Monday, January 10, 2011

Lifetime Golf Academy

My career as a golf professional/instructor started in the summer of 1981 when I was offered the starter’s position at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Florida. At the time Bay Hill was the winter home of Arnold Palmer, Dow Finsterwald, Greg Norman, Scott Hoch and the late Payne Stewart to name drop but a few. In addition, because of Mr. Palmer, his invitational tournament, and its location in Central Florida, if there was a player of any consequence in the area, especially during the winter, they congregated at Bay Hill. Name a great player of that era and the odds are really good I had an opportunity to spend some time with them. This opportunity to play with them in the legendary Shoot Out, to hang out during practice sessions, and to hear them share secrets in the locker room at the end of the day was the best education a young golf professional could have. If you were paying attention, you learned something real and important about playing the game of golf, every day!
In 1986, I hit the equivalent of the golf professional lottery when Mr. Palmer offered me the opportunity to become the Head Golf Professional at his home club in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. I call this time at Latrobe my graduate level work. Every day that Mr. Palmer was home I had the opportunity to spend some time with him, on the practice tee, on the golf course, or in the workshop and the discussion was always the same, even for a man considered one of the games all time greats. How could he get better? I think you will find this a common theme among all elite players. So armed with the knowledge, generously passed along by Mr. Palmer and the Bay Hill crowd I followed the advice of the old saying, “Those who can, compete, and those who can’t, teach.” I wasn’t the player I wanted to be, so over time I came to realize I enjoyed sharing what I had learned.
One of the goals we have had at the United States Golf Academy was to create an opportunity to pass along some of this insider information. This was not as easy to do as you might think. First, it had to be a one on one teacher to student opportunity. Second, it had to be over a period of time. 30 years of experience is tough to share in a 60 minute session, and especially tough to relate the experience to more than one or two players at a time. To find a solution we went back to my days at Latrobe and copied the corporate outings we did with Mr. Palmer’s clients. These were usually two day excursions, including time on the golf course, the practice range, and around the putting green. We also spent time together socially, getting to know the players and their golf games. We call the result the Lifetime Golf Program. It starts with a two day comprehensive evaluation of your game. Two full days to complete an evaluation of your golf game from the golf course and utilizing our diagnostic technologies. After our visit, we follow up with full access to the instructors through the use of special email accounts, reduced lesson and package rates for subsequent follow up visits, and limited access phone numbers for lifetime students. Watch this blog for more detailed information as we approach the start of the season.
Sample Itinerary
Day 1
3:00 PM Check in at Swan Lake Golf Resort
Unlimited golf and practice.
Day 2
9:00-11:00AM Golf Course Evaluation
11:00-12:00PM Video Analysis
12:00-1:00PM Lunch at Pro Shop Grill
1:00-3:300PM Full Swing Recommendations
3:00-5:00PM Putting Analysis
6:00 PM Dinner with PGA Professionals –
Day 3
9:00-12:00PM TrackMan Launch Monitor – Ball Flight and Equipment Analysis
12:00-1:00PM Lunch at Pro Shop Grill
1:00-3:00PM Short Game Area
3:00-5:00PM On Course Training with PGA Professional
5:00PM Depart from Swan Lake Resort

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