Doug Mertz grew up in northern Orange County and has been involved in golf in Southern California since 1994.
When he became head professional at Fullerton's Coyote Hills Golf Club two years ago, he increased instruction options by setting up a golf academy.
"I really make a sincere effort to take care of my students," Mertz said. "I think we need to get back to more personal attention."
What inspired you to become a golf teacher?
I was very fortunate to grow up around some great golf professionals who inspired me. That, along with the feeling of seeing your theory work for your students, continues to inspire me.
What's the most common problem you see in your students?
No doubt, speed. Most golfers have one gear. I demonstrate to my students how it's imperative to have different gears.
What's the most challenging thing about being a golf teacher?
Being able to give all the personal attention to each and every student.
How old were you when you started playing golf?
Five or 6. My father did it the right way. He just let me play.
What's the most satisfying thing about being a golf teacher?
The people. Teaching golf has introduced me to all walks of life, from juniors to rock stars, PGA Tour players to the average player just trying to improve. The key is to treat them all the same.
What professional golfer would you most like to be reincarnated as and why?
Lee Trevino. I love that generation. There have been better players, but nobody had more fun than Trevino did.
What is your favorite part of the game?
Putting, by far. There's nothing better than making a 40-footer. When I get a free half hour, the putting green is where you can find me. It's the great equalizer.
What's your personal motto on the course?
What is your most treasured golf possession?
My original Wilson 8802 putter. Priceless.
Who are your golf heroes?
My dad, Mr. [Arnold] Palmer, Mr. [Fred] Couples and Mr. [Ben] Crenshaw.