2017-'18 RankingOctober 19, 2017

The 50 Best Teachers In America

50 Best Teachers In America

What does a great golf instructor look like? It has never been harder to fit one into some kind of standard teacher template.

The members of Golf Digest's newest 50 Best Teachers list can certainly be found in the traditional places and playing their traditional roles—working with the greatest players in the world on PGA Tour ranges and sharing decades of acquired wisdom from the most prestigious practice facilities on the planet.

But each biennial survey has proved to be a sensitive tool for measuring the emerging prominence of teachers joining the national instruction conversation. And many of the fast-rising and new members of the group are building their reputations and profiles in different and less-traditional ways—from short-game and coaching specialization to scientific research and reaching the masses through social media.

Our 2017-'18 list is a reflection of that trend. Butch Harmon is the overwhelming choice for No. 1 by the group of more than 1,000 teachers surveyed—as he has been for nine of the 10 surveys we've conducted since the list's inception in 2000. Recent PGA Teacher of the year Mike Adams finished second, followed by Chuck Cook, Jim McLean, Cameron McCormick, Mike Bender, David Leadbetter (the winner in 2000), Hank Haney, Jim Hardy and Sean Foley. That group has made a collective 72 appearances on the 10 top-teacher lists we've produced—and Harmon, Cook, McLean and Leadbetter have finished among the top 10 in every edition.

The rest of the list is populated with rising and emerging teachers with different stories to tell, different teaching styles and different platforms. – Matthew Rudy


2016 Ranking in parentheses
▶ New To The Ranking

1.) BUTCH HARMON (1)
VOTES: 3,558
LESSON RATE: $1,500/hour
FACILITY: Butch Harmon School of Golf (Rio Secco G.C.), Henderson, Nev.

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2.) MIKE ADAMS (6)
VOTES: 1,722
LESSON RATE: $350/hour
FACILITY: Hamilton Farm G.C., Gladstone, N.J.

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3.) CHUCK COOK (2)
VOTES: 1,376
LESSON RATE: $300/hour
FACILITY: Chuck Cook Golf Academy, Austin

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4.) JIM MCLEAN (3)
VOTES: 1,233
LESSON RATE: $750/hour
FACILITY: Jim McLean Golf School at The Biltmore, Coral Gables, Fla.

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5.) CAMERON MCCORMICK (17)
VOTES: 1,190
LESSON RATE: $500/hour
FACILITY: Altus Performance at Trinity Forest G.C., Dallas

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6.) MIKE BENDER (5)
VOTES: 1,164
LESSON RATE: $300/hour
FACILITY: Mike Bender Golf Academy (Magnolia Plantation G.C.), Lake Mary, Fla.


7.) DAVID LEADBETTER (4)
VOTES: 1,120
LESSON RATE: $3,500/3 hours
FACILITY: David Leadbetter Golf Academy at ChampionsGate, Orlando

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8.) HANK HANEY (10)
VOTES: 852
LESSON RATE: $15,000/day
FACILITY: Hank Haney Golf, Lewisville, Texas

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Robert Snow 2012

9.) JIM HARDY (7)
VOTES: 851
LESSON RATE: $600/hour
FACILITY: Plane Truth Golf, Houston


J.D. Cuban

10.) SEAN FOLEY (11)
VOTES: 832
LESSON RATE: $1,000/hour
FACILITY: Foley Performance Academy at EaglesDream, Lake Mary, Fla.

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11.) MARTIN HALL (8)
VOTES: 800
LESSON RATE: $200/hour
FACILITY: Ibis G. & C.C., West Palm Beach

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12.) CLAUDE HARMON III (22)
VOTES: 660
LESSON RATE: $700/90 minutes
FACILITY: Butch Harmon Floridian, Palm City, Fla.

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13.) MICHAEL BREED (13)
VOTES: 659
LESSON RATE: $500/hour
FACILITY: Michael Breed Golf Academy (Trump G. Links at Ferry Point), New York City

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T-14.) TODD ANDERSON (9)
VOTES: 591
LESSON RATE: $475/hour
FACILITY: PGA Tour’s Performance Center at TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach

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T-14.) PIA NILSSON (16)
VOTES: 591
LESSON RATE: $350/hour
FACILITY: Vision54 (Talking Stick G.C.), Scottsdale

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16.) JAMES SIECKMANN (29)
VOTES: 589
LESSON RATE: $200/hour
FACILITY: Golf Academy at Shadow Ridge C.C., Omaha

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Rochelle Brodin

17.) CHRIS COMO (35)
VOTES: 517
LESSON RATE: $3,000/half day
FACILITY: Dallas National Golf Club, Dallas; Golf & Body, New York

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18.) BOB TOSKI (12)
VOTES: 487
LESSON RATE: $250/hour
FACILITY: Toski-Battersby Golf Learning Center, Coconut Creek, Fla.

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19.) MIKE MALASKA (18)
VOTES: 457
LESSON RATE: $350/hour
FACILITY: Malaska Golf, Mesa, Ariz.

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2008 US PGA TOUR

20.) MAC O’GRADY (27)
VOTES: 403
LESSON RATE: n/a
FACILITY: Mac O’Grady Golf School, Palm Springs, Calif.


21.) GARY GILCHRIST (47)
VOTES: 401
LESSON RATE: $300/hour
FACILITY: Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy (Mission Inn Resort & C.), Howey-In-The-Hills, Fla.


Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images

22.) BILL HARMON
VOTES: 392
LESSON RATE: $250/hour
FACILITY: Bill Harmon Performance Center at Toscana C.C., Indian Wells, Calif.


23.) MICHAEL HEBRON (T-25)
VOTES: 389
LESSON RATE: $150/hour
FACILITY: Smithtown Landing G. Cse., Smithtown, N.Y.


24.) LYNN MARRIOTT (T-25)
VOTES: 382
LESSON RATE: $350/hour
FACILITY: Vision54 (Talking Stick G.C.), Scottsdale

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25.) STAN UTLEY (14)
VOTES: 356
LESSON RATE: $500/hour
FACILITY: Grayhawk Learning Center, Scottsdale

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26.) ANDY PLUMMER (43)
VOTES: 341
LESSON RATE: $300/hour
FACILITY: Turnberry Isle Miami, Aventura, Fla.


▶ 27.) MARK BLACKBURN
VOTES: 325
LESSON RATE: $350/hour
FACILITY: Blackburn Golf Academy at Greystone G. & C.C., Birmingham, Ala.


28.) DAVE STOCKTON (15)
VOTES: 309
LESSON RATE: $600/hour
FACILITY: Stockton Golf, Redlands, Calif.

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29.) BRIAN MANZELLA (37)
VOTES: 307
LESSON RATE: $200/hour
FACILITY: Brian Manzella Golf Academy at English Turn G. & C.C., New Orleans

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30.) SCOTT HAMILTON
VOTES: 293
LESSON RATE: $180/hour
FACILITY: Scott Hamilton Golf Academy at Cartersville C.C., Cartersville, Ga.


31.) RANDY SMITH (28)
VOTES: 292
LESSON RATE: $175/hour
FACILITY: Royal Oaks C.C., Dallas

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32.) MICHAEL JACOBS
VOTES: 277
LESSON RATE: $300/hour
FACILITY: X Golf School, Manorville, N.Y.


33.) DAVE PELZ (20)
VOTES: 273
LESSON RATE: $20,000/day
FACILITY: Dave Pelz Scoring Game Schools, Austin


34.) ANDREW RICE
VOTES: 262
LESSON RATE: $190/hour
FACILITY: The C. at Savannah Harbor, Savannah, Ga.


35.) DR. JIM SUTTIE (19)
VOTES: 261
LESSON RATE: $190/hour
FACILITY: The Golf Academy at TwinEagles, Naples, Fla.


36.) MIKE BENNETT (50)
VOTES: 254
LESSON RATE: $300/hour
FACILITY: Stack & Tilt Academy, Mount Holly, N.J.


37.) DAVE PHILLIPS (36)
VOTES: 214
LESSON RATE: $795/3 hours
FACILITY: TPI, Oceanside, Calif.

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38.) JIMMY BALLARD (T-30)
VOTES: 205
LESSON RATE: $1,250/4 hours
FACILITY: Ballard Swing Connection (Ocean Reef C.), Key Largo, Fla.


39.) JOHN DUNIGAN
VOTES: 203
LESSON RATE: $200/hour
FACILITY: White Manor C.C., Malvern, Pa.


40.) JOE HALLETT (44)
VOTES: 191
LESSON RATE: $175/hour
FACILITY: Vanderbilt Legends C., Franklin, Tenn.


41.) BERNIE NAJAR
VOTES: 187
LESSON RATE: $200/hour
FACILITY: Caves Valley G.C., Owings Mills, Md.


42.) KEVIN WEEKS (48)
VOTES: 186
LESSON RATE: 170/hour
FACILITY: Cog Hill G. & C.C., Lemont, Ill.

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43.) PETER KOSTIS (33)
VOTES: 181
LESSON RATE: $500/hour
FACILITY: Grayhawk Learning Center (Grayhawk G.C.), Scottsdale


44.) JOHN TILLERY
VOTES: 173
LESSON RATE: $250/hour
FACILITY: Cuscowilla Golf Academy, Eatonton, Ga.


45.) RICK SMITH (T-30)
VOTES: 170
LESSON RATE: $500/hour
FACILITY: Rick Smith Academy at Trump National Doral, Miami

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T-46.) CHERYL ANDERSON
VOTES: 167
LESSON RATE: $200/hour
FACILITY: Mike Bender Golf Academy (Magnolia Plantation G.C.), Lake Mary, Fla.


T-46.) CRAIG SHANKLAND (24)
VOTES: 167
LESSON RATE: $200/hour
FACILITY: LPGA International, Daytona Beach


(C) 2010 Darren Carroll

48.) ROB AKINS
VOTES: 166
LESSON RATE: $225/hour
FACILITY: Rob Akins Golf Academy at Spring Creek Ranch, Collierville, Tenn.


49.) DANA RADER
VOTES: 165
LESSON RATE: $175/hour
FACILITY: Sea Pines Resort, Hilton Head Island


T-50.) MIKE LABAUVE (41)
VOTES: 164
LESSON RATE: $275/hour
FACILITY: Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, Scottsdale

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T-50.) E.A. TISCHLER
VOTES: 164
LESSON RATE: $350/hour
FACILITY: Olympia Fields C.C., Olympia Fields, Ill.