Profile: Kendall Academy’s Zach Theut helps golfers manage themselves

 
 

He looks like a golfer, dressed with a Nike golf shirt, Nike golf shoes and golf pants you would see Dustin Johnson wearing at Augusta. He acts like a golfer, swings a club like a golfer and talks like a golfer.

But Zach Theut admits, “I’m not a golfer.”

There is an old (and mostly false) saying that those who can’t do, teach. Theut can’t play golf with the best players in the world. Heck, he might not even be the best golfer on a given Saturday at the public course down the street.

But Zach Theut can teach the game of golf. He may not be the best player on the golf course on a given Saturday but he can certainly make YOU the best player on the golf course on most Saturdays. His focus isn’t on his golf game, but YOUR golf game.

And if you think you have to be a great golfer to be a great golf instructor, then answer this question. How many PGA titles have Butch Harmon, David Leadbetter and Hank Haney won? The answer is one (Harmon at the Broome County Open in 1971). Speaking of Haney, he charges $15,000 a day for a lesson if you are interested.

Theut charges a fraction of that as a member of the Kendall Academy of Golf team in Ann Arbor. While he may not have Haney’s experience, he has his own somewhat unique style that at the end of the day will turn those eights on your scorecard into fives or even better – and that’s what lessons and instruction are all about.

Theut, who graduated from Anchor Bay HS in 2009, was born and raised in Fairhaven without a golf club in his hand. “I was a teller at a bank for a while and decided I didn’t want to do that for the rest of my life,” he said. So he made a deposit on his future by swinging for a career in golf, a game he enjoys playing but loves teaching.

“I would play golf with my friends just for fun but never played it in high school or college or competitively,” he said.

With an interest in the business and teaching side of golf, he headed to Ferris State University. And that’s like going to Michigan to study engineering. The PGA Golf Management program at Ferris was the first of its kind sanctioned by the PGA of America in 1975 – Kendall Academy owner and founder Dave Kendall was an early graduate of the program. This program prepares students to manage a club or shop, as well as for many other golf-related careers. Of the 1,770 graduates from the program by 2015, 455 were employed as a head golf professional, director of golf, general manager or administrator; 159 are working as instructors or directors of instruction; and 262 are assistant golf professionals.

Theut graduated from Ferris in 2013 with a degree in business administration and golf.

“It was a perfect fit for me,” says Theut, who had to pass a playing ability test to even qualify for the program. “I always wanted to teach and I love sports so this gives me a chance to combine my two passions.”

 

Theut took his degree and golf clubs and headed to Scottsdale, Ariz., where he took a job with Vision54, a golf teaching facility founded by Lynn Marriott & Pia Nilsson, two of the top golf instructors in the world. Vision54 focuses on the human being playing golf, not just the technical aspect of the game. Their main goal is to “help golfers not only swing better, be more fit, manage your mind or putt better, but to make sure you as a player can transfer these skills and perform better on the course when it matters.”

Theut spent an “amazing” five years at Vision54.

“I loved it there and wouldn’t have come back if it wasn’t because of family and my desire to live in Michigan,” he said. “They specialize in performance coaching where the emphasis is on how you do out on the golf course. It’s a totally different environment where you spend most of your teaching time out on the course. We help players learn how to manage themselves. It’s about the mind, body and emotions out on the golf course. We also are swing coaches but really put the emphasis on the other parts of the game.”

And that’s what Theut is doing at Kendall Academy of Golf, one of the top teaching and instruction academies in the country. With the likes of Dave Kendall, Paul Haase, Tom Harding, Sandy Wagner, Jim Yuhas and others, KAG has plenty of highly regarded instructors on staff who can straighten out your swing, get the short game in order and have you lining up that perfect putt. Theut, with his education and background, brings another dynamic to the table.

“I help them create confidence out on the golf course,” says Theut, who started at Kendall in May. “I help teach them how to focus, how to handle balance, tempo and emotions. All these things help influence your score.”

Theut also has spent extensive time learning from other swing coaches on different swing styles and uses this knowledge to help players find what swing fits them best and how they can access their best swings on the golf course. He will use his background in performance coaching and swing coaching to help players of all skill levels train the skills they uniquely need to play better golf and have more fun.

Theut, who now calls Ann Arbor home, is excited about working at Kendall.

“For Dave and the staff here at Kendall it’s all about relationships and aside from being incredible coaches they also are all incredible people who are very positive and passionate about what they do here,” he says. “I’m excited about learning from them and growing and improving. I help players manage themselves out on the golf course and show them how to learn and improve and get better. I help them try to find the recipe that fits them the best and the mind, body and emotions are all a part of that recipe.”

For more information or to book a lesson, email Zach at ztheut@pga.com

ZACH THEUT OFFERINGS

Private Lesson, Teaching Professional: Individual Private Lessons (50 minutes) will be comprised of identifying what are your tendencies to playing better golf and making better swings as well as the main ways you get in your own way. Players will leave each lesson with a clear game plan on how they can practice and implement this information when they play.

Cost: $100 Adults / $85 Juniors

On-Course Coaching: (3:1 Student Ratio) On-Course Coaching will be comprised of 9 holes of coaching focusing on a particular skill to help shoot lower scores.

Cost: $150 Adults / $125 Juniors

Lesson Series: Lesson Series are packages of Private Lessons packaged in groups of 5. There is a savings in purchasing Lessons in a Series.  Consult with Zach as to how to get the most out of your Lesson Series.

Cost:  Series of 5       $400 Adults / $340 Juniors

Tournament Observations: 9 holes of observation with follow-up. Get feedback on the biggest areas to practice and focus on in order to shoot lower scores under pressure. Zach will be able to design a game plan for future tournaments as well as have valuable information to better utilize future coaching sessions. Contact Zach to schedule sessions.

Cost: $150 per 9 holes and follow-up

 

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