Higher Learning: Northeast Florida’s Exceptional Golf Academies

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Northeast Florida is famous as a world-class golf destination, but many golfers might not know that the area is also home to exceptional golf academies, where expert instructors can help elevate your game to the level you've always wanted.

Let's take an in-depth look at four:

The Mary Hafeman Golf Experience: Hafeman is a former LPGA player and a University of Florida Athletic Hall of Famer. She's recognized widely as one of the game's best teachers, and was named the 2011 Teacher of the Year for the region. She is also a PGA National Teacher of the Year nominee.

The Mary Hafeman Golf Experience, in conjunction with her academy, is a web-based community designed to fit the needs of a "growing network of people interested in all facets of the game." The experience includes everything from instruction and player development programs to customized travel, tournaments and social networking opportunities for all level of players.

Her academy has three locations: Windsor Parke and Champions Club in Jacksonville and the Cypress Course in Palm Coast.

Golf Made Simple: This school practices what it preaches, breaking the game down to its simplest parts. The system is so successful the school claims that 92 percent of its students improved 6-11 strokes during its three-day program.

When you go to this school, you get an "instructor for life," continuing instruction by phone, email, your own online page and a newsletter.

There are two locations in northeast Florida, one in Fernandina Beach at the superb North Hampton Golf Club and the other in Palm Coast at the Ocean Course at the Hammock Beach Resort, one of the most scenic courses anywhere in the world. Both courses have excellent learning and private practice areas.

PGA TOUR Golf Academy: With two locations: one at the World Golf Village and the other at TPC Sawgrass, this academy is one of the most recognized golf academies in the country. The technology here is state-of-the-art, including V1 video analysis, which allows the instructors to analyze your swing from multiple camera angles and compare your swing with many of the best golfers in the world (yikes!)

The PGA-certified instructors provide a complete menu of programs, including schools and clinics, private lessons, player development programs and junior clinics. The academy includes a 2,700-square-foot, state-of-the-art instruction facility, covered tee areas and private practice areas featuring a world-class short game area.

If You Go:

  • Mary Hafeman Golf Experience: 54 Oak View Circle West, Palm Coast 32137; 904-233-0989; www.maryhafemangolf.com
  • Golf Made Simple: Hammock Beach Resort, 1200 Ocean Crest Drive, Palm Coast; North Hampton, 22680 North Hampton Club Way, Fernandina Beach 32034; 888-580-3635; www.golfmadesimple.com
  • PGA TOUR Golf Academy: 326 WGV Blvd., St. Augustine 32092, 800-948-4653; 110 Championship Way, Ponte Vedra Beach, 32082, 904-280-2424; www.pgatourexperiences.com/about.aspx

This story is brought to you by Florida's First Coast of Golf. To plan your visit, go to www.florida-golf.org.

Sponsored listings by VISIT FLORIDA Partners

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