Alana Swain is the latest addition to the PGA Tour's team of instructors at the Performance Center at TPC Sawgrass.
With an NCAA Championship and plenty of teaching experience on her resume, Swain applied for an instructor position at TPC Sawgrass shortly after finding out that the PGA Tour would be opening a new facility run by Todd Anderson. Swain connected with him at the behest of her friend and came for a visit to see the facility.
She thought it was unbelievable.
"It's a dream for a teacher and player," Swain said. "Everything you need to get better at is right here. I've seen a lot of golf facilities. It's just really well done. We have every piece of technology that you'd need. The putting studio is incredible, and the team of instructors we have here is also really special."
Swain fell in love with golf as a 14-year-old high school student. She knew right away that she wanted to play the sport competitively because it spoke to her, and every facet of the game is measurable.
"You can see how your hard work pays off based on scores," Swain said. "You kind of get almost addicted to getting better."
Swain accrued only a few years of experience before joining the golf team at her university. She went on to win an NCAA championship.
"I went to Methodist University in North Carolina which had a great women's golf program, but they also have a program called PGM where you can get your PGA card along with your business degree all at the same time," she said. "So, when you go through that program, you do internships in the summer … And it was through the internships that I saw that being a teacher was my passion."
Swain noticed the significance of coaching during her time as a collegiate golfer. As a result, she utilized years of studying and knowledge of the game to become one of the best young instructors in the country, according to Golf Digest Magazine.
Since 2010, Swain has worked as an instructor in New York and Miami at the Atlantic Golf Club, the Scarsdale Golf Club and the Jim McLean Golf School. In 2017, the PGA Tour's Performance Center at TPC Sawgrass offered her a new challenge.
"It's very different," Swain said. "I'm coming in from working at country clubs, I have also worked at a golf school, but it's definitely different than where I've worked previously. Because it's a performance center and not a golf school, we're creating programs to really get people better and come up with plans for people and assessments to measure their improvement.
"We're just hoping to create an amazing golf experience for people," Swain added.
The Chicago native describes herself as a "whole game teacher" who coaches everything, but mostly full swing. She has worked with a vast array of clientele over the years and is trained to teach all skill levels, from amateurs to pros. One of the most satisfying aspects of coaching, Swain said, is watching her clients accomplish their sought-after goals.
"I like taking any level player and creating an individual, specific plan for people to get better," she said. "I like watching a beginner hit the ball in the air for the first time and then want to do that over and over again. I like watching a high school kid make the high school team."
Swain’s advice for new players is pair up with a friend and find an instructor that can simplify the game and teach the basics.
"If you're starting, it’s fun to do it with a friend,” she said. “Pair up with someone and learn together, find an instructor and learn those basics. It's tough to do it on your own.”
For more information on the Performance Center at TPC Sawgrass, visit www.tourperformancecenter.com.