The 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 24 best local instructors. Fore!

Mike Killian
Galloway National Golf Club, 270 South New York Road, Galloway,

Years Teaching: 36.
Backswing: 59 years old.
Florida native fell for the game at age 13 in 1963, when parents took him to the Masters and he watched Jack Nicklaus’s first victory at Augusta; declared his goal to play in the tournament one day and achieved it in 1973. Represented U.S. in Walker Cup (and won), 1973; played in U.S. Open in 1975-’76. Specialty: Diagnostics. “I listen to my students and watch them to figure out if they’re a body swinger, an arm swinger or a wrist swinger.” Scorecard: New Jersey PGA Teacher of the Year, 1995; a Golf Digest top teacher in the state for 21 consecutive years; nominated for Golf Magazine top teacher in state since 1990. Philosophy: “I believe people learn in four ways: through analysis, visually, through touch, and by mimicking. I try to cover all the bases, though I don’t work so much with mimicking, because people don’t come to watch me hit golf balls.”


Don DeAngelis
Wood’s Golf Center, 559 West Germantown Pike, Norristown, 610-279-0678,
Years Teaching: 34.
Backswing: 57 years old.
Son of a golf pro in Lafayette Hill; began playing at age 10. Two years later, was competing at Philadelphia Junior events. Considers small frame (he’s five-foot-seven, 145 pounds) an advantage. Played in two U.S. Amateurs and the 1978 U.S. Open. Specialty: Swing setting. Scorecard: Won 1969 Philadelphia Junior, 1975 Philadelphia Patterson Cup, 1985 Pennsylvania Open; one of Golf Range magazine’s Top 50 Instructors in 2007. ­Philosophy: “There is no one swing for everyone. Everyone has different coordination levels, skill levels, ability levels. I believe consistency, brought on by repetition, leads to better playing.”


Cathy Reynolds
Honeybrook Golf Club, 1422 Cambridge Road, Honeybrrok, 610-273-0207
Years Teaching: 13.
Backswing: 47 years old.
Introduced to the game at age 13 by her mom while growing up in Medford. (Mom needed a playing partner.) Teacher in LPGA’s Urban Youth Golf Program (now The First Tee) for 12 years. Specialties: Women and kids; beginners. Scorecard: Ranked third in the nation among female collegiate golfers while at the University of North Carolina, 1980; won the New Jersey Women’s Amateur in 1981 and Delaware Women’s Amateur in 1997, along with four straight South Jersey Women’s Amateurs, 1979-’82, and a Mid-Atlantic Women’s Amateur, 1993. Winner, Carrie P. Russell Compassion and Devotion Award from the LPGA Urban Youth Golf Program, 2001. Philosophy: “Golf does not have to be hard.”


Scott Nye
Merion Golf Club, 450 Ardmore Avenue, Ardmore, 610-642-5600,
Years Teaching: 24.
Backswing: 46 years old.
Dad Robert is a PGA golf professional named Golfweek magazine’s Father of the Year in 2007; one brother coaches golf at Penn State, another is golf pro at Rolling Rock Club in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. “I have a really solid background for teaching golf because I had a lot of competitive experience as a younger golfer.” Specialty: Course management, short game, full swing — “I don’t have one method.” Goal is “getting players to understand the various parts of the game and how they fit together for maximum enjoyment.” Scorecard: Philadelphia PGA Section Horton Smith Award winner, 1996-’97; named one of the top 10 teachers in the state in 2000 by Golf Digest. Philosophy: “There are basic fundamentals that all golfers need, and they have to master those fundamentals. They can never lose sight of why they’re out there.”