Sure it’s cool to want to be like Mike, but every golfer and would-be golfer dreams of hitting the little white orb just like Tiger.
Oak Cliff’s emerald jewel, Stevens Park Golf Course, now offers you that chance with state of the art,
Step into the Golf Performance Institute of Dallas and you’ll realize this is not your father’s game. Four video cameras and a Doppler radar device are strategically placed to capture a golfer’s every angle, mark where the club face makes contact with the ball, and track the ball’s RPM and spin. The typical golf swing takes 2.5 seconds, says instructor Michael Henderson, and the V-1 Digital Video System tracks about 3 seconds, giving exact details of what the player is doing right or wrong. “It’s just objective data,” he says, “and unlike humans, it’s consistent in returning that data to you every time.”
Golfer Roger Marcincuk concurs. “Sometimes it feels like I’m doing one thing while I’m actually doing something else,” he says. The video shows the precise degree of his body and club and compares them instantly to any of the top PGA golfers in the world. Marcincuk likes the immediate feedback comparing his swing against Tiger Woods’. He uses the DVD of his lesson to review at home and says it’s helped his game tremendously. “It allows me to trust what my teacher is telling me.” The equipment can be taken onto the green, and it tracks the ball up to 400 yards.
The system makes 100,000 calculations per second and is currently the only one available in the world. It comes from Cleveland Golf, Henderson’s sponsor when he was on tour. That’s another thing you’ll notice in the instruction room, which was the original caddy shack when the course was built in 1922. Every golf club Cleveland makes is available at Stevens Park Golf. This unique concept means you can get custom-made clubs with a precise fit in only a day or two, not weeks as is the norm in the industry. “If you spend $2,000 on a suit, you get it tailored,” says Henderson. “Why would you spend the same amount of money on off-the-rack clubs?”
A few dozen experts and novices have been through the program so far. Business was brisk during the Byron Nelson, and Henderson says Cleveland Golf plans to open a dozen similar regional instructional facilities across the nation, but Oak Cliff’s will be the only one in Dallas. With three PGA-level instructors on staff at the 18-hole championship course, Henderson is confident he’s got the best teaching team in the area, no matter your current level of skill.
If you’ve ever wanted to try your luck on the green but have been too afraid you’ll end up looking like hapless Carl Spackler going after the gopher in “Caddyshack,” take some lessons in the indoor hitting area. Henderson’s even been able to get his wife to try it out. “This way you can learn the basics in complete privacy,” he says. “A first golf lesson can be overwhelming, but the take-home DVD helps you remember what to do. You get prepared for going out onto a driving range or a course and you won’t have to worry about being embarrassed.”
A five lesson package is $325 and Henderson says it’s worth the investment. “It’s easy to slip back into old habits. Repetition and reinforcement help you improve rapidly.” Nine-hole playing lessons are also available.
And while you’re sharpening your swing, don’t forget to check out The Grill at Stevens Park. Updated with high definition television, leather seating and a spectacular view of the course, it’s the place to recharge after your game. The menu’s been revised to add more heart-healthy offerings and more upscale choices. No time to play golf today? Feel free to stop by just for cocktails or dinner. “We wanted to create a country club atmosphere,” says Henderson, “at a low daily price for the public. You don’t have to play golf to enjoy a drink or a meal here.”