There are hundreds of golf schools in the United States alone. But what exactly is a golf school? I guess that depends on your definition.
In my opinion, a school should have a vast client base and numerous teachers who are knowledgeable about golf. These teachers should have tournament experience so that they can relate to the student. When I started at Doral in the fall of 1991, we had five teachers but quickly grew to what you see today. I came after Jimmy Ballard who ran his school at Doral in the 1980’s. I was inspired by Jimmy because he had about eight teachers and hundreds of students attending multi-day schools. He was extremely successful at Doral.
I also attended Jimmy’s school in Alabama many years prior. I thought that school was very unique in the sense that it was not located in a populated area, nor was it an easy location to get to. He had a very large client list and diverse staff from all over the world. Despite those obstacles, Jimmy ran 2 and 3 day schools for many years.
Running a school takes years of research, hiring great people, marketing, choosing a great location, developing a diverse and large client base, and creating an exceptional experience that make your students return year after year. I strategically chose the locations of my schools and earned the trust of the owners of each facility. I make sure that each of our teachers are fully certified and are personable enough to connect with our students on the course. We have state-of-the-art facilities, experienced and knowledgeable teachers, a fantastic location (I mean, who wouldn’t want to come to Miami in the winter?), and awesome staff who will cater to your needs.
Additionally, golf schools should include programs that have at least one full day of teaching. Most of our schools last between 2 and 4 days. I even have a 6-day golf school that I have been running for decades. At our Doral location, we have over 20 teachers in the winter season in addition to 10 PGA assistant professionals. That said, it is important to me that the JMGS philosophy is taught at all of the schools, including the junior academy in Texas.
This leads me to my next point about running a golf school- having your own unique teaching philosophy. Think of a teaching philosophy as building a brand. At our schools, we teach various ways to improve your swing. For example, you will learn the Eight Step Swing, the X Factor, the 25% theory, the Elimination theory, the Y Factor, the Power Line, and other exclusive ideas and concepts. Our theories are unique to our school and this is one of the many qualities that separates us from the rest. Other schools may teach one style and that may work for them. We believe in giving you these perspectives to help you become a well-rounded player.
The key to implementing your teaching philosophy is making sure that all of your staff members know it like the back of their hand. Though I have a few academies that have only 1-3 teachers, everyone knows the JMGS philosophy. Part of our JMGS philosophy is that we keep reinforcing the fundamentals. We do not believe in teaching the latest fad that someone tweeted.
To conclude, running a golf school takes a lot of work. Anyone can say that it is easy to run a school. Given the fact that I have been doing this for a long time, I can honestly say that it takes a fabulous team and possessing a collaborative nature to ensure the success of the school.
I would love to hear your opinions of a golf school and any ideas you may have. Write back to me on what you think constitutes a golf school.