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A Quick Nine With Dan McCracken

5i NYC’s Director of Instruction Dan McCracken shares his golf story, career, and influences. You can book a lesson with Dan at 5i FiDi through this link, by emailing lessons@fiveirongolf.com or in the Five Iron app!

 

1. Tell us about your career as a golf pro?
Golf is all I have ever really done.  I started washing carts and picking the range at a course called Willow Brook Country Club in South Jersey as soon as I was able to work. My Grandfather worked there in his retirement and I had been going up to Willow Brook since I could walk, it’s where I was introduced to the game.  In High School I began caddying and working the bag drop at Galloway National Golf Club. I attended Penn State University where I majored in Professional Golf Management. After becoming a PGA Professional I worked at various Golf and Country Clubs including: The Apawamis Club, Congressional Country Club, Siwanoy Country Club, Medalist Golf Club, The Philadelphia Cricket Club and Canoe Brook Country Club.  Through my time working at these various clubs I discovered my true passion for Teaching and Coaching, which helped lead me to Five Iron Golf.


2. If you could go back in time and coach yourself, what would you work on?
Putting, Wedges, and Game Management.


3. Who have been major influences in your career?
There are many answers to this question.  First two answers would have to be my Grandfather who introduced me to the game, and Brian Feldschneider who was the first Golf Professional I met and worked for at Willow Brook.  Tiger Woods is who made golf cool and a true sport in my eyes, so he needs to be included. Lastly would be the other instructors who I’ve followed and learned from, including but not limited to: Mac O’Grady, Mike Hebron, George Gankas, Mike Bender, Stan Utley, Chuck Cook, Shauheen Nakhjavani, Scott Hamilton, and John Dunigan.


4. What have you learned from other instructors?
To answer as succinctly as possible: everything.  There is a lot that goes into giving a good golf lesson and I have seen lots of different styles that work effectively.  The common threads among all the best instructors in my opinion would be: 

  1. A full understanding of cause and effect as it pertains to the golf ball, club, and body.
  2. The passion to continue learning.  
  3. Always putting their students thoughts, needs, and opinions first.


5. How do you define success for a student?
The student is the only person who can determine our goals as a team.  My role on our team is to help determine a realistic road map/timeline for achieving those goals and providing the knowledge and resources to get us there.  Achieving those goals is success.


6. How has technology helped your teaching?
It has been game changing.  My instruction has gotten more and more efficient as I’ve adopted more and more technology.  Simply put: tech helps me take the guesswork out so we can identify the root cause of a golfers problems faster, and get to work on fixing them.


7. What are the best tools in your arsenal when it comes to creative instruction?
All over the map here.  Alignment Sticks, Swing Video, Impact Bag, Towel, BodiTrak Pressure Matt and Pool Noodles to name a few.  I also use chairs, resistance bands and the simulator wall for some specific drill work.


8. What’s your favorite golf movie?
Caddyshack


9. Who’s your favorite golfer and why?
Tiger.  He’s the GOAT and a big reason why I am a Golf Pro.

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A Quick Nine With Matt Brady

1. Tell us about your career as a golf pro?

My career as a golf pro began as a child, playing with my dad and grandfather that instilled my passion for the game, its been a lifelong journey. I had to opportunity to work at several private and public golf clubs as well as social golf experiences like TopGolf.

 

2. If you could go back in time and coach yourself, what would you work on?
If I could go back in time I would tell myself to be patient and trust the process. This game is a marathon, not a sprint, and we all need to enjoy the journey along the way.

 

3. Who have been major influences in your career.
My major influences have been my dad and grandfather but also many mentors along the way in many different areas of golf like operations, teaching, coaching and business development.

 

4. What have you learned from other instructors?
When you’re a new golf instructor a lot of us are eager to impart our knowledge too fast with too much information. The biggest lessons learned have been to slow down, keep the message simple and understandable. After all it’s only good help and advice if the student comprehends the message and can apply it.

 

5. How do you define success for a student?
I define success for my students with three basic themes, are they having fun, do they understand how to get better and have they achieved the goals they set out at the beginning of the process and along the way.

 

6. How has technology helped your teaching?
The technology present here at Five Iron is state-of-the-art, and has opened my eyes as an instructor. Now we can correlate a feeling in our swing with data present with every swing, this can really expedite the students understanding of why changes are made and how it can help their golf game.

 

7. What are the best tools in your arsenal when it comes to creative instruction?
Creatively I’m always trying to come up with new drills to enhance changes. However I find that simple changes and drills that can be done at home have the best retention with students. Wall drills are some of my favorites to create awareness of the club and the students physical movement.

 

8. What’s your favorite golf movie?
Favorite golf movie is Tin Cup, hands down!

 

9. Who’s your favorite golfer and why?
I have two favorite golfers, Jack Nicklaus, being that he’s from my home state and Ernie Els for his buttery smooth swing.

 

You can schedule a lesson with Matt in Chicago by clicking here.

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