Fore! Arizona's Top Golf Schools


It's pretty tough improving your golf game when all the tropical storms blowing through keep chasing you off the course. If you're fed up with soggy, wet weather and want to sign up for a golf school that specializes in sunshine, just head west to Arizona where you'll find some of the top golf schools in the country.

If you're like most golfers you play because every once in a while you experience shades of brilliance. You make that amazing 30-foot putt or impossible chip and forget about how you sliced one into the trees or buried your ball in the sand.

If you're serious about the game or you just don't want to embarrass yourself, golf lessons are the way to go and the Phoenix/Scottsdale area is the place to be. Check out these top golf schools along with tips from the pros.

Troon Golf Academy

Some of the top-rated golf courses in the country are in Arizona, and they're managed by Troon Golf, so when you take classes with Troon you're playing on courses most people can only dream about. Heading up the show is world-renowned instructor Tim Mahoney, whose 30-year teaching resume includes dozens of appearances on the Golf Channel and ESPN. One of his students is golf great David Duval.

Troon Golf Academy-Callaway Performance Center. Photo Courtesy: Troon Golf

Mahoney heads up the Troon Golf Academy program, making sure all the instructors at the different courses follow the Troon mantra of always exceeding expectations. If you can pin him down, Mahoney also gives private lessons ($175 an hour, $500 a day) and swears he can teach anyone to golf in just a few hours. Mahoney says people have flown in from all over the world for one of his classes. "They'd rather take one class that's tailor-made for them instead of wasting a week at the wrong school not learning what they need," says Mahoney.

What's Mahoney secret? He's as shrewd as he is talented. From the moment you arrive for your lesson he's watching the way you walk and talk to determine the best way to teach you. He told me I walked fast and talked fast, so he wasn't even going to try to slow down my swing. He says he works with people's personalities to connect with them so they "get" what he's trying to teach. In five minutes, he fixed a problem I've battled for years. Mahoney says he teaches all the Troon instructors to focus on personalized attention and making sure their teaching fits each golfer's personality.

Located at several award-winning courses throughout the Phoenix/Scottsdale area the Troon Golf Academy offers two- and three-day golf school programs for all ages and all levels. For this intense program, you spend seven hours a day living and breathing golf. The student-teacher ratio is 4:1. Besides hitting balls on the driving range, you'll actually get on the course for some lessons. You're also taught about golf fitness.

You can go high-tech to the new Callaway Performance Center, which uses two cameras to analyze your swing to help with club fittings. Troon partners with several nearby resorts offering fantastic "stay and play" packages year-round. Be sure to check the Web site for the latest rates and ongoing specials.

Top 5 Tips From the Pro:

Tim Mahoney

Director of Education-Troon Golf Academy

1. Don't resist change. Change what they tell you to.

2. Practice at least 10 minutes a day (if not on course, in front of a mirror).

3. Preparation is key. How you address the ball is huge.

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