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Back to school Take a golf vacation that will improve your game

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Last week, when flying home from Detroit, a young man seated next to me confessed that he loved golf but he's terrible at it. Like many, though, he really didn't know what steps to take to get better. The short answer would have been to tell him to simply take lessons, but that answer is too easy. How do you find the right teacher for you? How many lessons will you need to achieve your goals? How long will take to improve?

Knowing he had the resources to spend a little money on instruction, I advised to him to dip into the best of both worlds – enroll in a golf school at a resort. The first one that came to mind was the Reynolds Plantation Golf Academy in Greensboro, Ga. The school is run by top 100 teacher Charlie King, who doesn't take the approach that you have to get worse before you get better (I hate hearing that.) But really, there are a lot of other great options around the country, and often spending a little extra money is so worth it.

The Tour Academy at the TPC Sawgrass is another excellent choice. Headed up by Matt Jones, the 3,000-square foot facility has great instructors, state-of-the-art swing-analysis equipment and great practice facilities that should help you see results right away. Plus, you can take what you learn to TPC Sawgrass' Players Stadium Course. Similar academies can be found at other TPC courses as well, including the new TPC San Antonio at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort.

Perhaps the most important factor in choosing the right golf school is to find out how successful they've been with students of your level. Word of mouth is the best advertising, and the proof is in the improvement. Ask around, like my new friend on the plane did.