Alison Curdt puts body, heart and soul into work
Alison Curdt was doing laundry at home in Woodland Hills when the call came. She didn’t recognize the number, from North Carolina, and she usually lets calls like that go to voicemail. But for some reason she decided to answer.
It turned out to be one of the best phone calls of her life.
Dana Rader, president of the LPGA teaching professionals, was on the line. She had good news. Curdt had been selected the 2015 LPGA National Teacher of the Year.
“My first thought was why is Dana Rader calling me,” Curdt remembered during a recent conversation at Wood Ranch Country Club in Simi Valley. “I remember sitting down on my bed and she was telling me how I won national teacher of the year. I was absolutely blown away.”
The award embellished an impressive resume for Curdt, a forward-thinking 34-year-old director of golf instruction at Wood Ranch. Entries on that resume include being one of only 11 women to become a PGA Master Professional; 2012 and 2015 LPGA Western Section Teacher of the Year; 2015 SCPGA Northern Chapter Teacher of the Year; 2016 SCPGA Teacher of the Year; and one of Golf Digest’s Best Young Instructors in America for 2016-17.
What separates Curdt from some contemporaries is a developing expertise in clinical psychology. That has helped define her teaching philosophy and enabled her to encourage students to achieve levels of performance they might not reach by focusing solely on the physical elements of the game.
Curdt received a golf scholarship at Florida State and graduated in 2004 with a dual degree in psychology and professional golf management. In 2011 she enrolled at Pepperdine and two years later earned her masters degree in clinical psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy. A licensed psychotherapist who sees patients in the evenings, she’s now halfway through her doctoral program with an emphasis in sports psychology from California Southern University.
“For me, teaching was working with human beings, not just about how you grip the club or swing it,” Curdt said. “You’re a person. If I can work with that person, work with their emotions, work with the relationship, that might exponentially change their physical responses.”
That approach has left its mark on her students.
Mikie Alpert, the reigning women’s club champion at Rancho Park Golf Course, liked what she had seen of Curdt in a Golf Channel segment and has been seeing her for about a year and a half. Her handicap has dropped from 7 to 4.