Thirty-five GOLFTEC Coaches receiving Golf Digest top honors is rare, but the reach of our coaches is much more unique 

By Sabrina Naccarato

Golf Digest Best Teachers in Your State- Golf DigestWe know our Coaches are good. And every other year, a handful are recognized for their outstanding teaching by Golf Digest and honored with the ‘Best Teachers in Your State’ award. This list is comprised of the nation’s Best Teachers in each state, as chosen by a survey conducted by Golf Digest.

In years past, GOLFTEC has had solid representation on this list, but as our company continues to grow and we continue to achieve our mission to help people play better golf, the number of coaches gracing this list multiples.

This year, 35 GOLFTEC Coaches from 19 states were awarded this honor.


Having 35 Coaches from one organization receive this honor is something unique in itself, but the significance of the connection of all of these top Coaches is what makes it so rare.

Golf Digest Best Teachers in Your State- GTUEvery single one of the 800 GOLFTEC Coaches across the world makes up a one-of-a-kind community. This community begins with our Teaching Quality Team at GOLFTEC Headquarters, located in Denver, Co., who leads our exclusive teaching and continued education efforts at GOLFTEC University (GTU).

Every single new Coach who walks through GOLFTEC’s doors must complete GTU before ever teaching a lesson or performing a club fitting.

The education doesn’t stop once Coaches leave GOLFTEC Headquarters. Each GOLFTEC Coach is connected via multiple internal communication platforms. If a Coach is struggling with a student’s swing or has a question regarding anything industry-related, a simple ask to our army of 800 Coaches will get the question answered quickly.

And as we all know, the golf industry is continuously evolving, and we have to stay on top of it if we want to help our students play their best golf. This is accomplished by continued education outside of GTU with ongoing training modules, monthly and quarterly tests to ensure every single GOLFTEC Coach, from the new guy who just graduated GTU to the veteran Coach who is on the ‘Best Teacher in Your State’ list for the third time, never misses a beat.

Access to the best

Golf Digest Best Teachers in Your State- coachingSo, what does all of this have to do with the 35 Coaches that made this Golf Digest list? In regards to the education system we mentioned, almost all of the 35 Coaches completed that instruction. And four of the 35 Coaches on this list are the ones leading GTU. So, every GOLFTEC Coach is being taught by the best of the best.

And the internal communication platforms? These 35 Coaches are very active. If you’re a new Coach, and you throw out a question to the GOLFTEC universe, who knows, it might be Nick Clearwater who responds. He does happen to be GOLFTEC’s Vice President of Instruction, a Top 50 Teacher in America, No. 1 Teacher in Colorado, multiple Golf Digest ‘Best Teacher in Your State’ and ‘Best Young Teacher in America’ recipient.

As a result, if you are the student of said Coach above, who is getting advice from Clearwater, then you are getting instruction from a Top 50 Teacher in America. The experience and expertise of these 35 GOLFTEC Coaches aren’t selfishly reserved for their students; it’s shared among the entire GOLFTEC community of Coaches and students. And that’s the GOLFTEC Way.

How a GOLFTEC Coach is Made

Golf Digest’s ‘Best Coaches in Your State’


Jerome Andrews, GOLFTEC El Segundo, El Segundo, CA


Nick Clearwater, GOLFTEC Headquarters, Centennial, CO (#1 in State and #33 in America)
Patrick Nuber, GOLFTEC Headquarters, Centennial, CO
Zach Lambeck, GOLFTEC Headquarters, Denver, CO
Brad Skupaka, GOLFTEC Headquarters, Denver, CO
Ty Walker, GOLFTEC Denver Tech Center, Denver, CO
Nathan Morris, GOLFTEC Westminster, Westminster, CO
Chad Miller, GOLFTEC Chapel Hills, Colorado Springs, CO
Jerred McKinney, GOLFTEC CentennialCentennial, CO
Vincent Downie, GOLFTEC Park Meadows, Englewood CO


John Vitale, GOLFTEC West Hartford, West Hartford, CT


Steve Lippincott, GOLFTEC Westshore, Tampa, FL


TJ Sullivan, GOLFTEC Oak Brook, Oak Brook, IL


Ryan Schrencongost, GOLFTEC Carmel, Carmel, IN


Brett Beard, GOLFTEC Overland Park, Overland Park, KS


Ryan McGwyer, GOLFTEC Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge, LA


Ian Hughes, GOLFTEC Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids, MI


Oliver Darby, GOLFTEC Bunker Hills, Coon Rapids, MN
Nick Pelle, GOLFTEC Minnetonka, Plymouth, MN


Kevin Tanner, GOLFTEC North Bethesda, North Bethesda, MD


James Kinney, GOLFTEC Omaha, Omaha, NE


Tim Sam, GOLFTEC Henderson, Henderson, NV

New Jersey

Brian Gussis, GOLFTEC Woodbridge, Metuchen, NJ

New York

Dan Benzenberg, GOLFTEC Carle Place, Carle Place, NY


Joe Stago, GOLFTEC Dublin, Dublin, OH
Nick Paez, GOLFTEC Cleveland West, OH

Rhode Island

Ryan Galloway, GOLFTEC Rhode Island, Cranston, RI (#1 in State)


Doug Strawbridge, GOLFTEC Upper Kirby, Houston, TX
Erik Wait, GOLFTEC Plano, Plano, TX


Tim Boegh, GOLFTEC Madison, Madison, WI
Todd Gamroth, GOLFTEC Wauwatosa, Wauwatosa, WI
Kevin Kihslinger, GOLFTEC Mequon, Mequon, WI (#1 in State)
Brendan Locke, GOLFTEC Mequon, Mequon, WI


Chris Runyan, GOLFTEC Spokane, Spokane, WA
Josh McKinley, GOLFTEC Spokane, Spokane, WA

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  1. I have been improving my game at the GolfTec facility in Omaha, Ne. for the past 3 years where James Kinney was named as the Nebraska GolfTec Coach of the Year. Although my personal coach is Brett Hahn in Omaha, James and all of his other associate coaches are always available to assist and encourage my progress. I look forward to my lessons with Brett and twice weekly regular scheduled practice times. Anyone who gives James or any of his associate Coaches the opportunity to work with them with regard to club fitting, swing evaluation, lessons, etc. will find their money was well spent and hopefully become a part of the Omaha GolfTec family.

  2. I just started season 2 with Mat Little at the Lakeside store in Michigan. After what Mat was able to accomplish with my swing the first winter we worked together I was excited to sign up for another lesson/practice plan. Mat’s passion and attitude for golf and for helping his students is infectious and second to none. I tell anyone that will listen that Golftec if they plan on playing golf for another 30 plus years then they should start here. Btw, last year was my first official lesson at age 40. Never too old to learn how to swing properly.

  3. For the past two-plus years, I have been working with Gray Gillian at GOLFTEC at Bunker Hills Golf Course in Coon Rapids, MN. Having golfed for almost 50 years without a lesson, I finally got tired of playing bad golf (some would call that FLOG – the opposite of golf; golf spelled backwards!) so I decided to walk into GOLFTEC to buy new clubs. When Gray fitted me for new irons, he made a comment about new clubs will help but that wouldn’t be the end all and be all. Thankfully, I took his advice and started working with him. Previous to working with Gray, I had managed to break 100 once in the previous five years and tropically my scores were in the 105 to 115 range. I hated hitting irons and I was so frustrated that I seriously thought about giving up the game! (wouldn’t you?) Although it hasn’t been an easy journey, I have started to break 90! Do I have a ways to go? You bet! Because of Gray’s coaching, I now have much more confidence and I’m enjoying the game for a change.

    Why do I like working with Gray? Several reasons. First of all, he is very knowledgeable and can analyze my swing as it has evolved over the last 30 months. He also works to related to me on my life experiences – he knows I coached football for over 40 years and when he makes an analogy, he does it in football terms a lot of the time.

    I also have felt comfortable with him from the started and have never felt that he was thinking negative thoughts! In other words, he has never judged me because of my “bad swing habits” but rather very patiently worked with me! If I wasn’t getting some concept, he presents it in a different way rather than saying the same thing over and over again.

    I have learned to be patient on the golf course as a result of Gray’s coaching. Whether in the bay or during playing lessons, if I hit a bad shot, he will say “Just a mis-hit”, and I have taken that attitude onto the course when I play with my buddies. It stops me from making a poor shot and turning it into 2 (or 3 or more) bad shots.
    Finally, that attitude of being patient to has carried over into real life for me. The lessons I learned from Gray are similar to lessons that football teaches high school players – no one is perfect on the golf course and it’s how you deal with adversity that impacts how successful you will be. (Funny how you can teach things to others, but you have difficultly seeing it in your own life!)
    I’m so glad that I decided to take Gray’s advise and work with him at GOLFTEC – well with the cost of participation! Thanks Gray!
    I could go on but…..

  4. I took lessons from Erik Wait in Dallas – 105 lessons in 24 months – I was self taught since age 6 – took a few lessons from Hank Haney & a couple of his Dallas Instructors but I needed to learn how to hit a golf ball, with my core, not my arms – Erik made a few minor adjustments to my setup, but he told me the 1st day that he wanted me 45 degrees open at impact, not the 75 degrees I walked in with – no wonder I was a weak slicer that often hit duck hooks – I really had no clue – I was just hitting the damn thing as hard as I knew how & then going to find it & hit it, hard, again. Erik taught me how to practice, not just rapid fire hit a bucket of balls. Erik taught me how to flop a wedge, straight up, and stop the ball, immediately, or flop it, and run it – Erik himself is an excellent tournament player & knocks it a mile, straight, or cuts it, or draws it – whenever he wants to. He’d given 32,000 lessons when I met him in 2012 – he never quit saying, “turn”, during the entire 105 lessons, and that was the last thing he said when I told him I was finished – “turn, Mike”


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