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From Construction to Golf Instructor to Author: Dan Courtney’s Story

Nov 10, 2014

Sign pointing to a new career at the next exit.

“It changed me as a person 100%.”

Dan Courtney needed a change. He worked in construction. It was going ok, but nothing special. Then the recession hit. The construction industry fell flat. It wasn’t like construction was his calling either way. It was a decent living, but he wanted something more.

At the urging of his sister, Dan decided to pursue something he enjoyed. Why not find a career in which he could look forward to working every day?

On the Road to Golf College

It was after high school graduation when Dan picked up the game of golf. He started playing in a nine-hole golf league. He was self-taught. Eventually, he got his handicap down to single digits. As any golfer knows, this is no small feat. But golf as a career wasn’t really on the radar. Yet.

After deciding he needed a change from construction, Dan enrolled in Golf Academy of America in Orlando. It didn’t take long for Dan to know he made the right decision -- a life-changing decision. He took everything about GAA seriously. He went all in.

What Dan Learned at Golf Academy

Not only was he improving his golf game, he was learning about business, writing and communications. Beyond the education he received, he forged so many good friendships. “I met so many people. Now I see fellow alumni all of the time. I’ve made lifelong friends at GAA.”

Through the combination of golf ability, business knowledge and improving his communication skills, he found self-confidence.

Upon graduation and the Golf Academy of America President’s Award, that confidence took Dan to places he likely couldn’t envision from the construction sites from his previous job. Before long he was a golf instructor who has helped more than 1,000 golfers improve their swings. But Dan didn’t stop there.

Success as a Golf Instructor

One of his students stood out a bit from the rest – and it wasn’t purely due to his name. Xichao Mo was an average golfer, a high handicapper, but as Dan taught him about the mechanics of the golf swing, Xichao really understood the physics of the swing. Through Dan’s instruction and Xichao’s true understanding of the swing, Xichao really improved his game. In terms of the swing itself, the student had as much knowledge as the teacher.

Months passed and Dan hadn’t heard from his star student for a while. Then Xichao scheduled another lesson with Dan a year after they’d first met. That’s when Xichao proposed an idea to Dan. He’d done a bit of research about the striking plane. Golfers have always misunderstood the golf swing plane, and a number of teachers were not teaching it the right way. “Let’s put a book together on the swing plane,” Xichao proposed.

It didn't take long for Dan and Xichao to put together their thoughts on busting the myths about the golf swing plane. After some rounds of editing, Amazon published their book Decoding the Golf Swing Plane: The Striking Plane Swing Model.

Finding Success as an Author of a Golf Manual

Sales were slow to start, but they decided to mail the book to the top 100 instructors in the country. One of the most famous swing instructors received one of those copies. Martin Hall, a top-50 golf teacher for the last 10 years, said he read the book, agreed with many of the principles in the book and would like to feature it on his show School of Golf on the Golf Channel! With the television exposure, sales took off, and the book hit the number one best seller in the golf category on Amazon.

The concepts of the book have really resonated with golfers. Dan explained the overall concept: “There isn’t one right way to do it. Impact is all the same, and you want to come through the impact correctly regardless of how it is at the top. The swing actually changes planes throughout. The focus is on the striking plane.”

When we asked about his experience at Golf Academy of America, he said, “I would do it all over again. I’d never have been able to meet so many people and have so many doors open for me. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Instead, Dan is changing the game of golf for so many people through his instruction.

Read more about jumpstarting your golf career at Golf Academy of America.