Crystal Lake Golf Club – “A-Maizing” Golf Lessons In Lakeville
By Tim Cotroneo
Crystal Lake Golf Club Professional Sheryl Maize arrived to work in style on a blustery 50-degree Friday morning in May. Maize was decked out in a Blue Lagoon hat and Zo-On jacket that she earned after generating sold-out golf school classes during her four years of teaching in Iceland.
Playing midnight golf in Iceland is just one of the storied stops on this passionate golf teacher’s resume. The 2015 LPGA Junior Leader of the Year was born in Chicago, played collegiate golf in Miami, and coached at the University of Memphis. When she’s not giving golf tips to Mark Rosen on WCCO TV, Maize instructs year-round in Sarasota, FL, and Pine Needles, NC, before returning to Crystal Lake each summer. That’s in addition to being the Assistant Golf Coach at Concordia University in St. Paul.
If it sounds like Maize’s golf teaching life is a whirlwind, you’d be right. Maize stashes almonds, avocados, and walnuts in her golf bag as she barely has time to eat during 14-hour workdays at Crystal Lake.
Learning from The 5 E’s
Maize’s teaching prowess has turned Crystal Lake Golf Club into something of a Twin Cities golf-learning epicenter. When she’s not teaching junior golfers ages eight to 17, Maize devotes a portion of her days and evenings to both individual and adult group instruction. With her ever-expanding portfolio of specialties, growing the game for girls is what sends this U.S. Kids Top 50 instructor’s already optimistic personality into overdrive.
“I just love the work that’s being done through the LPGA USGA Girls Golf program. We have a mission focusing on the 5 E’s of empower, enrich, engage, energize, and exercise. It’s a privilege to witness what our girls learn beyond golf and observe all the great friendships being made,” Maize said.
Crystal Lake General Manager Jim Orlando is a keen observer watching Maize’s impact on every level. “Sheryl is so highly regarded with junior girls and women golfers. She’s also the driving force behind our having over 500 kids participating in summer programs, camps, and events. She’s also completely won over the men who play here because they see their games improve. Sheryl’s even knocked double digits off her fiancé’s handicap,” Orando said with a smile.
Crystal Lake Numbers Are Growing
Orlando first came on board at Crystal Lake Golf Club back in 1997. He noted that golf’s popularity is edging skyward at this 160-acre course featuring rolling hills, immaculate fairways, and Audubon Sanctuary status. “Last year, between good weather and the Ryder Cup excitement, we saw 40,000 rounds in 2017. Our course conditions are terrific this year, so we expect those numbers to grow,” Orlando said.
Beyond their individual round and golf tournament reputation, Crystal Lake has become a south metro go-to venue for weddings, meetings, and banquets. Their newly renovated banquet facility features great golf course views and seats 250 guests. Orlando and his team are also excited about seeing their clubhouse snack bar completely revamped into a pub. The renovations will begin in June, and the pub will give the clubhouse interior a whole new look and feel.
Lopez, Tension, And Chocolate
When Maize isn’t teaching, she is still living and breathing golf. A Crystal Lake newcomer engaged Maize in a far-reaching conversation when she returned to the clubhouse after her latest lesson. Maize swapped stories about lockering next to Nancy Lopez during a LPGA event, giving a referral on who is the best person for the mental side of golf, and a tip on adjusting arm tension when the short game falters. The conversation culminated in laughter when Maize shared that the only Icelandic word she retained over four years was the one for “chocolate.”
Maize politely noted to the guest that it was time for her next lesson. When asked what she’d be focusing on this time, Maize replied that she was teaching youngsters a golf game called Cow Pasture Pool. Before the puzzled guest could say, “cow what,” Maize was out the door and greeting the kids.
For Crystal Lake’s whirlwind Golf Instructor, life sometimes gets in the way of her next training session. On a day that wouldn’t end until long after sundown, Maize admitted to paying the price for not adhering to golf’s core principal of following through the night before. “I was late getting home last evening and didn’t stop at the grocery store. Now I’m down to my last bag of almonds,” Maize said.
Best Reasons To Visit Crystal Lake
If you’d like to improve your game, introduce a youngster to golf, or share your almonds, then visit Crystal Lake Golf Club this summer. It’s the only course in Minnesota where you can be trained by an LPGA Junior Leader of the Year, check on the progress of Crystal Lake’s new pub, and learn how to say the Icelandic word for “chocolate.”