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


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Full Swing Coaching Program Practice with Team Guru with special guest Nicklaus Sutton

Three years ago I transformed my teaching into purely “Long Term Coaching Programs” which include supervised practices with the team #teamguru. Here is an opening presentation of a full swing session with a few guys where I discuss the difference between “blocked vs. random” practice and the key to getting your range swing to the golf course. I had the help of my son, Nicklaus who is one of the top juniors in NC. He was gracious enough to hit some shots for us and talk about what we are working on together.


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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

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Reflecting On The Year Behind Us and How I Set Goals

Today I stood very still and thought for a while. I prayed a prayer of thankfulness. This time of year is great for two things.1) Reflecting on the year that has passed and 2) An opportunity to look ahead and make plans for the future. Isnt funny how we long to take days off but then we feel guilty for not doing something we would consider productive? I have a hard time sitting still. I am restless for change. I am so blessed with my life and what I have accomplished but that kind of thinking can often make you lazy and complacent. I don’t want to be that guy. So I had to write something today whether it made sense or not, I just had to have a brain dump of sorts. First of all thanks for showing up today as I never in a million years thought I would ever have something interesting to say that so many people would want to listen to. It’s funny how writing works. We think we are sharing our thoughts with our readers but really I am learning and growing as well. It provokes thoughts on both sides and hopefully we talk about it. This has been a crazy year for me and a memorable one for sure as I am finally doing exactly what I should be doing. I love my new job as Director of Instruction at Carmel CC. For many years I wondered when this career move that I had been preparing for all of these years would happen. After it finally happens,  I am able to look back and see that I wasn’t ready back then. I thought I was but I needed more preparation. More maturity.  I always say,” God is Never Late…..But He is never early either.” This often makes people impatient and they make mistakes.  I had set this goal 5 years ago and it has motivated me to get better in every area of my job. Whatever your goal is the key is to prepare yourself to be ready when the door opens because you never know. So now what do we do. We have the dream job and this opportunity ahead of us so now what…………..? Lets set some goals! I recently met with my staff and asked them to submit their goals for 2012. They did such a great job and I am excited to help them achieve them next year.  I have always been a goal setter as I feel it keeps me going in the right direction. Kind of like this blog, I tend to get going in multiple directions and don’t get anything fully accomplished unless I have a plan . It doesn’t matter whether you are a student trying to improve your golf game or a teacher/coach trying to improve your skills as an instructor, you need to write down some things that you want to accomplish. So here is some insight on how I go about this process every year about this time:

1.) First, look back at your goals for this year and see how many you were able to check off and how many you may want to carry over to next year. What you did well and the things you want to improve upon. (Reflection is important)

2.) I break mine up into categories such as:

1. Teaching production/units/income

2. New programs

3. Social media/marketing

3. Writing

 4. Speaking

5. Certifications and Continuous learning

6. Stretch Goals

Then I start to fill in the blanks with ideas, action plans and timelines. As soon as you decide on what you want to do, it is so important that you creat an action plan. These are the steps that you are going to make in order to achieve this goal. This could be an important phone call, a contact letter or a class to take….The main thing is to never leave a goal without creating action to move towards it.

Extra goals that I would encourage away from career goals are: Spiritual, Fitness and a Life or Bucket List……(for another blog)

I am not going to share all of my goals for this upcoming season but I will tell you that I am going to have a big focus on creating new programs which I am very excited about. I have the 2012 calender of events locked and loaded to share with my members at Carmel which will have a laser like focus on short game and putting as I will set a goal to see how many strokes I can take off of my members handicaps by year-end. Aimpoint, Putting Schools and Wedge fitting short game schools will be the highlights. Second will be more speaking engagements. I will host a PGA section seminar this spring as I am very excited to share the knowledge that I have acquired from many of you reading this blog, you know who you are and I  thank you. I have already been asked to do my first away game short game school (Thank you Rob McGill aka @golfprorob) that I am very excited about in March. FYI….I am free to speak at anyones club or section meeting as I would love to do that if you need someone to share coaching and social media ideas or personal development (shameless plug). In the writing category I will be finishing up my first book which I am excited about. Due to Golf Illustrated being bought out, I am available for more writing gigs if anyone needs an instructional editor. I will be writing for a new up and coming magazine called the Turn and will be an instructional editor which I am excited about but I have room for more (Golf Tips, Golf Digest, Golf Magazine…..If you are listening!  In the Certification category, I am very excited to be finishing my Aimpoint Green Reading certification in February. My members are already excited about the clinics that I have presented and will take that to the next level for sure. What certifications do you think is important? I am looking at a few for this year. I have put together a social media schedule of videos (Guru TV), increasing brand awareness,  tips and information to get the Carmel members more involved with the Carmel Golf Academy  (click to like our facebook page) and to help communicate better with them which I think is going to be great. Even the non-members will be able to view so don’t worry but I am excited to see what I can do with my new environment of outstanding members so stay tuned. The seeds that I have been planting are starting to grow. So thanks for being here for this brainstorming session. I feel better already and I hope you got something out of my rambling rant. I am so thankful for you the student and my fellow coaches that help me achieve my number 1 goal every year. Be a better coach than I was  last year…..and I have done that for sure. Talk to you tomorrow

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