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 Dynda
Blue Bell Country Club, 1800 Tournament Drive, Blue Bell, 215-616-8100, bluebellcc.com

Years Teaching: 22.
Backswing: 42 years old.
Started playing at 14 when he got sick of baseball. Works with female golfers in the LPGA Tour; coaches men’s golf at Drexel. Specialties: Communication, time management, simplicity. Scorecard: Awarded USGA Medal in 1997 for U.S. Open Local Qualifying; 2005 Philadelphia PGA Teacher of the Year. Philosophy: “Keep it simple, focus on the basic fundamentals, and practice your ass off.”

 

Bob Pfister
The Golf Course at Glen Mills, 221 Glen Mills Road, Glen Mills, 610-558-2142,
glenmillsgolf.com

Years Teaching: 45.
Backswing: 67 years old.
Started playing at 12 while growing up in Buffalo. Caddied for six years at Orchard Park Country Club. Has played in two U.S. Senior Opens — 1990 (Ridgewood) and 1995 (Pinehurst) — and three PGA Senior Championships. Specialty: Calming nerves. “I build great relationships with students. Some, I’ve had since 1968.” Scorecard: Won Philadelphia PGA Senior Championship, 1993 and ’96; winner of the Skee Riegel Senior Player of the Year and was also named Most Improved Player from the Philadelphia PGA, 1993. Philosophy: “Just stick to the basics. Good grip. Good stance. Basic things. I don’t get into a lot of method teaching, though I do use Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons. If I have any philosophy beyond basics and fundamentals, it comes from this book.”

 

Ed Gibson
Applebrook Golf Club, 100 Line Road, Malvern, 610-647-7660, applebrookgolfclub.com
Years Teaching: 8.
Backswing: 30 years old.
Fell for golf while caddying at Commonwealth National Golf Club, and took it up at Bishop McDevitt in 1992. Specialties: Club fitting; junior programs and clinics. Scorecard: Philadelphia PGA’s Assistant Golf Professional of the Year, 2007. Philosophy: Based on the acronym PGA: “P is for posture, G is for grip, and A is for alignment. I focus on muscle control, flexibility and range of motion. If you can nail the backswing, downswing and finish, you’re most of the way to being a successful golfer.”

 

Will Reilly
Twining Valley Golf & Fitness Club, 1400 Twining Road, Dresher, 215-659-9917, twiningvalley.com
Years Teaching: 27.
Backswing: 44 years old.
The game is in his blood: His dad and two ­brothers are all PGA members, and his mother made history in the ’80s when, as golf coach at Bishop McDevitt, she got girls into the Philadelphia Catholic League. Serves on the Philadelphia PGA Instruction Committee and National PGA Junior Golf Committee. Chairs Philadelphia PGA Growth of the Game Committee, whose goal is to recruit new players. Specialty: Working with juniors. Teaches with the Philadelphia Boys & Girls “Clubs” golf program and helps out in the Kids on the Hill Program, which takes inner-city kids to suburban golf courses for eight weeks every summer to teach not only golf, but life skills. Scorecard: Won the national PGA Junior Golf Leader Award in 2005 and the President’s Plaque in 2007. Philosophy: Method is centered in one element: how power is created. “People use their hands for power, instead of using them for feel.” Tries to keep lessons simple and relaxing because, he says, “People already have stressful jobs.”

 

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