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 was inducted into the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.

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    Jim Samsing, PGA Member

    Jim’s career as a golf professional spans 38 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.

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    Tim Peightal, PGA Member

    Tim began his 35 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.

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    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 has topped Golf Digest’s annual list of “Best Teachers By State” for the last 6 consecutive years and was inducted into the Minnesota Golf Hall of Fame in 2014. Craig’s students have won over 30 State Championships, a National title and a National runner-up finish. 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.

  • LPGA

    Amy Benz, LPGA Member

    Amy’s idol was LPGA Hall of Famer, Amy Alcott, who her father took her to watch when she was 12 years old. From that moment on Amy knew that she wanted to be a professional golfer. They became friends and were even paired together in the final group of the U.S. Open one year. Amy was a star in college at SMU where she was an All American and also the winner of the AIAW National Championship in her sophomore year. Amy was the medalist and the runner-up in the USGA Junior Girls and a member of both the victorious Curtis and World Cups in 1982. Amy would go on to have a very successful career on the LPGA Tour where she won the 1988 Mixed Team Championship and recorded 6 runner-up finishes and two wins on the Japanese Tour. Amy credits teaching legends Craig Shankland, Bob Rotella and David Love Jr. as being major influences in both her game and for giving her the knowledge as she began teaching. And it is with teaching that Amy has found her calling for which she is passionate. Amy’s objective when working with her students is to keep the learning simple and she believes that a sound swing is made up of the entire body, working in unison.

    We are very proud to announce that Amy was inducted in the SMU Athletic Hall of Fame on May 6, 2016, at Moody Coliseum. Congratulations Amy!

  • LPGA

    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.”

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    Mike Ellis, PGA Member

    In a career entering its third decade, Mike has distinguished himself as a teacher. Mike is a Quarter Century Member of the PGA of America and Bird Golf’s Southern California Director of Instruction. Mike began his career as the Head Professional at up-scale Tatum Ranch Golf Club before assuming the same position at the very prestigious Lake Nona Golf and Country Club in Florida and later at the Monarch Country Club. Teaching has always been at the forefront for Mike and is the showcase for his enormous skills as a communicator, mentor, and coach. In the 20 years before joining Bird Golf, Mike headed up the highly acclaimed Marriott Golf Academy in Palm Desert. Mike’s teaching philosophy is based on fundamentals and ball flight; he is conversant with several methods and styles of teaching. He gives this information to his students in a simple and easy way to understand. His passion for helping his students achieve their best is evident in every school he teaches.           

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    Scott Ezell, PGA Member

    Scott was a successful collegiate golfer before turning professional.  He competed on the Canadian Tour where he had several Top 10 finishes before dedicating himself to teaching, which he has been doing for the past 27 years. A PGA member since 1995, Scott was the Director of the Golf Academy at Wintergreen Resort for five years before becoming the Director of Instruction at the Birdwood Golf Academy (at the University of Virginia) where he stayed for 20 years. He is the author of several instructional articles and teaching manuals in numerous publications. He has worked with several Tour players (Brendon De Young and Heather Farr), and numerous Collegiate players. Scott has also had the pleasure of working with quite a few celebrities including John Grisham, Howie Long, and Ernie Banks to name a few. Scott incorporates a variety of teaching methods to help his students and his personality and sense of humor will make your learning experience both fun and rewarding. He teaches by the creed “one thing at a time” and “one thought at a time”.

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    Greg McFee, PGA Member

    At the beginning of his 36-year career as a PGA professional, Greg taught at the prestigious Harder Hall Resort in Sebring, FL. He was the Head Professional at Concord CC in Boston, MA, for 9 years and has also had his own Golf Academy. In the ensuing years he has remained a passionate teacher dedicated to helping his students improve. Those students include several professionals and celebrities including iconic runner, Roger Bannister and even a US President. Greg credits legendary teachers Billy Harmon, Mike Adams, and Brian Smith with helping him learn his craft and the ability to teach several methods and styles. He is also an accomplished writer, having authored several articles about the game, and he has written a weekly newspaper instructional column. Greg believes that golf doesn’t have to be complicated, but it must be fun. His engaging personality and relaxed style make learning with Greg a game changing experience.

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    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.

  • PGA

    Jim Terry, PGA Member

    Jim has been a member of the PGA of America since 1982. In the early 1980’s Jim was the Teaching Professional at fabled Hazeltine National in Chaska, MN.  Jim would then be the Head Professional at the Brainerd Golf Club before spending a decade at Rolling Green Country Club.  Jim’s priority has always been teaching and helping others which he does so brilliantly.  Jim founded the very successful Mobile Golf Schools and was also the host of the “Rub of the Green” TV shows.  A very fine player throughout his career, Jim finished in the Top 10 money list of the Minnesota Section PGA, 5 times, and was the winner of several Pro-Ams and Section events.  Jim served on the Minnesota Section PGA’s Board of Directors on two occasions and has been very active in helping youth programs and local charities.  Jim’s ready wit and calm and patient approach to his craft are indicative of the man himself.  Jim believes that those ingredients are essential in achieving the best results with all of his students and says that: “I love this game.  I love to play and I bring that passion to my teaching because I want everyone to feel the way that I do.”

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    John Thorsnes, PGA Member

    A PGA Member since 1990, John has spent the majority of his career in the great Northwest before dividing his time for Bird Golf in Oregon and winters in Arizona. John has been the recipient of several awards in his career having been three times the Teacher of the Year in PGA Chapter, a three-time Golf Professional of the Year, and a five-time Bill Strausbaugh Award recipient. John was the Head Professional at prestigious Clubs: Pumpkin Ridge, Tom O’Shanter and Walla Country Club before developing and owning the highly acclaimed Wine Valley Golf Club in Washington. An accomplished player having won a host of PGA Section events, John has always maintained a focus on teaching, which he now dedicates himself to completely. John has studied and learned with legendary teachers like Jim Flick, Butch Harmon, and Hank Haney who have all influenced his philosophy and style. John believes that simplicity is the most effective way to teach his students and his passion for helping each student is immediately evident with everyone he works with.                       

  • LPGA

    Sharron Moran, LPGA Member

    Sharron was an outstanding amateur golfer who was the Illinois state Champion and also the number 1 player on the University of Arizona’s golf team for four years. After college, Sharron joined the LPGA Tour where she distinguished herself immediately by being the 1967 Rookie of the Year. After competing successfully for ten years on the Tour, Sharron dedicated herself to teaching. Sharron was a broadcaster for ABC television, for whom she covered several major Championships in addition to being an author and the Women’s golf editor for Golf Digest magazine for three years (Sharron also has her own line of sportswear!). Sharron studied with the legendary Bob Toski for 14 years and has hosted clinics all over the world. She has been the Director of Instruction at La Costa, Thunderbird, Lakeside and Crested Butte Country Clubs and been the featured professional for the Tommy Armour Golf Company for ten years. Sharron is familiar with several teaching styles and believes in matching her students to the style best suited for them. Her relaxed and friendly manner ensures that your golf school with Sharron is not only an invaluable learning experience, but you will have fun doing it! Sharron is our Palm Springs Director of Instruction.

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    Peter Cherry, PGA Member

    A transplanted Englishman, Peter began his extraordinary career at the College of Boca Raton, where he graduated in 1988 after being a N.A.I.A. All-American. Over his 35-year career, Peter has held three very prestigious positions at prominent English Clubs: Harpenden GC, Royal Mid-Surrey GC and Ashridge GC, but his passion has always been teaching, which he now practices all the time. Peter has coached an extensive list of competitive golfers including a Walker Cup squad member and has also been the Golf Union County Coach for Hertfordshire. Peter is also an exceptional player and was asked to represent England Schoolboys and has won several PGA Championships and in excess of 60 Pro-Ams. He is the holder of 5 course records, while most recently having qualified for the 2021 Senior British Open Championship.  He does not believe that “one size fits all” when teaching the golf swing but works with each student differently and uniquely helping them create “their own” golf swing. Your school with this delightful man (he has a great sense of humor!) will be in all ways, a game changer.

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    Craig Smith, PGA Member

    A PGA Member since 1978.  In 1989 Craig was elected as a PGA Master Professional. While managing high profile country clubs such as Quaker Hill CC, Palmetto Pine Country Club, and as Director of Golf Operations for International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT) overseeing 5 clubs, he never gave up his love and desire to build and inspire golfer’s improvement. Craig has been associated with and an instructor for John Jacobs Golf, Craft-Zavichas Golf, Golftec, as well as his own Academy. He has been a certified fitter for Henry-Griffits, Slazenger, Ping, and Taylor-Made. His career has seen him receive many honors including being voted by his peers as not only “Golf Professional of the Year”, but recently voted into the North Florida P.G.A Section “Hall of Fame”.

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    Jay Ewing, PGA Member

    Jay’s unique and modern style of teaching is the result of more than 30 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. Jay founded Bird Golf in 1999 and was the Academy’s CEO and Director of Instruction.

  • LPGA

    Sharon Miller, LPGA Member

    Sharon Miller has made her career in golf since 1966 when she joined the Ladies Professional Golf Tour, won three tournaments, and retired in 1981. From there, she joined the LPGA Teaching Division and continues to teach all ages with a passion. She helped start and wrote for Golf for Women magazine as their Teaching Editor in Chief until 1994. In 1989, she received the LPGA National Teacher of the Year award. She has remained active in tournament competition and won the 1985 National Teaching Division Championship, the 1986 Women’s Colorado Open, and is a three time winner with partner Kathy Farrer (1995, 1996, 1997) in the SQUARE TWO LPGA T & CP team championship. In 2003 Sharon was inducted into the Western Michigan University Sports Hall of Fame. Sharon is the only athlete in the university’s history to have lettered in 5 sports! The Bird Golf Schools are proud to have Sharon as our national head professional.

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    Steve Godley, PGA Member: In Memoriam

    On December 31, 2018, we lost a treasured member of Bird Golf.  To read a small tribute to Steve, please see With Great Love.

    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.

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