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Golf Jack’s Way

The newest Nicklaus Academy opens at Pronghorn, one of the first in the Golden Bear’s next generation of high-tech teaching facilities

By: Tom Cunneff

Some private communities take their golf more seriously than others do. And none seems to take it more seriously than Pronghorn, located near Bend, Oregon.

Pronghorn has two first-class courses designed by two of the biggest names in golf course architecture: Tom Fazio and Jack Nicklaus.

Considering that Nicklaus is a Jack of all trades, he not only designs great courses, he also can help you play them. Unfortunately, while you might not be able to book a lesson with the best golfer of all time, you can get the next best thing: instruction at one of his academies.

The newest Jack Nicklaus Academy of Golf just opened at Pronghorn. With a comprehensive curriculum developed by Nicklaus, the academy takes a holistic approach to help speed up the learning process, from physical assessments and fitness to 3-D swing analysis and the latest methodology.

“Our instruction is based on how Jack was taught the game, and how he approached it mentally,” says academy vice president Ted Simons. “We do not attempt to create the perfect swing. Results are what we’re after, not cookie-cutter swings that are so prevalent in today’s teachings.”

The Nicklaus Academy at Pronghorn will be the first in the area to utilize the MATT (Motion Analysis Technology by TaylorMade) System, which captures a 3D image of the player that can be viewed from any angle. It’s both a superb teaching tool and an excellent club-fitting device. The center also features a TOMI (The Optimal Motion Instructor) putting training system that captures the stroke and groups alignment and tempo data into feedback sets of charts and graphs.

“Good golf instruction is more than a short-game clinic or video capture of a drive,” says director of instruction Mike Lewis. “It’s the totality of teaching philosophies and technologies along with fitness, relaxation, and more, delivered in a learning environment customized to the individual golfer.”

Pronghorn offers half-, full-, two- and three-day schools, starting at $350. There are more than 20 Nicklaus Academies worldwide, including ones at the Ledges in St. George, Utah; Yucatan Country Club in Merida, Mexico; and Royal Golf Club in Copenhagen, Denmark, with many more opening in the coming years.

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