Stateline Strong: Golf Instructor Coaches Youth after Brush with Death

Coach Lloyd McWilliams had success in his youth, now he's helping others.

ROCKFORD - Coach Lloyd McWilliams says there's no such thing as a typical day on the golf course.

McWilliams' goal is always the same for the pint sized pros he works with.

"[Kids] want to be safe and they want to have fun," explained McWilliams. "They don't wanna be taught."

McWilliams deals high-fives all around which shows he's onto something as the junior leaguers use their putters like pool sticks. McWilliams turns  practice into a series of games that aren't necessarily all about golf.

 "Golf is the greatest game in the world, I tell my kids," said McWilliams.

Golf is a game he started playing at the age of six. McWilliams spent his summers on golf courses, playing 54 holes each day. He went on to win five Rockford Men's City championships, three Gold Medal Classic tournaments and qualified six times for U.S. Amateur Public Links championships, to name a few.  But it's being a 2013 Illinois PGA Section Junior Golf Leader award winner, and a US Kids Golf Top 50 Kids Teacher that mean the most to him. To say McWilliams stumbled upon his gift of coaching others is putting it mildly.

"When I was 57 years old, I died," explained McWilliams. "I couldn't figure out why I came back to life." McWilliams heart stopped beating for several seconds. Doctors called it a "widow-maker." McWilliams called it a game-changer, because four years later, he graduated as a p-g-a pro and went to work with the Rockford Park District.

"The rest, as they say is history," said McWilliams.

His non-traditional methods have driven thousands of kids into the  junior league golf program, including his great grandson. His passion, passed down from generation to generation.

McWilliams says the hole in one for him is seeing his legacy take shape on the course each day.

"I want to be remembered not as a really great golfer from Rockford. I want to be remembered as the person who developed a lot of great kid golfers from Rockford."

For more information on the types of courses McWilliams offers, click here.

McWilliams also gives lessons to disabled adults and has a winter golf academy.

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