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The Pros’ Pros

Want to stripe it like Davis or putt like Lucas? The Sea Island Golf Learning Center is where they and many other PGA Tour pros hone their games

By: Tom Cunneff

If you’re like me, you dream of playing the PGA Tour one day, or at least the Champions Tour. You’re sure that the only things keeping you from reaching your rightful spot among the elite of the game is access to tour-level instruction, five hours a day to practice and a boatload of talent.

Well, I can’t help you with the last two but I can with the first one. All you need to do is to sign up for the new two-day “Train Like the Pros” package at Sea Island Golf Learning Center in St. Simons Island, Georgia, where a Grand Slam of tour players work on various aspects of their game: PGA champion Davis Love III, U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover, British Open champion Stewart Cink and Masters champion Zach Johnson, in addition to Brandt Snedeker, Boo Weekley and Charles Howell III.

As the only facility in the country with four top 50 instructors, Sea Island has a Grand Slam of instructors, too: Jack Lumpkin, Todd Anderson, Gale Peterson and Mike Shannon. Along with fitness trainer Randy Myers and sports psychologist Morris Pickens, they use a multidisciplinary, five-pronged approach to help you tap your inner Tiger, or at least inner Zach or Boo.

The “Train Like the Pros” package, which starts at $1,120 per night and includes a two-night stay at the five-star Lodge, can be customized in a variety of ways, but a typical program starts with a one-hour physical assessment to determine your flexibility, balance and strength. The evaluation is key in helping the instructors fine-tune their teaching methods for your body type. You’ll also receive a specific workout routine to lower your “golf-fitness handicap.”

Next is a two-hour full swing lesson with Lumpkin, Anderson or Peterson, all of whom have a unique ability to get a student to develop a repeatable athletic motion that produces a consistent ball flight. Video-review sessions take place in a hut right on the range, which is spectacularly set right on the Intracoastal Waterway, so there’s a wonderful immediacy to the whole process. You also receive a DVD of the review complete with the instructor's comments for you to watch again and again at home.

Following lunch in one of the finest men’s locker rooms you’ve ever seen is a one-hour putting session with Shannon, who has really taken putting instruction to the next level. He should be wearing a white lab coat he’s made such a science of it. With the help of close-up video of your putter and teaching software, he’s able to analyze how much your putter opens and closes, as well many other eye-opening tendencies.

A perfect, dry-aged steak and glass (or two) of velvety Cabernet at Colt & Alison are your rewards for a hard day’s work before you’re back at it the next morning with a one-hour, state-of-the-art club-fitting session, which utilizes the Track Man Launch Monitor. Finally, you spend two hours on the Seaside course, a fabulous links-style layout, with Dr. Pickens working on the mental approach and how to develop a consistent routine to play at your peak.

The next step is up to you: sending in your Q-school application.

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