Golf academy partners with Great Lakes Golf Center

By: Christian Davis | C&G Newspapers | Published February 22, 2011

 Jeff Goble, director of instruction at the Kendall Academy, works with Joseph Bontrager, 7, of Royal Oak during a recent session. Goble said the academy teaches players who range from beginner to touring pro.

Jeff Goble, director of instruction at the Kendall Academy, works with Joseph Bontrager, 7, of Royal Oak during a recent session. Goble said the academy teaches players who range from beginner to touring pro.

Photo by Donna Agusti

AUBURN HILLS — Walk into the Great Lakes Golf Center in Auburn Hills, and you’ll find a separately housed stable of golf tees at the far end.

This is where the Kendall Academy is dedicated to improving each student.
The academy recently partnered with the Great Lakes Golf Center and has brought all the latest technology to the world’s largest golf dome.

“We’re committed to getting players better,” Jeff Goble, director of instruction, said Feb. 9. “We’re all committed to the golf swing, and we get to share our ideas, our successes, what may have worked and what may have not worked with other players, and we can get them better faster than anyone else.”

The academy began giving lessons at the dome Dec. 18, and Goble said the partnership is a perfect fit with the indoor facility.

“With the dome, you can practice year round,” he said. “The winter is the best time to start working on your game.”

PGA teaching professionals Tom Harding, Bob Menzies and Evan “Big Cat” Williams join Goble at the facility.

Goble said the academy can help any golfer, from beginner to touring pro.

“It comes down to that there is not one swing that we try to duplicate. It’s based on what a student can do and how much they can practice,” he said.

Goble said a common mistake for golfers is that they read as many articles as they can about improving, try them all, and then become more confused. He said the best way to get better is to see a professional.

“We’re not trying to teach out of the magazines,” Goble said. “Even if it is correct for someone else, it might not be right for that person. … You have to see someone that is really good and dedicated to making players better, and that’s what we do.”

But the way to improve each golfer is as unique as the golfers themselves. The staff has different technologies at their disposal to find what it is best for each student.

For instance, for the golfer that battles his mind more than his slice, the Focus Band may be the answer.

The band is headset that measures the brain’s activities, and Goble said the academy is one of four teaching facilities in the country with the technology.

“It can tell me when someone is blinking, literally, to when someone is in the zone state,” Goble said. “It works and tells us where they’re at — if they have too much anxiety, muscle tension or facial tension. If they’re stressed, we can get them to calm down and work on their pre-shot routine that will give them the processes that they need on the golf course to play their best.”

If a golfer is having trouble with rotating properly or maintaining their posture, the K-Vest TPI 3-D might do the trick.

It’s a vest worn by the student with sensors on their glove and upper and lower back. Goble said with it on, he can see a student’s swing in 3-D from a 100 different angles, which helps him pinpoint where the student can be more efficient.

John Fillon of Troy is taking lessons with Williams and said that he’s dropped eight or nine strokes. He’s now down to a 13.5 handicap and hopes to be in single digits soon.
“I used to have a huge slice, but we’ve shut that off,” he said. “Now I’m trying to be more consistent and get more distance.”

One of the tools that has helped Fillon is the video feedback.

“It helps a lot,” he said. “It’s important, because I think I’m doing one thing, and then when I see it on camera, I’m not doing what I think I’m doing. I get a visual.”

Even with the technology, sometimes the best fix Goble offers comes from simple advice.

“I had a student who said he just couldn’t get it going during a round. I said, ‘Tell me if this sounds familiar. You leave work, drive 80 mph to the golf course, get out of the car and rush to the tee,’” Goble said. “I said, ‘You have to take five minutes, sit in the car and relax. Just go with it and just melt some of that stress away.’ So, it’s way beyond just swing mechanics to play your best.”

Lesson prices vary depending on the instructor. TPI analysis costs $150, and one session with the Focus Band is $100.

For more information on the academy and for more prices of the various instructional devices, visit www.greatlakesgolfcenter.com or e-mail Goble at jeffgoble@pga.com.