Collection of Golf's Elite Instructors Form Strategic Golf Channel Academy

By Golf Channel Public RelationsDecember 1, 2014, 5:40 pm

Some of golf’s most distinguished PGA of America and LPGA teaching professionals and top instructors are collaborating to form Golf Channel Academy, a dedicated network of teaching facilities committed to growing the business of golf instruction. Backed by Golf Channel, the game’s leading global multimedia and entertainment source, Golf Channel Academy will open 21 charter locations in Spring 2015, and additional elite instructors dedicated to game improvement among students of all abilities also will be invited to join this network of top-tier teaching facilities.

Golf Channel Academy coaches will benefit from a wide-spectrum of business consulting services and products addressing marketing, sales, technology and back-office solutions needs, as well as shared best-practices across the network. Coaches also will have the opportunity to appear on instructional programming across Golf Channel’s television and digital platforms. Additionally, golfers enrolled at Golf Channel Academy locations will be able to track progress alongside their coach using advanced software to measure specific goals.

“Golf Channel Academy represents a premier group of some of the top PGA of America and LPGA teaching professionals, who all share the goal of providing high-quality instruction with the support of a unified and recognized brand,” said Mike McCarley, president of Golf Channel. “One of the most effective ways for golfers to enjoy the game more is through instruction, which is the driving force behind Golf Channel Academy. Building upon Golf Channel’s appreciation of the direct impact PGA professionals have on growing the game, we will continue to focus on opportunities that encourage more golfers to play more golf.”

The inaugural group of Golf Channel Academy coaches represent 15 states and one province, 11 Golf Magazine Top 100 Teachers, seven book authors, 12 coaches who appear on Golf Digest’s list of “Best Teachers in State” for 2013-’14, and the current LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals National president:

  • Henry Brunton, Henry Brunton Golf, Maple, Ontario, Canada
  • Dom DiJulia, Dom DiJulia School of Golf, New Hope, PA
  • Chuck Evans, Chuck Evans Golf, Kansas City, MO
  • Jeff Fisher, Fisher Bryan Golf Academy, Mesa, AZ
  • Martin Hall, Ibis Golf & CC, West Palm Beach, FL
  • Virgil Herring, Westhaven GC, Franklin, TN
  • Dave Kendall, Kendall Academy of Golf, Ypsilanti, MI
  • Charlie King, Reynolds Plantation, Greensboro, GA
  • Rick Krebs, Waverly Woods GC, Marriottsville, MD
  • Rod Lidenberg, Halla Greens GolfCourse and Training Center, Chanhassen, MN
  • Anders Mattson, Saratoga National GC, Saratoga Springs, NY
  • Kenny Nairn, Celebration GC, Celebration, FL
  • Rob Noel, Rob Noel Golf Academy, Abita Springs, LA
  • Chris O’Connell, The Plane Truth, The Courses at Watters Creek, Plano, TX
  • Chad Phillips, Blue Giraffe Golf Institute, Tucker, GA
  • Kip Puterbaugh, Aviara Golf Academy, Carlsbad, CA
  • Dana Rader, Dana Rader Golf School, Charlotte, NC
  • Jeff Ritter, Poppy Hills Golf Course, Pebble Beach, CA
  • Jon Sinclair, Sinclair’s Golf Training Center, Euless, TX
  • Kellie Stenzel, Palm Beach Par 3, Palm Beach, FL
  • Trent Wearner, Trent Wearner Golf Academy, Englewood, CO

The impetus behind Golf Channel Academy stems from a collaborative idea between Todd Wilson, chief executive officer of Golf Channel Academy, and Scott Novell, president of Golf Channel Academy. Wilson based this golf instruction concept on a “brand-within-a-brand” strategy employed by NASCAR, where he was the long-tenured senior vice president and chief financial officer. Golf Channel Academy also will utilize the network and experience of its executive vice president Lorin Anderson, founder and president of Proponent Group, a golf instructor membership-based organization that is now part of the foundation of Golf Channel Academy.

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Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

"Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.



The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”



Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.