In my many years as a golf writer, I’ve been to numerous group clinics and golf schools around the world. What I’ve learned–other than I have a lousy grip, a short, too-quick back swing and poor tempo– is I don’t enjoy group sessions. I thrive, like most golfers, with personal instruction and lots of give-and-take with my teacher. A strong proponent of this personalizing philosophy is Bird Golf Schools, which was rated as one of the nation’s best golf schools by Golf Tips Magazine. While Bird Golf Schools might not have the immediate brand recognition like other golf schools, its philosophy of personalized instruction at some of America’s great resorts is tailor made for the golf traveler who wants to enjoy his/her vacation and sharpen their golf skills. Everything Bird Golf Schools does is customized and personalized for the student. Essentially, you pick the time and place (and, believe me, there are some beautiful places) and the area of your game you want to work on or, for those struggling mightily, a complete overhaul.
Sedona Golf Resort in Arizona, Bird Golf Schools Site
Offering the antithesis of the group teaching approach, at Bird Golf Schools the instruction is one/two students with your own PGA/LPGA Bird Golf professional. Their philosophy is a simple one emphasizing that every golfer is unique with different body types, movement dynamics and states of mind. Consequently, they don’t teach a single swing methodology. Bird’s highly qualified teachers are well versed in several methods and styles and can teach each person accordingly. Before you get started, you’ll complete a Player Profile that tells your instructor about your game, objectives and goals and the best way you learn (visually, kinetically, verbally etc…) so you can achieve the highest level of retention. They don’t forget about you once you leave, either. You can follow up with your pro on a regular basis for reinforcement of everything you learned. Bird Golf teachers are exceptionally experienced and have worked with just about every golfer imaginable. All of the Bird Golf Professionals have been PGA or LPGA Professionals for a minimum of 20 years. Some have been Tour winners and the staff includes an LPGA National Teacher of the Year, PGA Master Professionals as well as six members of various Golf Halls of Fame. Each package includes video and digital analysis, daily on course playing lessons, mental game instruction, course management instruction, unlimited practice and play at the host course, lunch each day and unlimited coaching follow-up after the completion of the school. There are several three-four-and five-day packages with six to eight hours of instruction each day. Aside from improving your golf game another appealing aspect of Bird Golf Schools are the amazing resort sites around the nation in 11 states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, New Jersey, South Carolina and Tennessee). A cursory review of their line-up features impressive venues such as Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass near Phoenix, Paiute Golf Resort near Las Vegas, Seaview Resort & Spa in Atlantic City and Foxfire Golf Resort & Club in Pinehurst. I’m especially impressed with the superb sites in Florida, my home state. The Florida Bird Golf Schools menu, please:
Turnberry Isle Miami (North Miami)–Named one of “World’s Best Resorts” by Travel + Leisure Magazine, this 300-acre resort is dripping with amenities in setting with beautiful palms, waterfalls and spectacular flora. It has two 18-hole courses originally designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and later re-designed by Hall of Famer Raymond Floyd and a state-of-the-art, private practice area.
Mission Inn Resort & Club (Near Orlando)–This Central Florida resort, a Golf Magazine Silver Medal Resort, is set on beautiful rolling countryside dotted with mature oak trees, tall pine trees and lakes. Located about a 30-minute drive from Orlando, it’s situated with easy access to the area’s big name theme parks. The golf facilities– which encompass 36-holes of golf and superb practice areas–are highlighted by the iconic El Campeon Course.
The Club at Boca Pointe (Boca Raton)–Combining a private 18-hole Jack Nicklaus designed course with the uber-luxurious Boca Raton Resort, a Waldorf Astoria property, this venue allows you to fully immerse in the enviable South Florida lifestyle. For a nominal upgrade, Bird Golf Students can also choose to stay at the resort’s sister property, the Boca Beach Club.
Old Corkscrew Golf Club (Fort Myers)–Bird Golf students stay at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa, a luxury hotel overlooking the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve. Instruction takes place at Old Corkscrew, a lush, spectacular Jack Nicklaus Signature Design course that weaves through oak, pine and cypress trees. In addition, there’s an incredible clubhouse and top-notch practice facilities.
The Shores Resort and Spa (Daytona Beach)–You can take a dip in the ocean each day after a full day of golf instruction at this amenity-loaded, beachside property, the only AAA 4-Diamond hotel in Daytona Beach. Bird Golf School is at the Club at Pelican Bay, a beautifully maintained 36-hole complex with private teaching areas and multiple greens and chipping areas. So, if you want real, sustainable improvement in your golf game, I suggest a Bird Golf Schools experience with a highly experienced teacher in a luxury resort environment.