by Pete Kelbel
Ellen Breighner is one of the hardest workers I have coached. She is one of two girls that I have worked with that have gone on to D-1 college teams. Ellen started playing golf seriously in the 9th grade with the encouragement of her father, Joe Breighner, the former assistant coach of our High school team. He is the area manager at the world class resort, Boyne Highlands, where Ellen works on the bag staff and has practice and playing privileges.
She worked her way in just two short years to being an all-state golfer for our Harbor Springs Rams Golf team that won the Regional title and finished 6th at the state championships. She had rounds in the 70’s and was a super MVP and captain to help build our program.
Ellen was noticed by the Kent State University coach, Greg Robertson while attending the Purdue golf camp. She had plenty of interest from smaller schools as she not only had a great high school career and also played in AJGA events. She had a full ride offer from Chicago State but chose Kent State as a walk-on. Kent State has won the MAC Conference 17 years in a row, so this was the largest challenge she could find. She loved the coach, the assistant coach Maddi Swaney and the great facilities at powerhouse Kent State University.
Ellen shot a 72 in a qualifier at Kent State last fall and also shot several other rounds in the 70’s and she has shown her upside in her effort to make the traveling team. We continue to work on her game at Walloon Lake Country Club over the summers and whenever she is home on break. The head pro at Harbor Point GC as well as my assistant coach, Shaun Bezilla also is instrumental in her progress. We love to work with her as she is always smiling and ready to take on challenges. We pound fundamentals and she improves a notch each season. We have been working indoors this Christmas break as we have a lot of snow. She will return to Kent State on January 18 to continue her hard work on her game!
“Working with Pete has worked out better than I ever had imagined. When he became my golf coach in my junior year in high school, I wouldn’t have guessed we would have gone on this amazing journey together. Both he and Shaun Bezilla have been there for me whenever I needed them. They emailed coaches constantly when I was trying to be recruited and always made time to help me with my swing. Whether I was in California on vacation or at 8:00 am struggling on the range They would come to where I was or watch videos and try to resolve the problems via a phone call. I owe them both so much and wouldn’t be where I am at Kent State without them!”
Sophomore, Kent State University, Women’s Golf Team
In this video, we are working on a “straight back” takeaway. We like the shaft to be parallel with the feet when it is parallel with the ground and the clubface to be blocking the hands from down the line view. This keeps a maximum width to the backswing for distance and keeps Ellen on plane as well.
In addition to being the head professional and an extremely busy instructor at the Walloon Lake Country Club for the past 27 years, Pete Kelbel also coaches the boys and girl’s golf teams at Harbor Springs High School.
Pete has taught club champions and students who have gone on to the college level, including two young women at the D-1 level. By stressing fundamentals in his instruction and continually learning from other great teachers Pete plans to continue to help other women golfers of all ages achieve success at the amateur level and beyond.