Golf is one of the few sports in the world where players will strive to get better, in any way they can. If you turn up to your local club at any point during the summer, you are likely to find your professional handling either an individual or group teaching lesson.
Of course, the above is at the lowest end of the spectrum. There is no doubt that local club professionals are hugely qualified individuals and the fact that all must possess the PGA qualification highlights this. However, from a professional point of view, the situation is much different. A local lesson at your club might set you back $25 or so, but take it to the other end of the market and you could be paying as much as $10,000 per day. Bearing this in mind, we’ll take a look at five coaches within professional golf who are regarded as the best in the business. The betting offers from bookmakers on golfers coached by the following tend to be much tighter than the average professional golfer.
Harmon began coaching the professionals in the early 90s, after coming to an arrangement with Greg Norman that resulted in the Australian becoming hugely successful. This work caught the attention of a budding Tiger Woods and the two enjoyed a fantastic working relation between 1993 and 2004 – with this undoubtedly being the period that was the most successful for Woods throughout his whole career. The golfing world was shocked when the two went their separate ways yet that did not deter Harmon, with the 69-year-old working with the likes of Ernie Els, Fred Couples, Adam Scott and most recently Phil Mickelson.
Suffice to say, Harmon is regarded as one of the best coaches in the professional game – if not the best. It therefore shouldn’t come as a surprise to see he charges $1,000 per hour for a basic lesson.
It could be argued that David Leadbetter is the most famous golf coach of all time, with Leadbetter releasing some of the most popular instructional material in the form of books and DVDs. He runs an elite golf academy, aptly named ChampionsGate, in Florida, while he also boasts a great history amongst tour professionals. Many credit him for the fantastic success that Nick Faldo experienced during the 80s, with Leadbetter responsible for completely rebuilding the Englishman’s game. He was also the coach of Ernie Els for 20 years, up until the point the South African opted to switch to Butch Harmon.
Again, it’s not cheap to obtain a lesson from Leadbetter, with the starting cost being $3,500 for a three hour session.
This is another coach that has had the pleasure of teaching Tiger Woods, although to say that the two cancelled their agreement in strained circumstances is an understatement. Haney published his own book which concentrated a lot on Woods’ misdemeanours and this publically riled his former client. Nevertheless, the two did experience some decent success when they were working together, while Haney is often credited with Mark O’Meara’s two major wins.
It appears as though Haney has taken advantage of his past association with Woods and even though he claimed in his book that Tiger only paid him $50,000 per year, he now charges clients $10,000 per day for coaching.
Out of all of the coaches on this list, Mike Bender is probably the least well known. However, there is no doubt that he is regarded as one of the best in the world and the fact he runs his own Mike Bender Golf Academy speaks volumes. He is the coach of 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson, while he also lists Jonathan Byrd as a client.
It’s safe to say that out of all the teaching professionals, Bender has the lowest rates. It costs $250 for a one hour session with Bender – which could be affordable for a lot of amateur players.
This is another coach well known for his instructional material, with Pelz releasing countless books and DVDs on the short game. This is the area where he specialises in and some players will visit him just for coaching around the greens. Phil Mickelson is probably the most high-profile player, although the likes of Vijay Singh, Payne Stewart, Tom Kite and Lee Janzen have also benefited from his teaching.