Plan Now for Summer School '99
By Kelly Hill
Summer school is not a particularly welcome subject, especially among our younger readers. But what if all of your classes were held outside, under a warm Michigan sun? And what if your classroom was situated in the middle of some of the best scenery in the state? And what if your teacher was among the best in Michigan, if not the nation?
And what if you knew that what you were learning you could apply for the rest of your life?
Summer school might be more than welcome. It might be anxiously anticipated. School will be held throughout Michigan this summer, on golf courses and practice facilities located in the heart of this state's tremendous scenery. And the instructors are among the best in the nation.
Here is a sampling of the available curriculum:
Academy Golf Schools
This instructional organization is offered throughout the Midwest and the Carolinas and is hosted by Spruce Ridge from the end of April through early September. Academy instructor Rick Davenport offers sessions ranging from three to six days, during which time your golf car will be your sole mode of transportation. The unique aspect of this academy is each student's ability to work exclusively with the director, who for more than 20 years has been teaching the game of golf. Up to 20 hours of instruction are available and will include stop-action, slow-motion video analysis. Graduates of Academy Golf Schools have won numerous club, state and national championships. The cost of the instruction ranges from $395-$1,500.
Contact: Academy Golf Schools, (800) 677-2527.
With Jan Schaffer, Rob Fuhrman, Brian Kowalewski and Kurt Dresbach providing the instruction, the Super 5 Golf Week at Boyne will be joined this year by a Ladies Only Golf Week. Sixteen sessions of the Super 5 Golf Week are scheduled, beginning with a May 9-14 session and closing with a session slated for Sept. 26 - Oct. 1. Ladies Only Golf Weeks are slated at Boyne for May 23-28, June 6-11 and Aug. 8-13.
The Super 5 Golf Week will be held twice in May, five times in June, three times in July, and four times each in August and September.
Contact: Boyne Resorts, (800) GO-BOYNE.
Weekend golf schools, midweek golf schools, women-only golf schools and the Brad Dean Golf Academy comprise this summer's curriculum at Crystal Mountain. Two-day weekend schools will feature more than six hours of instruction, 18 holes of golf each afternoon, a teacher-student ratio of 4:1 and two nights lodging at the resort. Rates range from $453 but commuter rates also are available.
Three-day midweek schools include 15 hours of instruction, 54 holes of golf, computer-aided swing analysis, unlimited use of the 10-acre practice facility and three nights lodging. Rates for these schools begin at $652.
The Women Only Golf School at Crystal Mountain is a three-day course of instruction with two nights lodging and almost 13 hours of instruction.
The Brad Dean Golf Academy, which is new to the Crystal curriculum this season, is two days and eight hours of instruction presented by the resort's head pro. This school will feature a student-teacher ratio of 2:1. Dean was selected the 1998 Michigan Section PGA Teacher of the Year.
Contact: Brad Dean, (800) YOUR-MTN.
This 5,000-acre golf resort in Lewiston offers one-, two-, three- and four-day academies, as well as a four-day Family Academy. The academies are scheduled to begin the week of May 7 and are scheduled to run through Sept. 24. Prices range from $199-$999 and discounts are available for early booking.
With instruction offered by Naples, FL native Mike Pearson, who is the resort's Director of Golf, the one-day session emphasizes either the short game or full swing. The two-day academy focuses on the short game the first day and the full swing the second day.
The three-day session, which has become Garland's most popular academy, is a comprehensive school that covers all aspects of the game, from tee to green, including the rules and etiquette of golf. The four-day academy is a more relaxed version of the three-day session, allowing pupils more time to play the resort's four courses. The Family Academy follows the four-day format but allows parents and juniors to learn together.
Contact: Mike Pearson, (800) 968-0042.
Grand Traverse Resort
The renowned Jim McLean Golf School will return for another season of instruction at Grand Traverse Resort in Acme, just north of Traverse City. Under the direction of John Webster, a competitive player on the Australian-Asian Tour and the Florida mini tours, the school also will feature expert instructors Shannon Hamel, Jason Jenkins and Bryan Lebedevitch. Hamel, an Ann Arbor native and former scholarship player at the University of Miami, is in her eighth year with the Jim McLean Golf School. Jenkins, played at Penn State and was recently nominated as one of the nation's top 100 instructors. Lebedevitch last year served as McLean's personal assistant.
Dr. Fran Pirozzolo, a well known human performance coach who has worked with the New York Yankees, also is on the McLean staff at GTR.
McLean also will personally instruct one of this summer's sessions at Grand Traverse Resort. One-, two-, three- and four-day sessions are available from May through September.
Contact: Jim McLean Golf School, (800) 723-6725.
The Meadows at GVSU
Donna Eaton coaches the women's golf team at Hope College in Holland, but when she wanted instruction of her own last summer, she headed for Grand Valley State University in Allendale. Eaton attended a two-day camp at The Meadows at GVSU, under the direction of instructor Patti Butcher.
"We had a small group, which was extremely helpful," Eaton said. "We worked heavily with the short game and we rotated to different stations, but we didn't focus on the swing. We approached the game and the swing in a wholistic way. Much of what I learned last summer I learned in those two days."
The Meadows Golf Academy features a wide variety of options including the Annette Thompson Women's Players Camp, presented by the LPGA Master Professional who has been the LPGA Teacher of the Year, the President of the LPGA Teaching Division, Director of Education for the National Golf Foundation and coach of the women's golf team at Penn State University.
The Meadows curriculum also features a junior players camp, a high school girls spring training camp, a junior camp, a nine-hole junior camp, weekend and evening mini-camps, a short-game school and The Players Series, which is designed for golfers who want to take their game to the next level.
Prices range from $80-$395.
Contact: Patti Butcher, (616) 774-3377.
Michigan PGA Learn to Golf Program
Although, at press time, long-time sponsor Bavarian Village had not committed itself to another season of this program, Michigan PGA Executive Director Ken Devine expects the program to continue as usual.
More than 25,000 golfers have enrolled in this program in the last three years as it is available at 130 PGA courses around the state, runs from June 1 through Aug. 31 and costs as little as $15 per session.
Contact: Your local PGA course or the Michigan PGA, (734) 522-2323.
Rick Smith Family Golf Center
Birch Run is best known, at least for now, for its huge outlet mall.
That could change with the scheduled March opening of the Rick Smith Family Golf Center, about 15 minutes north of Flint. In addition to a two-ended range, this facility, which was designed by the legendary golf instructor, includes a short-game complex and a nine-hole pitch-and-putt course, all of which will be available for use at night. A challenging executive course also is featured at the center.
While instruction dates are pending, all of the center's instructors will be certified in Smith's method.
Contact: Patti Butcher, (616) 774-3377.
Susan Kaltenbach graduated from the Jack Seltzer Golf Academy last summer with blistered hands - and a better golf game. "Jack is really attentive, helpful and easy to work with," said Kaltenbach, who lives in Saginaw. "He is demanding, but not too demanding."
The three-day course of instruction at Shanty Creek will be offered 13 times this summer, twice in May, three times in June, four times in July and twice each in August and September, at a cost of $639 per person.
"I had never had real lessons before," Kaltenbach said. "I felt like I needed to know how I should be hitting the ball. Now I know how to hit it, even though I don't always do it."
Contact: Barry Godwin, (800) 678-4111.
The women's golf camp at Treetops is entering only its third season, but Mary Marcil of Muskegon already has been there three times. She organized a group of 12 women early last summer and took a group of 10 with her later in the season.
"The first time I went I enjoyed it so much I went again," said Marcil, 48, who is a member of the Board of Directors at Lincoln Golf Club in Muskegon. "I took 10 strokes off my game the first time I went; my husband will even play with me now," she said. "The first time I went I really wasn't using my woods so I concentrated on using my woods. The next two times I went I worked on different techniques."
Treetops, hosts the Rick Smith Golf School, which concentrates on the full swing. Treetops, however, also offers the women's program at which Marcil has become a regular. The resort just east of Gaylord also features "Weetops," a course of instruction for juniors aged 8-17. The Ladies Golf School will operate 16 times from mid-May through mid-September and "Weetops" is scheduled 10 times during the summer.
Prices were being determined at press time, but last year were $447 for the ladies camp and $660 for "Weetops."
Contact: Don White, (517) 732-6711.
Tri-State University Academy
Plymouth resident Sharon Waldsmith was named "The Most Improved Player," in her league last summer after attending this academy at Zollner Golf Course on this university's Angola, IN campus.
"It was easy to get to and was for a reasonable amount of time," said Waldsmith, 62, who is retired from the Wayne County Health Department.
"I went for a weekend and it was very helpful. I improved 12 strokes per nine holes."
Academy director Bill SanGiacomo has added a boys and girls team camp to his usual weekend, three-day, five-day and parent-child sessions.
This three-day team camp is open to individual or team players and their coaches are the guests of the academy. With lodging, the cost of the camp is $275 and will be held July 6-9 and July 14-17.
Weekend sessions are scheduled June 3-5 and 17-19 for 4350 per player, a three-day session is slated for June 13-16 for $495 and five-day sessions are scheduled for June 6-11 and 20-25, at a cost of $750. The parent-child camp is scheduled for July 11-14.
Contact: Bill SanGiacomo, 219-665-4292
United States Golf Academy
A retired General Motors employee, Gus Barksdale of Detroit gets his golf game tuned up once a year at the U.S. Golf Academy in Plymouth, IN, approximately 30 miles south of South Bend. For 18 years Barksdale has been getting this tune-up.
"We go down there every year for a tune-up and we start out with a review of everything," said Barksdale, 64. "Now we've gotten to working on problem shots. We work on whatever it is we need to work on."
Situated at Swan Lake Golf Resort, which has 36 championship holes and a 93-room hotel, this academy runs from April 1 through Oct. 10.
Two-day, three-day and junior golf schools are part of the curriculum and there is a student-teacher ratio of no greater than 5:1.
Contact: Roger Swanson, (219) 935-5680.
Women's Golf Academy
The Woodlands of VanBuren and Boyne again are expected to host these two-day sessions which are billed by academy director Sheila Tansey as "Instruction for Women by Women Golf Professionals."
Tansey also has scheduled a Michigan Girls Golf Day for Sat. Mar. 6 at the Michigan State University intramural building in East Lansing. That event will be presented at a cost of $25 for high school golfers and $35 for coaches and parents.
Janice McTigue of Birmingham attended the Women's Golf Day last May at the Woodlands and brought her husband, Mike, with her to a two-day session at Boyne later in the year. "I hadn't played in a while and it really helped my game," said Janice McTigue, a legal secretary. "I really learned a lot and for the first time I can start keeping my own score."
McTigue's golfing companions used to play scrambles whenever she was in the field, so as to avoid putting any undue pressure on her. "I understand the game more now," she said. "I understand more of the specifics of the game."
Mike McTigue, who is in property management, also saw his golf game improve under the direction of Tansey and Boyne's Schaffer. "I was a horrendous slicer and they did a wonderful job correcting that. Now I'm confident I can hit in the fairway."
Contact: Sheila Tansey, (800) WGA-7271.
The prototype for golf instruction is in the process of coming together at Mulligan's, located in Auburn Hills. The site will offer a ton of amenities to the golfing public. Currently, you will find on site a great driving range, putting greens, a miniature golf and state of the art teaching machines for the Rick Smith Academy. What is yet to come is Michigan's largest golf dome. It will be nearly twice the size of others and will feature a triple tiered driving area, an 18-hole miniature putting course and grill. According to Dave Marsh, the place will be able to be set up for junior golfer parties that will allow the kids to stay overnight in the dome.
Mulligan's also just opened a new Pro Golf prototype store. It has a golf travel area and a club repair shop. Don Price, Pro Golf store manager, indicates that the store will feature a knowledgeable staff and tremendous service to its customers. A new Pizza Hut that will take care of the food and beverage needs will soon join Pro Golf for the complex.
On the outside, a 27 executive style training course is being planned and designed by Rick Smith. Each of the nine hole courses will get progressively more challenging as the courses are being built to reflect the instructional strategy of the place.
3951 Joslyn Rd., Auburn Hills, MI 48326, 248-332-4653.
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