Golf schools have become an integral part of the history of our sport. From the beginning of mankind hitting a ball with a stick into a hole with the least number of strokes counted to do so, spawned individual advice from those who were proficient at this task and served as the first lessons given. Hence the birth of the private golf lesson. These lessons probably included advice on driving the ball, hitting out of fairway bunkers, as well as chipping, pitching and putting. Because there were no driving ranges or specialized practice facilities built yet, playing lessons on the actual golf course would have evolved as well for a slightly higher fee than a private lesson. It would have made sense that the person giving the most sought after advice be given an official title. Hence the terms golf instructor, golf teacher or golf teaching professional would have evolved. And at some point a golf teacher would have realized, that because the mechanics of the golf swing are universal, he could make more money offering the same service to a group of people as opposed to an individual person. Hence group golf lessons were born. And with regard to golf instruction, that’s how things stood for hundreds of years. Golf teachers gave private lessons, playing lessons and group lessons and for the most part made comfortable livings doing so.
Evolution in golf instruction however was not quite complete. Over the last four decades enterprising golf resort owners and entrepreneurial golf instructors added a new twist to the best way for people to learn the sport. Realizing the complexity of the game and that many golfers would do nearly anything to improve, the question was asked, “What if a golfer had the opportunity to go to a particular golf facility for several days and strictly work all day long on every part of their game?” In other words, instead of taking occasional lessons and hitting the occasional bucket of balls, this particular format would provide the golfer the utmost opportunity for improvement. Plus of course it would be financially rewarding for the teacher as well as the facility where the lessons would be taking place. The golf student could now focus entirely on improvement, in a pleasant setting, under the watchful eye of a qualified, personable teaching professional for several days. And the golf school vacation was born.
The first of these were the Golf Digest schools founded in 1971 featuring legendary instructors Bob Toski and Jim Flick . Golfers could receive expert instruction from some of the game’s best teachers. Other teachers and general managers notice their success and quickly followed suit with their own golf schools namely, the Mt. Snow Golf School, Ben Sutton Golf School , John Jacobs Golf Schools, Rolland Stafford Golf School, Craft-Zavichavs Golf School and America’s Favorite Golf Schools. Interestingly, prior to initiating the golf school at Mt. Snow in Vermont, the golf course itself was virtually empty on any given week end. Once the golf school came into existence, the facility was busy from early spring to late fall.
Today golf schools have experienced somewhat of a transition in that several have become specialized, focusing on a particular aspect of the game. And at the same time more learning programs for golfers now exist throughout the nation. If an individual searches on the internet for golf schools they now have the opportunity to select from hundreds, with convenient price points and locations. Of the original golf schools mentioned, America’s Favorite Golf Schools continues with its nationally renowned programs and highly qualified teaching professionals.