The Founder and Director of Instruction of THE Senior Golf Academy of America is Jack Gibson, Life Member of the PGA, who has been teaching golf for over forty-five years. From 2005 to 2016, he was the Director of Instruction at La Quinta Country Club (home of the Bob Hope Tournament). For ten years prior to that he was the Director of Instruction at the world-renowned Cabo Del Sol in Los Cabos, Mexico. While in Mexico, Jack taught for the Nicklaus-Flick Golf School and formed the Cabo Del Sol Golf School using the talents of local Golf Professionals along with PGA Professionals from Canada and the U. S. spending the season in Mexico.
Since returning to the States, Jack has been the Lead Instructor, in Southern California, for the VIP Golf Academy, the oldest golf school in the country specializing in individual and couples instruction. He founded THE Senior Golf Academy of America in 2017 after research showed that there was not one golf school in the United States specializing in instruction for the many seniors who play the game.
Jack’s status as one of the top PGA teachers in Southern California has been demonstrated by his consistent finish near the top of the yearly SCPGA Teaching Competition, which features the top Teaching Professionals in Southern California, working with a student they had not previously met. Jack tied for 4th in 2014, 7th in 2016, 8th in 2017 and 7th in 2018.
He has also been honored by GOLF Magazine as a nominee for their roster of “Top 100 Teachers in America.”
Jack’s book, Thought Reduction Golf which emphasizes his philosophy, “Think Less-Play-Better” will be presented to each student along with a Short Game Reminder Manual. Jack’s book may be purchased online or from Jack and has become a popular gift item with his students.
JACK GIBSON’S TEACHING PHILOSOPHY
Club Oriented vs Body Oriented Teaching
We hear and see a lot on TV and read in golf magazines about how the “Big” muscles of the body are supposed to control the golf swing for distance as well as accuracy. Well, if you are not as flexible as the guys and gals on the Professional Tours, it just is not true. Even then, it is obvious from watching those amazing golf shots that most of the power comes from how fast the player is able to swing their club head with their hands and arms. Sure, it would be nice to get the whole right side involved (for right-handers) in a golf swing but mainly just to “get out of the way” of the arms and hands so they can do their work.
We will work on getting the body involved, as much as our students are able to do without hurting themselves but the idea is to swing the golf club with the hands and let the various body parts “react” to the swinging motion of the golf club from start to finish. Seniors with “bad backs” soon discover that they are once again able to swing the golf club without pain by simply allowing the body to follow the golf club, rather than just lunging at the golf ball with their bodies.
I will admit that I taught or tried to teach those often-uncomfortable body and golf club positions for some 25 years, as that is what I was taught in those PGA seminars we had to take to be PGA Pros. When I moved to Mexico in 1995 to teach at Cabo Del Sol, I soon found that those old methods just didn’t work for tourists just in town for a few days or even for my adult Mexican students. I read the book Swing the Clubhead, written by the great teacher Earnest Jones in 1937 and was surprised that I had started using some of the same words and phrases as Jones before even reading his book. Later, I was inspired by the teachings of Jim Flick and Manual de la Torre to continue teaching my students to control their golf club with their hands for both distance and direction.
Our instruction remains simple to understand and easy to follow and is based on proven, common-sense principles. We promise you will improve and learn to “Think Less-Play Better.”
OUR FIRST EXPANSION AND ADDITION TO OUR STAFF
Since starting THE Senior Golf Academy of America I have been pleased but sometimes overwhelmed by the response of senior players and couples who miss what has sometimes been referred to as “Old School” instruction. We are swamped with videos and articles showing how great a certain top player swings and many instructors believe they can teach the average player to copy those moves and positions and therefore become a better player. Well, it just doesn’t work that way. A few weeks ago, I happened to be reading through the PGA Magazine while waiting for a student. He arrived at about the time I had reached a photo of a student trying to copy the body positions some instructor had taught him, while another was wearing some contraption like a parachute harness while the teacher was helping him swing. Before I could put the article away my student noticed the pictures and exclaimed, “OH my God; that’s just what I’m trying to get away from.” I have since showed the article to some of my other students with similar reactions.
In addition to the many calls from students, I have received calls from Teaching Professionals around the country who are interested in our concept. I have found that many of these teachers have no idea how to work with adults, especially those over 50, 60, and 70 or above. I have finally found what I was looking and hoping for; an experienced senior PGA Teaching Professional at a good golf facility in a great golfing city. Please read on and welcome John Stanley, teaching at the Robert Trent Jones designed Dove Creek in Scottsdale. Appointments will still be made from my home base in Palm Springs and we will contact Jon about his availability in Scottsdale.
Meet Jon Stanley, a 25 year member of the PGA of America, who has worked his way up from Caddy Master to Assistant Professional, to Head Professional to Director of Instruction. Jon manages to play excellent golf and recently qualified for the next National PGA Club Professional tournament. Jon’s wins have included the 1988 Kentucky Assistant Professional Championship, the 1991 Maryland State Open and the 2011 Southwest PGA Championship. Jon has qualified for 9 National Championships, 4 National PGA Assistant Championships and 7 National Senior Professional Championships. He was Senior Player of the Year for the Southwest PGA Section in 2008 and 2010.
JON’S TEACHING CAREER AND PHILOSOPHY
Jon began to focus more on teaching when he became Director of Instruction at the Kokopelli Golf Resort in 1998 followed by having the same position at Foothills Golf Club. He joined the Instruction staff at John Jacobs Golf School in 2009 and has taught at Legend Trail Golf Club, Orange Tree Golf Resort, Hillcrest Golf Club and Red Mountain Ranch where is Director of Instruction for John Jacobs.
Jon believes the senior golfer can benefit by working on things they can actually accomplish, such as the basics of proper grip, balance, alignment and control of their clubhead. He has his students, especially seniors, work on making correct contact with the golf ball before worrying about distance. Jon says that golf is a lot more fun from the fairway than from the trees. He believes in making instruction as simple as possible and helping his students set achievable goals.