How GOLF MAGAZINE’s Top 100 Teachers are selected

Step 1: The teacher must be nominated.

A select number of nominations is solicited by GOLF MAGAZINE from the executive directors of all 41 PGA of America sections (in many cases they send us their list of recent Teachers of the Year), the Canadian PGA, the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Division, current members of the Top 100 and GOLF MAGAZINE readers. For a nomination to be accepted, the candidate must be actively teaching on a regular schedule. We believe this system promotes the inclusion of lesser known but qualified nominees for review. Nearly 600 nominations are typically accepted for consideration.

Step 2: The nominated teacher must provide extensive information regarding his/her career.

A thorough questionnaire is sent to all nominees. The document requests information about many areas, including teaching philosophy, teaching style, communication skills, experience, student success stories, continuing education and development, and teaching awards.

Step 3: A committee comprised of GOLF MAGAZINE’S editor and instruction editors, and staff from the University of Georgia’s Sports Instruction Lab — the nation’s only lab designed to study how sports are taught — examines the completed questionnaires.

The final decision to include a teacher among the Top 100 is made by this committee based upon a combination of the following 10 criteria (listed in order or importance):

  • Demonstrated swing knowledge
  • Demonstrated communication skills
  • Innovative teaching ideas
  • Understanding of — and flexibility in teaching — different learning types
  • Proven success in improving students’ games
  • Willingness to share knowledge with peers through workshops, seminars, etc.
  • Teaching longevity
  • Success instructing well-known golfers
  • Number of nominations and recommendations
  • Industry awards from the PGA or LPGA or other peer recognition, such as speaking at regional and national teaching summits

Frequently Asked Questions

Isn’t the Top 100 list simply political?
Besides the committee, no one else is consulted during the final phase of the selection process and no teacher is omitted due to affiliations with other publications or corporations. In fact, more than a dozen of GOLF MAGAZINE’s Top 100 Teachers are under contract to other magazines.

Will the list be updated in the future?
This list is not meant to be an archive of the all-time greats, but a dynamic list of the best active teachers in the country at the time of publication. To ensure that this remains the case, the Top 100 Teachers list will be updated once every two years.

Why were some teachers replaced on previous Top 100 lists?
Individual teachers have been replaced on past updates because of a lack of original ideas or an unwillingness to work with GOLF MAGAZINE (assuming they are not contractually obligated to another publication) to generate instruction articles. Another reason is GOLF MAGAZINE’s belief that an influx of more and better teachers has raised the overall standard for inclusion among the Top 100. In other cases, the instructor is no longer actively teaching.

How many new teachers make the cut when the list is revised?
In previous revisions, the Top 100 Teacher lists has seen between 8 and 12 new teachers come on for an average turnover of about 10 percent.