Michigan Golfer ON-LINE

Back to School '98: Golf Schools, Camps and Academies
by Kelly Hill

This is a multiple choice quiz.

Which of the following best describes you or your game?

A) Scratch; B) Competitive amateur; C) Occasionally competitive amateur; D) Once-a-week leaguer; E) Hack.

Now that you have answered the above multiple choice quiz to the best of your ability, here is another multiple choice. Regardless of how you answered the above question, you have multiple choices from which to select the summer golf instruction program that is right for you and your game.

Academy Golf Schools

This instructional organization, which is operated by Rick Davenport and offered throughout the Midwest and the Carolinas, will be presented at Spruce Ridge from the end of April until early September. Davenport offers the option of a three-day, two-night session or a six-day, five-night school. "This is a golf retreat where your golf car is your only mode of transportation," Davenport said. "The thing that is unique about our school is its video analysis and our ability to make hands-on analysis from that video, all the while hearing me tell you what needs correcting. You can see your swing and hear what the director has to say about it. Using stop-action and slow motion, with the director, your can see what has been accomplished and understand what still needs to be done."

Academy Golf Schools boasts former national champions Sue Lennox and Sue Treciak as former students. The three-day camp costs $395 and the six-day session is $1,475. Contact: Academy Golf Schools, (800) 677-2527.

Crystal Mountain

Two or three days is your choice at the Crystal Mountain Golf Academy presented by the resort's pro, Brad Dean, and his entourage of capable instructors. Twenty-four academy sessions are scheduled from early May to mid-August with the two-day session featuring seven hours of instruction and the three-day session featuring 15 hours of instruction.

"We teach the fundamentals of the golf swing," said Dean, who is assisted by Rick Garner, Scott Wilson, Jennifer Drolema and Mike Griffiths, three of whom are Class A PGA pros and the other an assistant pro. "We don't believe that there is one swing for everyone. We try to develop a prescription for an individual's golf swing." Whatever your choice at Crystal Mountain, the student to teacher ratio will never exceed 4:1.

The two-day academy is scheduled on weekends at a rate of $360 per person which includes instruction, lodging and two meals each day. The three-day session runs Wednesday through Friday at an estimated cost of $550.

Contact: Brad Dean, 800-YOUR-MTN.


This golf resort in Lewiston offers a choice between one-, three- or four-day instructional sessions presented by Garland's Director of Instruction, Mike Pearson. A Naples, FL native, Pearson is assisted by Leslie Plichta, a graduate of the Golf Management program at New Mexico State University.

Garland's one-day mini camps, three-day and four-day camps for families, juniors or ladies is slated to begin in May and run through mid-September.

"We try to make it fun," said Garland pro Lee Woodruff. "We don't try to beat people up or get too technical. We are not of the opinion that everyone can swing like Greg Norman or Tiger Woods."

In addition to the instruction, Pearson and Plichta will play golf with their pupils. "Our instructors go directly with them to help them play and use their course strategy and management."

Prices for Garland's golf academy include meals, unlimited golf, a cocktail reception and a gift package. The two-day, three-night academy is run at a cost of $799, the four-day, three-night camp is $949 and the junior academy is $629. The one-day mini-camp is $199.

Contact: Lee Woodruff (800) 968-0042.

The Meadows

The choices presented by The Meadows, on the Allendale campus of Grand Valley State University, do not involve any number of days, but they do involve your honest evaluation of your game.

"We have all three-day sessions, but there are three levels of junior camps, based on ability, not age," said academy director Patti Butcher. "We have a fundamental camp for those just getting involved in golf; that covers everything including etiquette," Butcher said. "We have a nine-hole player camp for those who are already playing, and we have a junior player camp for competitive high school players." According to Butcher, the junior player camp has been the academy's most popular and its limit of 18 players is quickly filled.

The Meadows has two sessions of each camp scheduled, probably in mid to late-June. The introductory camp is run at a cost of $150 for 3-4 hour days. The nine-hole camp carries a cost of $195 and the junior player camp is $395. Instruction, golf and meals are covered by the cost.

The Meadows will also host a women's camp Friday through Sunday, May 29-June 1 with professional Annette Thompson providing the instruction. That camp is $425. A series of 10-hour schools concentrating on the short game are also available at various times throughout the summer months.

In addition to Butcher, the Meadows' instructors include Sue Ertl, Michael Grooms and PGA pro and Hall of Fame high school coach Evonne Picard.

Contact: Patti Butcher, (616) 895-1001

Michigan PGA Learn to Golf Program

The options are almost limitless in this program offered by the Michigan Section PGA and sponsored by Bavarian Village. More than 20,000 Michigan golfers have enrolled in this program in the past two years as it is inexpensive and convenient.

The program, which features a series of three lessons, is available at 130 PGA golf courses around the state from June 1 through August 31. Private lessons are only $30 apiece; semi-private lessons, for a group of 2-3 golfers are $25 and group lessons, in a group of no more than eight people, are only $15 apiece.

Contact: Your nearest Bavarian Village or Michigan PGA (313) 522-2323.

Shanty Creek

Your choice at Shanty Creek is between three and five-day sessions instructed by pros Jack Seltzer and Kevin Whitmore. Twenty-six three-day sessions are scheduled Monday through Wednesday or Friday through Sunday and four five-day sessions are also on the docket. Seltzer's new golf academy at Shanty Creek is slated to open in early May and run through September. Reservations are encouraged since no session will accept more than eight players.

"We work on everything," Seltzer said. "We work on the long game, course strategy and taking what you've learned from the range to the course." The midweek three-day camp is run at a cost of $1,442; on weekends it is $1,508. The five-day sessions are $2,240 midweek and $2,436 on weekends.

"We work with what a person is bringing," Seltzer said. "This is structured around the people. We ask them what they want to accomplish and we structure it around them. My philosophy is the fundamentals," Seltzer added. "Everyone comes with a fundamental golf swing so we work on the stance and the grip as well as the swing. To change someone completely is going to take a lot longer than five days.

Contact: Jack Seltzer, (800) 678-4111.


Options abound at this resort just west of Gaylord and those options are presented by some of the most famous instructors in the game. The Rick Smith Golf School is again on the docket as is Henry Young's "Weekend Workshop." Young's sessions are every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May through September.

The Rick Smith school traditionally features instruction addressing the full swing and normally includes sessions of five students and three instructors. The program for women that Treetops inaugurated last summer is again on this summer's schedule and last year featured a Sunday arrival, instruction on Monday and Tuesday mornings followed by unlimited golf in the afternoon and evening.

Treetops has another option for golf instruction this summer, a portion of which is being billed as "WeeTops." A camp for juniors, aged 8-17 has been implemented and plans were made to construct a brand new practice facility for those juniors. According to Treetops pro Don White, the Juniors will be divided into two age divisions, 8-14 and 15-17, and the overnight camp will feature 24-hour supervision as well as golf instruction.

Contact: Don White, (517) 732-6711

Tri-State University Academy

The Tri-State University Instructional Golf Academy, located at Zollner Golf Course on the campus of the Angola, IN university, offers three or five-day sessions as well as weekend options. Three separate schools are also offered, one for adults, one for parents and children and one dedicated exclusively to the improvement of one's short game.

"We are dedicated to improving the golf games of those who attend the programs each June and July," said academy director Bill SanGiacomo. "Each session offers individual instruction and on-course playing lessons with our staff highlights the teaching program. Videotaped swing analysis helps students to identify their strengths and weaknesses and to accelerate their learning and improvement."

The five-day schools, which cost $725, is scheduled for June 7-12, 14-19 and 21-26. The three-day session, at a cost of $475, is slated for July 5-8 and weekend sessions, at $350, are June 4-6 and July 17-19. The parent-child session is $450 and scheduled for July 14-17.

U.S. Golf Academy

Located 30 miles south of South Bend in Plymouth, IN, the U.S. Golf Academy offers options a bit earlier and later in the season than most other schools. Opening in early April and running through mid-October, the academy offers two three-day sessions each week at a cost of $585 that includes instruction, lodging and meals.

"We try to take what a student does right, and it doesn't matter what score you shoot, and build around that," said academy director Roger Swanson. "We try to eliminate liabilities and give you good corrective measure and make sure you understand it."

With a student-to-teacher ratio of 5:1, the school works on iron play the first day, woods the second and every club the third and final day. According to Swanson, "This is a nice place to eat, sleep and play golf."

Contact: Roger Swanson, (219) 935-5680.

Women's Golf Academy

"Instruction for Women by Women Golf Professionals," is the claim made by the Women's Golf Academy. "There are never more than six students per teacher and I do the instruction or all the other pros are women PGA or LPGA members," said Academy director Sheila Tansey. "We have instructors for each skill level."

Spring Training 1998 is scheduled for March 3 through April 2 on Tuesdays at the Woodlands of Vanburen in Wayne and on Thursdays at Timber Ridge in East Lansing. These seminars are at a cost of $45 each or a series of five for $200. The Academy will offer a series of two-day programs this year at a cost of $235 that includes video analysis and eight hours of instruction.

The first two-day event is slated for May 2-3 at the Woodlands of Vanburen and is intended for players who can break 100. A course for beginners and novices is scheduled for May 16-17 at the Woodlands, which will host another two-day course July 17-18. Timber Ridge will host the Women's Golf Academy June 29-30. Boyne will host a pair of such courses June 20-21 and August 1-2.

Contact: Sheila Tansey (517) 327-9550 or (800) WGA-7271.

The options described above provide almost unlimited possibilities for the improvement of your golf swing, but those options might also seem as overwhelming as a plugged bunker shot. If you need assistance deciding which school is right for you, contact the PGA professional at your favorite course.

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