Top Golf Schools in Naples

A look at area golf lessons and instructors
Naples golf course

An aerial look at one of Naples' golf courses. Florida's Paradise Coast is home to more than 90 courses, making it the "Golf Capital of the World."

By James Y. Bartlett

Phil, a beefy, barrel-chested golfer from Long Island, pulled the club back slowly. Then he lifted it almost straight up into the air, as if he was about to dispatch a snake crawling at his feet. Somehow he managed to get the club back to the ball, which skittered off to the right, low and hard.

"Oh, man," Phil muttered under his breath as he watched his swing on the video monitor at the David Leadbetter Golf Academy at the LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort in Naples. Senior instructor Scott Holden murmured some reassuring words then, returning the video to the first frame, pushed a few buttons and cued up an image of Tiger Woods at address. Adding insult to injury, he ran Tiger's swing motion.

Same sport. Different world.

Nevertheless, Phil got the message. And within minutes, back on the practice tee, armed with a simple drill from the instructor, Phil was soon making nice, round swings and the ball was rocketing off into the distance.

Golf school is no place for the self-conscious. Watching one's swing on video can be horrifying. Yet for those who want to improve their game – and who doesn't? – a day or even an hour or two with a qualified teaching professional is the only real panacea.

Naples offers two of the country's premier teaching programs. In addition to the David Leadbetter Academy at La Playa, the PGA Tour Experiences’ TOURAcademy at Tiburon, in the shadow of The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples

These programs offer a variety of schools, ranging from intensive three- or five-day programs to half-day or hourlong clinics. At the TOURAcademy at Tiburon, part of PGA Tour Experiences, the instructor on staff have clients including PGA TOUR, Champions Tour, Tour, and LPGA Tour Professionals.

The three-hour morning session at the David Leadbetter Golf Academy made heavy use of the video camera. With modern digital technology, it was easy for instructor Holden to zero in on body parts or swing planes that were misaligned, and to do his split-screen magic comparisons with one of the near-perfect swings of a Tour player. Even better, a few days after the lesson, a DVD arrived in the mail with the before and after videotaped swings, and Holden's suggestions for further practice drills.

The best part of Naples' golf schools is the resorts they are attached to.  At the Ritz-Carlton, with its 36 holes of Greg Norman-designed golf, the hot-rocks treatment at the spa is made to order for bone-weary golfers.

And at LaPlaya, I eased my practice-weary bones into the whirlpool tub in my lovely room overlooking Vanderbilt Beach, opened the windows and even forgot about golf entirely for a few minutes!

Wherever one stays in Naples, the selection of golf school programs is certain to help cure anyone's slice and cut strokes off anyone's game.

Back to top of page
Read More »
Map It! Collier County Government Webaward Winner IAGTO - Golf Destination of the Year 2014 ACCREDITED - Destination Marketing Organization