Mark Maness - Highlands Performance Golf Center
The Highlands Performance Golf Center is a learning center with 72 hitting stalls on a 200×50 yard tee line. We also have 15 covered and heated stalls. We have a nice short game area with two bunkers and 40+ yards of tee line. We have two putting greens, both of which sustained heavy damage last winter and will be back in use next season. In leu of those we have an indoor putting studio for fittings and lessons.
The facility sports a full line pro shop and two indoor video bays for lessons and fittings. We are a Golf Digest Top 100 fitting facility.
How old were you when you got started in golf and what eventually pulled you into becoming a golf professional?
I started caddying for my father when I was 6, and had my first lesson at 7. I fell in love with the game at 11 or so. I was always at the Lincoln Country Club practicing and playing golf. As I reached high school I began dreaming about playing on tour, which I did in 1988. I can’t imagine doing anything that’s not related to golf.
How do you stay current with the latest developments in teaching methods?
I still attend seminars with many of the best and brightest in our industry. I occasionally watch video’s and do a lot of reading.
What are 2 trends in golf that you’re excited about?
I love the advancements in technology. I use a FlightScope launch monitor, V1 video, Boditrak pressure mat, a k-vest and Capto putting solution. These allows us to dig down into students issues. The data is for my benefit, the challenge is not to confuse the student with too much information.
The latest trend that excites me is the influx of new golfers during the pandemic. I’ve been active in developing new golfers since I was able to start teaching. It is my focus.
Do you specialize in teaching any facets of the game?
No. Specializing makes it sound as if any part of the game is terribly unique to another. Putting is still a swing and everything we teach ties together in that the ball only knows what the clubface tells it and learning to sense and swing the clubs movement during the motion is goal #1.
What sets you apart from other golf professionals?
My background as a teacher. I worked for Hank Haney, and Jim Flick. I worked along side Martin Hall, Mike Molaska. I worked on my game with Mike Adams, and Chuck Cook. They all have different philosophies/methods which I was able to learn from. My diversity of knowledge allows me to have answers for any student.
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
Grand children! My kids are starting families and it’s a new chapter. As a golf professional I’ll continue to learn, but seriously try not to overthink the game. It is what worries me the most about today’s instruction.
Do you actively play competitive golf? Any recent bragworthy performances you’d like to share?
Not currently, although I threaten to play in some senior section events.
Is there a highlight from your career in golf that stands out above the rest?
Leading the 1988 US Open, if only briefly. I was leader on the course through 14 holes and leader in the club house for a few hours. I was the second player off at 6:45 or so as I recall.
Any advice for someone considering pursuing a career as a golf teaching professional?
Yes, find the best teachers in your area and learn everything you can, then go find others near by. I listed several I spend significant time with, but I left out a lot of great instructors I’ve had significant interactions with.
Anything else you’d like to comment on while we have you?
Golf is an awesome game, and I’m blessed to have the opportunity to spend a lifetime playing, learning about, and teaching the game. It’s given me so much and I enjoy every opportunity to give back to it.