Florida's Golf Schools

By: James Y. Bartlett

Learn to swing like a pro, from the pros, at Florida's golf schools.

Every golfer occasionally goes through “one of those days” when tee shots find the woods, the rough or worse; swings with the irons more resembling an attempt to dig one’s way to China; and a smooth putting stroke is as difficult to find as an honest used car salesman. 
But when those kinds of days become the norm instead of the exception, it may be time to seek help. Luckily, Florida is filled with excellent golf schools wherein an afflicted hacker can find the cure to everything from the persistent slice to the putting yips. 
One can find one-day clinics focusing on a specific aspect of the golf swing, as well as seven-day schools wrapped in the luxury of a fine golf resort. Obviously, price is one consideration, but those wishing to get better at golf should also look for a golf school or instructional program where one-on-one time with a teacher is provided. Everyone’s swing is different, and a good teacher will take what you've got and help you make it better.

These days, of course, technology is also important. In addition to the now old-fashioned use of video, modern-day schools offer computer modeling, swing analysis and other high-tech gizmos designed to eliminate the flaws in one’s motion. Many schools also spend time on the mental aspects of the game: concentration, relaxation and goal-orientation. Here are some of the state's best programs:

David Leadbetter Golf Academy

One of the top “gurus” for touring professionals ranging from Aaron Baddely to Michele Wie, Leadbetter himself is currently based at the ChampionsGate Resort near Orlando, but also operates a golf academy at the La Playa Beach and Golf Resort in Naples and PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens. His schools include from one-, two- or three-day courses; private lessons; and excellent programs for golfers of every skill level, from beginners to winners. (407-390-6664; www.leadbetter.com)

Rick Smith Golf Academy, Naples

The pro who helped guide Phil Mickelson to his first major runs a golf instructional program at the Tiburon Golf Course at the Ritz-Carlton near North Naples. Student-teacher ratios of 2:1 insure lots of personal attention, and the 36 holes at the resort provide plenty of places to test out a new swing. (877-464-6531; www.rsgatiburon.com)

Omni Amelia Island Plantation Golf Academy, Amelia Island

Longtime teaching pro Ed Bowe offers two-, three- and four-day schools that start with the basics and work up from there. (904-261-6161; http://www.aipfl.com/golf/golf_school.htm
Jim McLean Golf School, Miami

Working with both professional clients and resort guests, McLean uses a vast array of technological gear to help students focus in on his eight swing steps. McLean also now has his own signature course at the Doral resort. (800-72-DORAL; www.jimmclean.com
Dave Pelz Scoring Game School, Boca Raton Resort & Club, Boca Raton

The guru of the game from 100 yards and in helps students master the scoring clubs: wedges and putters. Two- and three-day schools, as well as one-day clinics, are offered. The school is also located at PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens. (800-833-7370 for Boca Raton and Palm Beach Gardens locations; www.pelzgolf.com)

Grand Cypress Academy of Golf, Villas of Grand Cypress Resort, Orlando

Computer modeling combined with one-on-one instruction can help smooth out anyone's swing. Three practice holes also help. (407-239-1975; www.grandcypress.com
PGA National Golf Academy, PGA National Resort and Spa, Palm Beach Gardens

Three-day programs for players of all levels teach David Leadbetter’s swing and short game, and Dave Pelz’s putting. The resort offers excellent packages for students. (800-863-2819; pgaresort.com
Ben Sutton Golf School, Ruskin

One of the oldest, longest-running golf school programs is based in Ruskin near Tampa. Excellent basic instruction is provided in the school’s two-, three-, four- and six-day programs, as well as private lessons. (800-225-6923; www.golfschool.com
Natural Golf Schools, multiple locations

This program promises to help “eliminate frustration” in golf by simplifying the golf swing to get results. One- to four-day programs and private lessons are offered through Florida-based instructors. (866-377-2316, www.naturalgolf.com)

John Jacobs Golf School at Lely Resort Golf and Country Club, Naples

The Jacobs method, which uses certified instructors to teach the same thing at every one of their schools across the country, is especially helpful to beginning golfers and high handicappers, but even better players can benefit. Florida programs are offered in Naples. (800-472-5007; www.jacobsgolf.com
PGA golf schools - World Golf Village and Sawgrass 

No matter what your skill level, the state-of-the-art technology and highly personalized attention offered by the TOUR Academy program is designed to make your game the absolute best it can be. Two-, three- or five-day golf schools, private lessons, custom “Get Golf Ready” programs and comprehensive player development programs offered. (800-766-7939; www.touracademy.com)

Golf Made Simple, Inc. in Boca Raton, Tampa, St. Augustine and Amelia Island

Instructor Marc Solomon’s customized golf instruction has been so successful that it has expanded across the country and into Europe, with four Florida locations. Solomon’s system teaches a smooth, simple golf swing. Customers get four hours of instruction in the morning, in classes limited to four golfers, followed by nine holes in the afternoon with a personal instructor. The school claims 92 percent of golfers improve 6-11 strokes. (888-580-3635; www.golfmadesimple.com)

Sponsored listings by VISIT FLORIDA Partners

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