Finding the right golf instructor for you.
Spring is the perfect time to decide to work on your game and finding the right instructor is crucial to your development and enjoyment. If you live in the Lake area or are a frequent visitor, you probably have a home or favorite course. This is a great place to start as you are probably comfortable with the staff at that facility.
Many individuals say they are golf instructors, but you should begin by checking their credentials and see if they are a PGA Member or apprentice. If they are, you can be assured that they have had formal training in the art of teaching the game of golf. You can also be assured they are continuing to learn new techniques and philosophies through continuing education that is required of them to maintain their accreditation through the PGA of America.
A few great traits to look for in an instructor is your comfort level and their communication skills. Everyone learns differently and like any great teacher the instructor must be able to adapt and understand how you learn and comprehend information. Forms of learning are visual, auditory, verbal, physical, social and solitary. If you are a visual learner, you should look for an instructor who uses video so you can see your swing as this will be beneficial to your development. Auditory and verbal learners will do better with instructors who can communicate clearly through their words and can listen to you and give you clear and concise verbal feedback. Physical learners tend to do better with instructors who physically guide the golf club and your body into the correct positions so you can feel where the club and your body should be throughout the swing. Social learners may thrive in group settings or clinics, and solitary learners may be best suited with written information and online videos that they can study on their own. It is important to find an instructor that can adapt and change to your preferred learning method.
The Lake is blessed to have many accomplished PGA certified golf instructors. One of the most accomplished relocated to the Lake several years ago, Shane Blankenship, at Old Kinderhook Golf Resort, Club & Spa. His passion is teaching and he’s working toward becoming a full-time teacher at the Lake. He offers private, playing and lesson packages as well as one and two-day golf schools. His teaching philosophy emphasizes the fundamentals of grip, posture and alignment to build a solid foundation. In addition, he incorporates a mental and mechanical balance with each student so they learn to understand ball flight, divot direction and the correlation between the two.
Shane has worked with several top 100 instructors including Peter Kostis and Paul Trittler, along with Todd Meyer who was voted the No. 2 instructor in Missouri in 2017. Shane is an accomplished player in his own right earning Gateway PGA Assistant Player of the Year honors in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013. He has more than 25 professional wins and has qualified for 10 PGA of America National Championships.
Osage National Golf Resort has a trio of qualified PGA certified instructors in Jason VanHouten, Ryan Manselle and Josh Crowell. Jason is a former high school golf coach and conducts annual junior clinics at the resort. He has a passion for seeing his students improve and says, “The best part of my job is when I see a light bulb turn on above someone’s head. I know something has clicked with their game.” In the past, Josh has worked for the John Jacob’s Golf Schools and Academies, and he has helped hundreds of golfers in the Lake area throughout his career.
Mike Cummings at the Eldon Golf Club and Rob Wilson at Lake Valley Country Club have a passion for juniors. Both clubs offer PGA Junior League throughout the summer encouraging kids ages 6 to 13 to get involved in a fun team format to learn to play this great game. Mike is also the founder of the local PGA Hope Program providing golf instruction to disabled veterans throughout mid-Missouri.
Margaritaville Lake Resort has four PGA professionals on staff available for individual or group lessons: Paul Leahy, Andrea Taylor, Perry Wergin and Henry England combined have given hundreds of lessons in their careers helping juniors to senior players improve and enjoy the game. Andrea is the only female teaching professional in the area and has worked with the John Jacob’s Golf Schools and Academies, and the Faldo Golf Institute during her 20-plus year career as an instructor.
Now that your primed with the information, head to your favorite course and find that instructor who will change your game. Come with an open minded, have fun and dedicate 2020 to improving your swing.
We’ll see you on the course!