Talk about first impressions.
In her short time as an instructor at the Duran Academy of Golf, Abigale Schepperle already has proven to be a big hit with her students, co-workers and … well … just about everyone she’s met.
"You can already tell the impact she’s had in the (two months) she’s been here," said Justin Blazer, Duran’s director of instruction.
"You can tell the kids are having fun. You would think there would be an adjustment with some kids getting to know a new instructor, but with her skills and talents, that changed right away.
"It’s working out well. It’s a great team fit because she’s able to focus on a certain segment of golfers and grow them. She’s really critical in introducing these kids to the game in a fun manner with all of these different programs and platforms and all the tools she has. It’s unbelievable."
Schepperle, 33, played at Auburn University along with her younger sister, Candace. Her father, David, played professionally and has been a long-time golf instructor.
She came to Duran in September after previously working in Atlanta.
"I think golf is in my blood," Schepperle said. "My parents own their own business. They sell golf training aids. We’ve been (about) golf my whole life. I think the passion for teaching just comes from something that I love to do.
"I just didn’t want to do it for a living as far as playing. I get more satisfaction out of seeing the kids and my students learning now. It’s definitely changed my passion a little bit."
Already rated as a top 50 U.S. Kid’s instructor, Schepperle has been working with beginning and intermediate students, helping to put them on a path to grow their games to where they can play at the elite and competitive levels, which is the area Blazer is focusing on.
While moving from Atlanta to Brevard County has been an adjustment on a personal level — the traffic certainly isn’t the same — Schepperle has enjoyed making the move.
"I love this golf course," she said. "I love (working with) Justin. I’m just excited to be here. It was long overdue. I’ve been ready to get here and get started.
"I came here for a little bit more of growth and peace of mind. It’s definitely calmer here. Lots of kids. Lots of growth opportunities. I’m excited about that."
In addition to working with the young academy members, Schepperle is also working to build the game among the adult women who play at Duran.
"I’ve been trying to get to know all the ladies’ groups that play here, which has been awesome, and just hopefully give them a place where they can feel comfortable and give them room to grow as well," she said.
Given that she played at an elite level and has been around the game all of her life, Schepperle is comfortable working with players of any experience level.
But clearly, her niche is working with kids and getting them to find the joy in the game she loves so much.
"I think when I introduce them to the game, it’s not just about golf at that point," she said. "What I love about it is just building the relationships and knowing that you have an impact on a child’s life.
"… They may not play professionally. They may not play in college. But you have an impact on teaching them how to be amazing little human beings and keeping them having fun and wanting to be out here. I think that’s so important. That’s why I love it."