Bird Golf Schools Professional Staff
Mary Mills, LPGA Member
Winner of the 1963 U.S. Open, Mary's career as a player and teacher is second to none. A member of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, Mary enjoyed 18 years on the LPGA Tour, during which time she won 9 tour events, including three major championships (the LPGA Championship in 1964 and 1973, as well as the U.S. Open). Now an accomplished golf course architect, Mary's first love remains teaching. A member of the LPGA Teaching Division since 1980, Mary prides herself on working with players of all skill levels. As a student of the game, Mary has studied and worked with some of the game's legendary teachers: Johnny Revolta, Tommy Armour, Paul Runyan, Bob Toski, and Ángel de la Torre to name a few. Mary's extensive background allows her to evaluate each student differently and individually - and makes a golf school with Mary a "once in a lifetime experience."
Jay Ewing, PGA Member
Jay's unique and modern style of teaching is the result of more than 20 years as a golf professional. An accomplished player, having played the Australian and Asian Tour in the early 1980's, and more recently the winner of the World Pro Am at Pebble Beach in 1998, Jay also served on the Colorado Section PGA Board of Directors. The founder of the Rocky Mountain Junior Tour and the founder of the Colorado PGA Teach-A-Thon, Jay's teaching background working with Juniors is extensive, as it is with players of all skill levels. The host of "Golf Tips with Jay Ewing", and the author of two books, Jay has written for both trade and mainstream publications. He currently works with over 20 professionals, and is becoming one of the country's most sought after teachers.
Jim Samsing, PGA Member
Jim's career as a golf professional spans 30 years. A competitive player since 1970, and the winner of the 1973 Montbello Open Pro-Am, Jim also recorded top 10 finishes in several state opens. Jim was also the Head Professional at Mission Hills C.C. in the mid 70's. His teaching philosophy is to keep the swing as simple as possible, developing strong fundamentals and swing skills, and using the brain as the major tool in the development of these skills. He is the foremost expert in the theory of the "Double Connexion", a mental discipline used on the PGA tour. Jim is a true master and student of the game, who's style is successful with players of all abilities. Jim is also an accomplished club fitting specialist. We are proud to have Jim as our West Coast Director of Instruction.
Tim Peightal, PGA Member
Tim began his 25 year career as a PGA professional at the Disney World golf resort in Orlando where he had the opportunity to observe and study with some of the legends in golf instruction; Davis Love Jr., Jim Flick, Bill Strausbaugh and Bob Toski. Tim would later work with 1928 US Open Champion, Johnny Farrell and 1935 PGA Champion, Johnny Revolta. Tim served as the Head professional at Indiana Country Club for 7 years before returning to Florida where he was the Director of Instruction for The United States Senior Golf Academy for six years. Tim’s goal is to find as many ways as possible to make learning fun and feels that since every golfer is different, then each of his students should be taught, differently. His enormous skill as a teacher comes from his understanding of several different methods, and being able to identify, the perfect method and style with each of his students. We are proud to have Tim as our East Coast, Head Professional.
Lee Maiden, PGA Member
Lee turned professional in 1973 after serving in the US Navy. His career began at the Wigwam where he had the opportunity to study and learn from golf greats, Hale Irwin, Dale Douglas and Dave Marr. In 1977, Lee was at the Vail Golf Club (where he started the Gerald Ford Pro-Am), where he stayed for two years before becoming the Head Professional at Park Hill GC where he spent extensive time with another PGA legend, Dave Hill. While at Park Hill GC, Lee founded the Colorado Junior Golf Association in 1981. Lee then went on to be the Head professional at Eagle Country Club, Cattails GC and the Heritage Hills GC in McCook, Nebraska. Lee was the Head Golf Coach for the Adams State University from 1995-2000. Throughout his career, Lee’s passion has always been teaching and it is as a teacher that he truly shines. In his 33 years as a professional, he has helped thousands of his students not only improve their games but also to enjoy it! There are several reasons why Lee's nickname is "The Swing Doctor". We are proud to have Lee as a Senior West Coast instructor for the Bird Golf Academy.
Shirley Furlong, LPGA Member
Shirley was an All-American at Texas A&M University in 1983, and after graduating she met with immediate success as a professional. The leading money winner and winner of four events on the Women’s Professional Golf Tour, Shirley joined the LPGA Tour in 1984. Shirley recorded several Top 5 finishes in her fifteen year career on Tour which was highlighted with her victory in the 1988 Keystone Open. Shirley was also the runner up in the 1989 McDonald’s Championship and a year later the runner-up in the Nabisco Dinah Shore. A lifelong student of the game, Shirley has studied and worked with some of the game’s greatest instructors (Betty Dodd, Chuck Cook and De De Owens). Shirley believes that a good golf swing comes first with good fundamentals and stresses the importance of having a good “pre-shot routine”. She also believes that teaching her students to manage themselves and the golf course are keys to becoming a successful player. Shirley is passionate about teaching and it shows in her students. Shirley’s upbeat and charming personality will make your golf school with her memorable. Shirley is Bird Golf Academy's, Senior West Coast Instructor
Shirley was inducted into the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame in February, 2007. Congratulations, Shirley on such a great honor!
Pam Wright, LPGA Member
Pam was born to be a golfer. Her father, Innes was a prominent Scottish professional and her Mother was four times the Scottish National Champion. After an exceptional junior career, Pam attended Arizona State University where she would also distinguish herself. Pam was twice the winner of the Pac 10 Championship, a two-time All American and later in her career, elected to the ASU Hall of Fame. Pam's talent showed immediately when she joined the LPGA Tour as she was the Rookie of the Year in 1989. Her storied career included being a member of the European Solheim Cup three times as well as being a Vice-Captain in 2000 and 2002 (Pam also recorded the lowest 9 hole round in US Open history when she shot a 30). Since devoting herself full time to teaching, Pam has excelled in the same way. She is passionate about her craft and it shows with every student that has the chance to experience a school with Pam. Pam's lovely, relaxed style immediately puts her students at ease, and her infinite knowledge of the game, takes their games to another level. Bird Golf is very proud to have Pam as a Senior West Coast Instructor.
Craig Waryan, PGA Member
In an incredibly distinguished career, Craig has earned most every honor that can be bestowed upon a PGA professional. Craig was the Minnesota Section PGA, Teacher of the Year in 2004, twice the Golf Professional of the Year, and four times the recipient of the Bill Strausbaugh award. He has been teaching for 35 years and was only the 87th person to achieve PGA Master professional status. In addition to which, Craig was the Club Fitter of the Year and has appeared on both Golf Digest and Golf magazines' Top 10 (in Wisconsin and Minnesota) Teachers lists, several times. Craig's students have won over 30 State Championships, a National title and a National runner-up finish. While Craig's passion is teaching, he is also still a very fine player and was the 2000 PGA Senior Matchplay Champion and the runner-up in the Wisconsin Senior Open in 2001 and 2006. We are very proud to have Craig as a Senior West Coast instructor and know with certainty, that your golf school with him, will be extraordinary.
Sandra Palmer, LPGA Member
Sandra Palmer is a legend. The winner of 19 LPGA titles in her playing career, including the US Women's Open, the Colgate Dinah Shore and the Titleholders Championship (used to be one of the LPGA's Major titles); her storied playing career was extraordinary. Sandra was the 1975 LPGA Player of the Year and also won the Tour's Money title in the same year. Sandra was inducted into the Texas Sate Golf Hall of Fame and the National Collegiate Hall of Fame. Early on in her career Sandra met the iconic, Harvey Penick (author of the "Little Red Book"), regarded by many as the Game's greatest teacher. Mr. Penick would be her mentor and teacher for the next 30 years. Their special bond would lead to Mr. Penick writing a chapter of his book, "For All Who Love the Game", dedicated to Sandra called "Our Daughter Sandra". Since her retirement from competition, Sandra has taught her students with the same skill and passion that she played the game with. Your golf school with her, will mirror the very principles and philosophies Sandra learned from Mr. Penick, and be in all ways, an unforgettable experience.
Roger Kreuter, PGA Member
Roger is a Life Member of the PGA of America and an extraordinary teacher. In the 1980's Roger was the Director of Instruction for the Golf Academy of the South and during his distinguished 29 year career, he has also been the Director of Golf at Firethorne Country Club and the Head Professional at both Erie Shoes GC and Turkey Creek G & RC. Roger is a fine player having played in the US Open and also having won several PGA Section Championships in his career. Roger is an accomplished writer having been the author of a weekly news and instruction series for the Rocky Mountain Times News Paper. Roger has mentored and coached a great many PGA professionals, but receives his greatest joy from helping amateur golfers achieve things on the golf course, they may never have thought possible. Throughout his career, Roger has always been most passionate about helping golfers improve their games and it is as a teacher that Roger excels.
Mike Passmore, PGA Member
A member of the PGA since 1972, Mike has had a distinguished life in golf. Mike began his career working with the legendary Sam Snead. Through his friendship and relationship with Mr. Snead, Mike studied and learned his craft with some of the greatest teachers in the game; Bob Toski, Johnny Revolta, Carl Lohren, Tommy Fonseca and Bill Strausbaugh. Mike played briefly on the PGA Tour during the 1970's, and has won several Pro-Ams and strokeplay events, but his passion has always been teaching. Mike founded the Mike Passmore Junior Golf School, in 1986 that had an enrollment of more than 400 students. One of Mike's great skills as a teacher is that he teaches several different styles and methods and he puts the right one, with the right student. Mike prefers to work with each student as an individual on their specific strengths in order to allow each student to develop their own unique swing and style of play. We are proud to have Mike as a Senior West Coast instructor.
Steve Godley, PGA Member
Steve has been a “class A” member of the PGA of America since 1986, Steve is an accomplished player, having won several PGA pro-ams in the Georgia Section and recording good finishes in both the Georgia State Open and Georgia Section Championship. Having been taught and coached by Davis Love, Jr. (the father of PGA Tour player, Davis III) , Steve’s teaching style is very much in line with other teaching luminaries such as Harvey Penick, Davis Love Jr., Jim Flick and Bob Toski. A great believer in making sure that the student understands the fundamentals of the golf swing. Using his simple approach, Steve tries to eliminate the “checklist” that most players seem to go through before executing a swing. Using the “clear key” and target awareness most players can get their brain out of the way in order to make golf more fun. Steve is our Georgia Head Professional and was recently named the 2011 Georgia PGA East Chapter Golf Professional of the Year.
Tom Sims, PGA Member
A class A member of the PGA since 1983 Tom started his golf career in Colorado and was a graduate of the SDGA. Tom played the Golden State Tour for five years, winning two events, and recording a series of high placed finishes. He was the Head Professional at Escondido CC in San Diego where he began distinguishing himself as an outstanding teacher. His many students included San Diego Senior and Junior champions and various players who won both city and state championships. In 1998 Tom became the Director of Golf at Hiddenbrooke GC where he was the host professional for the LPGA Samsung Tour championship. A disciple of Bob Toski who Tom studied extensively, Tom’s teaching style is now “feel oriented”. He believes in keeping learning simple and not overly mechanical. Tom’s students feel immediately at ease with his relaxed and friendly manner. The newest member of the Bird Golf Academy faculty, we are thrilled to have Tom as our California Director of Instruction.
Larry Schute, PGA Member
In a storied career that has spanned over four decades, Larry has distinquished himself both as a player and teacher. Larry's career began in the 1950's as a member of the PGA Tour, where he competed with distinction. Now a Life Member of the PGA of America, and a 'master' professional, Larry has been elected to two Halls of Fame. Larry is also a USGA committeeman, and a recipient of every award available to members of the PGA. His list of fellow competitors and students reads like the who's who in golf. A legend. (His brother Denny was the winner of both the British Open and PGA Championships) And it is in this arena that Larry truly shines. Larry's students universally agree that a golf school with this great master of the game is the best thing that has ever happened to their swing.