on teaching and coaching at his facility.

Photo provided by the Michigan Section PGA

Advertisement

WEST BLOOMFIELD — West Bloomfield resident David VanLoozen grew up on a golf course and has been swinging a golf club since he was 6 years old. From there, he spent the majority of his days at the driving range, doing a multitude of jobs around the course.

VanLoozen turned pro in 1989 and would pursue golf for a living until 1995. His teaching career started at Edgewood Country Club in Commerce Township, where his father, Paul VanLoozen, was a teaching pro from 1958 to 1998.

In 2005, he became a full-time teacher and has spent the past three years at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills.

VanLoozen’s life has revolved around golf from a very young age. So when the Michigan Section PGA named him 2019 Teacher of the Year, he noted how grateful he was for it and accepted the award with his father in mind.

“When I settled in on teaching, my father made it pretty clear that if you’re going to teach, they better get better,” VanLoozen said of his father, who died in 1999. “To me, (the honor) would say that I did a pretty good job, that he was proud and that enough people got better that they thought I deserved the award.”

Glenn Hall won the first Teacher of the Year Award in 1987 and it has been given out ever since. According to the Michigan PGA, the award honored VanLoozen for his overall impact on teaching and coaching at his facility along with the innovative and special teaching programs that he implemented.

VanLoozen said his students start as early as age 6 or 7, and that he has taught people in their 90s. He has had students awarded college scholarships to Georgia Tech, Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and the University of Central Florida, among many others.

VanLoozen’s students have also gone on to win both the Michigan Junior and Senior Amateur tournaments and have qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championship, the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship and the U.S. Senior Open.

Just last month, Ben Smith, of Novi, won the Michigan Amateur Championship at Oakland Hills. VanLoozen has been teaching Smith since he was 8 years old and continues to teach him to this day. VanLoozen was there to present Smith with the trophy, and he called it a “really proud moment” in his career.

The key behind his teaching philosophy is to get a proper diagnosis of a swing as early as possible during the lessons.

“If you’re going to correct a swing flaw or get somebody to hit the ball better, you really have to understand the cause and effect so that you can get right to what you need to do to improve the next shot right away, not something that takes months to get better,” VanLoozen said.

The coach makes it his goal to help each of his students get whatever they want out of the game. Whether it’s earning a college scholarship or just being able to keep up with friends on the course, VanLoozen will get the student wherever they need to go.

“I really care about people getting better,” VanLoozen said. “I will go that extra mile, and I will be there for them so they know that I’m on their side. I’m going to help them as much as I can physically and mentally do.”

Since it was known that he won the award, many of VanLoozen’s fellow pros and students have reached out to congratulate him on the honor. VanLoozen said he feels welcomed at Oakland Hills even though he’s only been there for a short amount of time.

“I’m just so grateful for the reception I’ve gotten,” he said. “The president and the board members have been great. I couldn’t ask for more.”

Advertisement