Mike Davis - DragonRidge Country Club and The Legacy Golf Course
Throughout my fifty years as a golf professional and forty-seven years as a PGA Member, I have been committed to growing the game, especially through junior golf. During my career as an assistant professional, I always asked and was assigned to be the lead instructor for the junior program. During the first thirty years as a golf professional, my contributions to the PGA of America was focused on the local and Chapter level. I was a Board Member of the Western Washington Chapter in the late seventies and the Oregon Chapter in the eighties. My involvement was Chairman of the Junior Committee and a member of the Tournament Committee in both cases.
In 1984, I was asked to join the Staff for a PGA of America National Education Program. Our group conducted a PGA Playing Workshop from 1984 to 2001. This five-day workshop was held in Florida the week prior to the PGA Merchandise Show. I was selected to be the Lead Instructor for the last nine years. We helped a group of thirty-six PGA Members and Apprentices improve their golf games. Also on the staff were PGA club-fitters and top golf psychologists such as Dr. Dick Coop, Dr. Bob Rotella, Dr. David Cook and Dr. Rick Jensen.
In 1987 I was appointed the Chairman of the Tournament Committee for the Pacific Northwest PGA and oversaw a very large tournament program that included five major events and numerous other Section and Chapter tournaments for the next fourteen years.
In 2001, I was elected a Board Member of the Southern Nevada PGA. I was elected Secretary in 2003 and worked through the officer positions with my term as Honorary Past President ending in 2011. My emphasis was still on growing the game through junior golf during that time at the Chapter level. As a Board Member of the Southern Nevada Golf Association and the First Tee of Southern Nevada, I coordinated several fundraisers and free instruction programs for juniors.
After taking the position of Director of Instruction at DragonRidge CC in 2016, I was tasked with creating a vibrant junior program. This directive, combined with the demographics and the quality of the DragonRidge facility, allowed me to create a junior program that matched my goals.
I now have the largest junior program in Southern Nevada at two facilities. The total numbers are around 140 kids and I’m proud that about half of those play on one of my six PGA Junior League Teams. I am also on the PGA Junior League National Rules Committee.
How old were you when you got started in golf and what eventually pulled you into becoming a golf professional?
I started playing at nine years old. I played many sports through high school, but concentrated on golf in college. I was good enough to play the PGA Tour for a few years, but not good enough to make a living. Being a golf professional was an easy step and I quickly moved to a full time instructor.
How do you stay current with the latest developments in teaching methods?
I’ve always been a seminar junkie and have attended over forty-five multi-day seminars including twelve PGA Teaching and Coaching Summits
What are 2 trends in golf that you’re excited about?
I love the growth in Junior Golf. There are lots of opportunities for juniors to get into the game and lots of events in which to play.
Do you specialize in teaching any facets of the game?
I teach all areas of golf, but, over the past five years, have developed a large, vibrant junior program
What sets you apart from other golf professionals?
I’m proud that I have never stopped learning and have kept my passion for helping others for over fifty years.
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
I’m excited about where I am and where I’m heading. I’m excited to see where it leads.
What has been your most challenging experience with a student and how did you handle it? How did you overcome it?
Matching a students’ expectation to their abilities, both physically and time to practice. It just takes a reality check and lots of patience. I like to get them to enjoy the journey, because there is no final destination.
Do you actively play competitive golf? Any recent bragworthy performances you’d like to share?
I’m in two Hall of Fames. The Pacific Northwest Golf Association for my playing career and the Las Vegas Hall of Fame for my teaching career.
I have won: Oregon Amateur, two Pacific Coast Amateurs, Oregon Open, two Washington Opens, two Northwest PGA Section Championships, and played in three US Opens and one PGA Championship
Is there a highlight from your career in golf that stands out above the rest?
While I’m proud of my playing career, what stands out for me is the accomplishments of the people (especially juniors) whom I have helped. Over 130 of my juniors have played college golf and my U-17 PGA Junior League All-Star team just won the Southwest PGA Section Championship. I can’t wait for next year.
Any advice for someone considering pursuing a career as a golf teaching professional?
If you are a problem solver who love golf and helping people, this is a very fun career.