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Driver's Ed

Old-School Golf Instruction Gives Way to New Techniques that Can Teach You Even if You're Not Ben Hogan
Larry Olmsted
From the Print Edition:
Gene Hackman, Sep/Oct 00

(continued from page 3)

The school teaches all major aspects of the game, with a heavy emphasis on video review, and, like other top facilities, has dedicated short-game areas, its own building and classrooms, and a covered range for inclement weather. The school is also flexible in its methods, helping students develop a workable swing, rather then the perfect swing. But it is the setting that gives the school its advantage, at a premier resort with unmatched golf (eight 18-hole courses) and other nongolf amenities. Teacher-student ratios climb as high as 5:1; for pure instruction, the other schools enjoy an edge.

"There are a lot of advantages to attending a golf school versus private instruction," says Jim McLean. "You are away from home, totally devoted to your golf game. There's more energy and there are more instructors, so you might find better chemistry than with just one. You do a lot of drills throughout the school, so you can find the best ones for you, which you can't do in an hour lesson. We'll spend at least half an hour per day just working on body posture and position, which you won't get in any lesson." Leadbetter agrees: "In an hour or a half hour lesson, all you can work on is tips. As far as I'm concerned, tips are for horse racing. We work on fundamentals."

Larry Olmsted, who writes frequently about golf, travel and outdoor recreation, lives in Vermont

GOLF'S HIGHER EDUCATION

NICKLAUS FLICK GAME IMPROVEMENT Three-day resort course is held at the Boca Raton Resort and Club, Fla., Cabo del Sol, Mexico, Lake Las Vegas, Nev., and The Renegade at Desert Mountain, Ariz. ($2,795­$3,445, double occupancy with lodging, $300­$400 more for signature schools with Jim Flick). Three-day women's school available at Lake Las Vegas and Boca Raton ($2,595). One-day Faults & Cures program held in 13 cities nationwide ($350 per person, $695 for signature sessions, no lodging). Two-day Playing & Scoring schools in six cities ($1,995 per person, $2,495 for signature sessions, no lodging). 800-642-5528, www.nicklaus.com.

JIM MCLEAN GOLF SCHOOLS Home base is Miami's Doral Resort & Spa. Additional locations include PGA West and La Quinta, Ca.; Grand Traverse Resort, Mich.; and satellite locations at Mariners Point, Ca. (near San Francisco), Ariz., Weston Hills CC in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and Mexico City. Offers one-day school with no lodging ($595, $1,150 for signature school), two-day resort school ($1,275­$1,615 double occupancy, $2,795 signature), three-day resort school ($2,200­$2,485, $3,710 signature), four-day half-day resort school ($2,150­$2,630), six-day Ultimate Signature resort school ($5,565­$5,685), two-day power or two-day short game resort schools ($1,275­$1,565) and other specialty schools. 800-723-6725, www.JimMcLean.com.

DAVID LEADBETTER GOLF ACADEMY Moving from Lake Nona to Champion's Gate, both near Orlando. Numerous locations internationally. North American schools include Naples, Fla., Palm Springs, Ca., Bradenton, Fla., and Jamaica. Also operates a junior academy. Focuses on shorter schools, from half-day sessions ($295) to three-day and five-day half-day schools ($850-$1,400), and has a two-day full-day retreat ($1,500). Leadbetter offers a variety of one-on-one programs $(1,500­$2,000). 888-633-LEAD, www.leadbetter.com.

PINEHURST ADVANTAGE GOLF SCHOOL Programs offered from the spring to fall. All packages include lodging at the Pinehurst resort and most include golf on the resorts' fabled courses. Three-day weekend schools ($1,370­$1,750 double occupancy). Four-day school ($1,760­$2,150 double occupancy). Weekend and four-day morning-only schools, with afternoons left to play on your own ($1,100­$1,400). 800-795-4653 ext. 5, www.Pinehurst.com.

THE DAVE PELZ SCORING GAME SCHOOL Two places in the country offer Pelz school with full-swing schools, all in one week: Boca Raton Resort and Club, with Nicklaus Flick (888-495-BOCA, www.bocaresort.com); and PGA West and the La Quinta, with Jim McLean Golf Schools (800-598-3828, www.laquintaresort.com).

RICK SMITH GOLF ACADEMY Main location is Treetops Resort in Gaylord, Michigan. Others include Tiburon, Ca., Naples, Fla. and Verona, N.Y. Except for commuter courses, all programs include instruction, meals, lodging and a daily round of golf at the resort. Options range from a four-hour, four-student signature course with Rick Smith ($750, commuter) to a three-day, full-day school ($1,615 package). 800-444-6711, www.ricksmith.com.


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