Crystal Morse doesn’t have time to calculate the number of miles she puts on the golf carts at The Legends Golf Club.
Just know it’s a lot — particularly this time of year.
At 41, Morse, the Legends’ head golf professional since October 2018, is hitting the sweet spot of a teaching career that positively influences a growing number of young students bringing various skill levels to the tee box.
To say she remains busy is the double-bogey of understatements — hence the continuous motoring around from one location to the next.
Morse’s smile and infectious personality give her a moths-to-light aura as genuine as the love she has for the game taught to her 31 years ago by her late maternal grandfather, Kenny Hughes.
“Golf instruction is really about how you communicate with a student,” Morse said. “I feel like having my passion and maybe what I find is my strength is my ability to communicate with all different levels, especially the young ones.
“A lot of pros kind of steer away from teaching really young kids, and, honestly, I just find that I naturally relate to kids. Maybe it’s my immaturity. I don’t know.”
Morse laughs while giving the latter part of her self-description, though the impact she’s made continues to garner her notice. She’s won the past two Indiana PGA Youth Player Development awards and has been nominated as a candidate to win the honor at the national level.
Between the various junior programs she oversees and private lessons, Morse has instructed 280 different players so far this year. It’s a number sure to exceed 300 once fall programs are eventually offered.
“I really try to get to know my students, the kids especially,” Morse said. “I ask them what they like to do and what their hobbies are, so it’s not just us going out on the range and banging balls. I have a genuine interest in what they like to do.”
Greenwood residents Chris and Amanda Ray have their three sons — Colton, 13, Connor, 11, and Caden, 8 — working to improve under the watchful eye of Morse.
Amanda, who is the same age as Morse, and even played against her as Franklin golfer Amanda Bullington in the late-1990s, appreciates the way her sons are able to learn and have fun with each lesson.
“I love how Crystal doesn’t overwhelm them with a ton of information and get stuck on the millions of rules that goes with golf,” Amanda said. “She makes it fun and entertaining. When my 8-year-old is done with lessons while the other two are practicing, he’s like, ‘Can we go hit a bucket of balls?’”
Through it all, it all comes back to family for Morse.
Hughes taught the then-Crystal Anglea the sport on the fairways and greens of Walnut Ridge Golf Course, just down the road from Center Grove High School, from which she would graduate in 1998 after four consecutive seasons as the girls golf program’s No. 1 player.
Since February 2020, Morse and her husband, Jim, the PGA Director of Instruction at The Legends, have run the Morse Golf Academy, housed in a 3,200-square-foot building near the pro shop. MGA is equipped with two hitting bays, Foresight CG Quad Launch Monitors, a putting green and JC Video Swing Analysis equipment.
This allows instruction to take place year-round, not just during warm-weather months.
Additionally, Morse credits being a mother to the couple’s two children, 10-year-old son, Carson, and daughter, Cali, 7, with becoming a better instructor.
“I think my kids have really helped me have that perspective and communication,” Morse said.
Morse credits her husband for being, as she says, the brains behind MGA, and to Ted Bishop, the general partner and PGA general manager at The Legends, for giving her freedom to run the various instructional programs.
“I feel a true passion for the game. I love the game of golf,” Morse said. “People don’t have to love it as much as I love it. I just want them to play it long-term. I want to see the game as a whole just continue to be successful.
“I really feel like I found my true my passion. My calling. And I feel like I’m making a difference. I love the energy that I get from the kids, and I feel like I’m in a position to have a positive influence on their lives.”