Teaching Professionals, 2006

The conference will host some of the most renowned golf teachers in the world and provide them a forum to present their knowledge and latest research. Many of these teachers have been recognized among Golf Digest’s 50 Greatest Teachers and GOLF Magazine’s Top 100 Greatest Teachers, and all have contributed significantly to the game of golf.

The list includes (click on name for bio):

Mike Adams

Mike Adams is a nationally renowned golf instructor who is dedicated to enhancing the game of golf for all levels of golfers. He created the LAWs of Golf philosophy as a way to offer golfers of all levels a swing that is customized to their build.

He has been listed among the Top 100 instructors by both Golf Magazine and Golf Digest for the past several years and coaches many of the current PGA and LPGA tournament players. He has also won numerous teaching awards including, most recently the South Florida Section Teacher of the Year for 2001.

He is a former PGA touring professional and is known throughout the world as the "Swing Doctor". He is one of the United States most sought after golf teachers. Hollywood celebrities who have benefited from Mike's teaching capabilities include Jack Nicholson, Michael Douglas, Willie Nelson and Tom Landry. Past presidents Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford have also been pupils of Mike's.

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Eric Alpenfels

Eric Alpenfels currently serves as the Director of Golf Instruction / Golf Advantage School at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina.

A Class A PGA professional, Eric has been a part of the Pinehurst family since 1985. Eric is involved in the daily instruction at Pinehurst with both amateur and professional golfers. His skill and professionalism have earned him recognition from Golf Magazine as one of the "Top 100 Teachers in America" and Golf Digest as one of "America's 50 Greatest Teachers."

Eric's activities beyond the fairways of Pinehurst are extensive and include speaking engagements, contributions to industry publications, involvement as an Adjunct Faculty Member in the Professional Golf Management training for the PGA of America and production of several videos. Under his leadership, the Golf Advantage School is conducting research to pioneer the development of new practice techniques and innovative drills as well as partnering with The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in the development of a Golf Fitness Lab. Research of this kind is not taking place at any other school and is already being featured in several national magazines, including Golf Magazine. back to top.

Joe Assell
Joe Assell is the President and co-founder of GolfTEC. GolfTEC is the largest golf instruction company in the U.S. with 47 locations and an additional 40 locations opening in the next year. GolfTEC employs over 150 PGA Teaching professionals and has given over 700,000 private lessons. Mr. Assell has received numerous awards including being named the Colorado PGA Teacher of the Year, Golfweek Magazine Top 40 under 40, Denver Business Journal Top 40 under 40, Mississippi State University College of Business Young Alumni of the Year, and a three-time nominee for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Mr. Assell is on the Board of Directors of the Colorado PGA, and the Advisory Board for the Professional Golf Management Program at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs Campus. Mr. Assell graduated Cum Laude from the Professional Golf Management Program at Mississippi State University and has been the President of GolfTEC for ten years.

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Steve Atherton
Steve Atherton has served as GolfTEC's Vice President of Instruction for the past 6 years. Mr. Atherton oversees all training, teaching quality control, and continuing education for GolfTEC learning centers nation wide. Steve is an expert in swing biomechanics and one of the brightest young teaching professionals in the nation. In 2005, Mr. Atherton joined the elite group of PGA Master Professionals with specialization in Instruction, in addition to being nominated for both Golf Magazine's Top 100 teachers list and Colorado PGA Teacher of the Year. During his time at GolfTEC, Steve has trained over 150 teaching professionals at the company's rigorous GolfTEC University - a nine-day, PGA accredited training program. Steve has been the source of well over 3000 PGA MSR points for educating golf professionals. Mr. Atherton is a graduate of the Mississippi State University Professional Golf Management program and has worked at such prestigious clubs as Sankaty Head GC, Olympia Fields CC, and Merion GC prior to joining GolfTEC.

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Jimmy Ballard

No instructor in the game of golf has ever resurrected more champion golf swings than Jimmy Ballard. Residing a the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida, the founding "Pioneer of Connection in the golf swing, Jimmy Ballard continues as one of the top golf instructors in the world. In 1988 alone, Ballard's "connection" method stimulated victories in four major international tournaments with the U.S. Open Winner Curtis Strange, (who would add another Open title in '89); Masters Champion Sandy Lyle; British Open victor Seve Ballesteros, and British Amateur champion, Sweden's Christian Harden. A teachers' "Grand Slam" if there ever was one. From top money winners, to PGA / LPGA / SR.PGA champions and record breaking accuracy merits, Ballard has been praised for their successes.

His famous "Seven Common Denominators" and "Misleading Terms" swept golf magazine headlines nationwide, reaching international recognition by the late 1970's. His 1981 book, "How To Perfect Your Golf Swing," outlined the golf swing in sequential detail, specifying inaccuracies in teaching golf over the years due to his discovery of a "deceptive feel" as opposed to actuality, and clarifying the "indentifiable essential movements present in great ball strikers".

Ballard was named by Golf Magazine the '80's "Teacher of the Decade". In '86, he was invited to join the telecast of the British Open at Turnberry for ESPN, returning to television after regular appearances from his highly popular home video instructional series, "The Jimmy Ballard Golf Connection". A demand for further directional videotapes was met with the '89 release of "The Fundamental Golf Swing." His numerous articles have appeared in the following: Golf Magazine, Golf Digest, Golf Tips, Golf News, Golf World, Golf Week, Golf Range & Recreation Report, Travel & Leisure, National Golfer, The Met Golfer, The Executive Golfer, Esquire, Golf Illustrated, M inc., Golf Uruguayo, Golf Sport Das Internationale, Britain's Golf Monthly, Japan's Baffy and New Miami's business magazine.

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Tom Cavicchi
Tom is the director of golf at Harmon Golf. Over his 30-plus years as a PGA Professional, Tom has worked with both amateur and professional players. He has served as the Head Golf Professional at the Oyster Harbors Club, Cape Cod, Mass., The Falls Country Club in Texas and the Wollaston Golf Club in Milton, Mass. Tom has also taught at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., under Craig Harmon and the River Oaks Country Club in Texas under Dick Harmon.

A former caddie on the PGA tour, Tom's dedicated study of the golf swing has earned him a reputation as one of New England's finest instructors. He has been honored as the New England PGA Teacher of the Year. Tom has also served on numerous NEPGA advisory boards. Currently, Tom is coaching Scott Hawley, a player on the Canadian PGA Tour as well as numerous ranked amateurs. He is a Class A PGA Professional whose lesson time is in such demand that Harmon maintains a regular waiting list for pupils that include Boston's who's who of CEO's who typically wait for no one. But for "Dr." Cavicchi, they wait.

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Chuck Cook

Chuck Cook has trained under several Golf Digest teaching professionals, including Bob Toski, Jim Flick, Peter Kostis, Davis Love Jr., Paul Runyan and Jack Lumpkin. Cook has also authored two books, "Perfectly Balanced Golf" and "Tips from the Tour", as well as the video "How to Stop your Slice and your Hook." Cook's students have included three U.S. Open champions, among others, including the late Payne Stewart, Tom Kite and Corey Pavin.

Cook has been recognized throughout his career. He was named 1996 PGA of America Teacher of the Year. He is list in Golf Digest’s Top 50 and Golf Magazine's Top 100 best teachers in America. Cook has worked with over 100 professionals and has also worked with amateur champions of all ages. He is a member of the Golf Digest Professional panel and has written over 100 articles for publication.

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Ben Doyle

Ben Doyle, a resident of the Monterey Peninsula, is known world-wide as one of golf's foremost instructors. Named by Golf Digest as one of America's top 50 golf instructors, his students routinely travel from as far away as Canada, Germany, Australia, and Japan. He was also named by Golf Magazine as one of the top 100 golf instructors. A native of British Columbia, Ben joined the Professional Golf Association in 1954 after playing golf at Western Washington University. He became the first authorized instructor of The Golfing Machine, by Homer Kelley in 1969 while serving as Head Professional at Broadmoor Golf Club in Seattle. Devoting the last 33 years exclusively to teaching, Ben has worked with many young players on the PGA tour, has developed young golfers for college competition, and has helped men and women of all ages understand and enjoy the game of golf and the laws of the golf swing. His teaching has been featured in such publications as Golf Weekly and Golf Digest.

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David Edel

David Edel has devoted his life to creating handmade putters. Ironically, his own putting difficulties led him to putter fitting. Edel is a PGA Professional who has studied swing mechanics, philosophy and club fitting with renowned instructors and tournament players, including Ben Doyle, Randy Henry, Chuck Cook, Roberto DeVincenzo, and Tom Shea.

In working with players ranging from top pros to high-handicappers, Edel realized that the best way to make a putter is not to build one and find someone who likes it-it's to build a putter specifically for the person who's going to use it. With that knowledge in hand, Edel created a custom fitting system that takes into account all the variables of any player's putting style. The empirical fit-testing data he has collected through the years has helped Edel develop a complete understanding of how to use his fitting system to "set up" a putter for any golfer. back to top.

Mike Hebron

Michael Hebron has an extensive career in golf instruction. He is the recipient of golf's highest awards. He has earned the esteemed title of PGA Master Professional for his work in the golf instruction arena.
Michael Hebron's School for Learning Golf, located in New York and Florida. The company offers a variety of business services, books and video tapes. Mr. Hebron consults on golf instruction to PGA Switzerland, Italy, France, Finland, Canada, Japan and Sweden. He has given instruction clinics at 30 PGA of America sections. Michael has worked with many Tour players including Ian Woosnam, Lenny Clements, Steve Pate, and Val Skinner.
Hebron believes golf is not a subject but a motor skill which can only be learned and not taught. He strives to create an atmosphere that supports the learning process, enabling students to learn in their best way by emphasizing understanding and visualization.

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Gerry James

Gerry James has taught numerous Long Drive Champions, and his Center Force Golf System is endorsed by the likes of 2004 PGA Tour Player of the Year Vijay Singh and former PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman. His past students include Pinnacle Distance Challenge Champion Dave Gureckis, Women’s Long Drive Champion Stacey Shinnick, and Junior Champion Owen Hanson.

James has an impressive background in fitness and sports. In 1990, James was Mr. California Body Building champion. James played professional football in the USFL and wrestled in the WCW/WWF. Since 1991, James has focused on golf training.

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James Leitz
James Leitz has been the director of golf at Pinewood Country Club in Slidell, Louisiana for over 20 years. He has been recognized as Golf Professional of the year in Louisiana and by Golf Digest as a top teacher in the state. He has been heavily involved with the Louisiana PGA section throughout his career and has served as chapter president.

Leitz is an expert in club fitting and is one of only six certified club fitting instructors certified by the PGA. He has instructed at many workshops throughout the nation on club fitting and has performed club fitting for many tour players throughout the world.
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Rick Martino
RICK MARTINO is The PGA of America's director of instruction. He is one of a few dozen PGA professionals who holds a certification in teaching—the organization's highest level of achievement for instruction. Martino created the curriculum for the PGA's first learning and development facility. Before becoming the PGA's Director of Instruction, Martino was the Director at Oakmont Country Club. He is also the former director of University of Pittsburgh's Golf Swing Research Laboratory and has headed several teaching and playing workshops across the country.

Martino has been recognized among Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers as well as Golf Digest's Top 50 Teachers. He also has enjoyed commentating on television since 1998.

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Jim McLean
Jim McLean was inducted into the Hall of Fame (Pacific Northwest) in 2003 for compiling one of the greatest amateur records in the history of the Northwest. He won over 50 junior and amateur events over a 35 year playing span, including the Washington State Junior (2 times), the Seattle Am, the Pacific Northwest Am (3 times), The Pacific Coast Am, the Northwest Open, 10 USGA medals, Finished 4th in the US Am, Semi-Finals Western Junior, Qualified for the US Junior, US Am (4 times), US Open (2 times), and US Senior Open.

McLean received a 4-year full scholarship to the University of Houston and lettered 3 years. He had the low scoring average as a senior, the 2nd lowest as a junior, and was an All American (3rd Team). McLean played professional golf for 2 years after college. He won 3 mini-tour events, and missed the final stage of qualifying by 3 shots (8 rounds).

He subsequently held many teaching positions: Teaching Professional at Westchester CC 1975-1979, Director of Golf at 3 top clubs in New York: Sunningdale CC (Scarsdale) 1979-1982, Quaker Ridge (Scarsdale) 1982-1988, Director of Golf 1987-1988 Tamarisk (Rancho Mirage, CA), Sleepy Hollow CC 1988-1993 (Briarcliff). He was the highest payed professional in the Met Section.

McLean has played in 10 National Club Pro Championships (Qualified). He won the National Skins Game (seen on ESPN, $51,000) and the Westchester PGA. He was runner-up in the Metropolitan PGA. He played in the Westchester PGA Tour Event (2 times) and PGA Tour Events (Winter 1982). McLean won over $400,000 in pro tournaments and set numerous course records including, at one time, 3 of 5 courses at Doral. He shot 27 for 9 holes in a Met Section event (63 for the day).

At Houston he won the NCAA both his freshman and sophomore years, and finished 2nd during junior and senior years. He lived with John Mahaffey, Bruce Lietzke, Bill Rogers, Bruce Ashworth (all played the Tour), and also in Houston with Fuzzy Zoeller, Keith Fergus, Bobby Walzel, John Grace, Kip Puterbaugh, Tom Jenkins.

Jim now has ten school locations: Doral (Miami), PGA WEST (La Quinta,CA), La Quinta Resort (La Quinta, CA), Waterchase (Ft. Worth, TX), Wigwam (Phoenix, AZ), Grand Traverse Resort (Williamsburg, MI), Calgary (Calgary, Canada), Santander (Madrid, Spain), Weston Hills (Ft. Lauderdale, FL), Our Lucaya (Grand Bahama Island).

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Laird Small
One of the most popular golf instructors in the country, Laird Small has been on every GOLF Magazine list of the nation's "Top 100 Teachers in America" since 1985 and has been recognized by Golf Digest on its "Top 50 Teachers in America".

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Jim Suttie
Dr. Suttie was named to Golf Magazine's Top 100 Instructors in America, received 3 Teacher of the Year awards from Illinois PGA and was listed in Golf Digest Magazine as one of the top 50 golf instructors in the USA. Through years of studying biomechanics and its applications in the golf swing, including a doctorate with his dissertation entitled A Biomechanical Comparison Between a Conventional Golf Swing Learning Technique, Dr. Suttie has created a "framework" for teaching that optimizes the relationship between the different body types of various people with the swing elements that match these body types. The result is a proven teaching technique which is simple, yet highly effective. Dr. Suttie co-authored the book "The LAWS of the Golf Swing", which provides in depth discussion of various body builds and exercises and drills for a particular swing. His new book, "Your Perfect Swing", is now available. Dr. Suttie travels to Europe, working with the NGF(Dutch Golf Federation) and speaking in the UK, giving seminars and conducting clinics for golf instructors.

He has been Director of Instruction at Medinah C.C. outside of Chicago, established the Suttie Golf Academy at Cog Hill from 1995-2002. Presently, he conducts private lessons and Training Sessions at the Suttie Golf Academy at Cog Hill, Lemont, IL, and The Club at Twin Eagles in Naples, Florida.

Having previously coached at Eastern Kentucky University, Brevard Community College and Northwestern University, Dr. Suttie now coaches for Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft. Myers, Florida.

Some of the following Touring Professionals are working with or have consulted with Dr. Suttie: Steve Flesch, Loren Roberts, Carin Koche, Vickie Goetz-Ackerman, Paul Azinger,, Mark Wilson., and Mark Lye.

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TJ Tomasi
TJ Tomasi is Golf's most published instructor in the world with 13 golf books including: International Bestseller "Play Better Golf", and the weekly feature "Insider Golf" from Universal Press Syndicate (UPS is the name behind Dear Abby, William Buckley & NASCAR online). He is one of the co-founders of the LAWs of the Golf Swing. TJ appears in over 100 newspapers and numerous websites, reaching 2.5 million homes per week. No other instructor has ever reached this broad an audience on a sustained weekly basis. He is the Senior Editor of Golf Instruction Annual, The Very Best of Golf Tips Magazine and is a Class-A PGA teaching professional, and was chosen by Golf Magazine out of 25,000 pros to be a member of the elite Top 100 Teachers. With more than 20 years of teaching experience, and 50,000 hours of instructional lessons, he has taught players of all levels, from beginners to PGA and LPGA professionals.

Mr. Tomasi has also served as chief instructional editor for Golf Illustrated and Golfing Magazine, as well as contributing editor to Golf Tips and Golf Magazine. He was recently featured on the cover of the March 2004 issue of Golf Tips magazine and is currently on the cover of Golf Instructional 2006. TJ is a frequent contributor to Sports Illustrated and has also appeared regularly on CNN as a co-host on their golf segments, which appear on Sunday morning TV and on airport televisions as well as in-flight video for numerous worldwide airlines.

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