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Lakewood native gives back to Northwest by opening golf school at Chambers Bay

June 10, 2011
By Scott Hanson
Seattle Times staff
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UNIVERSITY PLACE — Brian Mogg had just finished his first golfing school at Chambers Bay, and after spending 3 ½ hours with four students, he was convinced the session had worked.

“I guarantee all four of these guys are going to see significant improvement in the next 10 days,” Mogg said. “Three of the four had equipment that didn’t fit them, so they had postures that were about as unathletic as can be. So they have a program for how they are going to change their posture and tweak their equipment. Brent (Zepp) and I are going to look like geniuses when all we’ve done is get them in an athletic starting point.”

Mogg, who grew up in Lakewood but is based now in Orlando, Fla., is the instructor for PGA Tour players Y.E. Yang and D.A. Points, along with Champions Tour star John Cook.

Mogg, 49, is recognized as one of the nation’s best instructors, and his Mogg Performance Center classes have flourished on the other side of the country, but he said his heart has always been in the Northwest. He said he made the decision to open here because of a lack of such instruction in the area.

“The Northwest hadn’t had a golf school, and I really want to be able to give something back to Northwest golf,” said Mogg, who will be assisted in the classes by Chambers Bay pro Zepp and Ken Still, the 1969 Ryder Cup member from Fircrest. “The passion and talent in the Northwest is not lacking. But tactfully said, there needs to be better information out there. I want to contribute to the quality of golf in the Northwest.”

The four players at the inaugural session had varying ability levels, but that posed no problem as each got plenty of attention.

“The mission is the same whether you’re working with a PGA Tour player or a player with a high handicap, and that’s to help them play better,” Mogg said. “I am very sensitive to the fact that we’re more expensive than what people are probably used to paying, and I want people to feel like they are getting personalized attention. I don’t want this to be a factory golf school. I want it to be a personalized golf school.”

The 3 ½-hour sessions cost $350, and that includes a voucher for a future round at Chambers Bay, which will play host to the 2015 U.S. Open. Class sizes will be kept to about six to eight to make sure students get individual attention.

Mogg, who starred as a golfer at Ohio State, is particularly happy to have Still’s assistance. Still was a mentor to Mogg when he was growing up and the two have remained close friends.

“Outside of Freddy Couples, I don’t think anybody in the Northwest has accomplished as much as Kenny has,” Mogg said of Still, 76, who won three times on the PGA Tour. “The stuff Kenny knows about the short game is priceless. That’s why I want to have him more involved.”

Unlike at some golf schools that bear famous instructors’ names but are taught by the instructors’ assistants, Mogg will be on hand. He will be back often this summer as classes are scheduled at Chambers Bay for nine more dates over the next three months.

His classes are relaxed, with time spent on all phases of the game, including video instruction. In-class competitions help keep a fun atmosphere.

“I think that the best learning takes place under relaxed conditions,” Mogg said. “The classes are not rigid, and we have the flexibility to work more on certain things. You have to read what the class wants, and what the class needs.”

The instruction continues afterward as Mogg sends students emails with things to work on. For Mogg, seeing students improve and spending more time in the Northwest is the perfect combination.

“I love it here,” he said. “I am really excited to be doing this here.”