Texas-based PGA teaching professional Craig Trahan is something of a super-achiever in the realm of golf instruction. At just 39, Trahan has taught tens of thousands of hours of lessons and completed his War and Peace-length thesis covering his education and insights on the golf swing and instruction. Consequently, he is now one of only 388 people in the history of the PGA of America to have earned Master Professional status.
As director of instruction at Northern Texas’ Denton Country Club, the Louisiana native has grown the instruction business and developed a diverse clientele that speaks to his passion for his singular career ambition: to teach the game well enough that his students improve and enjoy the game more. “I teach a guy who plays on the PGA TOUR and I’ve got five-year-olds who come to me, and I like it all. There’s not any part of my job that I don’t like,” Trahan says. “I don’t really have a set demographic. Whoever wants help, that’s what I wake up in the morning excited to do.”
When the opportunity came to build out a state-of-the art golf academy at Denton Country Club, Trahan had been down that road before. He and fellow celebrated New Orleans-based golf instructor Rob Noel founded the 6,5000-square-foot Big Easy Golf Academy in 2013, building every detail from the ground-up and turned the purpose-built, complex into one of the region’s top training facilities. Still, Trahan, a Golfing Machine authorized instructor (with certifications with TPI, Aim Point, Track Man and Swing Catalyst), coordinated closely with V1 Sports Southeast Regional Sales Manager Mandy Von See and Vice President Gary Palis to fine-tune the design and functionality of the new teaching studio.
“Mandy conceptualized everything and was along the whole journey, going way beyond just the video products. She cared about every phase of the project. She had a vision of the Golf Academy as a whole, and that’s why V1 is so appealing to me. It’s a total solution for your golfing needs,” Trahan says. “Gary and Mandy were true partners on this project. I really appreciate all the phone calls and Zoom calls and the whole process of doing this together as a team.”
The finished version of the golf academy features the latest version of V1 Pro software, a high-powered three-camera system (right and left face-on views plus a down-the-line angle), custom-calibrating light to eliminate flickering and exposure issues, the V1 Pressure Mat, V1 data integration into a Foresight GC Quad Launch and multiple flatscreen monitors for instant feedback.
Trahan’s face-on cameras are mounted on horizontal slide rails for versatility while teaching.
“I don’t want to waste the students time setting up another camera while teaching. I want the cameras on slides because my mat is way bigger than most. It’s 10-feet wide and 12-feet deep because I want to move up and down whether the student is hitting indoors, outdoors or on the V1 Pressure Mat. We can get so much work done when golfers can see and feel what they’re doing throughout the swing,” Trahan says.
He adds teaching with the V1 Pressure Mat is a great motivator for his students and way to expedite their swing improvement.
“I’m seeing less frustration because people who start with 40 percent of their pressure on their left foot at impact can see themselves improve to 50. Being that 10 percent better is a motivator. Then, by the middle of the lesson we get to 60 percent and toward the end for session, 70 percent of the pressure is on the front foot and we’re seeing ball-first with a little shaft lean. I think people are getting less frustrated and they’re finding that hope. They need that belief that they’re getting better and it’s important for me to gain their trust throughout our student-coach relationship,” Trahan says.
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