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What does GolfTEC understand that most instructors don’t?



Right now, GolfTEC is dominating the instruction market. Last year, the company had nearly $100 million in sales, and it now controls 25 percent of the golf lesson industry.

A big reason for their success can be explained by their structure:

  1. GolfTEC advertises to golfers online.
  2. Golfers learn about what GolfTEC does on its website.
  3. Golfers schedule and pay for lessons on GolfTEC’s website.

The structure allows GolfTEC instructors to do what they do best — give lessons — while GolfTEC invests into growing its business. 

GolfTEC has proven what works to dominate the market, and there is a lot to be learned for golf instructors who have their own teaching businesses. Even if you don’t see GolfTEC as your competitor, it’s clear that they didn’t become a force in the industry by accident. Implementing GolfTEC’s methods in your business can in many cases help golf instructors accomplish their goals much faster and easier than they might have otherwise. 

The Changing Consumer

the changing consumer

GolfTEC understands where golfers are and how to reach them. The company knows that consumers want to research, schedule lessons and checkout right from their computer or mobile device. And right now, 85 percent of consumers research a business online before committing to any kind purchase. 

Things were far simpler 10 years ago. Instructors didn’t have to worry about having a website that sells, being active on social media, running advertisements, or finding ways to reach more customers online. But now they do, because golfers are going digital, and that’s even if you rely on word of mouth.

In today’s world, being online is seen as a necessity. But before diving into the web, you should ask yourself, “Why does it matter?” Well, because when you do it right, it works.

Picture an online system that gets new customers in the door and allows them to book a lesson online. Wouldn’t that free up more time for you so you can focus on learning and teaching. Sounds great, right?

Don’t see getting online as a chore. Instead, see it as way to dramatically improve how you do business. You’ll spend less time selling, scheduling, and managing, and more time with your clients.

In a Golfer’s Shoes

Let’s think about this from a golfer’s perspective. Let’s say you’re a golfer looking for golf lessons, and you don’t know any instructors. More likely than not, you turn to Google as most of us do anytime we need to find something.

This is exactly what golfers are doing today. In fact, the PGA has seen a 43 percent year-over-year increase of millennials (golfers ages 20-34) searching for golf online. They expect to go to your website, learn about you, read reviews, and schedule a lesson. Surprisingly, very few instructors are taking advantage of this very natural behavior.

Let’s compare what GolfTEC is doing vs. the average golf instructor. Here’s a simple breakdown. 


  • Shows up across Google for any search terms related to golf lessons.
  • Uses smart, online advertising across the web.
  • Has a website that builds trust and sells its benefits to golfers.
  • Conveniently allows golfers to schedule and pay for lessons on its website.
  • Engages with customers after they book a lesson through email marketing and social media.

Most Golf Instructors

  • Are not visible on Google Search results related to golf lessons.
  • Rely primarily on word of mouth and print advertising.
  • Don’t have a personal website (only 3 percent of instructors do).
  • Are not building trust with potential customers online.
  • Require golfers to pick up the phone or write an email to book a lesson.
  • Accept payment by cash or check.
  • Are not engaging current or past customers online.

Now, we’ve seen what makes the difference. If you are an instructor, the question becomes: what will you do about it? We’re sitting at a turning point for the future success of your golf lesson business. Consumers will continue to move online. The golf instructors that meet them there will thrive.

To learn more about my company that helps golf instructors get online, click here.

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Derek Larson is a student at Northwestern and the co-founder of Dotbound. His goal is to help golf instructors take advantage of the web to run their business more effectively, and recently wrote an eBook about it. Derek is an avid golfer and traveler.



  1. Someone

    May 22, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    This article is garbage. Title misleads thinking that it was going to explain how golftec is somehow better at improving your game over golf pros. Instead it’s about business? This is a GOLF site…not a damn forbes “how we made our millions” business column. I could give two craps about golftecs advertising or how they reach their customers. What I do care about is the service that golftec offers and how good it is compared to other pros and instructors. What a HUGE waste of time…article is worthless to golfers that actually want to know about GOLF, not the “business” of golf. Has GOLFWRX lost its direction? Do they let anyone write now? Geez…where is the quality control…

  2. Jim

    May 22, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    I have to admit they were very honest about the commitment needed by the client and the time it would take to make various was longer for some issues than others.

    We were never told to lie or sell quick fixes… quite the contrary, to explain WHY it will probably take 40 weeks or even a full year to make these changes and habe them

    • Jim

      May 22, 2017 at 6:21 pm

      …it ate half the comment…

      And HAVE THEM take hold on the course, which any real instructor knows is true if say a solid 18 decides he wants to do this, and get to a 7 or 8…

      It’s the “quality & experience” of the instructors that’s BS. Sure, folks get better with time, and learn from the more experienced ones at the center they’ll go to, but I had 2 cats in my 10 person GT ‘U’ class that had virtually NO lesson experience AT ALL, and 2 who had done ‘ a few lessons’ or the jr clinic… they don’t care WHAT’s actually taught – as long as they use people’s biomeasurements and get them into ‘positions’…

    • Jim

      May 23, 2017 at 1:59 am

      They were selling franchises – which is what I was interested in. Great national exposure, net presence etc.

      I would’ve MOST DEFINITELY RUN IT MY WAY, and hired & trained my staff personally but they aren’t looking to bounce. They believe, and they have significant $$$ invested.

      They’re just total users, dishonest, and have NO quality control other than occasional ‘peer reviews’ where coaches are periodically supposed to randomly review the lesson recap a client recieves and rate it….

      I’m offended anytime I see any promo for them, as the skeleton is definitely there to actually be really good. And there are indeed good coaches in there…but it is NO WAY honorable, honest or consistent….

      A shame…

    • TeeBone

      May 24, 2017 at 5:18 pm

      GolfTEC’s been around for over 15 years, and last year was their best ever. Pay attention. Your rambling, incoherent posts make no sense. The only consistency is your negativity towards any instruction that doesn’t conform to your schizophrenic system. You’re clearly not a professional instructor, so stop acting as though you you have any idea what the hell you’re talking about.

      • Jim

        Jun 2, 2017 at 10:44 am

        Obviously you can’t read. Nothing to do with disagreeing with any ‘system’. Actually agree with them on the fact there are no quick fixes and they are honest about that.

        Their boiler room complete disregard for their pros and complete lack of any instructional belief ot other than to contort every body type into the same positions. … bite me

        • stephenf

          Jun 2, 2017 at 5:15 pm

          If I understood your earlier comments, you’re a PGA member. Is that right? I’m just getting at the “clearly not a professional instructor” allegation.

          Either way, I don’t see the point in worrying about someone who thinks 15 years in the business and a great year last year are proof of good business practices and good golf instruction. Just dumb.

  3. Chris Cruz

    May 22, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    If you are reading the comments to this article, I commend you, your insight, and initiative. I own a small web production and strategy shop, and I think your assessments are correct.

    The only feedback I would give is that the headline is a bit misleading and polarizing. The polarizing part is good to a degree, but not when it misleads the user from content they would expect to see when they click on the article. Or when it stirs up undesired predispositions in the user thats about to view your content. As this headline did.

    Many folks read the headline and the rest of your story didnt matter to them, they were too focused on a headline that reads positively for golf tec instruction which your story doesnt even really talk about.

    Something more accurate to description would be something like “How GolfTec’s Digital efforts attribute to their success and how you (the instructor) can benefit” Obviously thats too long I’m no copywriter. But you get the point, anyway, applaud you for your initiative even as a student, and just trying to provide some constructive feedback for you.

    However, I agree with other WRXers on this thread. Golf wrx doing all this advertorial is kind of a bummer, but i get it. It’s a business and you need revenue, still a bummer.

  4. Kenn

    May 22, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    Okay, after one lesson at GolfTec they isolate several swing faults that must be remedied. What happens next? Simply identifying your swing faults is surely not enough, and then practicing on your own is futile because you don’t know if you are doing the changes correctly. Must you return to GolfTec on a regular basis to check out what’s happening to your swing? How do you eliminate your swing faults after the Golftec session?

  5. Steve S

    May 22, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Basically this is a very nice ad for the author’s company Dotbound. The website states “We help teaching professionals sell more lessons while making life easier.”

    So another ad disguised as a legitimate article. GolfWRX should have charged him for the space.

  6. Judge Smells

    May 22, 2017 at 7:09 am

    The only difference is Golftec has more overhead costs than your local pro

  7. Alex Jackson

    May 21, 2017 at 9:31 am

    All you guys bashing GolfTec obviously didn’t read the article. It has nothing to do with their method/how they teach. The article is about how they market themselves and make it easy for the student to book and pay for lessons.

    • Greg

      May 21, 2017 at 10:39 am

      Exactly, the author (Derek) seems to be a very enterprising young man and I’m impressed with his insight and initiative. His premise of the trend does seem to be true base on the number of instructors we see that are taking advantage of websites, YouTube, online lessons, online memberships, blogs, forums, etc. Think of Shawn Clements, Clay Ballard, Monte, etc…etc. I would agree with Derek, that instructors not expanding their marketing/product to fully use the “internet” run the risk of being marginalized even if they do have a club (private or public). I’m not an instructor, but I fit the golfing consumer profile Derek described.

    • TR1PTIK

      May 22, 2017 at 12:10 pm

      Agreed. I don’t care for GolfTec’s instruction (based on reviews, I’ve never been), but I still enjoyed the article and thought it was completely relevant. The author wasn’t trying to sell anyone on anything. To sum it up, the article suggests that teaching pros could learn a thing or two about online presence from GolfTec (i.e. SEO, e-commerce, etc.). After reading, my first thought was to share with my course pro to pick his brain and suggest some new ways for him to generate business at his course.

  8. larry

    May 21, 2017 at 7:51 am

    Anyone going to golf tec is an absolute idiot, find a teaching pro at a private club there always the best.

    • setter02

      May 22, 2017 at 7:10 am

      About as solid a statement as can be said for someone who knows nothing, congrats!!! Very good blanket statement, you should feel proud of how hard it would be to pick this one apart…

    • Judge Smells

      May 22, 2017 at 1:13 pm

      I could not agree more, Golf is played outside on grass not inside on a computer screen

  9. Mat

    May 20, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    GolfTec is only doing one thing right. They are commoditising a business that had been traditionally attached to golf facilities. The rest of it is scale, and they’ve been able to build scale because they are not attached to single facilities.

    It doesn’t make the instruction any better; if anything, it makes it worse.

  10. Billy

    May 20, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    I visit golftec once. They got gc2 so I asked if they have hmt. Well.. the instructor didn’t even know what’s hmt

  11. Dat

    May 20, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    Golf tec singlehandedly ruined my swing for a month after I went for a free consult I won. Never again.

    • Mat

      May 20, 2017 at 7:21 pm

      Yep. They fit you into their one swing, on carpet. Having said that, they’re like half the instructors out there anyhow; they have “the book” on a swing, and try to get you to emulate it. They should be helping you find the most repeatable action for your body, but just as in equipment, distance sells. So the generic lesson gets the yardage number up as the main success metric. Not healthy.

  12. Caleb

    May 20, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    I’d take this a lot more seriously if there wasn’t a GolfTec ad right next to the article.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      May 20, 2017 at 6:18 pm


      That ad you’re seeing is a third-party ad based on your search history. GolfTEC is not a GolfWRX sponsor.

      • setter02

        May 20, 2017 at 9:54 pm

        And all the ads are ruining the site!

        • The dude

          May 23, 2017 at 4:54 am

          ….another one who doesn’t understand..

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Opinion & Analysis

The History of Course Design is Yours to Play at Oglebay



There is a much-talked about “New Golden Age” of golf course design underway that is driven by demand for ever-more spectacular courses at the top end of the resort golf market. Destinations such as Streamsong, Bandon Dunes, Cabot Links, Sand Valley and others provide the traveling golfer a spectacular golf experience; unfortunately, it comes at a price tag that is equally spectacular. When a week playing golf in Florida can cost as much as a week in Scotland, where do you go for a golf getaway that doesn’t require a second mortgage?

Oglebay Golf Resort in Wheeling, West Virginia, doesn’t just provide an affordable golf vacation option; with its three golf courses, it provides players the chance to experience a condensed history of American golf course design through its three courses. The resort sits on land that was once owned by a wealthy industrialist and is now a part of the city park system. Located about an hour from Pittsburgh, Oglebay draws the majority of its golfers from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia. It’s kind of cool that when you drive to Oglebay from the Washington, D.C., you hit all of those states except Ohio, which is just a few minutes away from Wheeling. The area is especially picturesque in the autumn months when the changing colors of the leaves are at their peak.

The property has a rich history in the business and sporting history of West Virginia, but the three golf courses, Crispin, are a special prize that taken together form a primer on the history of golf design in the past 90 years. The 5,670-yard Crispin course is a one-off design by local golf enthusiast Robert Biery that was completed in 1930 and is a fascinating study of design techniques of that era. The slopes and elevation are severe and extreme by today’s standards. A clue was the raised eyebrow of the assistant pro when I said that I would walk the course. Uneven lies are the order of the day, the product of a time when there was neither the money nor equipment readily available to create gentle slopes and even surfaces; the course is true to the original contours of the West Virginia hillside.  There is little relief on the greens, which run a little slower than typical greens but make up for it in size and slope. It is by far the shortest of the three courses but the par-4 8th hole and par-5 9th holes are a thousand yards of joy and pain.

Hole No. 6 at the Klieves course

The Klieves Course is a 6,800-yard, par-71 Arnold Palmer design that was completed in 2000. The design features broad fairways, mildly undulating greens and opportunities for heroics on short par-4’s, all the prototypical characteristics of modern resort golf courses. While some architects choose to torture and torment, Palmer courses put a premium on fun and this one is no exception. The par-5, 515 yard 6th is a great example of the risk/reward available without that challenges the resort golfer without the need to humiliate. The course is very well maintained tee to green, and you’ll want to keep a fully charged battery to take photos of the vistas from the elevated tee boxes.

Hole No. 13 at the Jones course

In my humble opinion, the true gem is the Robert Trent Jones course. The 7,004-yard, par-72 Course carries a healthy 75.1 rating/141 slope from the back tees. It utilizes a gorgeous piece of land that meanders across the West Virginia hills to give a mesmerizing collection of holes that are equal parts scenery and challenge. Both nines start from elevated tee boxes hitting down into valleys that offer classic risk/reward propositions. Usually I have no problem identifying a favorite hole or two, but on this course it’s difficult. Having said that, the stretch of No. 4 (par 3, 193 yards), No. 5 (par-5, 511 yards) and No. 6 (par-4, 420 yards) are among the best I have played anywhere as a show of nature’s beauty and the at of laying out a golf hole. And the four par 3’s are not the place to pic up an easy birdie. The only one less that 190 yards from the tips is the 158-yard 15th, which is protected by a small, undulating green. All in all, it’s a perfect representation of the genius of Robert Trent Jones.

The golf is good at Oglebay and the prices are better. You can get in 18 at the Oglebay courses for as little as $32…on the weekend. And when you’re not playing golf, you can take advantage of the myriad of outdoor sports activities, tour the Oglebay mansion, hit the spa or visit the Glass Museum on the property (I promise it’s a lot more interesting than it sounds). There’s a lot of great new golf resorts out there and that’s a good thing for the golf industry, but destinations like Oglebay prove that there’s a lot of life left in the old classics as well.

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19th Hole