As head instructor at Grayhawk Learning Center, PGA Class A Member Jeff Yurkiewicz calls on more than 12 years of teaching experience to help players improve their individual games. Jeff perpetuates the thorough understanding of the sport he received from his mentors, both Golf Magazine Top 100 instructors: Paul Trittler, host of Golf Academy Live on the Golf Channel, and Peter Kostis, whose detailed commentary on CBS Sports telecasts keeps viewers informed as to each blade of grass’s exact length. In addition to his work with Trittler and Kostis, Jeff boasts an impressive playing resumé of his own, making appearances in both the 2003 Phoenix Open and the 2005 PGA Championship at Baltusrol.
GolfTEC has three convenient locations in the Phoenix area and one in Tucson, all staffed by experienced golfing professionals and computers who’ve sworn allegiance to the Three Laws of golfing robotics. Motion sensors and high-speed cameras monitor the golfer’s swing and break it down on a high-definition video display. GolfTEC’s PGA specialists point out golfers' flaws and strengths, and coach them on how to permanently improve their game, from tee to green. Sensors chirp with approval when golfers execute a perfect stroke or crack an especially witty golfing joke. Customers will also benefit from a $10 gift certificate to Golfsmith, the golf equipment superstore housing GolfTEC’s Chandler, Scottsdale, and Tucson locations. Each of Golfsmith's four Arizona locations is stocked with cutting-edge equipment and custom-fitted clubs.
There's no perfect swing for everybody. That's why Troon North Golf Club Director of Instruction Doug Hammer tailors his teachings to each client's level, whether they're competing in professional tournaments or swinging their first nine-iron. In his 14-year career, Doug has polished his instructional technique on courses from Galena, IL to Seoul, South Korea, picking up extensive club-fitting expertise along the way. At Troon North's Callaway Performance Center—one of only nine in the country—he analyzes clients' swings with sophisticated cameras and software, helping them select clubs and other equipment to improve their game.
That extra edge may come in handy when they play either of the two 18-hole courses at Troon North Golf Club. Framed by picturesque sandstone mountains, both courses may have repeatedly made Golf Magazine's "Top 100 Courses You Can Play" list—but that's not to say that golfers will play them well. If balls stray on their way to the green, players will have to hunt them down in grisly desert sands riddled with cacti, boulders, and reptiles who do not allow mulligans. The Pinnacle Course finishes with an epic dog-leg left par 4, where long hitters will be tempted to cut the corner and leave a short approach into a green nestled behind a desert waste area. Though its rating suggests it's slightly easier than its sister course, the Monument Course features a handful of treacherous holes, including two par 4s that exceed 460 yards in length.
From his post at the stately Continental Golf Course, PGA-certified instructor Eddie Kilthau draws from 35 years of experience to impart swing-honing advice to aspiring aces. Eddie has earned six lifetime hole-in-ones and the distinction of competing in the U.S. Open. Neophytes can jump-start their game with five one-hour group clinics, where classes no larger than five pupils meet once a week to learn the basics of launching balls from tees toward tiny, manmade rabbit holes. More nuanced instruction can be gleaned from a 9-hole playing lesson at Continental Golf Course’s executive layout, where Eddie counsels players about course management, club selection, and how to tell if sand bunkers harbor buried treasure.
Augusta Ranch Golf Club’s first hole starts players off with a bit of misdirection. Measuring 379 yards from the back tees, the longest hole on the course calls for a zealous swing, while the rest of the course is designed to give irons a workout. The links feature a mix of par-3 and par-4 holes that invite newcomers to play around and test experienced players' short game play with shallow greens and treacherous bunkers. Instructors give lessons for all skill levels, and the staff organizes a variety of events throughout the year, from clinics and tournaments to Night Golf played with glowing golf balls. Players can convene beneath The Sunset Grille’s outdoor pavilion to snack on classic breakfast and lunch cuisine and keep an eye out for flocks of geese trained to abduct pitching wedges.
Course at a Glance: