Michigan Golfer ON-LINE

Class of 2000 -- Bring your Game into the 21st Century
By Kelly Hill

Remember almost two decades ago, back in the early '80s, when a year's worth of American children were dubbed the 'Class of 2000' and their progression from diapers to dating was tracked by the earliest of the Millennium Maniacs?

Well, those children will graduate from high school in a couple of months, and while many of you probably graduated from high school before the members of the 'Class of 2000,' were born, it's not too late to join their class. You too can be a member of the 'Class of 2000.' All you need to do is call one of several Michigan (or Indiana) universities, perhaps a northern Michigan resort, or maybe a neighborhood course, and register for one of this season's many golf schools, camps and academies.

The curriculum is varied, the instructors are knowledgeable and soon, hopefully very soon, the grass will be green. Here is a brief look at some of the academic lessons set to commence around the state this season:

If you prefer to learn in a traditional setting, perhaps you should consider the golf academies at Katke Golf Club on the Big Rapids campus of Ferris State University, The Meadows Golf Club at Grand Valley State University in Allendale or Zollner Golf Course on the campus of Tri-State University in northern Indiana.

Mike Hodgins and Kevin Tucci, who are graduates of the PGA's first accredited Professional Golf Management Program in the country, provide the instruction at weekend adult camps that feature a 4:1 student-to-teacher ratio, or weeklong academies for juniors, with a 6:1 ratio. This low-pressure learning environment includes 10 hours of weekend instruction or more than 20 hours of learning for the juniors, and all of the instruction happens on the new, 40-acre practice facility. Adult camps, which carry a cost of $450 that includes lodging, begin June 2. Junior camps, which are $475 and include dormitory accommodations, begin June 18.

Contact Mike Hodgins at (231) 591-3765.

According to GVSU's Terry Sack, who is Director of Golf at The Meadows, the club is "looking at going in a different direction," in regard to its summer instruction, although he admitted that this year's program could look similar to that of previous seasons. In the past, The Meadows offered weekend and evening camps, intermediate mini camps, The Players Series (which was designed for players who wanted to take their game to the next level), short game school, scoring seminars, junior camps and women's camps.

Contact Terry Sack at (616) 895-1004.

Lori Stinson, who is a pro at The Meadows at GVSU, lead Tri-State University, in Angola, IN, to an NAIA women's golf championship in 1997. Last year, Tri-State's men's team went undefeated. One of the best maintained courses in Indiana, Zollner is a thinking player's course, so perhaps it is best that Bill SanGiacomo directs Tri-State's golf academies. The establishment of a Professional Golf Management Program at the university, however, has forced SanGiacomo to limit his academy schedule to the month of June this year, because he has 12 interns he needs to direct. A weekend camp is slated for June 1-3, two five-day camps are penciled in for June 4-9 and 18-23, a three-day camp is set for June 11-14, a boys camp is scheduled for June 25-28 and a girls camp is slated for June 29-July 1. SanGiacomo is assisted by PGA professionals Don Cook, Jim Cassel and Michigan native Ernie Silverthorn, as well as Zollner head pro Scott Alexander and assistant pro Sarah Brown. Sports psychologist Patti McLean also is on the camps' teaching staff. "We offer playing lessons every day, with 1-on-1 instruction on the range, as well as fun, competitive events like scrambles and long-drive contests."

The weekend camps cost $350, three-day camps are $475 and five-day camps are $750. All include lodging and three meals per day. Contact Bill SanGiacomo at (800) 347-4878.

Perhaps you would prefer your course instruction off campus, but still in atmosphere of academia, in surroundings dedicated to teaching. Your best fit might be found at Academy Golf Schools in Dowagiac, the Trevor Parkinson Golf School in Rochester Hills and Oakland Township, the Women's Golf Academy, Mulligan's in Auburn Hills or Patti Butcher's Innerform program, to be operated on the west side of the state.

The former professional at The Meadows, Butcher now operates Patti Butcher Golf Enterprises, based in Grand Rapids, but plans to operate her Innerform program at several sites this summer, including scenic Saugatuck.

The Hill Top Learning Center in the eclectic lakeside village is scheduled to open for play in March with a two-tiered, heated and covered facility, and is expected to feature an indoor short-game facility, which will be the only one of its kind in the nation, by the Fourth of July.

The Pines Golf Course in Wyoming also will host the Innerform program. "I teach the physical skills of golf, but my teaching also integrates the mental aspects of the game," Butcher said. "It's a balanced approach, thus the name." Butcher also works in cooperation with the bed-and-breakfast proprietors and hoteliers in the Saugatuck area. "This is about what is really good for golfers," Butcher said.

Contact Patti Butcher at (616) 774-3377.

The Women's Golf Academy plans to operate clinics this season at Hunter's Ridge in Howell, Boyne Mountain and Highlands in Boyne City and Harbor Springs, and at a yet-to-be-determined course in the Lansing area. Two days of instruction are planned, at a cost of $235, which included morning teaching sessions and afternoon play with a teaching professional. The Academy also has initiated a personalized coaching program intended for serious tournament players. Contact Sheila Tansey at (800) WGA-7271.

Academy Golf Schools, under the direction of Rick Davenport, operate in Myrtle Beach, Sumter, S.C., Oakwood, Ontario and at Spruce Run near Dowagiac.

Academy Golf Schools combines Spruce Run's three-tiered driving range, nice putting area and rolling, tree-lined course with a peaceful farming community that has renovated its downtown area. "Students should know that they will have direct instruction from me on a 4:1 student-instructor ratio," said Davenport, who is a traditional teacher influenced by Nick Garbazi. "Nick could build a swing better than anyone I ever saw," Davenport said.

"I have tried to bring that into my teaching." The academy ranges from 3-6 days, between April and September. Cost ranges from $395-$1,500. Contact Rick Davenport at (800) 677-2527.

Trevor Parkinson, a native of Liverpool, England, operates the golf school that bears his name from an indoor facility in Rochester Hills and at Twin Lakes Golf Club in Oakland Township. The school, which offers three-, six- or 12-month memberships with unlimited lessons and practice available, utilizes the ASTAR system, a

visual communications tool that allows players of every ability to view and analyze the golf swing. One- and two-day schools are presented at Twin Lakes from June through October.

Contact Trevor Parkinson at (248) 608-9634.

The Rick Smith Academies, which consist of two-hour, half-day or weekend sessions, are available at Mulligan's in Auburn Hills. Academies dedicated to improving one's short game also are available. Marc White, who is the lead instructor at Mulligan's also is a left-handed PGA player, and as such, offers a hard-to-find, one-day 'Left-Handed Only' golf school.

Contact Marc White at (248) 332-4653.

Perhaps you would rather stay close to home this summer while you improve your golf swing. While golf instruction is available at virtually every course in the state, Candlestone Inn and Golf Course in Belding and Partridge Creek Golf Club in Clinton Township offer instruction that is more structured than at most courses.

Candlestone's PGA pro, Brad Barnum, plans to present the Candlestone Golf Academy this year, which is expected to feature three nights of lodging at the newly renovated Candlestone Inn, six meals, greens fees and 15 hours of instruction. The cost is $450 double occupancy and the dates are April 30-May 3 and May 6-9. A school only for women is scheduled from June 10-13.

Contact Brad Barnum at (616) 691-7713.

Chas Sarlund, the PGA pro of The Hawk at Partridge Creek, established a junior golf program two years ago and last year graduated over 200 pupils. The program, which meets once each week for 10 weeks, includes 45 minutes of instruction followed by a round of supervised golf. Lessons focus on most aspects of the game including etiquette and rules of play.

Contact Chas Sarlund at (810) 228-3030.

Perhaps you learn best when you are being pampered. Perhaps knowledge is best retained when you are enjoying luxurious accommodations. If so, Michigan golfers have a plethora of opportunities. Look to Boyne USA Resorts, Crystal Mountain, Garland, Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, Shanty Creek and Treetops to ease your mind while you fill it with proper swing techniques.

Boyne Mountain in Boyne Falls and Boyne Highlands in Harbor Springs, the homes of the Super Five Golf Week, offer 21 opportunities to enjoy this all-inclusive week of golf. Beginning the first week of May and running through September, with three 'Ladies Weeks' in May, June and July, Boyne USA offers resort accommodations and some of northern Michigan's finest golf.

Three former Michigan Section PGA Teachers of the Year -- Brad Dean, Ron English and David Kendall -- have collaborated and created The Ultimate Golf School, at Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville. With 64 years of combined teaching experience, Dean, English and Kendall offer a school that emphasizes all facets of the game, including the full swing, short game, mental preparation and scoring ability. "The Ultimate Golf School is a three-day program designed to not only improve the golf swing," said Dean, who earned Teacher of the Year honors in 1998, "but improve the scoring ability of all students." It adds a dimension to golf instruction unparalleled by any other golf school in Michigan.

The Ultimate Golf School will hold three sessions this summer: May 31-June 2, June 19-21 and July 24-26. The cost of the school is $1,399, double occupancy.

Contact Brad Dean at (231) 378-2000 ext. 4001.

Garland will offer two-, three- and four-day academies this summer, as well as a new "Coach the Coach" program and a variety of specialty clinics. The two-day academies, at a cost of between $222 and $460, will feature nine hours of instruction as well as an opportunity to play the courses at this Lewiston resort. The three-day sessions, priced from $433-$573, include 12 and a half hours of instruction, while the four-day schools ($433-$793) feature 16 hours of instruction. The camps are scheduled from May through mid-September and again will will be directed by Mike Pearson.

Garland's "Coach the Coach" program ($199) is intended for parents and children and the instruction emphasizes teaching parents to coach their young golfers. Garland's specialty clinics will concentrate either on the short game or the long game and are available on 27 dates next summer.

Contact Mike Pearson at (517) 7896-2211.

Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, which has been judged a Silver Medal Resort by Golf Magazine and ranked among the top 50 travel destinations worldwide by readers of Conde Nast Traveler, will again offer the Jim McLean Golf School this season. A one-day, a variety of two-day and a seven-day junior program are available at the resort beginning the first week of May and running through September. The one-day session features five hours of instruction conducted on a private range and SUPERSTATION, at a cost of $500. The Two-Day Basic Training School features 10 hours of instruction and two nights accommodations for a cost of $1,275, double occupancy. The Two-Day Power School, at the same cost as the basic two-day school, is designed specifically to help you hit the ball farther. The Two-Day Short Game School is designed to lower your handicap and the popular Two-Day Player's School, at a cost of $2,200 double occupancy, features 18 hours of comprehensive instruction. The Seven-Day Jim McLean Junior Elite Program, at a cost of $1,965, includes 45 hours of instruction. SUPERSTATIONS were developed by Jim McLean and feature the latest video and computer equipment to facilitate the learning process. Contact Jim McLean Golf School at Grand Traverse Resort, (231) 938-3775.

Jack Seltzer, the instructor of the golf schools at Shanty Creek, allows pupils in the half-day school customize their sessions. Seltzer, however, also offers a number of three-day camps this summer, as well as one-hour sessions. With no more than four students per session, "We can do 1-on-1 teaching," Seltzer said. The three-day sessions analyze every aspect of the swing and discuss every aspect of the game.

While each of the three days instruction is videotaped for the student to take with them upon graduation, the first of the three days at Shanty Creek works on the full swing. The second day concentrates on the short game and the third day defines a player's weaknesses and is spent trying to correct them.

Contact Jack Seltzer at (810) 742-4900.

Treetops hosts the Rick Smith Golf School, which concentrates on the full swing, but the Gaylord resort has also previously offered The Ladies Golf School, which is designed specifically for women. "Weetops," a course of instruction for juniors aged 8-18, also has been available at the reort from May through September. Prices were being determined at press time, but in the past were $47 for the ladies camp and $660 for "Weetops."

Contact Don White at (517) 732-6711.

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