Name: Ashley (Malaska) Moss
Location: Mesa, Arizona
Occupation: LPGA Teaching Professional and "Director of Instruction" at Mesa Country Club
When did you start playing golf?
I started golf when I was 15. This is later than most people think since my dad is a PGA Professional and one of the top instructors in the industry. He tried to get me to play golf sooner, but I wasn't interested because none of my friends played. I was really into team sports because of the social aspect and the intensity of the games. We moved cities the summer before my sophomore year and I decided I would quit soccer to focus on softball, since that's what I wanted to play in college. When I sat down with the high school counselor to get my schedule, she told me that if I didn't play a fall sport then I would need to add another hour of class to my schedule. That was the final motivation for me to try out for the golf team. I went to my dad the day before tryouts and told him to teach me how to play. I was able to make the team, and even though I didn't know it at the time, I was hooked for life!
When did you decide you wanted to be an LPGA Teaching Professional?
I had been out of college for about a year and was working outside service at a local golf club to make some extra money to help with my pursuit of playing on the LPGA Tour. Some of the members at the club would ask me for lessons. I never in a million years thought I'd end up teaching golf, that's what my dad did. As I started asking them what they were trying to do and what swing thoughts they had, I quickly realized I had a duty to the game to help people learn golf the way I did. I felt bad that they were so off track and most of them were desperate and ready to quit the game because of how complicated and frustrating it had become. It was easy for me to see that my goal wasn't to become and LPGA Playing Professional, but to become and LPGA Teaching Professional.
What advice would you give to another female interested in becoming an instructor?
Go for it! Women have a wonderful opportunity in a heavily male dominated industry to make our mark. Being an instructor is such a rewarding job. To see the look on your students face when they hit a great shot and understand what they did. To be the main reason for someone to pick up the game for the first time and end up loving it is a feeling I can't explain. You meet so many wonderful people from many different walks of life that you probably wouldn't meet in any other profession. At times, it will try your patience and can make you second guess your knowledge, but that's when I find I grow and learn the most.
What's a day in the life as an LPGA teaching pro?
Depends on the day! One thing I love about my job is my schedule isn't the same Monday-Friday. Some days my day starts with the gym, other days I will end at the gym. Some days my lessons will start at 9AM and go to 5PM, other days I won't start until Noon and have time to get breakfast with my husband. I create my own schedule! What most people don't see is all the work that goes into building my brand behind the scenes. Just like any entrepreneur, work doesn't start at 8 and end at 5. I work weekends and holidays and some times 12 hour days, but I wouldn't have it any other way!
What's the first advice you give to a female just picking up the game?
Have fun! Don't take it so serious because that's how traditional golf seems to be. It doesn't matter if you play 18, 9, or 3 holes. It also doesn't matter if you tee the ball up every time you hit it, if you want to pick it up and throw it, or if you just want to skip that hole. Golf is a different game for each individual person, and I try to help every student figure out the role it's going to play in their lives.
What is the number one practice drill you love to use yourself and teach to others?
How to hit shots and make the ball curve different directions. Whoever controls side spin the best in golf, wins. If you stood over the ball on every shot and knew exactly the direction it was going to curve and how much, you would gain so much confidence managing your game. One of the biggest differences between amateurs and professionals is amateurs have a two way miss, while pros eliminate one side of the golf course. You have to learn to commit to a shot shape every time you swing a club.
Why do you think golf is a great game for females to play?
I played every sport growing up, as long as I had a chance to compete I didn't care what game I was playing. I learned how to be a really good team player and rely on my teammates for success and to get through failures. It wasn't until I started golf that I learned how to rely on myself. It gave me so much confidence as a woman and as a human being. There really isn't another game out there that teaches you more about how you will handle situations when life throws you curve balls. In the world that we live in, I think it is so crucial for women to support each other and give ourselves opportunities to build our self confidence rather than compare and tear ourselves down. I haven't found a better place to do that than on the golf course.
Why did you join Team WWD?
When I saw this group was created, I immediately wanted to be a part of it. This is everything I stand for as an athlete, a golfer, a teacher, and a woman. If it wasn't for other females that encouraged me to play this game, I wouldn't have lasted very long. My number one goal as an instructor is to help more women develop a love for this great game. Every woman has her own drive, sometimes they need a little help discovering it. That's why I joined Team WWD.