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The Meadows at GVSU welcomes Kendall Golf Academy instructor Mike Sullivan
Date: March 26, 2012
ALLENDALE, MI -- If you find yourself dubbing, slicing, hooking, worm-burning and flat-out missing the golf ball out on the range at The Meadows at Grand Valley State University this spring, you may just get a tap on your shoulder from Mike Sullivan.
Sullivan, the new director of instruction of the Kendall Academy at The Meadows at GVSU likes to help those in need as they continue their battle to show that little white ball who's boss.
"I think people look at it as a very complex and hard game to learn, and while that may be true at times, it doesn't need to be," Sullivan said.
"It can be put in a simplistic manner, and I think that's one of the philosophies about my teaching. It's a game that you can play your entire life, and you want to make it fun, and it can be fun."
A Ferris State University graduate from the Professional Golf Management program, Sullivan says he'd eventually like to grow the Kendall Academy to add some interns into the mix.
"Having the opportunity to combine an instructional program with all the other athletic programs they have here just adds to the whole environment for Grand Valley and we hope to contribute to that," he said.
Although not a member of the staff at GVSU, Sullivan brings the respected reputation of the Kendall Academy of Golf to The Meadows, where he hopes to have an impact on players of all abilities at each level.
"We'll try to cater some evening clinics for people who work during the day, some clinics for women and some for seniors as well. It'll be a big menu."
Many golf instructors have a niche part of the game in which they can really bring out the best in a player. For Sullivan, it's the short game.
"I think we'd all like to say, as instructors, that we're really well-rounded in all different areas, but for those people who know me and my particular game, I like to take the weakest part of my game and focus on that the most, and you try to instruct that to your students.
"The short game is a big thing for me, because I think the game is played from the green backwards."
Sullivan looks at golf a little differently from many pro instructors. He's not going to try to change your swing to replicate a tour professional.
"I don't think think there's one molded swing," he said. "There isn't a perfect method. I think the important thing is to look at the individual, figure out what their abilities are and then build a road map with them around their capabilities."
Even while instructing, Sullivan thinks of himself as a student, choosing to learn from the differences that come up with the people he teaches.
"I think as an instructor, you're always learning too. You have to be creative. Every new student you have has a different movement."
Sullivan preaches three things: Good grip, good posture and good balance.
"At the end of the day, I've got to find out what your goal is. My goal is to make the game more fun for you. You've got to figure out where the person wants to go with the game."
So, much like an electrician, a plumber, a tax preparer and a chef, a golf professional gets put into strange spots when out with their friends.
When on the course for recreation, Sullivan likes to let everyone enjoy their round. he's not hustling around, "fixing" everyone's swing.
View full sizeCory Olsen | MLive.comKendall Golf Academy's Mike Sullivan. (Cory Olsen | MLive.com)
Unless he's asked, that is.
"It's fun to watch the characteristics and personalities on the golf course, and you really want to jump right in there to help," he said.
"Unless I'm asked, I like to stay away from giving instruction because you're out there to have fun. Now if someone's really struggling then I'll step in to help a little bit. But we're out there to have fun."
Sullivan likes to head to the range to help those people after the round is through.
"For me to try to change someone's swing in the middle of a round? Then sometimes things get worse. We're out there to have fun, and that's not fun for anyone."
The reward for Sullivan is putting a smile on people's face.
"Just watching someone hit a shot like they've never hit before, or getting the ball in the air when they never have, that's great," he said.
In addition to the instruction, Sullivan will also be available to custom fit players for golf clubs.
To find out more about contact Mike Sullivan for information or a lesson, call (269) 720-2388 or email him at email@example.com.
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