The Kingdom at Reynolds Lake Oconee - GA
School Holidays
The old adage “work hard to play hard” only sometimes applies to golf. Yes, plenty of avid golfers solely focus on the “play” when they jet off to a resort for a golfing getaway. But others recognize that those resorts can be ideal places to put in some hard work on their games, too. For golf travelers who want to mix practice, training, and top-quality instruction into their daily agendas while on a golfing holiday, the following resorts are without equal. Going back to school never sounded so good!
by Shaun Tolson
Sea Island Golf Resort
The performance center at Sea Island Golf Resort looks out to unobstructed views of Saint Simons Sound. It’s the kind of view you’d associate with top resort villas or sprawling estate homes, not a golf performance center—making it easy to forget about all of the technology housed inside the 17,000-square-foot facility. According to Brannen Veal, the resort’s director of golf, the performance center’s “holistic, comprehensive approach” to game improvement is one that can be tailored to players of all ability levels. From any one of six instruction bays, golfers can take great joy studying the trajectory of their shots—even the ones that need improvement—but they’ll benefit even more from what’s found further inside the performance center itself.

More touring pros live and train at Sea Island than any other golf destination in the country. For golf-specific workout programs, trainers draw on their experience coaching top tour players in a fitness area dedicated to helping players of all abilities improve their flexibility and increase the power of their swings. Golfers looking for ways to shave strokes from their scores can also book time in the center’s putting studio, designed by putting guru Phil Kenyon, who works with tour pros and also serves as the director of putting instruction at Sea Island. Or they can try a session with Dr. Morris Pickens, a sports psychologist whose client list includes recent major champions.
Pebble Beach Resort
Mention Pebble Beach to any golf enthusiast and their thoughts will immediately drift to the resort’s eponymous golf links, not to mention the 36 additional holes that comprise Spyglass Hill and The Links at Spanish Bay. Some might even think of the historic Del Monte Golf Course. In addition to those heralded courses, the world-famous golf resort is also home to one of the world’s best (and often overshadowed) instructional institutions, the Pebble Beach Golf Academy & Practice Facility.

The 3,000-square-foot learning center is equipped with three separate teaching studios, while the practice facility is home to a 350-yard-long, double-ended natural grass driving range; an expansive short-game area comprising greenside and fairway bunkers, as well as numerous chipping areas; and a 4,500-square-foot practice putting green. Even with all of those features, the academy truly shines for its commitment to the latest instructional technology: a lineup of gear and teaching aids that includes a robotic swing trainer, FlightScope launch monitor, V1 Video Swing Analysis, and an Advanced Motion Measurement 3-D Swing Analysis system.

Resort guests who are looking to improve their game while still enjoying the experience of playing at Pebble Beach can schedule individual or group lessons that target specific aspects of play, such as golf fitness, putting, increased distance, better wedge play, and overall fundamentals, among others.
The Kingdom at Reynolds Lake Oconee
When a golf training and equipment-fitting facility is branded “The Kingdom,” it stands to reason that the level of expectation for what that facility can offer is high. Located on 16 acres, the 7,600-square-foot indoor facility at Reynolds Lake Oconee lives up to its billing. The Kingdom’s instruction facilities include an area dedicated to golf fitness training, as well as three covered (and heated) hitting bays and two fully enclosed teaching studios equipped with the latest TrackMan technology, not to mention BodiTrak force plates—teaching aids that measure how and where a golfer’s weight is positioned and moves through the swing.

The Kingdom offers a variety of two-day golf schools, all of which include at least six hours of instruction and a student-to-instructor ratio that never exceeds 3:1. Of course, private lessons are also available, including one-on-one sessions with Sean Cain, The Kingdom’s director and a PGA director of instruction who specializes in BioSwing Dynamics—a teaching philosophy and program structured around an individual golfer’s natural strengths, tendencies, and physical measurements. The Kingdom’s sprawling short-game area, designed by David Pelz, also offers golfers an immersive platform for improvement. It’s there that experienced players will learn how to most efficiently lower their scores.
Casa de Campo Resort & Villas
Dominican Republic
The golf learning center at Casa de Campo offers something that very few—if any—other golf resorts can match: an open-door invitation for head professionals at golf clubs around the world. The Dominican Republic golf resort, which is famous for its three Pete Dye–designed golf courses, offers packages that let outside teaching professionals bring their students and have full access to the learning center’s amenities and high-tech teaching aides (provided that those visiting professionals have experience using them). In other words, golfers who have an established relationship with a club professional at their home course can continue those at-home lessons in a tropical paradise, while also having access to Teeth of the Dog, the top-ranked golf course in all of the Caribbean.

Additionally, the resort offers seasonal golfing schools, which can extend as many as four nights with unlimited rounds of golf and more than 18 hours of personalized instruction. Those lessons include sessions in the learning center’s enclosed TrackMan studios, where video analysis combines with recorded shot data to provide incredibly detailed feedback on every swing that a player takes. That TrackMan technology is also available to resort guests who are looking to incorporate lessons into their stays in an à la carte fashion; and according to Eric Lillibridge, the resort’s director of instruction, the TrackMan technology allows for rapid improvement. “With TrackMan and its ability to immediately provide data after each swing, I can accomplish so much more,” he says. “I can work with a hotel guest for an hour, and we can make improvements to their full swings and still have time to go over to the chipping green and then the putting green.”
PGA National Resort
It stands to reason that a PGA-branded resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, would offer a high-quality, comprehensive learning center. While many golf travelers are drawn to PGA National Resort to play the Champion Course—a venue that hosts the annual Honda Classic and previously hosted the Ryder Cup (in 1983) and the PGA Championship (in 1987)—they should also know that the resort is suited to work the kinks out of any golfer’s swing, no matter that player’s ability level.

Most notably, the PGA National Learning Center is a satellite location for two national schools/academies: the Leadbetter Golf Academy and the Dave Pelz Scoring Game Golf School. Through the Leadbetter Golf Academy, participants can tackle any facet of the full swing with guidance from V1 Golf Swing Analysis computer technology and K-Vest training aids. At Pelz Scoring Game clinics, you learn that almost 80 percent of all golfers’ shots that are lost to par occur within 100 yards of the hole. Not surprisingly, attendees learn how to properly execute shots from any scoring position, be it 3-foot putts, long bunker shots, full wedge shots, and everything in between.

PGA National is also home to Full Process Golf, the first science-based, data-driven training center that utilizes a proprietary skill-based program to train golfers. To date, the center’s staff has trained golfers with more than 125 victories on tour, including eight major championships.