Little Known Facts

In addition to being one of America’s top golf schools, Extraordinary Golf is a golf community, a coaching organization, a non-profit, and more.  We hope that the following little-known facts, along with the rest of this site, paint a fuller picture of our small organization and its impact.

  • Since its establishment in 1990, Extraordinary Golf has grown its reach through word of mouth, editorial coverage and two books. We’ve never advertised.
  • Extraordinary Golf exists in Japan as a non-profit corporation called Extraordinary Learning, which focuses primarily on offering programs for Japanese business executives on learning and performance through golf. Our work near Tokyo started in 1990, and we offer occasional programs in Kyoto. Consider reading Hideji’s Story (below), an account of one participant’s transformation through Extraordinary Golf principles as he applied them to business, golf and life.
  • Extraordinary Golf has become a place where top golf coaches and teachers come to further their coaching skills and game.  Here’s a partial list of titles awarded to teachers who’ve attended, and/or continue to attend, Extraordinary Golf or Extraordinary Coaching programs:
#1 Ranked Women Teacher in America
#2 Ranked Woman Teacher in America
1999 Teacher of the Year – Utah Section
2000 Golf’s Top Outstanding Teachers
2010 Nor Cal Teacher of the Year
Canadian Junior National Coach
Class “A” Professionals
Connecticut PGA Teacher of the Year
CPGA Past Presidents
Delaware Teacher of the Year
European Solheim Coach
First Tee Consultants
Golf Top 100 Teacher in America
LPGA Nat’l Teacher of the Year (1998)
National Club Pro Winner
National Coach – Argentina
National Coach – Belgium
National Coach – Canada
National Coach – Estonia
National Team Coach – Finland
National Team Coach – Ireland
National Team Coach – Sweden
National Team Coach – Turkey
National Team Men’s Coach Sweden
National Team Women’s Coach – Sweden
PGA Master Professional
PGA Teacher of the Year
Ryder Cup – European Team Co-Captain
Top 100 Golf Magazine Teachers
Top 100 Teacher (2005)
Top 100 Teacher in America (1985-2010)
Top 50 Golf List Top Teacher List
Top 50 Kids Teacher
Top 50 Teachers in America Golf Digest
  • Extraordinary Golf coaches and staff integrate the school’s core principles into their games, lives, and into the management of the organization.
  • Our coaches’ motto is, “don’t coach anything you haven’t distinguished.”  In other words, we don’t offer students ideas and approaches that we haven’t explored deeply in our own games and lives.
  • In 1997 Extraordinary Golf produced a conference for golf professionals and recreational golfers, an event designed to have golf professionals reconsider—and reinvent— their relationship to coaching. We plan to host another conference in 2012.
  • Our Regular Program offers a lifetime’s worth of learning and self-discovery. Yet, we find that many past participants take additional programs, quite a few having taken 5-15 programs over the last decades. Participants tell us they return to our programs because of their quality, because of the commitment of our staff, because their game develops, and because they always get more than they expect from participating. We’ve come to see that one aspect of our work is that of creating a community of learners.
  • The following account depicts one of the many stories we hear from students who have attended our program and how the experience has transformed their learning, their game, and in this case, their life. Hideji’s story is told by Garry Lester, Extraordinary Golf Program Leader:

“Hideji was one of seven Japanese men who attended our first three-day program in Kyoto in 2003.

During the program’s opening meeting, he was the first to share about his game, saying that he hadn’t played in 46 years. He explained that growing up his father had played several times a week, a practice Hideji had resented, feeling that his father should have played less and worked harder to provide for his family. In contrast, Hideji was a workaholic who owned and ran, at the time of our first meeting, a small educational software company with about 50 employees.

Upon my arrival at our Tokyo site the following year, I rounded a corner near the clubhouse and there was Hideji, coming to participate in a second program. Upon seeing me, he stopped, and with index finger firmly pointed at me and a beaming grin on his face said, “Garry-san! I played 62 times since I see you last!” He proceeded to gush about how much fun he was having and how much he’d been learning.

I asked the obvious question, “Hideji, but what about your work? Your business?” He replied, “Oh, business? Double! Open new office in Tokyo! (He’s since opened another.)

He went on, “Garry-san, in Kyoto program I see how much controlling with driver, irons, and also putter. Then I notice: controlling everywhere in life! Controlling wife! Controlling family! Controlling business! So much controlling!”

He shared that after his initial program in Kyoto, he’d returned home and apologized to every member of his family for his controlling way of being. And, he’d called a company-wide meeting to apologize to employees for the same thing. He shared with me that during his first program, he’d seen how he was always telling others what they should do. In his words, “Hideji always telling employees what target is.” He said that after apologizing, he simply asked each of them, wife and children included, what they thought the target should be.

Then he did something amazing: he listened.

He began to organize his family, his work and himself around what others saw as possible for the future, and he restructured his business to share profits with employees.”

Hideji is now Chairman of the Board of Extraordinary Learning, a Japanese non-profit created to share Extraordinary Golf principles with Japanese businesses. (Return to little-known facts above.)

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