Barry Churchill - The Ultimate Golf School
Barry has been a member of the PGA since 1993. In 2000, he opened his own golf school called The Ultimate Golf School. He was named the 2017 New England PGA Teacher of the Year, and was also recognized as the 2016 and 2013 Vermont Chapter PGA Teacher of the Year. In 2019 he was nominated for the Youth Player Development Award in the Carolinas PGA section. Barry realizes that everyone learns in various ways and plays golf for different reasons. He likes to teach and coach each player so that they have fun learning and playing the game, therefore golf is a game for a lifetime. He understands that golfers have various physical abilities, therefore no “cookie-cutter” approach is used for any golf lesson. Each player is taught using successful imagery and visualization techniques, as well as video analysis and K-Trainer 3D biofeedback training. Your golf body is so vital to your success as a player, therefore Barry strives to show everyone how to attain a more “golf fit” body.
Barry enjoys playing with his clients and bringing them on Golf Vacations. When not involved with golf, he and his wife of 23 years love to watch their High School daughter sprint on the Winter Indoor and Spring outdoor Track and Field Team.
How old were you when you got started in golf and what eventually pulled you into becoming a golf professional?
I started to play when my Father introduced me to golf as a 12 year old. He was a single digit handicapper and was able to give me the foundation of the golf swing and playing the game. I played for my high school team but all the lessons I took as a Junior Golfer didn’t produce the results that I wanted. I then became enamored with teaching the game. After graduating from College with a degree in Recreation Management, I decided to become a PGA Member. I have dedicated my career to helping others play great golf because of my expert instruction.
How do you stay current with the latest developments in teaching methods?
I stay current with the latest developments and technology by continuously learning. I regularly attend PGA Teaching Summits, local PGA teaching seminars, and Teacher of the Year symposiums presented by PGA Golf Magazine. I read other prominent instructors’ books and learn a lot from their methods. And networking with instructors around the country via social media keeps me in the forefront.
Do you specialize in teaching any facets of the game?
I specialize in the Short Game and more specifically, “Systems” for distance control. Many accomplished golfers can control pitching, chipping, or putting distance by “feel”. However, most players that do not practice much can benefit from a simple system with a simple method. I strive to make the putting, chipping, and pitching stroke as similar as possible so there is less for the player to remember. It is very successful in lowering the handicap of every player.
What sets you apart from other golf professionals?
My instruction methods get results. I take pride in using simple language that all my clients can understand and I listen more than I speak. I get my players to understand that “Real-Time Feedback” and measuring their body movement patterns is critical to improvement. Therefore, I use technology such as K-Vest’s “K-Trainer and Blast Motion’s putting sensor to provide this learning environment.
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
We’re looking forward to vacationing in Hawaii in April 2020 to celebrate our daughter’s 16th birthday. As it turns out, my wife and daughter share the same birthday so it will have extra speial meaning. I will also get a chance to play golf at some of the most beautiful facilities in the world.
Professionally, I’m excited to look into the prospect of taking our USKids Junior Golf Program to the next level. It entails a larger comittment on my part, but I believe we can make it work.
What has been your most challenging experience with a student and how did you handle it? How did you overcome it?
The most challenging situations that I’ve come across arise with parents trying to teach/coach their advanced junior. It usually arises because the parent is focused on the college scholarship instead of the “process”. I communicate with parents the need to have two main goals. The first goal concerns ME teaching/coaching their junior how to play excellent golf. The second goalconcerns the parents showing unconditional love and teaching lifes lessons. It is difficult to be an elite player and it has been proven that a “second goal” parent will create an atmosphere where their junior will be more responsive to learning and trying harder.
Is there a highlight from your career in golf that stands out above the rest?
A highlight that stands above the rest is definitely being recognized by my peers and awarded the 2017 New England PGA Section Teacher of the Year. Also, being awarded the 2013 and 2016 Vermont PGA Chapter Teacher of the Year validates my choice of dedicating my career to golf instruction. This instills the need to always become better at my craft.
Any advice for someone considering pursuing a career as a golf teaching professional?
My advice to them is to “Own the 5 miles around their facility”. By that I mean that everyone within a 5 mile radius of your golf course must know that YOU are the go-to-instructor. You must obviously be a very competent teacher. But you must also out-market, out-advertise, and out-sell all other instructors in the area. That means continuously learning to improve as a teacher, marketer, advertiser, and salesman.
Anything else you’d like to comment on while we have you?
Since I opened my Golf School in 2000, I have never felt like a was going to a job to work. I enjoy what I do so much that I look forward to everyday and every day is like a vacation to me. I feel like I have been retired for the last 20 years! Marketing and advertising and becoming a top teacher is a lot of effort, but if you like what you do, everyday is a gift.