The Villages Golf Academy
The Villages Golf Academy - Instructors
- Chris Holmes
- Maria Brooks
- Craig Griffin
- Joey Hidock
- Austin Hughes
- Bob Intrieri
- Wade Martin
- Diane Patterson
- Miriam Piland-Rice
- Tom Talbott
Director of Golf Instruction and Player Development
Titleist Staff Member
Top 50 Master Kids Teacher
U.S. Kids Certified Coach
Chris is a dedicated member of the British PGA and brings over 30 years of professional teaching experience to The Villages Golf Academy. Chris was born in England and began his golfing career in Belgium. He has competed on the European, South African and South American PGA Tours and managed European Tour players and golf clubs in both England and in Germany. During his career, he has been fortunate enough to play with, work with and know some of golf’s greatest players. For the last 17 years, Chris was Director of Instruction at the prestigious Heathrow Country Club and taught players and groups of all skill levels and ages. He is an Authorized Golfing Machine Instructor.
Chris offers amazing golf trips, both here and abroad, to residents of The Villages. Some of the courses his students have experienced include Open Championship venues such as: St Andrews, Royal Lytham and Royal Birkdale and other golfing “gems” like Royal Dornoch. In addition to his work with adult and senior groups, Chris has made a strong impact in junior golf and has been recognized for that work by earning the highest honor an instructor can receive – the distinction of Master Kids Teacher from U.S. Kids Golf. Chris believes all individuals can enjoy and improve their game given the right tools and motivation to succeed. Using fundamental golf swing philosophies, new technologies and appropriate training aids, he works with students to determine and then communicate instruction in their own individual learning style.
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Cobra Staff Member
Maria is a dedicated Class A member of the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Division and is originally from Lockport, NY. She started her teaching career in the New Hampshire seacoast area in 1993. In December 2005 she moved to The Villages to join the Golf Academy where she teaches the New to Golf program as well as private and group lessons. Her approach to teaching the golf swing is to teach the individual to swing to their physical and natural ability. Through her enthusiasm and commitment to her students, Maria excels at creating a wonderful learning environment on the lesson tee.
Callaway Staff Member
Craig has been teaching group and private instruction for the Villages Golf Academy for 10 years. He left Texas and moved to Florida in 1993 and currently resides in Wildwood, Florida with his wife Cindy. Craig has been in the golf business for 25 years and a PGA member since 1998. Craig spent 9 months caddying on the PGA Tour for two time major winner Mark O'Meara. Highlights included travel to Japan, China, Singapore and Australia as well as being paired with Tiger Woods for three rounds at the Pebble Beach and once at the Williams World Challenge where Woods shot his then career low round of 64. Craig then went on to spend a year caddying for David Gossett and eventually coaching Robert Gamez helping him break his 15 year winless streak with a victory at the 2005 Texas Open. Craig then had the opportunity to work for Arnold Palmer at the Bay Hill Club in Orlando. While working for Mr. Palmer. Craig taught himself to play golf from the left side and at one time had a 3 handicap from both sides. Craig enjoys creating a relaxed fun atmosphere and believes teaching each student to use their individual ability to make changes to their ball flight.
TaylorMade Staff Member
U.S. Kids Certified Caoch
Joey Hidock is a dedicated Class A member of the PGA of America with over 25 years teaching experience. He has had the privilege of working with many of the best players in the world which included caddying on tour for PGA tour player and Ryder Cup Captain, Tom Lehman. He has been fortunate to have worked with some of the best teachers that include Nancy Lopez, Phil Rodgers and Kathy Whitworth. His tremendous research and dedication helped to assist in the development of Swing Model, a leading sport Science Company based on the application of Biomechanical research to the teaching of athletic performance. Joey's core strengths are the ability to motivate people about their golf game and his passion for teaching the game
U.S. Kids Certified Coach
Austin Hughes is an Authorized Instructor of The Golfing Machine (GSEB) with over a decade of teaching experience. A true student of the game and excellent player, Austin has learned from and worked with some of golf’s finest instructors. In his pursuit to play and compete at the highest level, Austin has won more than 25 mini tour events, his lowest professional score being 62. Along with an easy going personality and excellent teaching skills, he has created a following and demand for lessons wherever he has taught. Austin’s experience includes work at three premier golf facilities. He held the position of 1st Assistant Golf Professional at Steelwood Country Club in Alabama and at Heathrow Country Club in Florida. In addition, prior to joining TVGA , Austin was Head Golf Professional at Alaqua Country Club in Longwood Florida. Austin enjoys helping golfers of all skill levels and believes all golfers can improve once a template is created for them to follow. To achieve this, Austin uses training aids, drills, modern technology and simple language.
Titleist Senior Staff Advisor
Bob is a dedicated Class A member of the PGA of America and brings more than 45 years of experience. He is the 31st Master Professional in the history of the Association and is celebrating 30 years of that honorable status. In 1989, Bob instituted the PGA Golf Management Degree at Penn State University which ranks as an elite golf education program in the world. During his career, Bob has been recognized by his peers for numerous awards. They include 2009 Senior Golf Professional Honoree in Florida, Golf Professional of the Year, Merchandiser of the Year and Bob is the only 11 time recipient of the Horton Smith award. He has been an elected officer in three different PGA sections and participated in most PGA section and national committees. Bob has competed internationally throughout his playing career. Champion students have included state champions, collegiate stars, USGA national competitors and PGA professionals. With Bob's lessons, you will play better golf.
Srixon Staff Advisor
U.S. Kids Certified Coach
4 Putting Elements Certified Instructor
Wade Martin is a dedicated Class A member of the PGA of America and has been since 1990. Since coming to The Villages, Wade has been heavily involved in junior golf and instrumental in building the current junior golf program offered by The Villages Golf Academy. Wade has vast experience teaching golfers with physical challenges and has provided instruction to many Solo-Rider golfers. He believes that every golfer learns and performs differently. Through this understanding, his goal is to create customized skill development instruction that is beneficial to all body types, physical attributes, and methods of learning.
Diane is a dedicated Class A member of the LPGA and brings a wealth of experience to the teaching tee. She spent almost 20 years as a tour professional, playing on the LPGA Tour, LPGA Senior Tour and European Tour before turning her focus to teaching. She has been helping students learn the game of golf for the past three decades, most recently as an instructor at the PGA Superstore in Naples, Florida. Hailing from Texas. Diane was always athletic although she did not play golf until age 24. Prior to that, Diane was a college tennis player and for one memorable year, a part of the renowned all-girl flying trapeze act "The Flying Viennas." Diane's teaching philosophy is simple - good habits can be acquired with repetition and golf play improved through consistent routines.
U.S. Kids Certified Coach
Miriam Piland-Rice is an honors graduate from the Golf Academy of America. She played collegiate golf for Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas and has taught golf over a decade. Her previous positions include: Director of Player Development at Mansfield National in Mansfield, Texas as well as Director of Special Need Programs for Little Linksters Golf Inc., Instructor at Heathrow Country Club and at the Mike Bender Golf Academy, all in the Orlando area. Miriam has worked with golfers of all ages and skills and has specialized in working with golfers with physical disabilities. Miriam believes that golf is an excellent tool in helping individual's grow from within. She helps her students develop their swings from the ground up through the stair-step approach while using fundamental golf skills, technology, aids, drills and games.
Ping Staff Member
Tom Talbott is a Class A member of the PGA of America and brings over 25 years of teaching experience to The Villages Golf Academy. Tom owned the Meridian Golf Learning Center in Denver, Colorado, where he was a highly decorated instructor. He is the 2007 Colorado PGA Teacher of the Year and was voted "Best Teachers in State" by Golf Digest Magazine ten years in a row. Tom is a member of two elite groups of global instructors. He is an Authorized Golfing Machine Instructor receiving his master's level in 2001. Tom is also certified in AimPoint, a green reading technique used by many top professionals, and their caddies. He has also worked with some of the top sports psychologist in the industry and is a Ping Top 100 Club Fitter. Tom strongly believes you only have to play golf well enough to satisfy you. His vast knowledge, experience, and passion uniquely qualify him to help you reach your golfing goals.