Feature: Above Par: The 25 Best Local Golf Instructors

Merion and Pine Valley grab all the headlines, but the truth is, there’s a lot of great golf — and folks who teach it — all around Philly. As TY WENGER roams fairways far and wide in search of the top 10 area courses, LUKE SIRINIDES tees up the 25 best local instructors. Fore!

Mike Moses
Concord Country Club, 1601 Wilmington Pike, West Chester, 610-459-2200, concordclub.org
Years Teaching: 22.
Backswing: 45 years old.
Grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and started playing at age seven. Competed in PGA Regional Club Professional Championship; qualified for 2008 PGA Professional National Championship in Georgia this June. Former director of tournaments for Philadelphia PGA, 2004-’06; golf coach at Garnet Valley High School, Glen Mills, past five years. Specialties: Short game, course management, golf psychology. Scorecard: Named 2006 Philadelphia PGA Golf Pro of the Year; won 1992 Pennsylvania Open. Philosophy: “I try to get people to get better, and to have more fun while they’re playing golf. It’s not
life or death.”


Dom DiJulia
Dom DiJulia School of Golf, Jericho National Golf Club, 250 Brownsburg Road East, New Hope, 215-862-9045, dijuliagolf.com
Years Teaching: 18.
Backswing: 39 years old.
Newtown Square native picked up the game at 16. Saw golf as a never-ending opportunity to improve: “I love the pursuit of mastery.” Played mini-tours (South Florida) from 1995 to ’98 before teaching full-time. Specialties: Getting players out of their own way, “finding the block.” “The real skill is understanding the block can be anything; maybe the grip is off, maybe the clubs don’t fit, or a person can’t estimate yardage.” Scorecard: One of Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Teachers in America, 2007; one of Golf Digest’s “Top 20 Under 40,” 2007; PGA Master Professional in Instruction; Philadelphia PGA Teacher of the Year, 2002 and ’06. Philosophy: “I know what it’s like to be a student. I know what’s frustrating, what works, what’s missing. Everyone has his own right way.”


Bill Bishop
Freeway Golf Course, 1858 Sicklerville Road, Sicklerville, 856-227-1115, freewaygolfcourse.com
Years Teaching: 40.
Backswing: 81 years old.
Started playing at 11, when his grandfather was a caddy master at Americus Country Club in Americus, Georgia. Played in the United Golf Association Tour’s Philadelphia Section every year from 1955 to ’77. (UGA affectionately dubbed it “the Peanut Tour.”) In 1997, left to apprentice under Horace Smith at Freeway, the world’s first 18-hole minority-owned golf course, designed by Smith himself. A year later, Bishop made head pro. Specialty: Short game. Scorecard: Inducted by the National Black Golf Hall of Fame, 1987. Philosophy: “I am interested in breaking barriers. All kinds. Within the game of golf, everyone needs to break their own barriers to achieve their best game.”


Jim Smith Jr.
Philadelphia Cricket Club, golf facility located at 6025 West Valley Green Road, Flourtown, 215-247-6001, philacricket.com
Years Teaching: 17.
Backswing: 40 years old.
Played in college, where he found the game the right mix of challenge, competition, beauty and peace. Never sought professional career because he knew he wanted to be a club pro. Got his first head pro job at the Abington Club at age 24. Specialty: None. Scorecard: Philadelphia PGA Golf Pro of the Year, 2005. Philosophy: “A good teacher cares more about just getting someone to hit the ball better: A good teacher is a good coach. I’m not method-based, like many pros are. I don’t claim to be professional in one area, but rather I’m comfortable in every area. That’s the balance a student should have.”