Southwest Florida is often called the Golf Capital of the World. It’s a worthy moniker considering the area’s more than 150 golf courses have more golf holes per capita than anywhere else in the United States. A hearty percentage of the 1.3 million locals are golfers, who get to choose their preference from lake courses with island holes to natural landscape layouts with varied trees, grasses and wetlands. The names are as varied as the properties—Old Corkscrew in Estero to Treviso Bay in Naples.
As much as golf has grown, there must be area residents, youth and adults, who don’t play the game or haven’t for a long time. How and where do they start? It ain’t easy. Ben Hogan, the 64-time PGA Tour winner who died in 1997 at age 84, was considered among the best ball-strikers in the history of golf and most meticulous students of the game. He was renowned for his poignant quotes.
“I don’t believe there is anything like a natural golf swing,” Hogan once said. “A golf swing is an unnatural thing, and it has to be developed.”
Plenty of instructors know the game well, and they know how to teach it. Bobby Clampett, co-founder and CEO of Impact Zone Golf in Naples, succinctly states golf’s major issue, a stumbling block to many considering the game. “The reality is that the game is too hard,” says Clampett, a former PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions player. “What I’ve really noticed is that the average golfer doesn’t know how to assess and correct their issues. They’re like a person going into the grocery store pulling items off the shelf thinking [that] without a recipe, they’re going to create a great meal.”
Clampett’s business, like others in Southwest Florida, instructs students of varying abilities. Fitness and biomechanics instruction to improve body function and swing performance are keys. Swing analysis, properly fitting clubs and video footage are also common in teaching golf.
GolfTec brings golf to newbies with an introductory session. It includes swing evaluation or club fitting and determining a new student’s level, including newcomers. It’s “your first step to better golf,” states the website of the company with locations in Naples and Fort Myers, as well as throughout the United States and five other countries. Pricing for its one-on-one golf lessons for juniors and adults varies by location, with recommendations based on a student’s skill level and goals. GolfTec instructors are certified personal coaches with expertise in golf mechanic analysis.
West Bay Golf Academy in Estero utilizes TrackMan technology and video feedback to help new and experienced golfers learn or better their games. The academy is under the direction of Katie Detlefsen Dahl, who believes in the Doppler radar monitoring system, which measures every aspect of a student’s movement. It’s data-driven, not video reliant. Roughly the size of a laptop, the device is set up behind a golfer and records data and graphics for the student and instructor to analyze.
Jeremy Wells, director of player development at Cypress Lake Golf Club in Fort Myers, gives golf lessons to players of all ages and abilities. He utilizes bio-mechanics to evaluate a student’s game explains and cause and effect relationship in swings. Wells knows of what he teaches; he’s a former full-time touring pro with several victories on his resume and still competes when he’s not teaching.
At Raptor Bay Golf Academy in Bonita Springs, Chris Pais, director of instruction and PGA teaching professional, stresses golf lessons as “better golf and more fun.” It offers individual and group lessons and varies from junior golf to corporate clinics. Video and written lesson summaries are included, and long- and short-game techniques are emphasized in lessons that include TrackMan and several additional modern technologies.
10 facilities in Southwest Florida that offer golf lessons
Andy Scott School of Golf
12300 Kelly Greens Blvd., Fort Myers; 239.699.3985; andyscottschoolofgolf.com
Durland Golf School
7335 Premier Drive, Naples; 239.784.2208;
2464 Vanderbilt Beach Road #510, Naples; 239.514.4653; golftec.com
Impact Zone Golf
1040 Collier Center Way #13, Naples; 239.236.5536; impactzonegolf.com
Jeremy Wells Golf Instruction
6767 Winkler Road, Fort Myers; 804.931.6299;
Jim Sowerwine Golf Instruction
4450 Pelican’s Nest Drive, Bonita Springs; 239.272.9631;
Mike Calbot International Golf Academy
23001 Coconut Point Resort Drive, Bonita Springs; 239.849.3352;
Raptor Bay Golf Club
23001 Coconut Point Resort Drive, Bonita Springs; 239.390.4600;
Tee 2 Green Golf Services
27499 Riverview Center Blvd., Suite #236, Bonita Springs; 239. 877.1544;
West Bay Golf Club
4606 West Bay Blvd., Estero; 239.444.2310;