Golf Lesson with Phil and Sally Cardwell: Pro Instructors from the Links at Shirley by Christine Lynn Harvey

They say 90% of golf is mental, so it makes sense that whatever beliefs you hold about yourself as a golfer can affect your game for better or worse. Your beliefs are relative to your technique, who taught you, whether you practice enough and how much time you spend on the course actually playing the game. If your technique is wrong, you reinforce bad habits that become ingrained in your muscle memory. So many frustrated golfers are missing the simple fact they can play better golf and greatly lower their score by taking some golf lessons with a pro.

Husband and wife team, Sally and Phil Cardwell are PGA and LPGA professional golfers based at the Links at Shirley, Long Island, who offer tailored golf lessons for every golf level from beginners to professional golfers. "There are not many golf centers around that offer a husband and wife teaching pro team," says Phil Cardwell who competes frequently on the Met PGA Tour and has been a multiple winner on the Pepsi Golf Tour. Phil is originally from Indianapolis and is a graduate of Ferris State University's prestigious Professional Golf Management program. While in school, he interned for three years under the tutelage of Bob Toski, Jim Flick and Dave Leadbetter, the top three golf instructors in the world. Phil teaches all level golfers and coaches many top amateurs and professionals including Danielle Ammaccapane, a LPGA tour player originally from Babylon and reigning 11 year-old junior world champion Zachary Write.

After graduating from Half Hollow Hills High School, Sally moved with her family to Arizona. Shortly after moving there, she began playing golf and decided to enroll in the San Diego Golf Academy. After graduation, she joined the Players West Tour where she met Phil who became her coach and later her husband. The Cardwells owned and operated Lyford Scottsdale Golf School in Arizona which was adversely affected by the terrorist attacks on 9/11 due to declining air travel. They went on to teach at Golf Digest schools before coming to the Links at Shirley. The Cardwells are not your garden-variety golf instructors - they're both exceptional players who have coached elite golfers but are highly adaptable to all levels of golfers including junior golfers.

In the Learning Center, technique is analyzed with state-of-the art video analysis which is important in getting the student to become aware of things they don't realize they are doing. The Cardwells' motto is "Knowledge of the fundamentals is the most important ingredient to becoming a better golfer. Our innovative, learner-friendly methods provide you with complete knowledge of the fundamentals and how they relate to your game." In addition, there are all sorts of kinesthetic learning aids to help you realize the improper techniques you keep reinforcing so you can break free of them faster and move on to a lower golf score.

The Cardwell's program is different than other golf lessons in that students get to play on the par 3 short course. A golfer is interviewed by one of the Cardwells to determine long and short term goals and strengths and weaknesses. Whether you want to play more consistently, increase drive distance, putt or chip better, the Cardwells can help you reach your goals. "We test you in a goal-oriented objective producing environment," says Phil Cardwell. "That may entail repeatedly hitting a target to test for accuracy. The only way to see where you are at as a golfer is to test with an objective in mind. For example, if your short game needs improvement, we define a target zone around a hole and we have you hit five consecutive shots into the target zone before moving on to the next challenge." This goal-oriented practice exposes weaknesses in your game in order to help you begin to eliminate those weaknesses. The Cardwells' highly successful teaching style is evident in the pro and college level golfers the Cardwells teach. If the Cardwells' lessons work for the pros, think how they can help you with your game.

The Cardwells stress that you only get to be a better golfer by playing golf on the course. Many golf lessons are missing this very important aspect. By contrast, the Cardwells' lesson packages offer plenty of playing time on the course. "The driving range serves its purpose, but you only get better by actually practicing on the course," says Sally Cardwell. "Our lessons help you do that. We have a dedicated par 3 18-hole course for that. Short game focus is on any and every shot inside a 175 yard area. With our lessons, you learn to play better golf by learning on the course."

The Links at Shirley offers several golf lesson packages and plans based on your individual needs and time table. If you were thinking your child could be the next Tiger Woods, there are also camps geared to children. The Junior Golf Academy offers golf camps for kids and are geared to two groups of players; Age 6-9 which is a 3-day program and ages 10-16 which is a 5-day program. There is a 6:1 student to instructor ratio and the program includes: on-course instruction covering full swing, short game and putting, rules and etiquette, skill challenges and weekly tournaments. Other amenities include a gift bag, snacks and drinks and the use of equipment.

The Links at Shirley has a championship 18-hole course that has a slope of 135 and course rating of 74.6 from the black tees and offers "a country club experience without the cost that's open to the public." The greens and tees are meticulously maintained. A short 18-hole par 3 course offers plenty of challenging hazards and is lit for night play with the latest tee time at midnight. The Links has the only 18-hole night course on Long Island where night lessons are available. "We can accommodate the busy executive or parent who has down time in the evening and would like to learn how to play golf," says the Cardwells. The placement of the lights on the night course were calculated by a computer so that they do not shine directly into a player's site line.

The Links also offers preferred tee-time membership, a Ladies League on Monday mornings, a Night League on Tuesday evenings in which players can win money and the Suffolk Players Club which offers weekly handicapped tournaments. Most league memberships also offer pro shop and greens fees discounts. If you just want to practice what you've just learned from the Cardwells, then you can hone your skills on the club's driving range, chipping greens, sand bunkers and putting greens. The Links is also available to cater your next party or help you plan your next golf outing whether it's for a group of friends or for a charity event.

For more information about the Links or to schedule a golf lesson with the Cardwells, please call (631) 395-7272 or visit The Links at Shirley is located at 333 William Floyd Parkway, 2 miles south of Sunrise Highway, Exit 58 on the left.

Phil and Sally Cardwell: Pro Instructors at the Links, Shirley, Long Island
The Cardwells offer expert instruction for any level golfer
Could your child be the next Tiger Woods? Golf lessons with a pro like Phil Cardwell can help create a winner!