Is Extraordinary Golf a golf school?

FAQS ProgramsExtraordinary Golf is a multi-faceted organization…

We are ranked as one of the Top 25 Golf Schools in America (Golf Magazine) and offer an unmatched selection of programs for recreational golfers.  We design programs to explore new paradigms of learning and performance, to access our capacity to learn, to recover trust in our personal resources, and to step into mastery, regardless of the nature of the endeavor. We offer learning that informs… and transforms.

  • We deliver coaching programs for teaching professionals, coaches and organizations such as the PGA and LPGA, the First Tee and international golf associations.
  • And, we offer corporate programs around coaching, learning, mastery and performance for businesses, government agencies and professional organizations.

Visit our Little Known Facts page to learn about other aspects of our work.

What distinguishes Extraordinary Golf from other schools? How is your instructional approach different?

Our approach is unique in a number of ways…

  • Our programs rest on the premise that real breakthroughs are achieved not by increasing the time and effort we expend, but by altering the fundamental way in which we approach an activity.
  • Our coaches specialize in creating a safe learning environment that allows participants to experience the fundamentals of golf and to discern their innate ability.  This approach can allow for rapid learning and high performance.
  • Our coaching model is unique… Whereas a traditional instruction model places the teacher as the provider of knowledge and the student as the recipient of that knowledge, Extraordinary Golf opts for a partnership model where participant and coach collaborate as equals to uncover the participant’s ability to learn, perform, and generate their development.
  • While participants learn all that they would normally learn in a traditional golf school (putting, chipping, full swing, curving the ball, what allows for solid contact and power, among others), at Extraordinary Golf they also learn how to learn and coach themselves, how to practice and develop concentration, how to handle breakdowns and develop mastery, and so much more.  What is learned is applicable to any endeavor.
  • Our programs incorporate the particular requests of each participant so each program is unique.

Are you a mental school?

FAQs MentalNo, we’re an integrated golf school meaning that we take a broad view in service of participants’ development.

We recognize that a golfer’s development can be impeded by a number of factors: from simple lack of physical, or spatial awareness, to misconceptions about learning or the swing; to lapses in concentration or holding a limiting point of view; to not knowing how to self-coach.  Mechanics and the mental game are just two aspects of an integrated whole.

Our approach to the game is very practical and based on what’s worked for tens of thousands of golfers, from beginners to touring professionals.

Golf is a physical game involving the interplay of imagination, target, body, club and ball. Participants speak of leaving our programs with less mental stuff, more freedom to develop their resources and explore that interplay.

Do you work on mechanics? Do you have a method/swing you ask participants to adopt?

Yes, we explore mechanics (swing plane, club face, solid contact, ball placement, etc.) but not in the way you might imagine. 

We strive to have participants experience the mechanics of the game, rather than remember them. From years of coaching we’ve come to see that human beings are abundantly able—possessing real technical proficiency– and our job is to assist them in bringing it out. We don’t ask participants to adopt a particular swing style because the swing is as personal as our fingerprints. Rather, we aim to uncover each person’s unique innate swing.

How long have Extraordinary Golf programs been in existence and who develops/leads them?  What kind of background do the coaches have?

FAQs BackgroundExtraordinary Golf was founded in 1990 by golf professional and coach Fred Shoemaker, author of Extraordinary Golf: The Art of the Possible and Extraordinary Putting: Transforming the Whole Game. 

Fred has spent his career assisting people overcome the obstacles that prevent them from expressing their ability to learn and perform.  He has coached over 41,000 individual lessons and in more than 1000 golf schools.  He has also presented his unique instructional approach at over 1000 programs globally, at numerous PGA/LPGA and coaches seminars, and to federal agencies, professional organizations, and corporations.

Our coaching team is comprised of individuals with diverse skill-sets and life experiences.  With 14-20 years of hands-on Extraordinary Golf experience, our coaches are deeply steeped in this work and actively contribute to the design of programs.

Fred and Garry Lester, an Extraordinary Golf program leader, are responsible for the training and development of Extraordinary Golf coaches.  They also lead our programs for golf teaching professionals, sports coaches, businesses executives and consultants.

Where are programs held?

Our two primary locations are:

May to October: Carmel Valley Ranch Resort, Carmel, CA
November to April: The Golf Club at Terra Lago, Indio/Palm Springs, CA

We also offer seasonal programs in the north- and southeastern US (Connecticut and Florida), and in Canada and Japan, and schedule occasional programs in other US regions and in Europe.

What is covered in your foundational programs, The Regular Program and Just for couples? What can I expect?

FAQs CoveredWe explore what you’d expect from a golf school and then a lot more.

We cover putting, short game, full swing, curving the ball, power, solid contact, the time in between shots, the pre-shot routine, and learning to self coach in those areas and many more. And, most importantly, we include areas of specific interest to each participant.

Underlying the programs are inquiries and explorations into how we learn and interfere with learning; what concentration is and how we access it; how to access our innate resources, how to handle breakdowns, what allows for change and so much more!

The programs are intended to give participants access to their ability, to have them see–and experience— themselves newly in the game, to learn to self-coach and generate their development.

Do you group participants according to experience or proficiency?

No, we don’t. The program takes place in a group setting but each participant is coached according to his/her individual needs.  Group activities include demonstrations, discussions and some exercises, but most of the coaching is one-on-one.

Participants often comment at the end of the program on how the varied composition of the group made for a richer experience.

Won’t I be tired of hitting all day? I don’t think I can hit balls for 3 days.

We design programs that participants of all ages and ability can handle and complete.

We don’t expect participants to hit balls every moment of a 3-day program.  There are plenty of opportunities to hit and plenty of opportunities to rest.  The programs are well paced.

Participants are often astonished at how much energy they still have at the end of each day and at how active they were.

How much time will be spent indoors? Will we play?

FAQs IndoorsFifteen percent of the program will be spent indoors, enough time to set up or debrief the day, and view videos.  This indoor time is important for the effectiveness of the program.

Yes, participants play with a coach on the last day to integrate what they’ve learned.

How do corporate groups make use of your programs? Why do they come?

Corporate groups come for multiple purposes…

  • To explore the foundation of leadership, creativity, learning, coaching, and communication
  • To deepen the connection among executive team members and partners
  • To examine and address the root causes of recurring breakdowns
  • To explore principles of mastery
  • To develop new ways of thinking and being
  • To reward business clients or/and employees

Starting from the question, “What’s missing that, if brought into being, could transform your organization? ”, we design programs that blend discussion, inquiry, and experiential components to reveal what’s hidden and what prevents us from being effective. The programs explore distinctions that can lead to far-reaching changes in behaviors, attitudes, and results.

Many programs are tailored to a specific company but we occasionally hold programs open to all business executives. (More about this work)

How do I learn more about the program?

We suggest you read Extraordinary Golf: The Art of the Possible or Extraordinary Putting: Transforming the Whole Game by Fred Shoemaker (available online, through your local bookstore or library).  The books provide a taste of how we approach golf and learning. From reading either, you’ll get a feel for the program and whether it’s for you.  Alternatively…

Call us at:
800 541 2444 toll free from Canada or the US
831 625 1900 from anywhere

Email us at: 

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