Luke Smith - Milburn Country Club
Founded in 1917, Milburn Country Club features one of the most inviting private club atmospheres in the Kansas City area. From fantastic lifestyle amenities including golf, tennis, swimming, fitness and banquet facilities to great dining and social events
Most importantly, Milburn features a membership rich in tradition and a unique setting that continues to provide a memorable club experience. Our membership prides itself on offering a warm, inviting atmosphere that is comfortable for you and your entire family. We know the importance of the private club setting for all of your social, business and personal needs.
How old were you when you got started in golf and what eventually pulled you into becoming a golf professional?
My parents introduced me to the game at 8 years of age, while we lived on the South Coast of England. My brother and I joined as Junior members at a golf club when I was 10 years of age and we played whenever we could. I would routinely hang out after the round in the Pro Shop and by the age of 12 was offered a job working in the shop on the weekend afternoons, so the professional staff could go out to play. It was certainly an old school set up, in that the professional staff played every day and they had a 12 year old in charge of the golf shop, in their absence.
Over the years I was given more and more responsibility, including caddying for the Assistants during tournaments. It was at that time that I realized that I wanted to be a golf professional. After graduating High School, I immediately took a position as an Assistant Golf Professional at a local club and started my apprenticeship to join the British PGA.
How do you stay current with the latest developments in teaching methods?
Teaching has certainly evolved over the years and will continue to do so as we become more advanced in our knowledge of the human body and how best to fit the technology of golf equipment to our swings. I am very fortunate to have a three time Section Golf Instructor of the year at my facility, so I utilize him a great deal, additionally I spend a good portion of time listening to pod casts and watching videos. We also have indoor practice facilities with state of the art technologies, including Foresight, GASP systems and SAM Putt Lab.
What are 2 trends in golf that you’re excited about?
I am personally excited about how much we are all learning about putting right now. Using devices like SAM Putt Lab has taught us a great deal and we can now give instant feedback to those that we are teaching. Additionally I feel that there is tremendous value in companies like Decade Golf, the data that they provide is essential in helping golfers manage and be more efficient with their games.
Do you specialize in teaching any facets of the game?
I focus a great deal on fundamentals of the set up, takeaway and transition timing. I like to cover all aspects of the game, but especially enjoy working on scoring and more specifically putting.
What sets you apart from other golf professionals?
I am very proud of the fact that I have two PGA Qualifications from two different countries and am a member of the Leadership Advisory Staff at Titleist. I am also grateful and proud to be a part of a club that is very progressive in their thinking and are more proactive in our approach to using technology and not so much reactive.
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
As I am approaching my fifth year at Milburn, I feel that myself and my team are really starting to make an impact on the membership and are making headway towards our 5 year goal.
Do you actively play competitive golf? Any recent bragworthy performances you’d like to share?
I am very much a believer in making playing a priority for myself and my staff, while it isn’t as essential as it used to be, it is the best way to build relationships with your members, whether you be playing a friendly round at the club or playing in a Pro-Am on a field trip. It is a priority for me and my staff to compete in sectional events and ideally play in our respective section championships.
Any advice for someone considering pursuing a career as a golf teaching professional?
I would advise that anyone considering teaching as their sole source of income, shadow a teaching professional for at least one summer. All roles can seem very glamorous from a distance, but they all have their own challenges. I think that teaching professionals in general are under valued, as it is very easy to forget that the majority of them are responsible for the growth of our game.