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Elite Golf Academies

By Todd Wolff

Golf's a game of peaks and valleys. Ups and downs are inevitable. Plateaus, however, are frustrating; when you can't shave that stroke or two it takes to finally break 80, 90, or 100. But help is out there. Below is a list of elite instruction programs with a reputation for taking students' performance to the next level.

ANNIKA Academy at Reunion Resort (Orlando, Fla.)

Annika Sorenstam is known as the greatest female golfer ever. Her Academy offers instruction from the very same coaches who helped her win 89 professional tournaments (including 10 majors), more than $22 million in prize money and eight "Rolex Player of the Year" awards.

The state-of-the-art, "boutique" teaching facility blends golf and fitness. Sorenstam's long-time personal coaches, Henri Reis (lead swing instructor) and Kai Fusser (personal trainer) provide students with simple techniques allowing them to transfer energy and power to the golf course.

One of only 15 certified Callaway Performance Centers in the country, the Academy provides custom-tailored corporate packages, individualized golf instruction, personalized fitness programs, club fitting and even opportunities to play with Annika. With a student body that's about 70 percent female, it is the perfect place for executive women and recreational players to learn the game in an inviting atmosphere.

For more information:; 888-266-4522

Old American Golf Club's Marius Golf School (The Colony, Texas)

Marius Filmalter is golf's leading short game technician. He's worked with the likes of Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh. Marius and his team have measured and analyzed more than 54,000 professional and amateur putting strokes and discovered the 10 characteristics shared by all great putters.

Marius Golf School covers putting, chipping, pitching and bunker play. Golfers learn a basic technique for each discipline, enabling them to play a "stock shot" that can be applied in all circumstances.

More information:,; 972-370-4653

John Jacobs Golf School and Academy at Black Diamond (Lecanto, Fla.)

Black Diamond is one of the most exclusive golf experiences in the country. Earlier this year, the community teamed with the storied John Jacobs Golf School and Academy to provide elite instruction to its members and visiting golfers.

John Jacobs Golf Schools (two- and three-day) cover every facet of the game from full-swing video analysis, to short-game technique, to trouble shots and uneven lies. The Academy offers a variety of customized programs tailored to students' needs.

Non-members interested in attending the John Jacobs Golf Schools and Academies can reserve a guest home in the community.

More information:,; 800-472-5007

Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy (Hilton Head Island, S.C.)

Hank Haney is renowned as one of golf's greatest teachers. His list of students (past and present) includes household names like Tiger Woods, Charles Barkley, Ray Romano and, recently, Sugar Ray Leonard. However, Hank is more actively involved molding the future stars of the game.

The Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy (Hank Haney IJGA) is the world's only academy to combine training, competition and academics for serious junior golfers (ages 10-18). Each day, students receive instruction in full swing, short game, course management, fitness training, mental preparation and college placement from Hank Haney certified coaches. Every 4-6 weeks, Hank personally works with them on the development of their swing.

In addition to the full-time regimen, Hank Haney IJGA also offers weekend and summer training, or juniors can design their own program for one to 365 days.

More information:, 800-791-8229.

Dave Pelz and David Leadbetter Academies at PGA National (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.)

Home of the PGA TOUR's Honda Classic, PGA National Resort and Spa houses two of the premier golf instruction programs in the entire country.

The Dave Pelz Scoring Game Golf School focuses on a combination of the short game and putting. Research from instructors shows golfers lose almost 80 percent of their shots to par within 100 yards of the hole. At Dave Pelz Scoring Game Golf School, the instruction focuses on distance wedges, pitching, chipping, sand play and putting.

The David Leadbetter Golf Academy, opened in 2008, offers everything from full swing analysis to putting. The Academy has four classrooms outfitted with the latest in V1 Golf swing analysis computer technology, the SAM PuttLab and K-Vest, all of which deliver precise measurements in minimal time.

More information:, 800-863-2819

Revised: 04/30/2012 - Article Viewed 33,425 Times

About: Todd Wolff

Todd Wolff Todd Wolff is a well traveled freelance writer on golf, beer and travel. In 2005, Todd joined as the first contributor. When he is not on the links, Todd is brewing his legendary craft beers. In addition, to golf writing he is a world renowned graphic artist who has won numerous industry awards in logo design and product packaging.

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