What Our Students Say
It has been two years since my first Bird Golf School. In that period of time you have helped me improve from shooting rounds in the 130’s to breaking 80 (78) for the first time. I cannot express to you all how grateful I am for all your help and the true dedication that you have to teaching. People at my club are always commenting on how good my swing looks and how it was that I have improved so quickly; and I tell them “it’s all because of Bird Golf, their great golf school which exceeded expectations in every way and make them, without a doubt, the best golf school in the world”. See you again soon (now I want to get into the 60’s!).
Dr. Michael Wachs
We've returned back to the east coast safe, sound, and swinging much better after our experience at your golf school. Certainly we were pleased with all aspects of the golf school including the resort and your attention to detail and customer satisfaction. What was, however, well beyond our very high expectations was the quality of interactions with had with Sharon (Miller). Her ability to communicate and relate to us (as two very different learning types, at two very different abilities) was incredible. She was able to capture and sustain our complete interest and involvement for five FULL days while making it fun, deeply enriching, and highly educational. We WILL return to the Bird School when it's time for our next golf school experience - simply put - because of Sharon. See you then!
T. Kyle Vanderlick
Professor and Chair-Princeton University
Department of Chemical Engineering
As you know I attended a Golf School with one of your competitors - what a difference. The biggest difference was the instructor. Jim (Samsing) is in a class of his own. After leaving the other school I went home trying to remember all the angles and the lines of my terrible posture etc. (very confused) but with Jim I feel that I have a real chance of improving my game. Jim showed me (simply) how to identify why my shots went the direction that they do. Having the opportunity to have your continuing help only a phone call away is another great part of the school. I guarantee you that I will be visiting you again next year and will recommend you to all my buddies. Thanks again.”
Update: June 2004
I would have to say that our latest school was the turning point in my game. I shot some great golf in Houston last week and have gained about 15 yards a club. I have also stuck to the yoga stretches that Kelly showed me and they really help. Thanks again for your time and for putting on a third great golf school.
Brian and I wanted to send a short note to you and Jim about the three day Bird Golf Schools session we attended last week. After you and I first talked on the telephone about what to expect, I must admit I came to the school with high expectations. If anything, those expectations were exceeded.
First, you may recall I am a 9 and my son is a 16. I have played for years whereas he has taken up the game in earnest in the past few years. Despite those differences, Jim Samsing was able to customize a program that fit our different swings and personalities, and do it in a way that was fun. I have a better fundamental understanding of my golf swing now than ever before. I am sure that is true for Brian as well. In fact, he just called this afternoon from the Bay Area thanking me again for the golf school and reporting that he just shot a career best of 37 on the front nine.
Second, the "clear key" mental approach to the game that you teach is a real differentiator from the other golf schools. How many times do people say, "golf is such a mental game", and yet how many people have taken a mental lesson? The player and personality profiles that we filled out beforehand, I am sure, helped Jim tailor our lessons.
Finally, the facilities were outstanding. To be able to go from the driving range, to the chipping/putting area, to the Executive course, plus be able to play a championship 18 hole course all in one location is a real plus. Conversations at the 19th afterwards were also high on our list.
I have already recommended Bird Schools to several of my friends and I know Brian has done the same thing. Feel free to use this unsolicited testimonial in any way you would like. Based on our experience, most golfers would benefit enormously from your school, especially if Jim Samsing is the instructor.
Click here to learn more about our Arizona locations.
Craig, Can't tell you how pleased I am to have had you as my golf instructor. I learned a tremendous amount about how to play the game and what I need to do to improve my swing and my scoring. I came to the Bird Academy with high expectations and you did not disappoint. And aside from all the golf I learned, it was a genuine pleasure spending four days on the course with you. You're a true gentleman.
Rowland Heights, California
I apologize for this note being 6 plus weeks after our session with Shirley but I wanted some time to practice, play a few rounds and in general, assimilate (Jay, ask Shirley, she’ll know why I used the work assimilate and she’ll probably laugh at the word, I hope so) all the instruction and information Shirley provided to Amy and me.
If I had to use one word to describe the experience and value we received from the week with Shirley it would be AMAZING.
The accommodations? Excellent. The golf facility? Fantastic. Shirley? Priceless!!!
Frankly we could have played on a cow pasture and stayed in a tent and Shirley still would have made the experience amazing. It truly is a treat to spend time with someone that is beyond knowledgeable, truly loves what they do, great personality and fun to be around, and can share their knowledge in such a way that you are not intimidated to get out of your comfort zone by trying sometime different.
In my bio to you I mentioned I was looking for fine tuning of my game for better scoring - specifically long irons and wedges. Early on the second day, Shirley approached me with an option that she could provide some fine tuning but based on what she had observed and through watching video, she would recommend something slightly more than fine tuning… more like rebuilding my swing. Shirley completely made the decision my choice. Based on the limitations that I knew about my swing, Shirley’s advice and the video, it was an easy decision to rebuild a swing 35 years in the making. An easy decision but not so easy to implement so it’s a good thing Shirley is extremely patient… I left at the end of the week comfortable with the knowledge I knew what I needed to do improve my golf game. Fast forward a month; my rounds have been 86, 82, 84, 78, 75 and 82. As I’m becoming more comfortable with the new swing and not over thinking things, my ability to consistently hit much better golf shots is improving. I’ve no doubt I should be able to stay in the 70’s consistently. This level of improvement was exactly what I was hoping to get from my experience with Bird Golf. Thank you Shirley!
You may also recall that Amy is an occasional golfer that wanted to learn the fundamentals of the game. Because of Shirley, Amy is now more than an occasional golfer! I can easily imagine that this one week of golf instruction saved a decade of frustration with the typical learning curve of periodic lessons, playing, getting frustrated and them more periodic lessons from someone different than who you started with and who probably provides contradictory information which just adds to the confusion and frustration.
We thoroughly enjoyed the week!
"We wanted to tell you how much we enjoyed our weekend with Pam. She is the greatest golf instructor ever. I don't think I'll ever take another lesson from anyone else. We are recommending your school all over the place!"
I would like to express my complete satisfaction with the training provided by Tim P. of Bird Golf Academy. It turned out to be a great experience and well worth it. Tim easily identified my major flaws and quickly had me working on fixing them. He did not have me start from scratch (the last person I took lessons from wanted to do just that -- start over after forgetting what I did for 10 years!). Instead, Tim retained the 'good' parts of my swing and had me working within my physical abilities. I was pleased to see the results. I got a great deal out of the time we had am now confident that I will be able to play a good game.
Tim was easy to work with and I have a great deal of respect for his teaching abilities. It is now up to me to do the work and then see the benefits in the course. I will keep Tim updated. I hope to give him good news in a few weeks!
Thanks to the Bird Golf Academy!
Philip Thambidurai. PhD
Mt. Laurel, NJ
I want to take this moment to thank Shirley and Bird Golf for providing me golf school experience that exceeded my expectations. With Shirley as my instructor, I learned sound fundamentals of the golf swing starting from the grip, athletic stance and posture, and the actual swinging plane. In addition, with the help of clear key, I was able to reduce tension in my body before hitting the golf ball. I must say, with Shirley's extensive knowledge of the golf swing and her fine attention to details, I finally learned and developed a golf swing that can be repeated. Furthermore, with her experience as a Tour pro, I've learned many ways of attacking the hole from within 50 yards. Thanks Shirley and next time, I'll bring my wife with me. The experience really couldn't have been any better!!! THANKS for the great teaching and a great vacation.
I wanted to let you know that Julie and I very much enjoyed our golf school experience at Jekyll Island in mid July. Mary Mills was a great selection — particularly for Julie and her work as a beginner. However, it is also true that she helped me significantly with tempo, follow through and finish. I have recently found myself misjudging distance in that using a 7 wood for a 150-160 yard shot found the ball traveling oops, 180 yards! Not a bad problem to have although it has meant rethinking the distance of all my middle irons, though I am still struggling a bit between the new distance swing and the old distance swing—if that makes any sense.
Again, let me offer praise for the style and type of school you have on the market and in particular, the great job that Mary did over our three days.
Raymond P. Webb, Ph. D.
Click here to learn more about our Georgia locations.
Ann Jo and I wanted to thank you for arranging the Jekyll Island Bird Golf School for us last week. It was a phenomenal experience and one we hope to repeat again and again.
Our group certainly presented a challenge to Roger Kreuter and Steve Godley and they met that challenge with grace and professionalism. Rachel had only held a club once before she arrived on Monday morning; by the time she left she was proud of her 100+ yard drives straight down the fairway. Ann Jo had been working on her swing for a year with limited success until Steve suggested 'Tuck in your elbow!'; from then on she was making consistent contact and created a skill base she can work on at home. Greg (whom we nicknamed Tiger), has played for 12 years but had consistency problems; Roger helped him to turn rather than slide his hips and the trajectory of his drives improved dramatically.
I needed the most work - Roger changed my grip and my stance and I can already see improvement while practicing on Saturday and Sunday. After having me practice swinging with my eyes closed and then with my bifocals in my pocket Roger shared that my glasses prevented me from seeing the ball all the way through my swing - something that I had previously never realized. I could clearly hit better without my glasses; today I am ordering distance glasses and will keep my bifocals in my pocket when I play this summer.
The Jekyll Island Club was beautiful and the suites that you arranged were luxurious. Only the eager anticipation of improving our games could motivate us to leave the Club grounds each morning. We are looking forward to a return visit to the Club and the courses.
Ann Jo, Rachel, Greg and I are already making plans to attend the Bird Golf Invitational in November. We will all be working hard on the range and playing on the course so we can improve our games for that event. Since our younger daughter lives a few hours outside of Phoenix we will be able to combine the Invitational with a trip to visit her and her family.
We loved the complete Bird Golf experience and we are looking forward to continuing our instruction and improving our game.
Have a great summer - we will see you in the fall!
Just a brief note to express our positive experience we had with Mary Mills at our Boca-based golf school lat month. Mary was a delight, humorous, patient, very helpful and obviously experienced. Both Barbara and I immensely enjoyed the whole time, and it was a nice getaway for us as well. We will be raving about Mary and the Bird Golf Academy to our friends, some of whom we think may also contact Bird in the future.
Per Mary's advice, we've been at the range more than on the course, and we are trying to groove our swings. As warned, it is not easy but we will be persistent. On the course, I finally broke 100 without a mulligan a week ago, and Barbara now has increased confidence with her new set of clubs, is "smashing" many shots with her new 5 and 6 rescue clubs and is putting much better. My short game is much improved, and I no longer tremble when I have to hit a wedge out of the sand or over a water obstacle.
Alan and Barbara Hartstein
After researching golf schools and talking to the various individuals associated with those schools, Bird Golf was the clear winner for my husband and I to attend. The 5-day school in Phoenix (with you as my instructor, and Jim Samsing as Charlie's instructor) exceeded all of our expectations. As you know, I came to you with little experience playing golf; having played a round of golf only a handful of times (and even then, picking up my ball on many of the holes and never being able to record a score). However, I left the school with the skill and confidence to play a full round of golf (with no pick-ups!). With your encouragement, I joined the lady 9-holers at my club, and played very well, not only during our weekly playdays, but also in the interclub tournaments. Your continued encouragement and teaching (both via e-mail and by telephone) elevated my golf game from nothing to winning several interclubs and team competitions, breaking 50 in the nine-holers, and then breaking 100 for a full round. And less than 5 months after attending Bird Golf, I shot a hole-in-one on a 163-yard par 3! Bird Golf is the absolute best golf school, and you are absolutely the best teacher!
Sugar Land, Texas
I have just returned from my Palm Springs vacation and wanted to share with you my experience with Coach Craig Waryan and our three day golf instruction at Indian Wells.
First, I wanted to comment on the wonderful facilities and accommodations that were set up at the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort. The location and proximity to the golf course and instruction area were convenient and the resort itself was both inviting and comfortable during my stay. Indian Wells is truly a world class facility and ranks very high on my all-time favorite golf destinations.
Secondly and most importantly, I wanted to comment on the fantastic instruction and valuable experience I had with Coach Craig. From the very start, I was nervous that a "semi-experienced golfer" like myself would be overwhelmed with a lot of information about what I have been doing wrong and was worried that an overhaul of my swing would be in order, effectively undoing all my habits from 9 years of play and causing me to feel as though I am starting from scratch. Coach Craig ensured that wasn't his objective and basically spent time learning my swing, understanding my tendencies and then using that information to tweak and modify so as to correct and not just change for the sake of change.
For an individual like myself who has never had professional instruction, Coach Craig's teaching approach was welcoming and helped me to not only listen, but retain his instruction. There were elements to the lessons that were both simplified and technical in nature, and both methods worked in concert near flawlessly. Credit to Coach Craig for knowing which method to use at which time. It was an absolute pleasure spending my time learning the game from such an accomplished instructor.
The definitive and most concrete evidence I can give of my positive experience was how enjoyable golf was during my time with Coach Craig and also every round I played after the 3 day program was over. I am now back in Calgary and absolutely disappointed that I'm unable to play until the springtime. I have already seen noticeable improvements in my game and I'm confident I will be achieve my personal golf goals in the coming season. Hitting the ball straighter, longer and with the desired ball flight is addicting - I just want to keep playing more. I feel I'm equipped with a lot more valuable knowledge on both the physical and mental aspects of the game and the retention of said information is entirely due to the excellent and commendable instruction of Coach Craig.
If this was the level and quality provided from all teaching golf professionals, I would certainly recommend professional instruction to anyone. However, though I cannot comment on other golf schools or instructors, I do now know what Bird Golf can offer and the quality of instruction from Craig Waryan. And without a doubt, I will recommend your school and especially Coach Craig to anyone interested in learning and seriously developing their golf game. I cannot wait to get back on the driving range this week, let alone the golf course next season.
Thank you so much for making golf even more enjoyable than it already was.
Dennis de Jesus
Michelle and I have just arrived back in New Zealand after spending what we both agree is our best adventure yet! Lee was out of this world (not an alien though) and Michelle and I learnt more than we ever thought possible in only five days. We felt at ease from the very first moment we met Lee and he has a true knack of getting the most from the time available. The resort, Indian Wells, Palm Springs, California and the USA were all truly amazing.
Thanks to Bird Golf for making my 50th such a memorable time.
Albany, New Zealand
I just returned from one fantastic week with Jim Samsing of Bird Golf Academy at Wild Horse Pass Resort in Arizona. What a week! Jim was great, helping not only to build my swing but train my mind to hit the best shots I ever have with a golf club. I will put all the instruction to use this summer, practicing (with a purpose) and playing. My wife and I loved the resort and spa at Wild Horse Pass, and she's already looking at when and where to book my next session with Jim. I cannot recommend Bird Golf enough, nor compliment Jim enough! If you want to play better and have more fun, enroll in Bird Golf Academy…NOW!
John S Corsale, Jr.
Raleigh , NC
“My girlfriend and I spent three days with Pam Wright at the Sedona Golf Club. It was a wonderful experience on so many levels. Hopefully I can remember all the things that made it wonderful as I share them with you now.
First, the process of registering was unexpectedly easy and pleasant. I worked with Bob Willis. I learned about Bird Academy by searching the Web for some type of golf vacation, so I called completely cold. I truly did not know anything about Bird Academy beyond what I read on the Web. I was pleasantly surprised by the personal attention I received from Bob as he answered my initial questions, and then followed over the next couple of days. I was surprised when I received the questionnaires regarding our goals and personality, but at the same time, I was impressed with the idea that you were interested in finding out about us in advance. My hope was that the information would really be used for tailoring our time with an instructor, but of course, at that point, I didn't know how it would be used.
The Sedona Rouge Resort was such a gem. We enjoyed the facilities, and appreciated that you structured the package so that our resort fees were already covered and that we had $25 each day towards incidentals. The Sedona Golf Resort was an amazing place. I felt like a celebrity getting to hang out at such a beautiful course and receive such attention from the staff. On the first day, we parked the car and started getting our gear out, and a staff member zoomed up in a cart and already knew who we were! I still don't know how he did that. He grabbed our clubs and told us Pam was waiting for us at the club house. All of the facilities there were wonderful, from the food services, to the putting green, to the course, to the gift shop and more! I haven't made it completely through Carey's book yet, but I find it fascinating. I probably will give him a call as I get further into it. I'm not sure I quite understand my profile, so it would help to be able to converse with him. Thank you for providing his contact information. I appreciate the fact that your instruction addresses both mental and physical aspects of golf.
And finally... our instructor, Pam Wright. I can't say enough positive things about our experience with her. From the first moment that we met her, she felt like an old friend. He style of teaching was a great match for us. She took the time to get to know us and know our games. I so appreciated the fact that she didn't try to fix everything. She was able to identify the small things that made the biggest difference. There is one moment with her that I will always remember. We were at the driving range. She asked me to verbalize the thoughts that go through my mind as I set up and swing. I won't tell you everything I told her, because it is a bit embarrassing (suffice it to say I was thinking WAY too much). She said, "Put that all out of your mind, and just think about your finish." The very next swing I made was the best one I hit all day. I've kept that with me since then, and its changed my game (for the better!). I could go on and on about the 3 days we spent with Pam, but I think you get the idea. I have kept in touch with her and she has been very responsive and willing to talk. In fact, during my last visit to Scottsdale to see my Dad, she met us over at the Ping factory and arranged a personal tour of the factory for us! It was great fun.”
Let me start by saying that Debbie & I were treated in a first class manner for the entire Bird Family experience. The accommodations were outstanding; the instructions were also outstanding and the location in Sedona was gorgeous! We found Shirley to be patient with us and her instructions were clear and appropriate! She is an excellent instructor and we enjoyed her company as well. You are lucky to have her as part of the team!
The Clear Key concept, which Shirley gave us, is particularly appealing to us as we are constantly thinking about all the things we SHOULD be doing and therefore we don't do them properly! I am looking forward to the day we can get out on the course and work on the game in real time.
By the way - we both found the personality profile quite interesting and right on the mark - perhaps so correct to be amusing! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and expect to be back next year!
John & Debbie McCrea
Click here to learn more about our Arizona locations.
A huge thanks to you and your vision!!!! My golf school with Pam was everything you had promised and more – I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the bunkers, on the practice greens and range and on those gorgeous Whirlwind courses. I can still feel the "ear to ear" grin I had on my face on Wed when I "gave myself a chance" on each of the 9 holes we played. A bit of tumbling down to earth though on my return to 4 degree Celsius temperatures (not liking the cold, I won’t be hitting the driving range until we warm up a bit, hopefully in the next week or so) as I am itching to get back out to the range and course.
We also had a wonderful evening at Kai. And my sisters and I had a wonderful and peaceful time at the resort which was much needed.
Dr. Shannon Venance
London, ON; Canada
“Just wanted to drop you a note and let you know what a tremendous 4 days Ewing Madole and I had at the Bird Golf Academy last week. l also want to thank you so much for recommending Sharon Miller to us as an instructor. I would run out of superlatives before I could completely capture how terrific Sharon is as an instructor and as a person to spend time with. Sharon worked us hard but also kept it fun. She has infinite patience and if I didn't grasp something one way she had a bevy of other drills or swing thoughts to try. Sharon keeps at it until you grasped it. I only wish I could mimic her wonderful tempo and repeating swing. I certainly intend to be a returning Bird Golf Academy student in the future. Thanks again and Best Wishes.”
“Sorry I have been so slow to get back to you. It is certainly not a reflection of my excitement over my school experience!! Sandy and I had a delightful and very productive three days with Mary. She is a fascinating and knowledgeable woman on so many levels. After working with us each day she returned the following morning with a very well thought action plan....always leaving room in the day for any of our requests. The format for the day made all of the information digestible. The lunch break and note taking provided a good break to summarize and reflect on what we newly learned. I have even carried my notes with me to practice my chipping and pitching!
I definitely came away from the experience with some new skills and renewed focus. I hope I get the opportunity to work with Mary again. I have been to schools that were enjoyable but for various reasons I have not been back. I don't expect that to be the case with Mary. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with her.”
I am writing this to convey two thoughts regarding my experience at your golf school this January in Palm Springs.
First, I chose your school based on your curriculum concept. The idea of practice sessions followed by supervised play on a course with the Pro was very appealing to me. I certainly was not disappointed in the manner, quantity or quality of the format. Your school is not a lecture on golf theory, it is a direct attack on the individual game of the participants. I attended with my good friend who is much younger and more supple than I and what he was taught was tailored to his game as was my instruction. This is not the normal "one size fits all" instruction program.
Second, Craig Waryan is truly a "Master" teacher. I came to the school with one thought which was to see if there was any more game in my 60 year old body. I am a 7 handicap and have a few moments every year when a sub par round appears in my game. My issue is that I have never done this on a course over 6800 yards. I wanted to know if "given my personal limitations such as age, flexibility and strength" there was another 10 to 30 yards hiding in my body somewhere. Craig very skillfully gave me the tools in such a manner that I was able to incorporate them immediately into my game. His ability to both explain and demonstrate in a manner that got me to respond has made a very dramatic improvement in my game. Armed with this new horizon I am now excited to practice for the first time in years. Craig showed me that I not only could but that I should get more length. By the end of the school I had added and easy 20 yards off the tee and had the occasional 60 yards. More importantly I have renewed confidence in my ability to take my game to a new level. His understanding of the short game was masterful. He taught me a variety of very useful shots and concepts that I am sure will lower my scores and add to my enjoyment of the game. The course management help that he provided during the playing portion of the day was wonderful, particularly when he "talked the talk and then walked the walk". Watching him manage his own game was worth the trip for me.
Thank you for your great concept and execution. I would recommend your school to anyone interested in seriously improving their game.
Michael Sorensen, President
Reoxcyn Medical Research
Salt Lake City, Utah
Click here to learn more about our California locations.
As I wrap up my week at Wild Horse Pass, I wanted to send you a note letting you know that this has been a truly amazing experience, far exceeding my expectations. And, there is one ingredient that made it so special and that was, without question, Shirley.
In my professional experience, when someone is a highly skilled specialist, that rarely translates into equally skilled abilities as a teacher. Shirley is truly unique in this regard given her accomplishments on both fronts. Bird Golf is really lucky to have such a special person as part of the team. Her patient, customized, high energy approach to teaching a returning golfer like me (with much to learn and many bad habits to break!), was incredibly effective. I am confident that I will be able to take what I've learned this week and improve my game significantly as I use the 32 ball drills to replace my bad habits with the ones Shirley taught me. And, while there were times we laughed about how I would be going home to get a break, I will be returning to Bird Golf to continue this amazing learning experience with Shirley. I will follow up with you to reserve time in early August at the Fort Collins facility.
Thank you for your support and the outreach to make sure everything was going well. I hope you can tell that I'm a huge fan of Bird Golf and I look forward to maintaining an ongoing relationship.
Wyckoff, New Jersey
Tim (Peightal) did a fantastic job teaching and coaching me during my five days with Bird Academy. Each day he systematically modified a part of my swing style which step-by-step added up to what feels like a great swing. It wasn’t until the third day that I realized what he was doing, which then made me eager to find out what would be improved each day. Tim taught me how to add various loft wedges to my game which gave me options I never had before. With the addition of some of Tim’s mental coaching, I should be able to reduce my handicap by 3-4 strokes (am currently a 9 handicap) as I integrate and stabilize what I learned in just a week. The best part of my experience is that it was not a complete ‘makeover’ of my swing, but rather a systematic adjustment of my basic game. The blisters are starting to heal on most of my fingers… Thanks again for a great week by one of the best!
"I wanted you to know what a great experience we had this week taking lessons from Tim. He was a good match for us & we really enjoyed working with him. We learned a lot & also enjoyed his sense of humor. Bird Golf Academy is such a professionally run organization and our whole experience was very positive."
Ann Arbor, MI
"Working with Roger was an extraordinary experience. He demonstrates knowledge, and most importantly, the ability to transfer information in an understandable way. I am on the right tack for enjoying golf more full."
I enjoyed meeting you and look forward to seeing you again.
I truly enjoyed our sessions with Lee Maiden; he is super! I think he has taught me a lot; and more miraculously, I seem to have absorbed some of it. My game improved greatly in the four days I spent with him. Hope to keep improving as the short season here goes along.
Just writing to let you know I had an absolutely excellent time and experience with Bird Golf and Pam. I could not have wished for a more perfect instructor for me or for better results!! Absolutely delighted with the whole 3 days.
I seriously have the golf bug now! Looking forward to practicing hard and beating my buddies now. That's my aim and I know I can do it. Oh, and having fun too of course.
Great talking with you all the while and many, many thanks to you for setting this whole thing up... and I look forward to keeping in touch.
I want to let you know what a great experience Bird Golf Academy was for me. The profile work was very interesting and unexpected. I can't say enough about Shirley, I respect the knowledge that she has in the game, her abilities as an instructor, and so enjoyed her personality. You said that I would love her instruction, and I certainly did. I look forward to continuing my work with Shirley, as I have a commitment to excel in the game. With the assistance from Bird Golf Academy I know that I will be able to accomplish my "bucket list" golf-related items.
The facilities were also exceptional. All I can say is - perfect! Hotel property, view, golf course, staff, everything (Ed. Note: Irene did her school at our flagship site at Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa).
Having been coached in tennis as an adult I do understand the (frustrating) process of transitioning into proper form and execution - and I have a lot to work through in my golf game. I appreciate the opportunity to work with Bird Golf Academy digitally. My concern was that I would have to work with someone locally that wouldn't have the same methodology and scope. It is important to me that I work with one consistent source, as I feel the best results would be accomplished that way.
Thanks again for providing such a unique learning experience.
While planning a trip to Phoenix, it occurred to me that this might be an opportunity to attend a golf school. Being more than a little compulsive, I researched the internet thoroughly, and ultimately selected Bird Golf Academy, because it seemed to be in a nice location, and the principles of instruction described on their website appealed to me.
How did I reach the point of considering a golf school? Go back two years. After being encouraged by many friends who play golf, I decided to take it up, at age 60. Admittedly, I played a bit as a boy when I caddied to make a few dollars, but had not touched a club in 45 years. I began to play, and hit some reasonable shots, but decided I needed a few lessons, which I arranged with several local instructors. Unfortunately, I found that after each lesson (separated by several weeks), my game seemed to worsen. Lots of attention to different aspects of my strokes, without an overall perspective, which left me confused, and way "in my head" when it came to my golf swing.
After 2 years of this, I was about ready to quit what had become a frustrating game. But always the optimist, I decided to give it one more chance, and thus began my adventure at Bird Golf Academy. This was going to be make or break, either improve or give up.
I was impressed at the outset. First arrived a psychological profile quiz, designed to help my instructor know my natural tendencies and how to coach to them. Second, my phone discussions with Jay Ewing suggested a very friendly and accommodating place with lots of help with local arrangements.
My wife (a non-golfer) and I arrived at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass venue, which is delightfully located on Native American land, boasting a 4-star resort, and 5-star restaurant, and of course, the 2 meticulously maintained 18 hole courses. For the next 3 days my wife easily entertained herself at the spa, on the walking trails, watching wild horses, and at local sites, while I was on to golf!
I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had Craig Waryan as my instructor for the better part of the next 3 days. Craig is my age, and a very interesting and amicable person, in addition to being a master PGA instructor, with a history of tournament play and current college team coaching. (I think he took me on as a charity case!) From the outset, it was obvious that Craig had done this before. He had a great system of building on putting, chipping and pitching into the full swing, all viewed through the perspective of a holistic approach to the game. So instead of dissecting my swing, Craig focused on balance, rhythm, timing and for me (a severe left brain type) getting out of my head and into the "swing" of things.
Without further ado, let me just say that I never had more fun on a golf course. The practice facilities were fantastic, and I learned more about reading greens from Craig than I could imagine. Our playing together in the afternoon after morning practice was a phenomenal learning experience. The concentrated 3 days of instruction did more for me than 10 years of intermittent lessons could ever accomplish.
It will be another month before our snow melts in New Hampshire, but I can't wait to get out on the course. I hit the best shots of my life during my 3 days at Bird Academy, and they have a special program that allows me to stay in touch with my instructor, and to even send videos for analysis if I lose memory of any techniques. I call that special. Special people, special place, special memories. Go Golf!
Jack Cronenwett MD
Hanover, New Hampshire
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"There are not enough words to describe how much my game has improved thanks to Steve. The ladies club championship finals were held August 19 and 20. In prior years this has been a match play event which I have lost (badly last year) in the finals. This year's format was 36 holes of medal play and I've got to say I played the best golf of my life. Had we played match play we might still be at it since I won as many holes as I lost....medal play wasn't as kind to me. I lost by 6 strokes to someone whose handicap is 8. I shot 176 for 36 holes. It was quite the accomplishment for me to play so well and I owe it to Steve's fine instructions. I now find myself invited to member guest affairs at other golf clubs and have won three of those as well as placing third in another. My daughter also reports great improvement in her game. We will forever be disciples of the Bird Golf Academy."
Harrisville, Rhode Island
Three years ago, no-one, including myself would have believed that I would be playing golf at the level I am today. I give all the credit to your golf school and my instructor, Jim Samsing. I have gone from a best ever score of 126 (three years ago) to a personal best of 84. My accomplishments have included a Flight Championship and a Member/Member Championship at my home club but best of all, I have developed a love of and passion for-the game.
While the accomplishments are mine, the credit all goes to the Bird Golf Academy. I could not have done it on my own. The beauty of the golf school is more than the desire to share your knowledge and skills with your students; it is the devotion that you give your students.
Thank you for giving me this gift. Any professional can teach the skills. Few, however, can a person develop a love and passion for playing and enjoying the game.
Genoa Lakes, Nevada
"I have been golfing for the past 48 years. In all that time I have never hit a draw shot off the tee, or for that matter anywhere else on the course. Inside of a couple of hours, Tim, had me drawing the ball. I feel that the three days with Tim were very rewarding. The location at Mission Inn was just perfect and please extend my thanks to Tim for improving a hacker's golf game."
Dominic Salvino Sr.
“Jay-Thank You - I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone with Bird Golf Academy for an absolutely terrific experience. I can't imagine a better way to have been introduced to the game. Having never even held a stick before, I wasn't sure what the week would hold or if I'd have a good time. It was without question the best vacation of my life. All the logistical details were very well handled and I couldn't have asked for a better, more positive and patient instructor than Shirley. So, in just five days I've gone from someone whose favorite club was the Pink Elephant in Brussels, Belgium to someone whose favorite club is the 9 iron. I am very much looking forward to my golf journey and to future Bird Golf schools.”
Greta M. Powell
After the three day 6 hours a day one on one instruction the only thing left from my old golf game is my good attitude. Talk about getting reinvented... teaching old dogs new trick.. etc. Amazing learning experience!! Lee is an outstanding teacher and mentor. I now have both a new coach and friend. If you want a Senior Poster Boy for Bird Golf, sign me up. I'd recommend the program to anyone who is really serious about improving their game.
Palo Alto, California
“our compliments on our experience at Jekyll Island with Mary Mills. Our time with Mary was awesome. The location is perfect with great facilities and such friendly staff. We had absolutely no problems obtaining tee times or spots on the practice range. We told Mary her patience was "Academy Award Winning"!!!!!! We have both played a few times here and already notice a great improvement particularly in certain situations where we previously had difficulty. Thanks for an experience we will never forget.”
Linda & Dick Mills
(Canada and Florida)
“I wanted to personally thank you for the great experience I had at the Bird Golf Academy. My 5 days with you were very productive but also a lot of fun. You are a great teacher of the game of golf and I know already that I will be a much improved golfer. Please use my name as a reference to anyone interested in a great golf school”
Michael Gelinas, MD
I wanted to write to express how much my recent wonderful experience at the Bird Golf School exceeded my expectations. Although my friend Nancy was the one who chose Bird Golf, the school was exactly what I would have designed had I built my own school. I played regularly and confidently several years ago, winning my club championship. Two cross-country moves and one baby later, I thought I had "lost" my swing and my confidence. What I wanted from a school was to bring out what I knew I had in me, and not a school that would try to rebuild me.
Bird Golf, and my four days with Shirley Furlong, were exactly that. I have always felt that when I was confident about the basics such as posture and balance, that I played my best golf because then I wasn't worrying about anything while swinging. That was exactly the approach that Shirley took, and she reassured me that my approach to the game was the approach I should keep using. Past teachers had tried to get me to swing "faster" or "harder." Shirley emphasized that I should stick with my natural tempo in my whole approach to the game, and then showed me how to mentally get out of my own way so that that tempo's fluidity could come out. I don't know how you knew Shirley would be such a great match after only a short phone call with me, but she was perfect.
In addition, the resort, course, and practice facilities were beautiful, and Shirley was an absolute delight to spend four days with. I'm a teacher myself, so I can recognize that at times, I was a bit of a pain in the bum as a student -- but Shirley handled that with humor, and I haven't laughed so much in a long time.
Anyway, thanks for a truly wonderful experience!
To read the comments of Nancy Rice who did her golf school with Miranda, please see the testimonial immediately below.
I wanted to write you a note expressing my pleasure with my recent experience at the Bird Golf Academy, Wild Horse Pass Resort and spa. Although I'm not a great golfer, I love the sport, so nothing could be better than spending 4 consecutive days immersed in golf. My teacher, Shirley Furlong, not only is a wonderful teacher but she clearly shares my passion for the game; we could not have been a better pairing.
Shirley was full of good humor, very good natured, and had an infectious enthusiasm for all aspects of the game, even sand shots. She has an encyclopedic knowledge of golf and the patience and willingness to communicate her knowledge as many times and in as many ways as necessary for me to understand and improve. I particularly enjoyed the time spent actually playing the course, with Shirley giving me immediate and perceptive feedback on each shot.
I experienced many emotions during my time at Bird Golf: pleasure at a good shot, anguish over bad shots, frustration, and elation. Sometimes I was concentrating intensely; sometimes my brain felt like mush. I might even have gotten better. Most of all, however, I had fun and laughed more than I have in years. Now that's a good golf school!
“I want to THANK YOU for a FANTASTIC WEEK of golf instruction. Not only did I learn and gain a thorough appreciation for the golf swing, I had fun. The knowledge gained can only improve my game. Both you and Jay made me feel as if I was a part of the Bird Team, not as a tourist showing up for a few lessons. The attention to detail, taking notes, discussions and practice sessions made perfect common sense. The discussions based on observations and the feel of the golf swing really helped. I can't believe how simple the swing really is: everything moves together at the same time in the same direction at the same rate.”
Wanted to take this time to thank you for a wonderful golf learning experience. I left the Diplomat/Bird School with positive thoughts and a great desire to get my game in shape. I was not overwhelmed with too much information, but came away with good principles and a plan of attack to conquer my problems. The facility was perfect for a woman traveling alone. I could finish up golf and go directly to the spa for a massage/hot tub experience. The food was a fabulous surprise! How good. No need to go off campus if you don't want to. All in all, I would highly recommend this experience to my friends and family [and we are a large golfing family]. I must tell Tim that I played in a tournament on Tuesday early in the Am on our OLD COURSE which has a 134/74.4 in the cold windy wet environment and shot a 98. Not a great score, but from the 5900 tee markers in those conditions, I'm not upset. Just maybe 4 bad holes, no penalties, just a few errant shots into the 4" wet rough was enough to put me behind the 8 ball. However, I will practice, practice, practice and just maybe get this yet! My best to both of you.
I just finished 3 days in Napa with Shirley and it was way beyond what I imagined the experience would be! It was all due to her and her great personality and teaching style. I now know that golf is more than a nice walk for 9 holes. I actually love and look forward to playing 18 holes as much as I can. She was very effective. You are so lucky to have her on your staff. I could not recommend any changes. She really was a true professional committing an immense amount of patience, care and concern about ensuring that I was successful. Joe and I both love her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Again, Shirley is amazing. I played both courses at Black Butte Ranch in Oregon after the lessons and even parred a few holes. Thank you so much,
Lake Oswego, OR
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Jake and I wanted to express our heartfelt thanks to you and Lee for giving us such wonderful memories during our recent three day Golf School with Lee Maiden. We attended the Phoenix School at Wild Horse Pass and can't say enough great things about our experience. At the end of the three days, I got an A¬¬ from Lee and Jake only got a C! I finally acquired a golf swing and Jake had to fix up the one he had. We are both playing much better golf and I realized one of my goals in better understanding and enjoying the game and am on my way to my next goal of beating Jake! Problem is, he's getting way better now so I still have a lot of work to do.
We are very excited about the tournament in November and look forward to seeing you all there!
Jake & Jennifer Hansen
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I had an absolutely great time for three days with Shirley. It was a real treat to work with a pro who for 14 years had to execute the shots she was teaching me in order to make a living - she really knows what she is doing. The Bird school and the three days I spent with Shirley were without a doubt the best thing I have ever done for my golf game. I am definitely planning to work with Shirley again after I have had time to incorporate what we worked on into my game and practice. Plus, Shirley is just a great person and delightful to work with. Thanks for encouraging me to try the school. I would recommend it to anybody who is really interested in improving their game.
Fort Worth, Texas
I can not even begin to describe my time at golf school in Florida with Mary Mills. Her energy, enthusiasm and passion for the game of golf is so contagious. I worked hard to improve my game and Mary was there every step and hour of the way. Her method of instruction was phenomenal. You chose the perfect teacher for me! I will definitely return to golf school with Bird Golf and Mary. My passion and drive to achieve my goals in the game of golf have definitely grown because of the experience I had this past week. Thank you again for having the vision of teaching players using these talented and personable professionals. This has been a dream of a lifetime that I will NEVER forget!”
Orange Beach, AL
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I very much enjoyed my three days with you in Arizona. Shelley is an excellent teacher and very good company (she also has a beautiful swing), and I would like to thank her sincerely for her skill and her patience. I'm sorry I was slow to change my bad habits, but at least I know what I'm supposed to be doing now! I'm sure some steady practice in the spring will see improvement on the course.“
Dr. Paul Haycock
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Larry; thank you so very much for everything you taught me. It was “just right” for what I needed and could handle over 3 days. Everything made sense and stays with me so I can practice well. But more than that, thank you for sharing your live for the game and Life!.......Be aware that your service is excellent and well deserves the praise you and your team receive.
Patrick Walker, M.D
Little Rock, AR
I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy working with Shirley. She is amazing. Teaches by example, spots all my mistakes, is wonderful company, and I think she is an all around first class person. I am amazed at how much I have learned on this past trip. Getting the chance to spend 5 days with Shirley - and then having the luxury of being able to go out a few more times while there to work on the lessons - was the perfect combination. I thought you might enjoy hearing that I managed to shoot 86 on Cattail, off the bronze, before we left.... Something to motivate as the season opens here!
Mary's lessons must have sunk in because I went from a 6 in 2005 to a 3 handicap last summer. My all time best and set a new course record of 64! So now I'm chomping at the bit for the season to start.
Lake George, New York
Jay. I wanted to take a moment to compliment the Academy and Sharron Moran for the learning experience I had at Crested Butte. Sharron was a very good teacher, and I believe my golf game has improved permanently. I know I have a long way to go, but for the first time I feel like I understand parts of the game rather than just being a ball striker. Like many amateurs, I have played .at. the game for years, but also like most amateurs I think I was mostly just striking balls rather than really understanding and playing the game. Sharron helped me to understand some of the game itself (at least as much as can be done in three days) with such things as to when to go for the pin and when to just get it on the green; when to take your bogey and go on; don.t make a double bogey by following a bad shot with a bad decision; how to recognize the swing mistakes and correct them with some practice drills; understanding the swing adjustments for different lies and ball positions. I believe I will also get a lot of benefit from the .Clear Key. teaching. I enjoyed Sharron.s company as well as her instruction.
The Club at Crested Butte was a great facility. The course is beautiful and the practice facilities are first rate. Everyone at the Club, members and staff, were very nice and made me feel at home. The town is very unique, and both my wife and I appreciated the small town atmosphere and uncrowned conditions. Although we missed the wild flower festival, there were wild flowers by the thousands everywhere that were easily seen from the roadway.
Overall it was a great experience which I will always remember with good thoughts. Please pass on my compliments to Sharron. Best wishes for the Academy.s continued success.
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Just a note to let you know that Scott and I are enjoying the benefits of our 4 days with Jim in Phoenix. We both agree that the set of drills Jim described for us to practice as a result of Jim’s in-depth and easy to understand instruction based on his close attention to our capabilities and tendencies is allowing us to “fix” whatever goes wrong during practice sessions. The ability to self-diagnose our individual situations and correct problems without an endless series of “tune-up” sessions with a local “pro” really helps to build confidence. The ability to self-diagnose, plus learning, for the first time, what and how to “practice” have provided the best value I have ever received from investing a “golf dollar”. … Thanks for providing Scott and me the opportunity to better enjoy the game of golf.
I call you Dr. because you cured my very poor excuse for a golf swing. I want to thank you again for a very enjoyable 3 days of instruction and conversation. When I got back to work, numerous people asked about the school and if I thought it helped. I can’t say enough good things about this experience. Now everybody wants to go play with me to see the results. Again, thank you. I loved it!
Arroyo Grande, CA
What was the most helpful part of the school?
Simple, clear, uncomplicated instruction with great take-aways that allow me to recover from swing failure nearly immediately.
What was the biggest disappointment?
That golf could be taught with simple, clear uncomplicated instruction. The realization that improvement rests solely on the shoulders of the player.
How did your game improve after attending the school?
I have a swing that will last a lifetime and method for self arrest that can be employed at will. Jay’s simple, no-nonsense approach requires discipline, not magic. When my score goes up, it stays up until I break things down, according to plan, and find the flaw. And it always comes back.
Jim Doran, Austin, TX
Excerpts from a Golf Magazine survey on Golf Schools; June 2004
I wanted to thank you for a great golf experience. Both Alaina and I had a great time. I’m sure that you will see our faces again in the future. Alaina said that she can’t imagine taking lessons any other way. … Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I worked on my drills, set up the balls in little groups of four and did four mentally and four clear key. I was smackin’ the ball.… I’m looking forward to the tourney in October.
My 5 day course was fabulous (I am English, I don’t exaggerate). My first encounter with my sensei for the next 5 days, Jay Ewing. A charming, witty and very personable man who I instantly knew I would get along well with.
Intertwined with some superb tales [sometimes of the unexpected] and some incredible golf shots from Jay, he crafted my golf game and started introducing me to the "era of the triangle".
Over the next few days, essentially, Pythagoras became my demigod, my swing was ingrained and I walked away with more distance, more consistency, more understanding of the oxymoron’s that seem to exist in the swing and the ability to feel and correct to, if necessary, a good swing.
My "misses" [i.e. the not pure shots] were as good as my original "peached" shots and my 7 handicap began to feel generous.
All aspects of the game were explained with clarity and I left knowing that I will enjoy the game so much more and with the knowledge that can improve my game enormously.
So, I hear you say, not a bad comment so far.... nope... and there won't be. The place is astonishing, the courses testing and varied, the coaching superb.
Jersey, Channel Islands, UK
First of all I would like to thank you for arranging such a nice occasion and giving us the chance to be with such a nice person, Mary Mills. Mary has paved the way for me to be a better golfer. I am very proud of having been instructed by a US Open Champion through the Bird Golf Academy and thank you for such a wonderful time at the World Golf Village….
First we’d like to express what a great time we had attending your school. We had a wonderful experience, and we both feel that we will benefit from our instruction. We will both forge ahead using our notes and I’m determined to play consistently in the 70’s. We both feel that Sharon is fantastic and not only did we thoroughly enjoy her instruction but also her company. She’s a jewel in our opinion. Thanks for the experience and for “leaving the door open” if we need advice.
Dennis and Lana Shimp
…To give you some feedback on the lessons we took with Jim. Jay, I can’t tell you have valuable it was. Jim was sensational. To simply put it, he was magnificent. We will definitely come back for a refresher but I have to make sure that I am doing everything that Jim taught me…..I will hate to disappoint him. Jay, thank you very much.
Santa Clara, CA
I improved a lot over the summer and look forward to even better golf in the future. To be honest Jay I was probably shooting in the high 90’s and low 100’s before I went to your school and learnt the correct way to score. I still haven’t broken 80 yet, but I have shot 37 twice for 9 holes. I used to chip and pitch just trying to get onto the green and now I am looking to put it into the hole. I have become more consistent and when I make a bad swing I can correct it. Thank you for all your help and encouragement throughout the year.
I shot a 77 yesterday afternoon. I finally broke 80. You are the man! I hit 12 out of 14 fairways. I had eagle putts on 3 out of 4 par 5's. I made birdies on all three.
On a 310 yard par four I hit just short of the green. I am out driving my playing partners by 30 to 50 yards, its alot fun hitting last all the time. When I was playing with you I didn't realize how far I was hitting my drives because you hit yours into a different zip code.
Thanks again and again,
Dear Jay ... Bonnie and I had a super trip. The room was great and the weather unreal. We stayed an extra day and played. What a great day. Bonnie played very well, using her "Clear Key", and believed in it. I used it on the final day; and shot a super round for me (MY BEST EVER) ... a 76! Thanks Bird Golf, we had a great time and enjoyed everything very much.
... did well, believe it or not! Played quite a bit before the tournament to get in shape. Was second in longest & straightest drive off #1 tee. (ha, ha was that really me??!! ... I guess nobody saw the golf ball taped under my left shoe) and had a very solid short game going. So well done, Keith! Of course, I practiced with my feet together, and took my practice swings sometimes like that. Still working on my own personalized "Clear Key", but borrowed yours once in a while. Again, many thanks for a fun weekend, outstanding instruction and excellent company. Hope you had some fun too. I will be looking forward to returning to the Wigwam for a refresher. Best.
Jay and Shelley,
Where do I start! First of all I would like to extend a huge "THANK YOU" to you both for your kindness and professional courtesy to Kyle.
I found out that there are certain things that can effect this during our life, but I didn't figure that taking my Son to a golf school could have the effect on him that it did.
After the first day with Shelley, he said that this was the best day on the golf course he could remember and that he would "never forget that time" for the rest of his life! WOW, what a statement from a 15 year old.
Kyle was so "Stoked up" for day two that he did not want to go to sleep and wanted to talk all night about his time with Shelley. Well when Kyle woke up he looked at me and said "Man am I sore", I said well that what it feels like after a hard day with an LPGA player, and he just grinned from ear to ear.
So, I have learned more about being a Father! Every once in a while take your Son to Bird Golf School, and see what being a kid again is like! You will love it!
gain, I would like to give my highest complement to Shelley for the GREAT job she did with Kyle. I would recommend her to all of my friends.
p.s. Kyle went to the range after school today!!
"On a scale of 1-10, the 3 days were a 12 ..."
“I would like to thank Jim for his incredible instruction. If I had started golf with him, maybe I would be a pro by now!! Jim is an excellent teacher and the best type for me- a “feel” man. He gives the student a feel for what the correct swing is. Thanks again”
Our scores are improving and we believe a lot is due to Mary’s instructions. It was an excellent experience and we continue to sing the praises of your golf school…..we are playing and enjoying the game more than ever!”
Ron & Melinda Thomsen
After a very long back trip to Poland I had another couple days business trip. Two weeks in the Bird Golf Academy it was my good time both for my golf knowledge and my rest. It was my pleasure to meet you personally. Craig is an excellent coach and a very interesting companion. His style of coaching is very productive and attractive. I better understand why golf is truly a wonderful game and why never is too late to start. I am waiting for 2008 springtime in Poland for checking my progress in this game. Thank you very much for your offer to access to Carey Mumford and "long distance" help. It will be great for me to be together with you on November 13-17 in the Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa. I will keep this date in my 2008 calendar.
Matt Willie who came to a school with Jay Ewing at West Woods in May shows his "new swing". Notice his perfect posture in pic 1, a takeaway exactly on plane in picture 2 and his position at the top of his swing, with the clubhead pointed directly at the target line. Matt who hopes to make the University of Wyoming golf team this year as a freshman, made all these changes in a 5 day school with Jay. He is on track to become a very fine player.