Aug. 26, 2009
Tennessee head coach Jim Kelson has named Casey VanDamme the newest member of the men's golf coaching staff, it was announced Wednesday.
VanDamme, 32, takes over as assistant coach for the Vols after learning the trade under renowned golf instructor Jim McLean. VanDamme spent seven years at the Jim McLean Golf School in both Palm Springs, Calif., and Traverse City, Mich., becoming the youngest Master Instructor in school history.
"Casey joins our staff as a very accomplished professional golf instructor," Kelson said. "Teaching and instruction have been focal points in our program for several years. These two components are really at the core of our program here at Tennessee."
VanDamme's teaching experience includes working with some of the finest players on the PGA Tour, and he was an on-site teaching professional to a participant in the 2009 PGA Championship.
"I am extremely impressed with Casey's knowledge of the game and his keen understanding and expertise as a teacher of golf," Kelson said. "He is one of those special instructors that can identify a player's tendencies and then prioritize and simplify the instructional changes. He possesses a very thorough and complex understanding of the mechanics of a golf swing, but his methods of teaching and development are condensed and simplified for his students.
"This unique ability ideally qualifies Casey to become a member of our staff."
VanDamme brings a dozen years of golf instruction to a Vols team that finished 12th nationally at the most recent NCAA championship.
"I certainly want to thank Coach Kelson and the University of Tennessee for the great opportunity to work with an outstanding golf program," VanDamme said. "I'm excited about trying to make the golfers at Tennessee better and getting our team even better.
A 2000 graduate of Northern Michigan University, VanDamme began his tenure under Jim McLean in 1998 while still playing collegiately. He also played professionally on the NGA Hooters Tour from 2003-04.
VanDamme has spent the last three years as athletics director at Mid Peninsula High School in Rock, Mich., while spending summers since 2005 with the CVD Golf Academy in Gladstone, Mich. He also served in 2008 as head golf professional at LochenHeath Golf Club in Traverse City.
"We are very pleased that Casey VanDamme has decided to join us," Kelson said. "I have no doubt that our players and our program will benefit as a result of this hire."