Robbie Failes joins the Carmel Golf Academy Staff #TeamCGA

I first met this kid when I spoke at the PGM program at Clemson in 2016 and I was intrigued by his curiosity and passion for learning. In PGM programs nowadays you get a few young men or women that have made up their minds that teaching is the direction that they want to go and Robbie was one that showed interest. He attended my Guru workshop in 2016 and then started showing up every other Saturday to shadow and observe me teaching. We had a connection….Thank you for allowing me to visit you,”Will you help me?” he would say. He was so appreciative and respectful which I am a big fan of.  People that show an interest in learning make it easy for you to share with them what you think may assist them in being successful. I am always grateful to get this kind of request from peers that visit.  I started to pour into him what little that I knew about teaching and coaching . What he didn’t know was that I was becoming the student in many ways. When we share we learn and are reminded of what got us to where we are. So I pulled some strings and made sure that he became my intern assistant for the 2017 season because I wanted to see what this kid was made of and if he was for real. As timing had it I was in a position to hire another instructor at the end of the summer and I told Robbie that he would have an up front 6 month interview for the job if he was interested. The eyes got even brighter. He didn’t dissapoint. As I have done in the past with Alex Van der Linden (now Governors Club DOI) and Seth Merz (current Junior Golf Director/staff instructor), I try to keep it in the family. He did an exceptional job. He continued to ask the tough questions, be curious, did the little stuff that most young men would deem as mundane or ordinary, believed in my philosophy and program and even filmed and  documented my lessons to help me create content which is as selfless as it can get. He passed the test.  So I am pleased to say that on August 1st, Robbie Failes will be a full-time PGA teaching professional at the Carmel Golf Academy at one of the best Country Clubs in the Country, Carmel Country Club. I am very excited to have him as part of my instructional team. Huge thank you to my other superstar, Seth Merz, for helping me mentor Robbie and assisting him in many ways but most importantly welcoming him into the CGA family. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for the both of you. Robbie, welcome to #TeamCGA, you have earned it.

Follow the team: Guru – snap: @golfguru1 insta: @golfgurutv twitter @golfgurutv

Robbie Failes; @robfailesgolf…..snapchat, instagram, @robfailesgolf

Seth Merz: @sethmerz…IG and snapchat







Interview with a student about the value of long term coaching

Here is an interview with one of my students at Carmel CC that has been with me for a few years and has bought into the idea of “Long Term Coaching”. This talk was purely impromptu so thank you Jon Watkins for taking the time and for the kind words. This is why I love my job so much and think Carmel is such a special place because of passionate golfers like Jon. I hope you enjoy the talk


Please use the buttons at the bottom to share and thanks for watching. Follow me on instagram @golfgurutv and snapchat @golfguru1




The 2016 Gurus Teaching and CoachingWorkshop


The 4th Annual 2015 Guru’s Teaching and Coaching workshop was such an incredible event and I can’t thank the presenters and all that attended enough for making it so successful. Based on all the great feedback from attendees, the amount of emails and messages inquiring “When is the next one scheduled” and my continued quest to provide educational opportunities to my fellow professionals (and a few glasses of wine with JG)….  I am excited to announce that I will be hosting (and presenting) the 5th Annual Guru Workshop on Monday, March 28th 2016 at Carmel CC in Charlotte, North Carolina and the lineup will not dissapoint. Every year I strive to put together the best coaches from all over the world to share their

guru workshop group pic
Guru Workshop 15 group pic

knowledge and expertise at an affordable price ($250.00…or 225.00 if you sign up before the end of the year). The entry fee will include lunch and a copy of the entire seminar on video. This years 3 coaches plus yours truly all display a diverse skill set and knowledge base that will make for a great day of learning, sharing and networking. I had 2 other well known teachers that were interested in participating but could not work it out because of their schedules so I am going to keep the list smaller to make room for expanded time for (LIVE Lessons) at the end of the day which has been a huge hit in the past workshops. ***There is an outside chance that their may be a late addition to the docket but I will announce that if It happens. As always, the pre-game  and post game social activities will allow you to meet and talk to the presenters in a relaxed social setting.


theboys2015 Presenters: (LtoR)Kirk Oguri, John Graham, James Hong, Jason Sutton, James Ridyard, Cameron McCormick

Here are the presenters for the 2016 Guru’s Teaching and Coaching Workshop:


Claude Harmon III

Beginning 5th season as Director of Instruction at The Floridian, Claude Harmon is in the vanguard of the new generation of golf teachers. Steeped in tradition both his grandfather, Claude Harmon, and father Claude “Butch” Harmon Jr., have been the dominant teachers of their generation.  The Harmon family pedigree  has been the  perfect foundation for Claude to build his knowledge of golf instruction. Claude’s teaching philosophy and methods have delivered lower scores and better, more repeatable swings for seasoned tour players, celebrities, and amateurs of all abilities and is now ranked 22nd on Golf Digest’s Best Teachers in America and a Golf Magazine Top 100 Instructor.

Claude plied his trade and learnt his craft around the world including Scotland, Portugal, Dubai, Macau and various locations across the United States. He worked full time on the European Tour from 2002-2006 traveling around the world coaching some of golf’s best players.  His present and past students include Ernie Els, Brooks Koepka, Yani Tseng, Trevor Immelman, Adam Scott, Graeme McDowell, Gary Woodland, Peter Uihlein, and Darren Clarke.  Claude is a TPI Certified Level 3 Golf Fitness Instructor, as well as TPI Level 2 Certified in Biomechanics and Junior Coaching.  He is uniquely qualified to apply “new school” teaching concepts in an “old school” fashion.  He is a regulator contributor to Golf Channel Morning Drive, Sky Sports Golf and is the host of Son of a Butch Radio on Sirius/XM.  twitter: @ch3golf


Mark Blackburn

Originally from England, Mark Blackburn arrived in America in 1994 on a college golf scholarship. A multiple Lettermen and Team Captain at The University of Southern Mississippi, Mark received a BS in Coaching & Exercise Science. While playing professionally, inconsistencies and injury led to questioning golf’s geometry and teaching theories. The answers transitioned into a coaching philosophy that applies a holistic sport science approach. Diagnosing poor golf patterns through a medical approach, then validating those findings and corrections withtechnology is the key to improved golf performance. Blackburn Golf, was founded in 2000. Mark a Certified PGA Member, TPI CGP LIII & GSEM continues to work with golfers of all levels. The Blackburn Golf Teaching Philosophy focuses on each student’s unique physical characteristics to develop an efficient and repeatable technique:

Mark was the Dixie Section PGA Teacher of The Year in 2008, 2009 & 2010, a finalist for The PGA National Teacher of The Year 2010-2014, Dixie Section Horton Smith Award winner in 2011, a Member of the TPI Advisory Board, on the Titleist Leadership Advisory Staff, A Golf Digest Top 40 Teacher in America Under 40 and one of Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Teachers in America. Blackburn Golf coaches juniors, club golfers, elite amateurs, college and professional clients from around the world. Clients that have and continue to be coached by Mark Blackburn & Blackburn Golf include: Heath Slocum, Robert Karlsson, Kevin Chappell, Andrew Putnam, John Peterson, Tyrone Van Aswegen, Boo Weekley, Nathan Green, Chad Campbell, YE Yang, Brian Gay, and Spike McRoy. twitter: @blackburngolf


  John Graham

Coming back for his 3rd straight year, I am proud to bring back one of the premier putting coaches in the game today, Mr. John Graham.John is a Level 4 Master Instructor of the AimPoint Green Reading System that also focuses on putting performance. John was recently voted as a Top Teacher in the State of New York and travels around the world improving all levels of players with their green reading and putting. John also spends a fair amount of his time traveling and working with his students on the PGA, LPGA and Tours. He is also business partners with short game coach, James Ridyard as they make up the Short Game Secrets Team. John’s list of outstanding students continue to grow. He has worked with or is currently working with PGA Tour and LPGA tour players:  Charles Howell III, Kris Tumilis, Trevor Immelmen, Jamie Lovemark and Mark Wilson.  twitter: @johngrahamgolf


    Jason Sutton

Just finishing his 4th season as Director of Instruction at the prestigious Carmel CC in Charlotte, NC, Jason Sutton “AKA The Guru” has been teaching and coaching for over 23 years with the last 16 years in a full time capacity. Here are a few highlights and honors:

  • 2015 Carolinas PGA Section Horton Smith Award Winner
  • 2013 Carolinas PGA Section Teacher of the Year
  • Member of the Carolinas PGA Teaching and Coaching Committee
  • Ranked #4 in the State of NC by Golf Digest 2015
  • Ranked #7 in the State of NC by Golf Digest 2013
  • Ranked #9 in the State of NC by Golf Digest 2009
  • Nominated 5 times to Golf Magazine top 100 list
  • AimPoint Certified since 2011
  • Teaches with Trackman, SAM Putt Lab and BodiTrak
  • Teaches numerous Mini tour,, Symetra Tour, Top amateurs, college players and elite juniors
  • Have been featured on radio shows such as: XM PGA Tour Radio (Dewsweepers golf show with Tony Ruggerio, Maginnes of Tap with John Maginnes) Global Golf Radio with Virgil Herring and Ned Michaels- 104.5)

Twitter: @golfgurutv

Thank you to all of you who have supported my workshop in the past and I look forward to seeing you all next March!


To reserve your spot: email me at Once you sign up, you will recieve a paypal invoice to pay your entry. The first 100 paid entry fees get in! Remember the date: Monday, March 28th from 9:00-6:00/ 250.00 entry…….(Early Bird Special) make sure take advantage of the 25.00 discount by signing up and paying before the end of the year

Please use one of the share features at the bottom to share this article AND USE THE HASHTAG #GURUWORKSHOP16




My AimPoint Certification Weekend Recap

Mark Sweeney and the Guru



The cool thing about a blog is that I get to write about life changing experiences and hopefully inspire others to join you in things that just don’t come along everyday. In this case it was my AimPoint Green Reading final certification weekend. Officially there are 18 more golfers on the planet that don’t have to wonder,”What the heck is this AimPoint stuff I keep hearing the Guru talk about? For the rest of you, AimPoint is a unbelieveable green reading system developed by Mark Sweeney that allow you to gather information, plug them into  a chart and know “EXACTLY” where to aim in order to make every putt on the putting green. The cool thing is that anyone can do it with a bit of coaching and some practice of some basic skills. You may have seen the green line on Golf Channel that represents where the ball must roll at the correct speed in order for the ball to go in. Well now there is a teachable system that Mark has developed that can be applied to the average golfer to the tour player alike. I was introduced to this by my good friend John Graham and I am happy to say that I am officially a Certified Instructor to teach this phenomenal system. Mark came down this past weekend and spent some valuable time working with me on the fundamentals and  how to apply it to the lesson plan for the students. Watching Mark read putts was like watching Picasso paint a picture. He was reading putts up to 60 feet in less than 25 seconds which is faster than most tour players read a simple 15 footer which sold me and my other teachers that with practice and some repetition, you can not only read putts with perfect accuracy but also faster than the old fashion squatting, plumb bob, walking around the hole procedure. Working with Mark was great as he was very willing to share any information that will help us teach this system to be the best of our ability. As he did the first clinic with my members, I soon found out why he is so successful. everyone had a great time and they were always engaging with so many good questions. As the putts started to drop, they were hooked and excited. After I did my best Mark Sweeney impersonation in the second clinic, which was not even close I was so excited to be a part of this new and growing group of AimPoint Instructors. It is amazing that after so many years that this great game has been around that no one has even come close to developing a system that takes all of the guesswork out of one of the most mysterious parts of the golf, Green Reading! We should all be thankful to alive and have the opportunity to take part in such a game changing process. I am confident that you will start to see more of the games great players adopt this system in the near future. All I know is that we have 18 very excited golfers that will soon be #makingeverything. Feel free to contact me to come to your club to do a  clinic by emailing me or hit me up on twitter ps. I think 7 or 8 of the participants in the clinic signed up because of my interaction on twitter. There is some ROI in there somewhere, lol.

Special thanks to Mark Sweeney for allowing me to be a part of this prestigious group of coaches and to my friend, John Graham for all the training and extra time that he has spent with me over the last year. I promise to share the information as we are truly doing something that will grow the game.

See you on the putting green at Carmel,


AimPoint Clinics At Carmel CC : Learn To #Make Everything!

I will be hosting (2) AimPoint Green Reading clinics at Carmel Country Club on February 25th. There will be a 10:00 a.m. and a 2:00 p.m. session. I will be joined by Owner of AimPoint Technologies, Mark Sweeney so it will be a memorable day for everyone. Each session lasts about 2 1/2 hours and the cost is $200.00 per person. This would be a great way to get your year started out by learning the revolutionary green reading system that will change the way you look at green reading  forever and help you make everything. Contact me at to hold your spot.

See you on the putting green,





PRACTICE? What Do You Mean I Have To Practice?

Big Thanks to @LiamPGA for the topic tonight. Be sure to follow Liam’s tweets on twitter. I was listening to XM radio the other day and the topic was, “What are the top reasons why golfers don’t practice?” I would love to hear your top 5 if you would leave them in the comment section. Some of the answers were 1. I only have time to play not practice 2. My wife complains if I am at the golf course for that long etc. You get the idea. I think it is primarily because 1. It takes commitment to change 2. Players don’t have a plan for improvement so they are just cementing bad habits and 3. Most people are impatient and quit trying if it they don’t see results right away.

This just in……..ready! GOLF IS HARD PEOPLE! ok, don’t stop reading. In my opinion, this is what makes golf so great…..the challenge. The fact that we will never be satisfied with the level we are playing to makes it the greatest game in the world.  So here is a few nuggets on how to build a practice plan

1. know what you are trying to accomplish get with your coach and discuss the keys until they are clear. If your coach can’t explain it so you can understand the what, why and how…….find another coach!

2. Use your mirror if it’s too cold or the weather is bad. Rehearsal swings with your eyes on it is the next best thing to a video. I caution you to not hit too many balls into a net without ball flight validation. Could be more harmful than good.

3. spend 60% of your time inside 60 yards and include putting. Search my archives and find the putting post I did on Putting Boot Camp for drills to include in your time..

4. Spend half of 50% of your time in mechanical mode which includes your workstation (see video) and working on changing your pattern. The other half should be practicing like your play which should include (a pre-shot routine, lining up to different targets, changing clubs and learning to hit different shots ( the 9 ball drill )…..Playing par 2 on the practice green with one ball to see what you can shoot. This is an area most golfers don’t spend enough time in so you can successfully transfer the skill to the golf course……Any Ranger Rick’s out there?

Bottom line is that you can get some work done even if the weather is bad. Let me know if this helps motivate you to take a lesson and then go practice. There are No shortcuts to improving at golf. Talk to you tomorrow night.

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Share this post with your friends and leave your comments below. Give me your top 5 reasons that you don’t practice

See you on the lesson tee at Carmel,


Tiger’s Swing Changes – Has the Student Been Left Out Of the Process? Or Is Foley Salesman Of the Year?

I was recently asked by a friend of mine and fellow teaching professional of mine about what I thought of Tigers swing changes. This seems to be a hot topic in teaching circles since the sudden drop off of Tigers performance in the last year or so. Since the personal scandal that he has gone through, he has changed coaches (Haney to Foley) and now caddies (Williams to LaCava). I have set back and listened to everyone’s opinion on the situation and now I want to give you my two cents. As I understand the possibility of criticism from colleagues, peers and plenty of coaches that are way smarter than myself……I can take it! See as everyone focuses on Tigers swing changes which are vitally important and I will comment on, I want to bring another spin on things from a coaching perspective which is…..What does the student or in this case, Tiger….want from a ball flight perspective and from a past history angle. So here goes: I have posted 2 swings. 1 from 2008 and the other from this year to allow you to see the changes that Tiger and Sean have made.

1) The most obvious difference is the hand and arm plane in the takeaway. He is noticeably more inside with his hand and lead arm with the club more upright. In 08 his hands drifted away from his body with more forearm rotation with the shaft flatter at halfway back. As a coach I prefer this move as I spend alot of time fixing rollers and spinners of the shaft and club face.

2) the second change is with his arm plane/shoulder plane at the top and body pivot. Old Tiger had a flatter shoulder plane, higher arm plane and allowed his head to move behind the ball. The new changes are completely opposite. His shoulder plane is steeper, left arm is lower and head stays more steady at the top which from a coaching standpoint all matchup or what I call cancel each other out…..hope that makes sense.


The Good Part

As coaches, it is our job to work towards the goals of the students that we are working with. We all know that Tigers goals is to win majors, this is not what I am talking about. I am talking about connecting with and understanding the students needs.  When working with a player I want to find out there tendencies or their big miss and  work towards a pattern that avoids this miss. The question is did Foley really look at the swing characteristics and shot patterns that worked for Tiger in the past or is he so blinded by the philosophy that he thinks is superior or pattern of development that is the most efficient that he is not listening to his student. I don’t know the answer. Tiger is a very intelligent man and you would think that he would question every change for explanation why? Maybe Sean Foley is the greatest salesman in the world and has a logical explanation for the changes and has sold arguably the greatest golfer in the world that THIS is the way to go…. and that is great. It seems to me that Tiger is doing exactly what Foley wants in his swing changes but obviously they arent producing the results. Is it too early, I don’t know. Only time will tell. Personally, I think estetically his swing looks great as I love the way the stack and tilt hybrid looks to the eye. This is what Mac O’Grady and the M.O.R.A.D. boys would call very SEXY with the CP release that is low and around (and I totally agree. I would totally date that girl)……….:)

What I Would Do

but the facts are: Tiger has always been too shallow on the downswing which lowering his left arm and moving more weight forward would seem to accentuate which makes no sense to me. He always seemed to play better with a higher left arm (which I know doesn’t fit the pattern) but its true. This kept the club more in front of him and on plane and also taller through the strike.  So the question remains.” Has the student been left out of the process?” I hope not because as a big TDub fan, golf needs him to make a comeback and I would love to see it. I hope that team Tiger proves me wrong as if anyone could make it work, its Tiger. Remember, teaching is a moving target and it is our job as coaches and ambassadors of the game to figure out what our students need. If there was one way to move the club, they would all look the same……..And even the average bystander could tell that this isn’t the case. Comments are always welcome.

See you on the lesson tee at Carmel CC,

Guru …..I do teach non-members. To schedule a lesson, simply call the golf shop @704-945-3300 or the learning center directly @704-688-9201. If you have my cell number, you know what to do! 

p.s. made it through my first week and loving my new gig. There are great things to come!

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