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The Top 100 Teachers in America

The most elite list of teaching talent in America gets a boost from eight new, proven professionals.

Published: February 2009

Golf's Top 100 Teachers proudly welcome eight seasoned instructors with a heavy presence on Tour. Selecting the new members was two years in the making; the process included a review of previously submitted questionnaires, thorough research, and input from the teaching community. We also are pleased to add Jim McLean to the Emeritus portion of the list (a "Top 100 Teacher for life") in honor of his commitment to improving students' knowledge and abilities, and for many years, the quality and success of Golf Magazine.

Complete List of Top 100 Teachers | Top 100 Teachers Blog | Tips from the Top 100 Teachers

The New Top 100 Teachers

Chuck Evans
Emerald Bay Golf Club
Destin, Fla.
medicusgolfinstitute.com

Teaching since: 1970
Star students — give us some names: Grant Waite, Bobby Clampett, Buddy Alexander (UF coach).
You have one final lesson to give — who gets it?
Someone who has never broken 100.
Why don't most amateurs improve?
Misinformation, but even with correct information golfers often fail to take ownership of their improvement. The teacher informs, but it's your job to absorb and apply it.
What's the fast track to getting better?
Practice in front of a mirror so you can see precisely what you're trying to do.
You're writing an instruction book. The first line reads... "Learn to control your hands — your hands control the club, which controls the ball, which controls your game."
The biggest myth in instruction? Swinging the club along a flat spot — a circle doesn't have any flat spots.

Mark Hackett
Old Palm Golf Club
Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Teaching since: 1988
Star students — give us some names: Raymond Floyd, Robert Floyd, Brett Wetterich, Briny Baird, Michelle McGann.
You have one final lesson to give — who gets it? Barack Obama — I see no problem with a +1 in the White House.
Why don't most amateurs improve? Amateurs like to work on their strengths and ignore their weaknesses. It should be the other way around.
What's the fast track to getting better? Practice with more of a purpose. Have a game plan every time you visit the range. If you don't have one, seek out an instructor.
You're writing an instruction book. The first line reads... "Consistency starts with good fundamentals. Without a solid understanding of the basics, you don't have a chance."
The biggest myth in instruction? Adapt your body to fit a swing. The right way to do it is to fit a swing to your body.

Jerry King
Kapalua Golf Academy
Lahaina, Maui, Hi.
jerrykinggolf.com

Teaching since: 1992
Star students — give us some names: I've worked with Fred Funk, Brad Faxon, Paul Tagliabue and Joe Torre, among others.
You have one final lesson to give — who gets it? Jack Nicklaus — and I'd be the student.
Why don't most amateurs improve? Poor transition. Most amateurs don't have a consistent and smooth move between the backswing and downswing.
What's the fast track to getting better? Spend more time on the course with better players. Success is contagious.
You're writing an instruction book. The first line reads... "Find an instructor who understands you. You'll get the most benefit when your teacher creates a lesson plan that fits you, not everyone.
The biggest myth in instruction? It's a tie between "Keep your head down" and "Keep your left arm straight." These rarely happen in elite swings.

Scott Munroe
Adios Golf Club
Coconut Creek, Fla.
moneygolf.net

Teaching since: 1977
Star students — give us some names: Household names include Kenny G, Alice Cooper and D.L. Hughley.
You have one final lesson to give — who gets it? Tiger — 'nuff said.
Why don't most amateurs improve? It's difficult to boil it down to one thing because most amateurs need help in all areas of their game. Fixing just one portion makes a small dent — if you're serious about getting better, you need to address it all.
What's the fast track to getting better? No matter how long you've been playing, go back to the fundamentals. Even great players do.
You're writing an instruction book. The first line reads... "Speak your mind. Open communication between a student and his professional is critical."
The biggest myth in instruction? There's only one way to swing a club.

E.J. Pfister
Gaillardia Golf Club
Oklahoma City, Okla.
ejpfistergolf.com

Teaching since: 1998
Star students — give us some names: Bob Tway, Kevin Tway (2006 USGA Jr. Champ), Karin Sjodin (LPGA Tour), David Edwards (Champions Tour).
You have one final lesson to give — who gets it? Barry Sanders — my Oklahoma State pride makes this an obvious easy choice.
Why don't most amateurs improve? Either they're given bad information, or they're provided correct information in a manner they can't understand. This is the challenge to any instructor.
What's the fast track to getting better? Find out exactly what your faults are — never guess.
You're writing an instruction book. The first line reads... "Make sure your pro creates a comfortable, nonintimidating environment before assessing your game.
The biggest myth in instruction? There's one method that works for all golfers.

Adam Schriber
Crystal Mountain Resort
Thompsonville, Mich.

Teaching since: 1984
Star students — give us some names: Anthony Kim, Candie Kung, Morgan Pressel.
You have one final lesson to give — who gets it? Tiger Woods.
Why don't most amateurs improve? They're over-taught and under-trained, and fail to retrain their innate movement patterns.
What's the fast track to getting better? You must train to make a change. Develop a program where gym work and range work combine to improve your technique and free your mind so that you can swing like an athlete.
You're writing an instruction book. The first line reads... "Do you know how people learn? You must know this before you can teach."
The biggest myth in instruction? That you can't combine physical training with swing practice. How else are you meant to build an athletic motion?

Kellie Stenzel
Atlantic Golf Club
Bridgehampton, N.Y.
kelliestenzelgolf.com

Teaching since: 1989
Star students — give us some names: They're all stars, but some notable clients include Len Riggio (Barnes and Noble CEO) and Vera Wang.
You have one final lesson to give — who gets it? Oprah! She'd have the same effect on the game as Tiger, especially among women.
Why don't most amateurs improve? They steer away from any initial discomfort, which usually is a necessary part of change and improvement.
What's the fast track to getting better? Take a proactive role in understanding your strengths as well as your limitations so you can make informed decisions about your swing.
You're writing an instruction book. The first line reads... "Instructors: Make your student happy. This often happens just by listening."
The biggest myth in instruction? There's only one perfect swing.

Stan Utley
Grayhawk Learning Ctr.
Scottsdale, Ariz.
stanutleygolf.com

Teaching since: 1999, but sharing my ideas since 1974.
Star students — give us some names: Jay Haas, Peter Jacobsen, Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke, Rocco Mediate, Dudley Hart, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson.
You have one final lesson to give — who gets it? Jackie Burke — I'm sure it would be a lesson for me.
Why don't most amateurs improve? The technique they use is often far different from what they intend, or they're using bad information.
What's the fast track to getting better? Play with a golfer who's at a higher skill level than you.
You're writing an instruction book. The first line reads... "Integrity."
The biggest myth in instruction? The short-game techniques Tour players use aren't suited for amateurs. Why not go with what works at the highest level?

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