Rick Smith visits ESPN Golf Talk 3-14-09
Golf Digest # 6
American teacher as ranked by peers
Many know Rick Smith the golf instructor, but few know about his accolades as a player. He never lost a match at Upper St. Clair High School near Pittsburgh, he qualified for the 1983 U.S. Open at Oakmont, and in 1980 he shot a 61 in the PGA's club professional Playing Ability Test."I learned a lot working for Walker Inman at Scioto Country Club, and he believed that to be a great teacher of the game, you had to be a pretty good player," says Smith. "I still love playing golf. So much, I've actually thought about playing on the Champions Tour when I turn 50."
Ever since he used to pass instruction notes to high school teammates and give lessons to a then 14-year-old Lee Janzen, Smith says his time spent on the lesson tee is his favorite part of the day.
MASTER TEACHING PROFESSIONAL TO THE PGA TOUR’S BEST!
Rick Smith, CEO and President of Rick Smith Enterprises, Inc., has achieved great success in golf as a teacher, designer and communicator. He is regarded as one of the PGA tour’s best “sounding boards” for swing advice and has been consistently ranked as one of the top five golf instructors in the world by Golf Digest.
Smith’s professional career has been molded under the tutelage of several top PGA professionals including famed instructors: Don Kotnik (Toledo CC), Walker Inman (Scioto CC), and Dick Harmon (River Oaks). As Smith honed his skills he has assisted some of the most accomplished golfers in the world including Phil Mickelson, (currently the 4th ranked golfer in the world) Lee Janzen (two time U.S. Open champion) and PGA Tour winners Rocco Mediate, Jerry Kelly, and Matt Kuchar. He has also worked with PGA Tour pros Jack Nicklaus-golfer of the century, Gary Nicklaus, Billy Andrade, Greg Norman, Bill Glasson, David Duval, Vijay Singh, Ray Floyd, Paul Azinger and many others.
Smith has established numerous golf academies and learning centers. He currently operates Rick Smith Golf Academies at Treetops Resort in Gaylord, Michigan, and Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida.
Rick Smith hosted the premier of the “Big Break” series in the fall of 2003. The inaugural season broke the all-time Golf Channel’s viewing ratings. The next season the “Big Break II”, more than doubled the audience from the record breaking inaugural year. Rick received accolades for his adept skill at building camaraderie between contestants while stoking their competitive natures. He has a unique knack for inviting the TV audience to live vicariously through the contestants. Today, “The Big Break” is a successful “series formula” that has excited the customary Golf Channel fan while attracting a greater audience.
Rick Smith’s love for hosting golf instructional shows on television began in 1994. That year, he developed “The Rick Smith Signature Series”. The “Signature Series” was seen by worldwide television audiences on ESPN, TSN (Canada), and Fox Sports Net. The “Signature Series” ran for five years until Rick signed an exclusive golf content deal with the Golf Channel in 1999. Rick has also hosted “Inside the PGA Tour” and has been a commentator and analyst for both NBC and ESPN telecasts of golf tournaments.
Rick Smith has won dozens of awards and accolades for his skill as a golf course designer. The list includes his “Signature” course at Treetops Resort in Gaylord, Michigan, “Arcadia Bluffs” on Lake Michigan and “Wuskowhan Player’s Club in Mount Olive, Michigan, just to name a few.
Smith is also a respected and noted author. He is currently teaching professional contributor for Golf Digest Pro Panel. He previously served as instruction writer for Golf Magazine. He has also written Major Series publications. Smith is author of the 1998 book “How to Find Your Perfect Golf Swing,” published by Broadway Books, which is regarded as one of the top instruction books in the industry.
Over his career, Smith’s many honors include being appointed Michigan’s “Golf Ambassador” by Governor John Engler. Golf Magazine has repeatedly honored him as one of America’s “Top 100 Teachers.” Smith has been named National Teacher of the Year, National Golf Professional of the Year and National Merchandiser of the Year. www.ricksmith.com