*If you expect a miracle, you should expect to pay for one. *Teacher Derek Hardy
Our August list of 50 Greatest Teachers, with Butch Harmon at No. 1, and the accompanying lists of best in each state, has prompted plenty of comment. Some readers are taken aback by the top teachers' fees. Others have names they'd like to add:
Carl Lombardo of Mt. Tabor, New Jersey, was, well, surpised at No. 2 David Leadbetter's fee:
Reading this article on America's greatest teachers...not really surprised at most of the fees charged...one comment please, Hey Mr. Leadbetter, God is not worth $10,000.00 a day. You have the gall to charge that for half a day? This type of stuff is what is going to kill golf as it was.
Not sure I agree, Carl. Leadbetter and the teachers of tour players are in a niche by themselves and frankly most are as busy as they want to be. The fee is merely a gilded hoop through which newcomers must jump to get their time. I admit it's a long way from the days when the golf professional couldn't set foot in the clubhouse, but I'm not sure it's ruining the game. If an amateur is committed to improving, there are lots of great PGA and LPGA teachers out there to help him or her. Bob Bath, an Ontario, Canada master teaching professional--his email is Golf Yoda-- makes the point well in his letter:
The list of the top 50 teachers must be quite an honor. How many of these teachers can turn a 20 handicapper into a 2 within a season? That would be the best teacher in my mind. That teacher does not exist as their are not enough students willing to take advice and make it work. If the average person went to see some of these top teachers at the rate they charge, and all the student left with at the end of the day was they have poor alignment and a weak grip, well I would have to say that person would be disappointed as they would expect a miracle. If you think I am wrong ask the person why they spent $2000 over $70 to get that advice. They must have thought for that price there must be something special to hear. The average teacher at a much more affordable rate would be able to detect such simple flaws. The list you have come up with has many great teachers that teach great players that are very committed to any change. I hope the average player can see this so they trust us little guys to help them with their game.
I'll end on this great letter from Robert Link of Sycamore, Illinois.
I noticed a contradiction and omission in your Best Teachers in Your State insert. Tim Hacker, (whom you cited on pg 162 for procuring replacement golf equipment for the Greensburg, KS high school golf team after their tornado ordeal), was not listed for the state of Georgia. I can't think of any definition of "Best Teacher" that would preclude his efforts!
Link refers, of course, to the moving Brad Wetzler story in August in which Hacker's work is cited. Robert, I agree. Hacker's on my Greatest Teachers list for sure.
(Photo: Getty Images/David Cannon)**