Editor's Note: Click here to see the 2011-2012 ranking of America's Best Golf Teachers.
For the fifth consecutive time, instructors nationwide voted Butch Harmon No. 1 in Golf Digest's ranking of America's 50 Greatest Teachers. But it nearly took a sudden-death playoff. In the closest finish since we started the game's only peer ranking in 2000, Harmon edged Hank Haney for the top spot by seven votes out of more than 500 ballots cast by instructors from all 50 states. Both teachers were well ahead of No. 3 David Leadbetter -- a testament to their work with the game's two highest-profile players, Harmon with Phil Mickelson and Haney with Tiger Woods. Jim McLean and Chuck Cook round out the top five.
Four teachers are new to the 50 Greatest for 2009-2010: Dave Phillips from the Titleist Performance Institute (T-35), longtime Seminole and Oakmont pro Bob Ford (39), putting expert Mike Shannon of Sea Island Golf Club (45) and Pinehurst Resort's Eric Alpenfels (T-48). On the following pages, you'll meet all of the 50 Greatest Teachers -- and read a tip from each one.
You might not be able to get time with Butch Harmon, but you can consult Golf Digest's Best Teachers in Your State, a list of almost 500 instructors, to book a lesson with a top teacher near you.