In the second of our series of interviews and instruction focused on the LPGA Integrated Performance System, we caught up with Class A LPGA Teaching Professional and African American Golfers Hall of Fame Member, Oneda Castillo for a fascinating Q&A session.
Oneda, What got you started in golf?
I started playing golf purely by accident. My husband Ron had played his first golf game with the guys from work, it was in the spring of “83”. This is easy for me to remember because we had just been blessed with our second child, Bianca. Apparently he had a good time out there because he was anxious to get out there the next day to hit balls. He’s a great guy and he invited me along saying, “bring the baby you guys could use some fresh air.” I’ll never forget that day it was irresistible, probably 72 degrees, sunny and perfect.
What does teaching golf give you?
The thing that I enjoy most about teaching is when I get a phone call, or letter from, or run into one of my grown up junior students, and hear their success stories. These stories are rarely about golf accomplishments, most of the time they involve successes in the corporate world, and in life because of golf. It is truly a blessing to be able to share a game with young people, that can and continues to influence lives in a positive way.
What are the most significant recent changes (10-15 years) in golf equipment that have benefited regular players, particularly women?
The most significant changes in recent years in equipment that have benefitted the regular player particularly women has been more shaft options, and computers. Not so long ago ladies clubs were mostly men’s clubs cut down with flowers painted on them. Manufacturers have now added several options for shafts, that are lighter, and softer. Some companies also offer ladies flex clubs in Petit length, for people who are shorter than 5’2” tall, and Tall length for ladies who are taller than 5’7” tall. The use of launch monitors for club fitting has helped everyone to zero in on their best fits. These computers eliminate guess work and allow the trained club fitter to find the most efficient clubs for individuals. Computers can accurately compare launch angles, spin rates, and ball velocity, to achieve maximum distance and optimum ball flight. I always say buying golf clubs without getting properly fitted, is like buying expensive clothing without trying them on. Club fitting, only takes a minimal amount of time, and saves money because you won’t feel the need to buy new clubs as often.
The most common mistake that I see golfers making when choosing equipment is buying too quickly off the rack and not paying enough attention to selecting the appropriate shaft. The dynamics of the shaft must be suited to the individual at a minimum in terms of length, weight, and flex. When the shaft is right the club will work with the golfer, instead of causing poor results from a good swing.
Oneda's Favorite Tip
My favorite quick tip is “Balance”, I call it the forgotten fundamental! No matter how good you do all the necessary stuff, Grip, Posture, Alignment, Stance etc, if your balance is not maintained throughout the swing your results will be inconsistent.
Tell us about your association with LPGA Teaching & Course Professionals
William Lewis encouraged me to join the LPGA teaching division. I had thought about it before but to tell the truth, I thought that I was too old to become a Golf Professional. By nature I suppose I’ve always loved a challenge, and because there were still so few black golf professionals around, I made the decision to join the LPGA. It took me four and a half years of hard work, school, workshops, seminars, and testing to become a Class A LPGA Professional. Being an LPGA Golf Professional is busy and demanding but I love every minute of it and wouldn’t trade it for anything.
My decision to become a member of the LPGA was the right one for many reasons. One of the biggest reasons that makes me proud is that the 13 original founders of the LPGA made the decision to exclude the Caucasian-only clause that existed in the PGA charter at that time. I have had the honor to meet and thank many of those ladies in person Patty Burg, Louise Suggs, Betty Jameson, Shirley Spork, Bette Danoff, and Marilynn Smith. My personal mission is to help change the face of golf to include more women and minorities much like these pioneers.
And finally, how do you think we can keep encouraging more young women to take up golf?
I think that we can encourage more young women to take up and enjoy the game of golf for life in a couple of ways. We need to encourage golf courses to be more flexible with their rates and product offerings. I have had success with setting up 3 and 6 hole events that are moderately priced, and less time consuming. Women also like to be social, so offer classroom settings with indoor instruction, networking, and refreshments.
Oneda Castillo is a Class A LPGA Teaching Professional and African American Golfers Hall of Fame Member, she is, the 2012 LPGA Southeast Section TEACHER of the YEAR. Oneda is a much sought after coach and golf consultant from Fayetteville, GA. and serves as a Global Education Instructor for the LPGA and Director of Golf for the Women in Golf Foundation. Oneda is a certified Club Fitter and has been featured on local and national television, radio and print medias such as; the Atlanta Journal, The Wall Street Journal, Atlanta Magazine, & The Atlanta Tribune, The Golf Channel (click here to view) and many others.