Editors' Choice: Travel & Golf ServicesApril 19, 2016

Best Golf Schools and Academies


When it's time to immerse yourself in your game, a great golf school should tick the right boxes: highly rated teaching staff, low student-to-teacher ratio, a variety of programs, great location, and attractive lodging options. We broke the category down by region, singling out the best schools geographically and in the hottest golf-travel markets. You'll find a good choice wherever you plan to travel, and at many price points. Prices vary within schools, from $250 for three hours at Vision54 to $6,500 for three days with Butch Harmon.

Having a prominent teacher's name on the door—and a location at a top-of-the-line resort—is a good starting point, but the best academies have more than just famous patrons and postcard views. They offer real interaction with top teachers and lesson programs tailored to a golfer's needs. Sea Island's golf academy has four current or former Golf Digest 50 Best teachers on its staff, and 50 Best teachers Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott, Dave Pelz and Todd Sones regularly offer personal instruction at their schools. Jim McLean's academy at Trump National Doral has three instructors ranked on Golf Digest's best-in-state list. Butch Harmon's three-day school at Rio Secco Golf Club outside Las Vegas is the only way a non-tour player can get personal access to the game's No. 1 teacher. Programs at Pinehurst, Pebble Beach and Kapalua are also staffed with highly rated teachers, and benefit from class-leading resort amenities like Pebble Beach's state-of-the-art teaching facility, with its $150,000 swing robot.

David Leadbetter's teaching headquarters at ChampionsGate is his Florida teaching home, along with his affiliated instructors and specialists—including a trainer, sport psychologist and clubfitter.

Golf Digest 50 Best Teacher and Golf Channel personality Michael Breed opened his flagship academy at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in New York's Bronx, the $230 million city-owned (and Donald Trump-licensed) course at the base of the Whitestone Bridge—you can see the Manhattan skyline from the front gate.

Vision54 Golf, Scottsdale
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Pebble Beach Golf Academy
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Leadbetter Golf Academy, ChampionsGate, Orlando
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Jim McLean Golf School at Trump National Doral, Miami
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Kapalua Golf Academy
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Pinehurst (N.C.) Golf Academy
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Todd Sones Impact Golf, Vernon Hills, Ill.
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Michael Breed Golf Academy, Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, Bronx, N.Y.
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Dave Pelz Golf School, Austin
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Sea Island (Ga.) Golf Performance Center
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Butch Harmon School of Golf, Henderson, Nev.
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