Bunker Hills And GolfTEC: A Perfect Fit
By Steve Manthis
The PGA TOUR has finished the two Hawaii tournaments and has moved on to its west coast swing. Pitchers and catchers report to baseball’s Spring Training in just about a week. The winter sports in high schools are getting ready for playoffs and State Tournament time. What this all means is that golf season is getting closer every day. If you’re looking to improve this coming year and want to find something better than just beating balls on the driving range, then you should find someone who can provide you with the expertise to take your game to the next level. Most courses have professionals willing to help, but Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids, MN has an exciting new project coming this year.
Recently, as Bunker Hills has looked at its facility, it decided the range needed some work. Tim Anderson, Director of Golf at Bunker Hills, says, “It was in great need of improvement, and we’ve been thinking about it for a number of years.” They contacted GolfTEC, who had been thinking of expanding to a grass facility, and an agreement was reached. There will be a redesign of the facility, the biggest of which, says Anderson, is the two-bay GolfTEC building which will be on the west side of where the range currently sits. Other improvements to the practice facility include a new tee to the driving range with 25 stalls instead of 16, a new putting green, and what Anderson calls “the best short game practice area around.” This short game area will be located at the back of the range and will require some tree removal, but he’s sure it will be worth it once completed. But the most exciting opportunity, says Anderson, is the partnership with GolfTEC.
GolfTEC (T stands for technique, E for equipment and C for conditioning) calls itself the “undisputed leader in golf improvement” and its website (www.golftec.com) claims a 95% success rate. In existence for 18 years, it boasts 180 training centers in the U.S., Canada, Korea and Japan. Up to now, GolfTEC has always been an indoor training facility. This year, however, GolfTEC is expanding its business model and opening a facility at Bunker Hills. Much has been written about the new clubhouse at Bunker Hills and the 36 holes there are some of the best around, but the practice facility had always been a bit of a letdown. Enter GolfTEC.
Jim McNaney, City Manager for GolfTEC, says, “It’s a perfect marriage for us and Bunker Hills and its also perfect timing.” As a result, GolfTEC will take over the instruction as of April 15th, 2013. Assistant professionals Marcus Wilhelm and Tim Brovold will remain at Bunker Hills, but they will become trained in the GolfTEC “Proven Path” method, so no need to worry if you’ve taken lessons from either one; you’ll still be able to find them. What GolfTEC does, according to McNaney, is provide “the best technology and best training to help its students.” They use video and motion measurement to make an assessment, and then the coaches provide lessons and drills to help you create a more efficient and repeatable swing. They’ll also help you with the fitness side of the game as well as the mental side.
In addition to helping with the swing, McNaney emphasizes GolfTEC’s club fitting process. No matter how good your swing is your clubs have to be matched to your ability. McNaney says, “The average player needs fitting more than a Tour Pro. They’re so good they can make adjustments to the club. The average player can’t do that.” Two things he stresses are gapping – making sure there are no large “holes in yardage” between clubs – and getting fitted for a putter. “There are so many putters out there, and the average player buys one after hitting just a few putts with it. They really need a putter of the right length and style.” With the agreements GolfTEC has with manufacturers and with the relationships Bunker Hills has, he says people fitted by GolfTEC will have access to just about every manufacturer and club maker out there.
Bunker Hills already has several simulators inside the clubhouse, and GolfTEC plans to open a temporary space in one of those bays while they erect the new building, which they plan to have open by the end of June. McNaney expects there will be some specials once the season opens, but he stresses that anyone interested shouldn’t wait until June. “We have other training centers in the area,” he says, “so he or she could get started at one of them and move to Bunker Hills once it’s up and running.” (Other facility locations are in Eden Prairie, Edina, Minnetonka and Roseville).
Promoting and growing the game is the goal of any golf instructor and GolfTEC wants to do the same. They’ll even run the community education classes, and McNaney sees a great opportunity for playing lessons with Bunker’s 36 holes to choose from. While Bunker Hills is the first of GolfTEC’s grass facilities, he envisions others. In fact, one in Las Vegas is slated to open later this year. As the first one, though, he’s looking forward to the Coon Rapids opening, “It’s an exciting time for GolfTEC, for Bunker Hills and Coon Rapids,” he says. “It’s a huge step for all of us.”