World-Class Coaching, Limited Class Size and Unique Training Methods Make our Prep Academy a Home of Future Champions.
The Mike Bender Elite Golf Academy is designed from top to bottom to deliver a complete training experience in an intimate setting under the on-site guidance of one of the most accomplished teachers in the world. If you are a young golfer dedicated to reaching your full competitive potential at the collegiate and professional ranks, this is the ideal program for you. Located in the Orlando suburb of Lake Mary, Florida - recently ranked by Money Magazine as one of the Top Five Best Places to Live in the United States – the training center has been developed by world-renowned instructor Mike Bender and is operated in conjunction with the Lake Mary Preparatory School located less than five miles from the golf academy.
Since opening in 1991, Bender has coached more than 90 juniors to earning college golf scholarships. For Elite Academy participants they will work with Mike on a weekly basis throughout the entire school year as he is on site more than 200 days per year.
Besides the fact that at this academy students will be under the guidance of the teacher who's name is on the door, our students will receive personalized attention every single day from our outstanding veteran coaching staff as we have a limit of only 25 students in the program.
A former PGA Tour player, Bender is ranked among the Top Five Best Teachers in America by Golf Digest Magazine and is the 2009 PGA of America National Teacher of the Year. He coaches many of the game’s top professionals including 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson; multiple LPGA champion Seon Hwa-Lee; two-time U.S. Open Champion Lee Janzen; and PGA Tour winners Robert Damron and Jonathan Byrd.
Bender also coaches many of the top junior players from Florida and across the United States. One ofhis 14-year-old students, Shun Yat (Jason) Hak, qualified for the Hong Kong Open in 2008 and made the cut, breaking Sergio Garcia’s record as the youngest to make a cut in a major men’s professional tour event. He returned in 2009 and made the cut again. Shun Yat, who recently graduated from Lake Mary Prep, became the #1 ranked junior in the United States in 2011. The Mike Bender Golf Academy Headquarters is also home to the #1 ranked junior girl and the #2 ranked junior boy, who won the 2014 AJGA Jr. Puerto Rico Open and went on to play in a PGA Tour event due to his outstanding performance earlier this year.
Mike teaches his Elite Academy students the same way he teaches winners of the game’s biggest championships. This is an intensive program designed to develop all the skills necessary for success at the collegiate or professional level. It includes proprietary training methods such as the MEGSA Perfect Practice Equipment and a unique speed training system that no other academy can offer at this time. Our academy also has two state-of-the-art TrackMan launch monitors and the SAM Putt stroke analyzer technologies to provide the most complete and accurate swing data available today.
Training will take place at Magnolia Plantation Golf Club in Lake Mary. The setting offers our students an unparalleled training experience and is the headquarters where Mike Bender teaches year around.
If you are dedicated to your goals and ready to take your game to a much higher level, focus your ambition at the Mike Bender Elite Golf Academy and the Lake Mary Preparatory School. It's an unparalleled combination.
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Mike's Training Philosophy
Every day we strive to create the optimal learning and training environment for junior golfers to reach their full potential. The training center’s students are immersed in an atmosphere where everything from the game’s basic fundamentals to the little-known subtle keys to success are incorporated into each day.
At our academy, we combine Mike Bender’s major-championship winning MEGSA swing method with a comprehensive plan to maximize each student’s tournament preparation, practice techniques, physical conditioning and game management skills.
Our elite training program also emphasizes the proper mental approach to a successful career in golf. Scientific research shows that it takes a minimum of eight to 12 years of training for an athlete to reach the elite levels of his or her sport. Unfortunately, too many coaches approach training with an attitude best characterized as the "win early and win often" approach. Mike and his dedicated staff's commitment is to long-term athletic development incorporating all aspects of training, development and management, which is the only reliable route to long-term elite status. A specific and well-planned training regime will ensure optimum development and control the stress recovery cycle that leads to over-training and burnout.
Ultimately, success is tied to training and performing well in the long-term, rather than winning in the short-term. There are no shortcuts to success in athletic preparation. Rushing development almost always results in shortcomings in physical, technical and tactical abilities. The uniqueness of our program can be defined in our periodization approach to every critical training element.
Developing confident student-athletes, who strive to improve and love to compete, is the essence and core competency of the academy. Here are some of the areas we concentrate on with all of our students.
High-tech Swing Analysis
Our instructors utilize a video analysis system that allows the teacher to film a student's swing and digitize it onto a computer. With the aid of proprietary software, our instructors can analyze and identify even subtle faults and illustrate them to each student. Each session is taped and available to the student for future reference and to demonstrate tangible progress. Our academy also has access to two state-of-the-art TrackMan launch monitor and a SAM Putt stroke analyzer to provide the most accurate swing data available anywhere. These technologies are used by dozens of players on the PGA and LPGA Tours every single week. Daily coaching plans are available for students and parents to observe with use of the online platform called Edufii. This allows the parents to see daily practice plans and allows the students to take ownership of their own practice by recording results and observations of the practice sessions.
Drills and Practice Technique
To achieve long-term athletic development, practice sessions are conducted every day. This consistent approach enables students to achieve a greater grasp of the swing’s finer points that require significant time to master. To achieve consistency and maximum power, our instructors prescribe corrective drills tailored to each student's individual needs.
Additionally, students refine their skills using the MEGSA Perfect Practice Equipment developed by Bender to fine-tune their technical skills. High quality practice is more valuable than high volume practice. We don't want to have our students practice longer to improve, rather we give them unique tools to practice more effectively to achieve the desired result sooner.
It takes more than the correct technique to become a champion golfer. It includes mastering the art of managing oneself and the golf course. Our coaches have all played the game at the professional level and understand what is necessary to compete at the highest levels. To this end, a significant amount of each student's time is spent training and competing on the golf course under various conditions under the watchful eyes of our elite coaching staff. By playing often, students have the opportunity to apply what they have learned on the practice tee and in class. Comprehensive statistics are recorded and each round is discussed and analyzed with one of our instructors.
Fitness Training and Nutrition
Sports-specific training is essential to the success of any athlete. Having understood the need for strength and fitness in the elite levels of professional golf, our academy has retained fitness professionals and have specialized weight-training equipment on site to develop and implement golf-specific fitness plans for all students. Our academy also offer the first of its kind Speed Training Course designed to increase clubhead speed in our students. The program was designed by our very own Scott Sheppard and is a big competitive advantage for our students.
By applying a tailored approach based on each athlete’s individual needs and goals we can enhance strengths and address weaknesses to truly maximize the time investment in all of these areas: Mobility/Flexibility, Core Posture, Movement, Strength and Power and Energy System Development. In conjunction with our academy dietitian, students learn the habits of proper nutrition on and off the course.
Since mental preparation is a major part of golf, one of the instructor's roles is to assist students indeveloping formal routines for on and off the course. Formalized routines make for more consistent play and allow students to focus more clearly while competing. Students practice in all types of weather and are trained to handle all types of inclement conditions during tournament play. Because all of our staff instructors have significant experience competing at the professional level, we are able to fully prepare our students for the rigors of competing against the game's elite players.
Accurate Assessments are Critical to Maximizing Improvement and We Use the Best Assessment Tools Available
All Mike Bender Elite Golf Academy students are taken through a comprehensive skills assessment and evaluation in order for our coaches to put them on a practice regiment that will focus directly on any critical weaknesses. This evaluation also helps our coaches establish carefully-crafted performance goals for each student three to five times each year to track improvement. Our evaluations include:
Tucker Short Game Test
This test includes 100 short game shots including putting, chipping, pitching, bunkers, trouble shots and wedges. Each element of the short game will be scored and converted to a relative handicap which will then be computed with all the other areas in order to come up with an overall short game handicap for each student. This test is given three times during the school year to track improvement. Our research shows that in order to be a standout high school player ones short game handicap should be 0 or better and to be on the PGA Tour the short game handicap needs to be +4 or better.
The SAM PuttLab is the state of the art computer analysis for the putting stroke. The feedback it provides allows our coaches to make sure that students are practicing the proper way to groove the best stroke possible and that they have the correct putter design to match their stroke tendencies. The SAM PuttLab sessions are done a minimum of two times during the school year.
TrackMan Launch Monitor
Each student is put on our TrackMan launch monitor first and foremost to make sure that their clubs are correctly fit for them and also to track their progress in improving their shot quality. The TrackMan is the number one launch monitor in the world and used by every major manufacturer of golf equipment for their internal testing. Its capabilities are numerous including helping us check the distance gaps between each club in the student’s set and to evaluate numerous technical data from impact that will help us speed the learning process.
V-1 Swing Analysis Software
We use the V-1 software to analyze each student’s full-swing mechanics. This is the most widely used software and each student’s first swings will be stored for comparison to provide before and after comparisons of their individual progress (to see more click here). Each student is videotaped on a regular basis and these swing critiques are posted to each student’s individual internet locker where they can be reviewed by the student or their parents at any time.
Mental Golf Profiler
Each student will complete an online Mental Golf Profile that will be both beneficial for instructor and student. This profile is very effective at identifying the individual’s specific learning style along with revealing probable mental strengths and weaknesses when competing on the course. This is done on an annual basis.
Shot By Shot On-Course Statistical Analysis
Statistical information is at the core of each student’s improvement. It has been said that golf stats do not lie and we believe very strongly that in order to help each student to reach his or her full potential we need to closely monitor their stats. Just as the PGA Tour keeps detailed stats on every player it has been the standard measurement of how good a player is. The Shot By Shot program is an online statistical database service that allows each player to keep running totals of each stat category and then compare their performance to golfers at every handicap level. Shot By Shots’ database of more than 100,000 rounds from golfers at all levels – including the PGA Tour – creates these comparisons. These stats are carefully monitored by our staff and are the basis for whether or not the student is reaching his or her performance goals. This is done after each tournament.
TPI Fitness Evaluation
Fitness is extremely important for injury prevention as well as overall game improvement. Our fitness instructor is Scott Shepard and he has the Tour-proven credentials, training and experience to help each student improve their strength, flexibility and clubhead speed. The Titleist Performance Institute has developed a very good fitness assessment that Scott uses to establish the type of individual program needed to improve each student’s physical performance. This is done on a regular basis during workouts supervised by Scott.
Ball Striking Test
Each student will be asked to perform a series of standard golf shots and scored on their ability to hit each shot on command. This subjective evaluation is excellent in seeing how consistently students can recreate various shots: both standard and trouble shots. This evaluation is preformed monthly. Once all assessments have been completed, the coaches and the student revise the individual’s training regimen to better help each individual reach their performance goals.
Wedge Range Record
Great wedge players know exactly how far their ball flies. The Wedge Range was originally engineered to help Zach Johnson improve his efficiency with his wedges. The Wedge Range is setup with 4ft x 4ft cement blocks at yardages 30 to 100 yards in 10-yard increments. A student receives 100 balls for a record attempt. Starting at the 30-yard block the student hits balls to the target until they land a ball on the target. The student then proceeds to the 40-yard block. The student will either run out of balls or run out of blocks. If the student runs out of balls they record the last block they hit as their record. If the student runs out of blocks they record the number of balls it took to hit all 8 blocks.
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The proof is in the scholarships. So far, more than 100 of our Mike Bender Golf Academy students have earned college golf scholarships at the following schools:
University of Dayton
Brevard Junior College
Chapman University (California)
Florida Gulf Coast University
Johnson and Wales
St Mary's (California)
Stanislaus State (California)
University of Alabama
University of Alabama at Birmingham
University of Central Florida
University of Georgia
University of Houston
University of North Carolina
University of Louisville
University of Michigan
University of Nevada Las Vegas
University of New Mexico
University of North Florida
University of South Alabama
University of South Florida
University of Virginia
William and Mary
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