Kevin Sprecher - Sleepy Hollow CC
Kevin Sprecher, Sleepy Hollow Country Club
Kevin Sprecher’s career arc has further advanced the reputation of world-class instruction at Sleepy Hollow Country Club. He has been the Director of Instruction at Sleepy Hollow for the past 19 years, after spending time teaching at Atlantic, Glen Oaks, and Piping Rock. Kevin has spent many years assisting Jim McLean with private lessons, schools, seminars, and clinics. He has worked closely with PGA, LPGA, and Korn Ferry.com tour professionals.
In 2021, Kevin was selected as one of GOLF Magazine’s Top 100 Teacher’s in America and is ranked number 9 on the Golf Digest 2019-20 Best Teachers in your State in New York.
Kevin has recognized the importance of science and technology as part of teaching golf, and much of his success is attributable to keeping current with studies and technology. Kevin is certified by AimPoint (level 1), Trackman (level 2), K-Vest (level 3}, Science and Motion (level 2), BioSwing Dynamics (level 1), and Swing Catalyst (level 2). He is an advanced fitter for Titleist, and Sleepy Hollow is one of four Titleist regional fitting centers in the country.
Kevin has been published multiple times in GOLF Magazine, Golf.com, Golf Illustrated, Met Golf Magazine, and Golf Digest. He regularly implements programs to raise his students’ games to the
next level by assessing the “total picture” of body, swing, and equipment. Through physical assessments, golf biodynamics, and full equipment evaluations, he can recommend a program to help players optimize performance.
His passion and talent for teaching, coaching, and club fitting are perhaps only equaled by his willingness to help fellow PGA professionals and the joy he takes in promoting educational opportunities for the Met PGA. Kevin was fortunate to know exactly what he wanted to do in golf and got there. What makes him so special is his desire to learn more and share his experience with his peers. His service on the Met PGA Education committee has been a tremendous asset, as he’s utilized and leveraged his networks to help bring renowned instructors to the Met Section. He has also volunteered his own time and talent, conducting numerous section seminars and allowing ng Met PGA members to observe lessons. Kevin is also a regular instructor at Met PGA HOPE classes, sharing his golf knowledge and friendship with the military veterans participating in the program.
How old were you when you got started in golf and what eventually pulled you into becoming a golf professional?
I was 16 when I started playing golf. I was living in Northern Cali and my parents needed to do something with me for the summer. So they sent me to the Billy Casper golf school in Carlsbad, CA. I was immediately hooked. I came back scoring in the mid-’80s. I’ve always loved sports and seeing how good I could get. Golf was particularly frustrating because I had early success, but then leveled off.
In college, I decided I wanted to have a career in sports. However, I was not sure what kind of career until my parent’s friends asked me to coach them. After a couple of days, they said thank you and handed me a wad of cash! That was my hinge moment when I knew what I wanted to do.
How do you stay current with the latest developments in teaching methods?
I go to as many educational events as possible. Whether it be online or in person. I also have a large network of friends and colleagues to who I reach out. We share information and experiences with our students and other coaches. Since I’ve been in the industry for a long time, and the accolades I have been awarded it opens up a lot of avenues for me. Many people reach out to me or send me stuff to get my opinion.
It also helps that my wife is a highly regarded coach as well as a GOLF Magazine Top 100 teacher. She is a voracious learner as well.
What sets you apart from other golf professionals?
I’m not sure what sets me apart from other professionals. I think that’s a question for someone else to answer. What I can say is I’ve had extensive training about the golf swing, how the body works, and how to communicate my thoughts. I worked for Jim McLean for over 25 years. I was his personal assistant for three years and a Lead Master Instructor at his golf school in Miami for 15 years. In all my time there Jim held weekly staff meetings. There were over 25 PGA professionals in every meeting. Many of whom are Top 100 teachers now. We hashed out every aspect of the golf swing. Studied what the best players in the world were doing, and had experts in many different areas of golf speak to us. It was an invaluable education and training.
My students tell me I have a simple way of expressing something that can be very technical. Golf can get technical, but if the student can’t understand what you are saying they won’t learn. I feel I can break down what they need to learn into little chunks. I also try to explain the why. It’s one thing to make a change, but I want my students to understand why and how it’s going to help so they can help themselves when not with me.
Do you actively play competitive golf? Any recent bragworthy performances you’d like to share?
I try to play a few tournaments every season. I enjoy the competition, plus it helps me with my players. When you can sympathize and understand the stress of playing in a tournament I feel it adds credibility to what I’m trying to teach.
I also believe it’s important for coaches to be able to demonstrate what they are trying to get a player to do. It’s something Jim McLean required for all his instructors and something I believe to this day.
Is there a highlight from your career in golf that stands out above the rest?
Being awarded 2018 Met Section Teacher of the year award is a highlight of my career. To be honored by my section and voted on by my peers is something I will cherish for my entire life. There are many great coaches in the Met section and many that have come before me. The teacher of the year is someone who not only has success with their students but someone who gives back to the game. I owe a lot to the game of golf and try to volunteer whenever possible. I also enjoy educating other professionals.