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Master golfer continues to refine golfing skills

| Monday, March 20, 2017, 11:00 p.m.
Debbie Constintin

LPGA Master Professional Debbie Constintin says: “I always play the best day of the season the first time out.”

The Blawnox woman has taught golf for four decades and continues to invest her time in seminars to become a better teacher. Her No. 1 wish: Help others play the game.

“If you don't make it fun, they won't want to play. You learn through games,” Constintin says.

The petite pro helps golfers get in the swing. She is an instructor at the Pine Creek Golf Center off Duncan Road in Hampton, offering clinics, small group, and individual lessons. As better weather rolls around, the driving range and instruction center will get busier, but it's open year-round.

At Pine Creek's driving range, Constintin not only helps improve a swing, but teaches people how to become better all-around golfers.

“You have to know how to practice. It's about transferring skills,” she says. “Well-rounded instruction can teach that.”

For example, hitting long drives isn't as important as getting the ball to where it needs to be. Constintin recommends learning from an instructor rather than from a book or YouTube. Like a true teacher, she knows what, when and how you teach gets the ball soaring. Especially with young golfers, skills can't be forced.

Constintin makes teaching come alive with her wit and knowledge. She promises her students: “I left my magic wand at home today — it's not going to happen overnight. A motor skill is learned by practice and repetition.”

Constintin helps golfers to practice what she preaches, too, by organizing them into leagues and sending new golfers, especially women, onto the course. They play in scrambles during June, July and August.

“They can get into the system and expand their network. The friendships created are something I'm really proud of,” Constintin says.

Along with social relationships and networking, golfing is a chance to take a walk in the fresh air, she says. It is competitive, too, even when playing alone. As a individual sport, the golfer is really playing against herself. A good golfer must learn self-management, says the coach.

“People are out there for a lot of reasons,” she says.

Constintin grew up playing golf with her family in her hometown outside of Baltimore. As a preteen, she was the only girl in her golf classes, often beating the boys.

During the 1970s, she was the second assistant pro at the Pittsburgh Field Club. She knew she wanted to teach so she took special classes, such as ones at the Titleist Performance Institute, which teaches strengthening. She keeps learning because golf is a life-long sport.

Constintin keeps up with physical and mental issues related to golf. Many of these she shares in a newsletter she sends out. She believes in “eating clean,” taking sugar out of her diet and staying away from grains.

In her off-season, Constintin is creating mosaics, decorating items with glass and tile. She laughs at being someone who doesn't care to read or be contemplative, like her daughter, Jill. She walks dogs, too, aiding her personal fitness and spending time outside.

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