Edmond has become well known for golf over the past several years, and there are numerous renowned courses. But tucked away at the Coffee Creek Golf Club may be Edmond’s biggest secret of the game, the Graves Golf Academy.
Oklahoma City brothers Todd Graves and Tim Graves founded Graves Golf Academy in May 2000, traveling around the country sharing knowledge they’d learned from Moe Norman, one of Canada’s best golfers.
“The key is to teach a really simple method of playing golf,” Todd said. “People get discouraged because they think golf has to be complicated, but it really doesn’t.”
In 2003 the academy was located at Coffee Creek Golf Club and people began coming from all over the country to learn how to better their game using the seven principles taught at the academy.
“Our last school had three people from Alaska,” Todd said. “Other people came from Florida, Ohio and Arizona. We might have 12 people in a school, but only two of them will be from Edmond. People just don’t know we’re there.”
That’s a problem Todd and his staff are working to address. One way they’re doing that is by offering clinics for beginners.
“We’re holding the clinics in the evening, after most people are off work, because it’s more convenient and cooler,” he said. “And it’s good for us to get involved in the community.”
He said the clinics have gone over well, especially with the younger audience. “I’m amazed at the amount of juniors coming out,” Todd said.
Juniors are players between the ages of 12 and 17. Todd said they’re not taking the clinics then putting their clubs back in a closet.
“They’re playing a lot of golf,” he said. “Their parents will drop them off at the course for the afternoon and they’ll work on their game.”
While the clinics are for beginners, the Graves Golf Academy is for those who already know how to play the game and are looking to improve their scores. Golfers will become fully immersed in the Moe Norman principles. They are:
1. Develop a sound, repeatable, powerful swing of ease based on Moe Norman’s Golf Swing.
2. Develop an efficient short game.
3. Become a good putter.
4. Build or buy clubs that fit your game.
5. Learn to play on the course using developed skills.
6. Learn how to practice efficiently.
7. Learn how to think.
Todd said the current system of handicapping is not the most accurate way to gauge the overall level of a golfer’s skills.
“The seven principles allow you to gauge your game in each specific area compared to a scratch golfer,” he said. “By understanding and applying the seven principles, you can focus on areas of weakness in your game and work to strengthen the areas you are strongest in, helping you shortcut the process of achieving your goals.”
All Graves Golf Academy schools are set up in an outdoor classroom. About one-third of a student’s time is spent watching the Graves brothers demonstrate and teach proper single axis swing techniques. The rest of the time is spent hitting balls under supervision.
“At each school, each participant will receive a student learning manual, personalized video instruction with Todd, to take with them, a club fitting that’s optional, and lunch with the GGA staff, where we’ll share personal stories of time spent with Moe,” Tim said.
There are schools for intermediate and advanced players, plus on-course instruction and observation. Schools last for three days, but there are two-day schools for alumni and a five-day golf camp. In most cases, there is a maximum of four students per instructor.
The Graves brothers still travel the country to teach, and they established another academy in Orlando, Fla., where they teach during the winter. Home, however, is Edmond.
“It’s a great town for golf,” Todd said. “There are a lot of courses and a lot of golfers.”
He said the most commonly heard phrase from students is, “I can’t believe this was here all this time.”
“We’d like for the local community to get to know us,” he said. “We’d like for people to see how simple golf can be.
It’s our ambition to get more people playing and enjoying the game.”
For more information about Graves Golf Academy, go online to www.swinglikemoe.com, or call 823-9693.