Play Better with Jason Reddington

Play Better with Jason ReddingtonHe’s originally from the Hoosier state, but spends his summers in Ohio and the winters in Scottsdale, Arizona. In Ohio, he teaches at Beechmont Country Club while in the desert he teaches at Mirabel. I have been by Mirabel… it’s incredible. In terms of what he does with golf instruction, he was developed by the top 100 Teacher Rick McCord and has a ton of experience. His goal is to get you to focus on improving your golf game and to shooting lower scores. His passion to the game blows me away, and he strives to provide his student with the latest and greatest in technology. He also obsesses with social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. He’s in Arizona right now… but it’s my absolute pleasure to introduce you to Jason Reddington.

Not sure if you have had a chance to check out the blog, but I have interviewed over 350 bands and DJs from all over the world. Recently I decided to get into PGA teaching pros. Made sense! Anyway, this is a new concept for me… I am glad to have you on board. Have you had a chance to look at any of the other interviews I have done with PGA guys?

I have checked out your interviews with quite a few of the PGA pros; exciting stuff. I am glad I can be a part of it. Thanks for bringing me this opportunity!

My pleasure! You are an Indiana boy… where are you originally from?

I am originally from Evansville, Indiana. I spent the first 23 years of my life growing up there and then going to the University of Evansville for 4 years. Then I moved to Orlando about 8 months after graduating and haven’t looked back!

You teach at two clubs, one in Ohio and one in Arizona. Tell me about the two places you teach. Do you prefer one club to the other?

They are both higher end private clubs. My club in Cleveland, Beechmont Country Club, has close to 400 golfing members, so it is very active. Mirabel in Scottsdale is a little more laid back, but I think that has a lot to do with it being more of a vacation spot for the members in the winter months. Most of the members there live somewhere else during the summer. As far as preferring one over the other, they both bring about different challenges and excitement.

How do you go about that… working at one club in the winter? Are both clubs aware and OK with you doing that?

Yes, both clubs know that I travel from one place to the next. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Cleveland, but you are lucky to get 3 months of good weather. So for me to stay there past the summer season would make it difficult for me to be successful as an instructor. Therefore, my contracts are structured for 5-6 months at each place and it actually works well for both the clubs and me.

You recently launched a new website. It looks great by the way. Is that your first site?

It’s my first site. I worked with IMAVEX and they did a great job on the new site!

You and I will be working together to build your brand a little bit too. Part of that is a Facebook/Twitter/YouTube campaign. Are you excited to share all of your thoughts with the world on these social media channels?

I am very excited! Most of that is new to me, but putting it all together has been fun while also challenging work. I look forward to seeing how much it grows and helps build my brand.

Tell me about your relationship with top 100 teacher Rick McCord.

Rick has been my mentor for the last 8 years, and no doubt I would not be where I am in my career without him. I began working at Orange Lake Resort where he has his academy back in 2004. My passion was in teaching, so I interviewed with him to see how I could get involved with his academy. I spent a lot of time watching Rick teach that first year, and fortunately he allowed me to do so. When you get to see a top 100 teacher give lessons on a daily basis you can improve as an instructor in your own rite very quickly. I was fortunate enough to be at an academy where the top 100 teacher is there on a daily basis, and not only that, but works with his staff to help them in their own careers. Rick helped me expand my career into Cleveland and now Arizona as well. We have become great friends through the years, and we still talk golf and golf swing on a regular basis to this day.

Did you play high school and college golf?

I started playing golf when I was 14 as a freshman and I was not good! However, I fell in love with the game, and by my junior year I was the best player in the city. I had options to walk on at some big schools, but decided to take a scholarship to my hometown university. I knew I would be able to play immediately at the Division I level there, so I couldn’t pass it up.

Do you still get to play a lot? I know some teachers who never play!

Define a lot… (Laughs.) I definitely play and make it a part of my business and profession to ensure that that stays a part of my practice. I love to compete, so I play in quite a few tournaments when I can, mostly in the summer months.  However, even if didn’t like to play in tournaments, I believe that actually playing the game of golf is so important to any golf professional’s business. It’s a shame to see golf professionals get into this business and fall into the traps of being inside behind a desk or computer all day. There are a lot of pieces to the golf business, but to me the most important pieces will always be teaching and playing.

I am sure you have played some pretty sweet golf courses… what’s your favorite golf course?

This is always a tough one for me. I tend to enjoy different things about many courses. Pine Valley is awesome and there is a lot more to it than just the course that makes it cool. Philadelphia Cricket Club and Caves Valley near Baltimore are also near the top of my list.

Starting with your driver, and working your way through the golf ball, what’s in your bag?

Taylor Made Everything!

  • Driver – R11 10.5
  • 3 Wood – R11 15 deg
  • 5 Wood – R11 19 deg
  • TP Rescue 2011 23.5 deg
  • 4-PW – R9 B’s
  • Wedges – 54 deg and 60 TP
  • Putter – Rossa Daytona
  • Golf Ball – Penta

How does being the Director of Instruction differ from being the head golf professional?

As the Director of Instruction, I am in charge of directing the entire teaching program at my clubs. Therefore, I coordinate clinics, golf schools, junior programs, and any packages or programs that we may have at the club. My sole responsibility is making sure the members are happy with the teaching program and the instruction that they are getting while also coming up with new creative and innovative ideas to present to them. As a Head Professional, you are much more in charge of the day to day operations of the club. The HP has a staff that he is in charge of; he has tournaments to run, and members to satisfy with everything from merchandising to pace of play.

Let’s say I schedule a lesson with you. What’s that first lesson look like?

It depends on the person. I’m not a method teacher, which means I don’t have a script that I go through with every person the same way.  I don’t believe in teaching everyone the same thing because everyone is different. I really believe that getting to know your students personality is important. Therefore, my lessons begin with asking questions. You can find a lot out about your students just by talking to them. Everything from what they are working on, to what they think they are doing in their swings. It’s important to understand your student and what type of a player they are before you can build a program for them. It’’ vital to understand their commitment to practice and the time they are going to put into improving before you begin working on them as well. I don’t believe you should expect everyone to work as hard as a tour pro or to be as talented as one. Therefore, I am going to structure the amount of changes we make based on a number of factors, including coordination and ability, as well as their time commitment.

Do you watch much golf on TV? I am the biggest Tiger Woods fan… who is your favorite player?

When I get the time I do try to stay up on what is going on with the PGA TOUR. Growing up I was a huge Fred Couples fan and then David Duval as well. Recently, I enjoy watching Dustin Johnson; just wish he would learn to putt!

Do you do playing lessons?

Absolutely. It can be difficult when the courses are busy in prime season, but that is the best way to really get your students to learn and improve. I tell my students that if we are spending a multitude of lessons on the driving range then we are not moving in the direction I would like to go. It always depends on each individual player, but I like to get them comfortable with an improving swing thought, and then move to the short game and on course. Most people think that to get better they need to improve their swing when actually you can improve most players’ game and scoring just by progressing in the short game and on course strategy.

What’s the lowest score you have ever shot?

In college, I shot a 60 in a qualifying round at a very easy public course. Most recently, I had a very streaky summer in 2010 where I shot a couple 63s and a couple 64s in tournaments which is always nice.

Let’s say I want 10 more yards off the tee. In 140 characters or less (thinking Twitter over here) what would you suggest?

Focus on hitting it more solid.

You are a member of the Golf Business Network. How has that helped you grow as a teaching professional?

I’ve only been a Golf Business Network member for less than a year, but it definitely gives you the tools you need to be connected in the golfing world. GBN is also committed to keeping their network small enough to where each individual can benefit from personal service which is nice.

There are four majors on the PGA TOUR… which is your favorite to watch and why?

The Masters. They each bring something special to the table, but I’ve been to Augusta and the place is incredible. I can’t describe it, but if you are a fan of golf you have to find a way to go.

Most PGA teaching professionals share lesson rates. Are your lesson rates public? Do you set those or does the club set them for you?

My lesson rates are advertised at my clubs, but are not posted on my website. If someone wants to take a lesson, I want them to take a lesson from me because they liked my philosophy or were recommended to me by someone, not because I charge less or more than someone else. I determine what I charge for instruction, but there is some discretion that I use since I am working at a private club and my job is to service the membership.

Let’s go back to the top 100. In your opinion, who is the best PGA teaching professional? You are not allowed to say yourself!

That’s such a difficult question. I’ve seen a lot of great instructors out there and I’ve seen a lot of bad ones. The top 100 list is very political and in my opinion does not represent the best 100 teachers in America, and a lot of people would agree with that. To me, Rick McCord embodies what every instructor should be. His expertise has taught the touring pro, but also is able to “dummy” it down for the average golfer. I believe he has the longest tenure on the top 100 list, which is saying something.

It gets hot in Arizona. Do you ever get sick of the heat?

Fortunately, I leave Arizona in late April before it gets crazy hot. However, I’d rather endure extreme heat than extreme cold. You can’t play golf in the snow!

Taylor Made has a white driver. Have you tried to hit that thing? No way you can stay comfortable over the ball!

Yes, I have tried and succeeded! The R11 is in my bag and is the best driver I have ever hit. Honestly, the color never was an issue. As a golfer, you begin to get used to your equipment. I remember when the titanium drivers first started coming out and they kept getting bigger and bigger. At first, I was like how can you hit these things, they are so big!  Now, if I see an old Big Bertha it’s the size of my 5 wood!

You are in Arizona during the Waste Management event at TPC Scottsdale. Do you go to that every year?

Well, last year was the first I was here during the tournament, but I did go. We sat on #16 for a while, and actually saw the first hole in one they have had on that hole in 6 or 7 years I think… pretty cool.

Do you think Tiger will break Jack’s record?

If he stays healthy, then yes. But I am a lot less sure about it now than I was 3 years ago. I do think he will return to Tiger form next year and I actually just wrote an article about this for my website!

On Facebook, there is a group called the Business of Golf Instruction. The idea behind this group is to share information from one pro to the next. What are your thoughts on sharing information? Have you seen a lot of benefit from being involved with that group?

I’ve just joined the group so I haven’t gotten involved a whole lot yet, but I have already made some connections and can see that it will be very beneficial in the future. As far as sharing information, I’ll never understand instructors who are too insecure to share information. I love to hear what others have to say about the golf swing and the business, and I hope they enjoy what I have to say as well. I believe networks and groups like this are what will help improve and grow the game.

I like to listen to music when I practice. Do you listen to tunes while you practice?

I’d like to, but when I’m practicing it is usually in between lessons and near members, so I don’t think it’s very professional to tune them out when they are around.

Have you ever had a hole in one?


2012 is here. What does the New Year have in store for you?

Well, I’m excited about my new website and being able to bring some of my ideas and talents to the public!

Will I see you in Orlando at the PGA Merchandise Show?

No. I am just too busy in late January to be able to miss a few days. That is the heart of the winter season in Arizona!

Jason, I could ask you questions all day long. I appreciate you taking the time to sit and chat. In all of the interviews that I do, I always give the artist the last word. Go.

Stay thirsty my friend.

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