By Paul Gable
Currently located in a temporary
location at the Long Bay Golf Club, the Greg Norman Champions Golf Academy will
expand operations when it relocates to a new location, currently under
construction at The Barefoot Golf Resort early next year.
The new location, a 10,000 sq. ft.
facility, will serve players at any level of the game, but will reach out to
the better players in high school, college, low handicap amateurs and
professionals, according to Norman.
With other business interests
already established in the Myrtle Beach area, such as the Norman Course at
Barefoot Resort, the Reserve Club on Pawley’s Island and Greg Norman’s
Australian Grille at Barefoot Landing, Norman said Myrtle Beach was a natural location
for the East Coast Headquarters.
“Myrtle Beach is a great place and I
have had a lot of association with the area over the last 10 years,” said
Norman. “It’s a great place for me and I have some good friends here and some
good people here. Barefoot is the perfect location. We are kicking this off at
the right place.”
Norman said he was expanding his
business interests, which already include golf course design, a turf company, a
clothing line, a winery, a beef export company and the restaurant, because he
has extra time on his hands.
“I don’t play much anymore and I
have a lot of time on my hands,” said Norman. “I enjoy life in a different way,
but I still enjoy it and I enjoy competing.”
Norman said he would create the
business philosophy and set the standards for the expanded academy and would
establish academies in other parts of the world as they are identified.
“When your name goes on the door the
only thing you can do is pour your blood, sweat and tears into it,” Norman
said. “There is a template that has to be built, a period of time to establish
the working process.
Norman said he didn’t know how often
he would visit the Myrtle Beach area as the academy progresses.
“It might be a lot or it might be a
few times a year, but every time I come I will be interested n finding out
about the academy and the individuals in it,” he said.
Norman said he was entering this new
business area with a goal of giving back to the game of golf.
“I’ve seen what the game of golf can
do for an individual,” said Norman. “I’ve experienced and felt it over the
years. I am in a position now that I can give my experience and advice back to
Norman said giving back brings a
sense of satisfaction. He used the example of LPGA and fellow Australian Karrie
Webb. As a young player, Webb attended instructional classes presented by the
Greg Norman Golf Foundation in Australia.
“I remember her as a young child
taking lessons and now she is a world class player and great champion,” Norman
said. “It gives you a good feeling to think you may have contributed a little
bit to her success.”
Through the years he has taken
lessons from teaching greats such as Charlie Earp in Australia and Butch
Harmon, David Leadbetter and Jim McLean during his professional years.
“Each brings something different to
his style of teaching,” said Norman. “I would take a piece of what each
instructor said and apply it to my game.”
In the same manner, Norman said his
academy would give kids the opportunity to get top-flight instruction and another
way of looking at problems with their game. He said considerable time would be
spent on the mental approach to the game because golf improvement is often
“more mental than physical.”
“With golf, people’s expectations
within themselves often exceed reality,” Norman said. “Everybody has their own
way of swinging and approaching the game. You can’t stereotype your approach to
teaching. We will work hand in glove with the player’s regular instructor to
make each player the best he or she can be.”
The academy will offer a 10-month
high school on-site residency program for top high school players looking to
obtain scholarships to top college programs. The morning will be spent in
classes, which will be coordinated with Low Country Day School, with the afternoon
being spent on golf instruction and play.
A high school post-graduate program
for players who want to spend another year improving their game before entering
college will also be offered. Advanced training for college players and touring
professionals will be available as well as traditional teaching for adults and
“Our aim is to provide golfers in
the U.S. and abroad with an instruction program and training environment in
which the ability to play collegiate and professional golf can be fully
developed,” Norman said. “By opening our doors to these young players, we can
provide them with consistent, effective training based on direct experience of
what it takes to compete and win at every level of the game.”