Orlando, Fla. - Jan. 22, 2003 - Many golfers, both beginners and advanced players alike, have discovered the benefits of attending a golf school. These specialized learning programs, which typically span at least two days, consist of a vacation, along with an instruction schedule that can focus on everything from full swing analysis and short game technique, to on-course instruction and club fitting sessions. But since no two golfers are alike, choosing the perfect golf school can sometimes be quite a challenge.
Of course, every golfer wants the best value for their money, but many differ on what they want to get out of golf school and how they want to receive their instruction. For instance, some prefer the social aspect of the game and look to meet fellow golfers during the program, while others prefer more individualized instruction. Another choice is whether to bring the whole family along. Many golfers are opting to build a family vacation around golf school and even involve the kids, while others enjoy having their time off the course to themselves.
According to Chip Koehlke, director of instructional golf programs for the FALDO Golf Institute in Orlando, Fla., there are specific things to look for when choosing a golf school. “Picking the right program for your specific needs will make a big difference in your overall game and level of enjoyment,” he says. “What really counts is the credibility of the golf school and the kind of results it will deliver.”
Koehlke, a seasoned golfer with more than 18 years of professional golf experience, was handpicked to develop the instructional curriculum when Nick Faldo teamed with Marriott to create the FALDO Golf Institute by Marriott in 1997. He has been at the helm ever since the first location opened in Orlando, Fla., and offers the following surefire tips for selecting the perfect golf school that will meet your individual needs.
How to Select a Golf School:
á Quality of instruction and the qualifications of the instructors are what set golf schools apart. Ask about each staff member’s experience in providing instruction and their familiarity with teaching golfers of all levels.
á Look for a golf school that offers specific programs to meet your needs. Women and children have different needs, as do beginners and advanced players. You should be comfortable with the other members of your group and their level of experience.
á Communication is the key to success. Having a competent teacher who listens to your concerns and can clearly communicate his or her knowledge will guarantee that you focus on the right areas. At the beginning of any program, the instructor should ask questions to find out about his or her students, their needs and expectations of the program. Then he or she should adjust the pace and delivery to match each student`s ability to learn.
á The student-to-teacher ratio is also important. Most golf schools today operate on a 4-to-1 ratio, providing a great opportunity to enjoy the social aspects of the game while learning to play.
á Talk to people who have completed the program and find out what they did and did not like about the experience. Look closely at their level of improvement once they return to their home course, and keep an eye on whether they are sticking to the new techniques they learned.
á Instruction doesn’t end when you leave the school. Find out what materials the program provides to help you continue to improve your game when you get home.
á Finally, Koehlke points out, golf school should be a fun vacation experience. Make sure the location you choose offers additional non-golf amenities and activities, such as a spa, restaurants, a pool, fitness facilities and water sports.