I am originally from New Zealand. I grew up in the small town of Te Awamutu, population 8000. I have been studying golf for over 35 years. Starting my golf career in the late 70's in the era where we did not have Video Analysis, Youtube, Instagram or the other social platforms of today. We literally had to dig it out of the dirt and wait for tips to be handed down from the greats of the era "Seve said this", "Jack said that" and of course devouring written material. Ben Hogans five fundamentals was the bible of the time. Plus a plethora of other reading material scouring old golf digests and watching VHS tapes (when that was available)I had of recorded golf tournaments from the limited amount we had on TV. I would rewatch the same tournaments over and over again specifically the 1986 Masters Jack won for a record 6th time. The equipment we used was limiting and unforgiving, bladed irons, wooden headed drivers and even the small 1.62" ball the R&A employed (today’s ball is 1.68”), the game was really hard. That start gave me a foundation for what I needed to do to strike the ball solidly and play the game through feel, observation and to work really hard. I was fortunate to meet John Griffin, (New Zealand's number 1 golf coach) in 1987. John was teaching New Zealand's top amateur golfers Phil Tataurangi and Steve Alker at the time and was the hot man on the market. I started working for John in 1987 in the Te Awamutu golf shop. I played amateur golf to the highest level in one of New Zealand's golden era's of world class golfers including a US Open winner, winner on the PGA Tour, Japanese Tour, European Tour, Australasian Tour and all around the world, it was a time where we pushed each other and strived for perfection. In 1991 I joined the professional ranks and started as an apprentice. John was ahead of the curve with his instruction, he had a great eye and feel for the game and had been well coached himself. One of Johns mentors and ultimately one of mine was Alex Mercer ( Australian golf coach, legend) coach to David Graham ( major winner), Steve Elkington (major winner), Graham Marsh and many others. He guided the way for John in the early years, John then further developed that information and over 11 years working for John he shared with me his vast knowledge of the game. The lessons John taught me then stay with me today and I still teach the fundamentals that were installed in me by a great coach. I was fortunate to attend three national coaching schools ( elite players in NZ) with Alex and look back on those years as a springboard for the development of my game.
In 1993 I moved with John to Millbrook Resort in Queenstown NZ. Millbrook was/is New Zealand's premier resort and remains so today. I became head golf professional in 1995 and together with John we started New Zealand's #1 golf school. I played limited tournaments through those years due to a heavy work schedule, caddying for Phil Tataurangi in my off season, running the golf schools with John and daily duties of a club professional took long hours. I continued to work on my game when I could and during the winter season I played the South Pacific golf tour through the islands of Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Tahiti. I played in multiple New Zealand Opens and many tournaments in Australia.
In the winter of 1993 I came to the United States for the first time to caddy/coach for my friend Phil Tataurangi at the qualifying school/tournament for the PGA Tour (he qualified as the youngest member of the PGA Tour that year). I continued to caddy for Phil for a few years traveling with him on the PGA Tour and Web.com Tour in the mid/late 90's whilst still working at Millbrook during the NZ summers. We had some great success together winning on the Web.com at the 1996 Tri Cities Open and coming agonizingly close in the 1998 Canadian Open. Phil went on to win the Shriners Hospital for Children Open in Las Vegas in 2002. Spending this time with Phil added more quills to my quiver. Having the opportunity to be up close with the best players in the world continued my learning curve for this great game. I learned a tremendous amount not only about technique but how to manage my way around the course and how to control my emotions. I came to realize there are many ways to play golf and many techniques can be successful. I use these skills today I learned all of those years ago.
In 1998 I started in earnest my professional playing career. I caddied for Phil on the west coast swing of the PGA Tour early in the year to earn a little cash and springboard my career. I qualified for the Canadian Golf Tour that spring and played the Canadian Tour from 1998-2000 my best finish was 4th place at the Vancouver Open. At the end of 2000 I qualified for the South American golf tour traveling to Venezuela, Peru, Argentina and Brazil with some success continuing to improve along the way. In 2001 I qualified for the NGA Tour. The NGA Tour (Hooters Tour) was a mini tour traveling mainly through the south of the US in the middle of summer hot, to say the least. The NGA was a very competitive tour, I was fortunate to play with and compete against some of todays great players, Zach Johnson ( 2 x major winner) , Vaughn Tayler (multiple PGA tour winner) just a couple of the notables. By the end of 2001 I was burnt out I had won some small events along the way but had run out of money, tired of traveling, mentally spent and ready to take a break from touring professional golf.
I returned to Los Angeles at the end of 2001 and at the beginning of 2002 I restarted my teaching career at The Cascades Golf Course in Sylmar, California ( now closed). That was a great beginning for my teaching career in Los Angeles establishing a full book of clients within a year and have never looked back. In 2003 I moved my business to MountainGate Country Club in Los Angeles where today I am the Director of Instruction. I have been fortunate enough to teach some of the worlds best golfers winners on the PGA tour, Web.com and other tours around the world. I have taught elite athletes, movie stars, collegiate golfers, and golfers that have never hit the ball before, that's what makes my job so fun the variety and the eclectic mix of clients.
Today I enjoy using the latest in technology, Trackman radar, Video Analysis and Hackman Motion Wrist Sensor. I continue to add the latest technology to my arsenal to help me be more accurate with my information at the same time without losing the innate touch and feel for the game I learned in the early years of my golf development. I pride myself on having a keen eye and sometimes just watching someone hit balls without the use of any technology is a very helpful tool. Over my years of teaching I estimate I have given over 30 000 lessons. My goal is to help every golfer improve whether they be a golf professional, collegiate player or the average amateur golfer trying to shave a few strokes off their score. Nothing gives me more pride than having a client let me know that they have hit their personal best score or tell me how much more they are enjoying the game. I like to take an holistic approach to my teaching not just focusing on technique but helping golfers with their long game, short game, imagination, management skills on the course, mental approach to playing or keeping statistics to help better analyze their strengths and weaknesses. Every client I deal with is different so my quest is to best figure out how to communicate with the person in front of me and try and speak their language. I love this challenge and continue to try and develop these skills.
My passion for the game today is as strong as ever. I continue to research golf and work on my game everyday. I am of the opinion that if I can't do it I can't explain it so I am constantly trying to develop my own skills and feels to better help the golfer in front of me. I am look forward to continuing developing my business into golf travel, an artificial turf business building home putting greens and continuing learning this amazing game.
My dream of playing is not over I turn 50 in 2020 and hope to play some senior events and see if everything I have learned over the years has matured me to become an even better golfer.
I was lucky to meet Gabrielle in 2014 and we married in 2016 we enjoy living in Mar Vista, Los Angeles California and Pebble Beach, California. We are members at Monterey Peninsula Country Club, two top 100 courses in America and two of the most beautiful courses in the world. We have 5 children between us Annabelle, Olivia, Grace, Lily, Molly and two dogs Rocky and Finn. Life is full but wonderful. Thanks for reading and until next time.