Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Popularity of Lessons Is Instructive

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Popularity of Lessons Is Instructive

Article excerpt

Byline: Garry Smits, Times-Union sports writer

There will be another golf academy on the block after Friday's grand opening of the PGA Tour Golf Academy at the World Golf Village.

From all indications, it should do well, with the prodigious force of the PGA Tour brand behind it (the Tour has never before attached itself to a golf instructional program of any kind).

Plus, the director is Golf Magazine Top 100 teacher Scott Sackett, and leading his staff is former Players Championship winner Calvin Peete.

Peete won more tournaments in the 1980s than anyone else (yes, Raymond Floyd, Greg Norman, Lee Trevino, Lanny Wadkins and Tom Kite included), almost never missing a fairway in the process.

Peete won't guarantee you'll hit 80 percent of the fairways, which was his routine. But give it a try.

The first inclination is to think that the golf academy concept is getting crowded on the First Coast.

At the Amelia Island Plantation, the Ron Philo Academy has been going strong for 11 years and former LPGA Tour player Beverly Davis was added to the staff last year.

The TPC at Sawgrass (which also leans heavily on its PGA Tour and Players Championship links) has a strong base in corporate outings. Its top instructor, Cindy Reid, is quickly becoming one of the top teachers in America and was recently seen on The Golf Channel's Academy Live show.

The Ponte Vedra Inn and Club Academy is doing a thriving business with Tom Burnett running the show, and he's also established one of the better junior programs in the area.

And the Hampton Golf Academy recently enlisted another LPGA Tour veteran, Amy Benz, to head the instruction at North Hampton in Yulee and Osprey Cove in St. Marys, Ga., while Marc Solomon teaches at South Hampton, in northern St. Johns County, and Grand Haven, in Palm Coast.

All report that business is good to booming, at a time when the golf industry is going through lean times. …

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