It doesn’t hurt to have a famous name on the door of your golf school, but the proof in our list of best academies in the country is the interaction you get with top-tier coaches—whether they’re household names or not. The best schools have highly trained teachers and small teacher-to-student ratios to go with amenities like the latest swing-analysis technology (and an adjacent luxury spa). There are plenty to pick from in the traditional hot spots, but you’ll find great choices across America. In many cases, booking a spot in a school is the only way to get face-to-face with ultra-famous teachers like Butch Harmon and David Leadbetter, which makes them a kind of skill-building fantasy camp.
Other schools rely more on repeat business from locals and let you build your skills with one- or two-day camps. For example, Cog Hill Golf Academy outside Chicago offers an extensive series of 90-minute clinics for players at various levels for skills ranging from green-reading to on-course scoring. At $79 each, they let players mix and match.
At Golf & Body in New York City, you pay a membership fee like a gym to get access to the hitting bays, workout facility and organized practice programs administered in a simulator environment. (There might not be any grass, but there are also no rainouts.)
Places like the Dustin Johnson Golf School can’t promise you 350-yard tee shots like their namesake, but their advanced-player schools are on the cutting edge for aspiring scholarship winners and professionals. They teach how to play, not just how to swing.
Vision54 Golf, Scottsdale
Tour Striker Golf Academy, Phoenix
Kip Puterbaugh's Aviara Golf Academy, Carlsbad
Pebble Beach Golf Academy
Pelican Hill Golf Academy, Newport Coast
Mike Bender Golf Academy, Lake Mary
Leadbetter Golf Academy, ChampionsGate, Orlando
Marriott Golf Academy at Grande Vista Resort, Orlando
Kapalua Golf Academy, Lahaina
The Academy of Golf Dynamics, Austin
Blackburn Golf Academy, Birmingham, Ala.
Dave Pelz Golf Schools, Austin
Jim McLean Golf Center, Fort Worth
Kohler Golf Academy, Kohler, Wis.
Cog Hill Golf Academy, Lemont, Ill.
Giants Ridge/Kendall Academy, Biwabik, Minn.
Jason Guss Golf Academy, Bath, Mich.
Michael Breed Golf Academy, Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, Bronx, N.Y.
Golf & Body, New York City
Pinehurst (N.C.) Golf Academy
Golf Academy at Kingsmill Resort, Williamsburg, Va.
Tommy Cuthbert Golf Learning Center At Kiawah Island (S.C.) Golf Resort
Sea Island Golf Performance Center, St. Simons Island
Dustin Johnson Golf School, Myrtle Beach
Butch Harmon School of Golf, Henderson, Nev.
Make the Turn at Pronghorn Academy, Bend, Ore.