Sultans of Swing: Mind Games
Regardless of its curriculum or the quality of its staff, the Pebble Beach Golf Academy would attract students by reason of its location alone. Fortunately, and not coincidentally, the academy at the world’s most famous golf resort boasts three of the world’s most respected instructors: 2003 PGA Teacher of the Year Laird Small, Golf magazine Top 100 Teacher Dan Pasquariello (1995–2006), and Golf for Women Top 50 Teacher Katherine Marren (2000–2005). “Pebble Beach is one of the best places to play golf,” says Small, the academy’s director. “Our goal is to make it one of the best places to learn how to play golf.”
Working with Pasquariello, Marren, and 18 other PGA instructors, Small addresses both the swings and psyches of his academy students. “Golfers tend to look at the negative,” he says. “When you go shopping, you make a list of things you want—not things that you don’t want. Golfers need to envision what they want to do.” Once focused on the positive, he says, a golfer also must recognize the flaws in his game to become a player. “If a golfer slices his ball, he’ll still line up straight every time and hope for the best,” explains Small. “A player knows that eight out of 10 times he will slice. He may not like the way he hits it, but he will play to his game.”
Golfers and players alike hone their skills at the academy’s practice facility, which is adjacent to the Spyglass Hill clubhouse and includes a driving range, a chipping area, and a Swing Solutions video system that enables frame-by-frame analysis from various angles. Pebble Beach plans to open a new practice facility within a few years to coincide with the completion of the resort’s fifth championship golf course.
Two-day programs at the Pebble Beach academy include 18 holes of golf on two of the resort’s current courses. And with all due respect to the other facilities featured on the preceding pages, nothing compares to an after-class round at the Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Pebble Beach Golf Academy
Location: Pebble Beach Resorts, Pebble Beach, Calif.
Instructors: 2003 PGA Teacher of the Year Laird Small is joined by Dan Pasquariello, Katherine Marren, and 18 other PGA instructors.
Format: Held in March, May, September, and October, Pebble Beach’s two-day golf schools include rounds on both Pebble Beach Golf Links and the Links at Spanish Bay. Single-day programs are available year-round.
Rates: From $700 for a single-day school to $3,600 for a two-day program.
Accommodations: Two-day rates include three nights’ lodging at Pebble Beach’s Inn at Spanish Bay.
Contact: 831.622.8650, www.pebblebeach.com