Dennis Clark - Dennis Clark Golf School
PGA Master Professional and Advanced Certified Instructor with 35 years Years experience. Six-time PGA award winner including the prestigious Golf Professional of the Year and two-time Teacher of the year.
How do you stay current with the latest developments in teaching methods?
Most of the latest information and research in golf instruction is available to us through PGA sanctioned seminars. Also there are a number of online forums accessible for PGA members where we share ideas, methods and technology findings.
What are 2 trends in golf that you’re excited about?
Trackman is the biggest breakthrough in golf instruction, perhaps ever. We are constantly learning from and getting more sophisticated looks at golf swing than ever thought possible. Brand new information as well as the ability to sort through old myths that have been standard fare in teaching for many years.
The evolution of golf clubs is another field which has developed at warped speed. The leading manufacturers invest huge money and time in R&D and are far ahead of the curve.
Do you specialize in teaching any facets of the game?
Probably 85-90% of the lessons I do are full swing, simply because that is where most students ask for help simply because that is what they want.
What sets you apart from other golf professionals?
Experience perhaps. My teaching is based on correcting the GOLF CLUB to arrive at impact more consistently and solidly. The manner in which this is done is inconsequential as long as it can be repeated. Long ago, I eschewed method teaching realizing that there are MANY ways to swing the club. Method teaching is limited-helping some, hurting others. IMPACT/ball flight teaching will help every student individually.
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
Retirement, or some degree of it. I have spent most of my adult life playing, practicing and teaching golf. I am now looking to slow down. I’m working on a book and my online analysis program is booming. I will never stop teaching altogether, I simply love it too much.
What has been your most challenging experience with a student and how did you handle it? How did you overcome it?
Heart attack, tears, temper tantrums, getting hit in several places with a golf club, passing out, and even once incident of a man who accidentally hit his wife in her eye with a golf club…I have seen it all! The biggest problem students for me (and many teachers I’m sure) are students with unrealistic expectations and therefore do not appreciate effort, the changes and time required to reach their goals. When I encounter this type of person, I immediately halt the proceeding and explain what has to happen. I always think: If you want to play golf you need a sense of humor; if you want to TEACH golf you REALLY need a sense of humor 🙂 99% of the 35,000 or so students with whom I’ve worked are very kind, attentive and appreciative of my efforts to help them.
Do you actively play competitive golf? Any recent bragworthy performances you’d like to share?
No more There are not many competitive events for 72 year old golf pros. I did for many years however and loved very minute of it.
Is there a highlight from your career in golf that stands out above the rest?
The great days and times on the golf course with my son.
Working with physically challenged golfers and seeing them smile when they hit the golf ball.
Helping students achieve college scholarships, winning state open championship, getting to Q school etc.
A few personal playing highlights but they pale in comparison to helping others-In golf as in life!
Any advice for someone considering pursuing a career as a golf teaching professional?
Just as one learns to play golf from teachers, one must also learn to teach golf from other teachers. Spend as much time as possible shadowing experienced instructors. Attending seminars and reading applicable manuals is great, but to become accomplished at this wonderful craft, an aspiring teacher must spend time TEACHING and observing.
Anything else you’d like to comment on while we have you?
I can be reached at [email protected] if anyone has questions about how to get started or my online analysis program . Thank you