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Head Golf Professional Bill Andrews
From “The Portsmouth Herald”
By Mike Zhe
GREENLAND — Billy Andrews gets the magazine, but missed the mention.
When Golf Digest recently published its annual list of the top 50 teaching professionals in the United States, it also included a section that recognized the best teachers state by state, as nominated and recommended by their peers.
The only name listed from New Hampshire was Andrews, who just completed his 11th year as head pro at Portsmouth Country Club.
“A member came up to me and said, ‘Congratulations: No. 1 teacher in New Hampshire,” said Andrews on Monday. “I thought he was joking around.
“It was pretty cool. I’ve had 10 or 12 phone calls from people that I didn’t even know who are interested in taking lessons.”
Portsmouth CC closed for the season on Sunday, but a special season it was. It saw the club host the opening round of the Seacoast Amateur Golf Championship in June, watch former bag and cart boy Keegan Bradley win the PGA Championship in August, and see its head pro honored for his teaching in the fall.
Andrews, who spent eight years at Rutland (Vt.) CC and then six years at Nashua CC before coming to the Seacoast in 2001, will head to Port St. Lucie, Fla., after Thanksgiving, where he will continue to instruct but also devote a lot of time to his own golf game. At 54, he’s in his prime to compete in senior events, and he plans to play a lot of them from January to March.
Asked what makes him a good teacher, he cited his embrace of teaching technology and recognizing that no two swings are the same. He understands that of all the variables that are possible in a golf swing, the only sources of power are the hips, shoulders, and arms and hands.
His two biggest influences in golf are Jim Sheerin, the longtime master professional at Abenaqui CC in Rye Beach, and the late Phil Friel, the famous Nashua-area legend who also served as pro at Nashua CC before founding Green Meadow GC across the river in Hudson and building his own mini-empire.
“(Friel) was the teacher the best players took lessons from,” Andrews said.
In Sheerin, he learned from a man whose own game was good enough to land him in a string of tournaments on the PGA Tour’s Champions Tour last decade, and whose teaching has been good enough to make him a sought-after instructor at Abenaqui for more than 30 years.
“When I first started as the head pro here, someone said, ‘How would you like people to look at you some day?'” said Andrews. “I had my apprenticeship under Jim Sheerin at Abenaqui. To have the kind of respect and admiration from your fellow professionals that I had for him, that’s something special.”
For the rankings, Golf Digest surveyed 1,500 teaching pros, including several from each state. The national top 50 is topped by Butch Harmon — Tiger Woods’ former mentor — and includes golfing household names like David Leadbetter, Hank Haney and Jim Flick.
A few pages in, it also includes Andrews.
“Kind of neat,” he mused. “Golf Digest is considered the No. 1 publication in the country.”
Bill Andrews Teaching Philosophy
A PGA professional has many roles. One of those roles obviously and usually involves teaching the game of golf. This happens to be one of my passions and one that I have spent significant time reading and studying about over the years.
Most golfers at some point in their golfing lives make the decision to try to improve their game by taking golf lessons and/or by reading some of the many articles that are available in the various magazines. Many golfers that have gone down this road have come to the conclusion that the game of golf can at times seem to be very confusing and ultimately very frustrating. I must admit that, even as a teacher of the game for many years, I also felt the same way!
I have taught the game of golf for over 30 years. As I mentioned earlier, teaching is a passion for me. Therefore, I have attended many teaching seminars given by many of the top teachers of the world. One of the confusing aspects of teaching and playing this game for me was that even though these were considered the best teachers in the world, and they taught the best players in the world, they all seemed to have their own teaching methods. What was even more confusing was that some of these methods were very different and sometimes even contradicted each other. Some methods were very hands and arms oriented, with the belief that the ‘hands and arms’ pulled the body. Others were very ‘body’ oriented, with the belief that the body controlled the hands and arms! These are just a few of the many methods that are being used.
Which teaching method will you get when you take a golf lesson with Bill Andrews? You won’t. I believe that every person has his or her own individual swing and style. There are no two swings that are the same. Even if you look at the top tour players playing on the tour, whether it is the regular tour, the women’s tour or even the Champion’s tour, there are no two swings that are the same. I do believe that even though every one of us has our own way to swing, every one of us can indeed swing more efficiently and therefore become a better player. It doesn’t matter what level of player we are, we can all improve on what we currently have.
As complicated as it may seem or as complicated as some teachers or books seem to make it, the golf swing really isn’t that difficult. There are only a few main sources of power in the golf swing; the hips, the shoulders, and the arms and hands. They all play a role and they need to work in a proper sequence. We all have these sources of power and we all have a ‘sequence’. I will not try to change the way you swing or the particular way your body wants to move. This is the way you have moved for your whole life! I will analyze your movement patterns and then get your sequence to work more efficiently. Your golf swing will improve. I would like to point out that even though my approach to teaching the golf swing may differ from some others, I do not consider my method more correct than others, nor do I consider other methods or philosophies incorrect. Just as we all have our own individual swings that can be successful there are also many teachers that have their own methods that also are successful. However I am confident that my personal teaching approach will make you a better player.
I would love to have the opportunity to meet with you and help you with your game! Bill Andrews