Spring is the season for renewal, and unfortunately, most golfers have swings that are in need of some renewing. Golf schools offer a glimmer of hope with the promise of a quick (and hopefully lasting) fix. There are hundreds of places where you can take lessons, but these are the best.
If you can get into one of his Las Vegas schools before they book up, do. Harmon, the man who taught Tiger Woods (as well as Fred Couples, Justin Leonard, and Mark Calcavecchia), is the most sought-after instructor in the sport and has been ranked number one by Golf Digest. His schools are at Rio Secco, with lodging at the Rio and at Paris Las Vegas. $2,400 to $5,900. (702) 777-2444, www.butchharmon.com
The first big-name instructor (who taught Nick Faldo, Greg Norman, and many others), Leadbetter did for golf pros what Wolfgang Puck did for celebrity chefs. He now has 28 top-notch golf academies around the globe, including in Vail, Colorado; Maui, Hawaii; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Naples, Florida; Whistler, British Columbia; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Headquarters is in Orlando, Florida.) $225 to $3,950. (407) 397-1450, www.davidleadbetter.com
Jim McLean Golf School
Author of the best-selling instructional tome the X-factor Swing and some 20 other books, this teacher to numerous pros (Brad Faxon, Tom Kite, Sergio Garcia) has long presided over what may be the nation’s best resort-based golf academy. Located at Miami’s Doral Golf Resort and Spa, McLean’s large teaching facility is complete with elaborate video and club-making operations. Packages include lodging and play on the resort’s five renowned courses. McLean also has six other U.S. locations, plus three schools in Canada and one in Spain. $1,445 to $5,765. (800) 723-6725, www.jimmclean.com
Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Fresh from a nearly $200 million renovation, Kiawah, in South Carolina, was just named the top golf resort in the nation by Travel and Leisure Golf; has received accolades aplenty, including the AAA 5-Diamond ranking for its hotel, the Sanctuary; and was recently awarded the PGA Championship on its fabled Ocean Course (currently ranked the third-best public course in the country). Kiawah’s full-blown golf academy matches these high standards with a dedicated high-tech learning center and a wide variety of packages for men, women, and juniors. $3,069. (800) 576-1570, www.kiawahresort.com
Rick Smith Golf Academies
Having worked with pros from Phil Mickelson to Vijay Singh and even Jack Nicklaus himself, Smith knows a thing or two about the swing, and his schools are consistently rated among the nation’s best. He is also the owner of Michigan’s Treetops golf resort (with 81 holes), which is open during the summer months, and of the academy Tiburón in Naples, Florida, which is open year-round. From $99. (888) 873-3867, www.ricksmith.com
Former superstar Blalock, who won 27 LPGA Tour titles, is now president of the Legends Tour (senior LPGA) and runs her signature golf schools. Her focus is on teaching women so that they can use golf to compete in the business world. Fifteen times a year, in major metropolitan areas around the country, she hosts one-day LPGA Golf Clinics for Women ($300) that offer off- and on-course instruction for all ability levels, including novice. (617) 225-0008, www.jbcgolf.com
Enhancement Eyewear SunBuster’s high-tech PuttReaders sunglasses filter out colors so you can see undulation and slope on the greens better. $120.
Adidas Tour 360
The golf shoe is redefined for perfect fit and performance right out of the box. $180.
This watch improves your swing by measuring tempo, rhythm, backswing length, and clubhead speed. Worn by four of the top 10 finishers in last year’s U.S. Open. $399.
Sun Mountain Atlas Travel Case
Finally, the best features of a hard and a soft case are combined, with rigid protection that collapses to just 24 inches. $225.
TaylorMade r7 Draw
The r7 series is already the hottest driver line in golf, but this new model helps golfers hit a draw, the optimum ball flight. $399.
Adams a2 Hybrids
Red-hot on tour, hybrids, a cross between fairway woods and irons, make it easier to hit than traditional long irons. $199.
Yonex Cyberstar Nanospeed Irons
Yonex has replaced traditional titanium with lighter, nanotechnology ingredients for clubheads that weigh less and swing faster — and hit the ball farther. $899.
These adjustable-weight putters help golfers who consistently miss to one side of the hole, while a grooved face starts the putt rolling on a more accurate line. $170 to $200.