Sean P. Kicker's long career on the links has included 20 years as a Class-A PGA member and six professional tournament victories. His golf virtuosity began to flourish at an early age—as a kid he was named Youth of the Year by the Boys & Girls Club of Palm Beach County—and today he gives lessons that grant amateurs the benefit of his hard-earned course savvy. As students play rounds with Sean, he punctuates play with detailed advice on how to straighten errant swings, avoid bunkers, and stare down the ground squirrels that frequently steal golf balls.
Sean's instructional expertise also encompasses off-the-links education that uses computerized video equipment for swing analytics and a full-swing golf simulator. After a few half-hour sessions with the seasoned pro, students often feel an increased level of confidence and renewed gusto for their game. Currently, Sean is in the process of attaining PGA Master Professional status, a title bestowed only upon elite players.
Dewsweepers Golf School’s instructors impart club-swinging know-how to golfers of all abilities in one-hour, private lessons. The well-rounded instructors (lessons are valid for any staffer except Tony Ruggiero) can help pupils hone any aspect of their game, such as adding distance to their drives, improving their short game, or bending short irons into serviceable boomerangs. At all locations, computerized video swing analysis technology augments instructors’ ability to diagnose swing deficiencies by providing slow-motion replay for each shot. After the lesson, pupils receive an email file with a copy of the video swing analysis that features voiceover instruction for players to have for later reference and play nonstop at upcoming performance reviews with the boss.
When picking the location for the championship course at Zellwood Station Golf Club, architect George Maddox discovered hilly terrain not often seen at Floridian links. He made the most of this undulating ground as he designed four doglegs that loop around a dry lake, nicknamed Crater Junction, and also devised a treacherous ninth hole. Known as the Train Wreck, this obstacle is infamous for its long fairway and sharp dogleg left. Today, head golf professional Christopher C. Tyler presides over the course’s bermuda-grass fairways and its expansive greens, which putt fast and true. Before facing down the landscape, golfers can figure out which of their balls are afraid of heights by sending them flying from one of a dozen hitting stations at the driving range.
Despite its impressive course and welcoming clubhouse, Zellwood Station Golf Club isn’t resting on its laurels; the club has plans to debut four new holes, a 10,000-square-foot practice chipping-and-putting facility, and a new driving range before the end of 2012.
Tennis instructors and consultants Jonathan Goldfarb and Rich Benvin call upon a combined 50 years of hard-court experience—including runs on the professional circuit—when helping tennis players improve their skills. The consulting aspect of their business focuses on matching tennis experts with specific player needs, such as club management, court resurfacing, and college placement for studious tennis rackets.
Each instructor brings a specialty skill set to lesson plans. Goldfarb is a certified family mediator, and he approaches his instruction—in tennis, and in life—holistically. Benvin lives a dual life as an online marketing specialist, and is just as capable of building a website as he is of deconstructing a backhand.
A quartet of golf courses hug the beaches of the Choctawhatchee Bay at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, presenting oceanside fairways and greens that showcase the handiwork of some of golf's finest course designers. As the former host of two PGA Champions Tour events and recipient of multiple accolades, Raven Golf Club runs through swamps and pines, forming a 6,900-yard layout designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. His brother, Rees Jones, designed the neighboring Burnt Pine Golf Club course, which was once referred to as the "Crown Jewel of Florida Golf" by Golf Magazine. Tom Jackson designed the other two courses, using elevation changes to his advantage in the Baytowne Golf Club course and emulating the old courses of coastal Britannia with The Links Course.
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort offers more than golf at its 2,400-acre property. Players scamper and slide across three hard-courts and twelve HydroGrid clay courts at the Sandestin Tennis Center, which hosts matches day and night. Soft, white sand awaits guests at the beach, and the resort rents out chairs, umbrellas, and cabanas. Boogie boards and kayaks are available for those who want to enjoy the benefits of buoyancy without filling their bathing suit with helium.
Sweetwater Golf & Country Club's 18-hole Highlands Course weaves over 6,771 yards of fairways and greens stitched by mature oaks. The player-friendly, par 72 course puts clubbers face to face with the Loch Ness Monster—which is the name bestowed upon the course's signature hole, a 625-yard par five that double-doglegs around a lake. Golfers can prepare for their round with a stint at the club's driving range, where practice balls await to be launched in the stratosphere while commenting on the tense relationship between golf balls and sheets of glass. The club fosters more competitive fun at its tennis complex, which boasts eight lighted, outdoor Har-Tru—green clay—tennis courts.
After a day spent reading putts or thrashing forehands, guests can unwind at one of the club's three dining facilities. The relaxed vibes of the Fife & Drum Pub and the Carnoustie Café welcome casually-clad guests fresh off the course, and the more formal, chandelier-lit confines of the Highlands Dining Room provides an apropos backdrop for dinner parties or a romantic setting for date night for golfers and their caddy.
With a successful career as a golfer and a coach that earned him a 2011 induction into the U.S. Golf Teachers Hall of Fame, Mike Stevens draws from a lifetime of experience to foster golf-game improvement in his clients. Mike’s custom, six-week golf training program—the flagship curriculum for his On Target Golf Schools—uses a biomechanics-based understanding of the golf swing to help students hit the ball farther and straighter without having to sell their soul for a corked 3-wood. Mike enhances lessons with the competitive insight gleaned from his continued success in tournaments, including a 2011 victory at the Copperhead Cup in Tarpon Springs. In addition to his six-week course, Mike offers clinics designed for kids and one-on-one lessons for those who want more private counseling.
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