PGA WEST Golf Academy offers top instruction for golfers of all skill levels
At the PGA WEST Golf Academy, no detail is overlooked when it comes to helping golfers improve their games. Whether the student is a touring professional looking to refine certain aspects of their swing or a high handicapper seeking the skills to enjoy the game more, PGA WEST has all the tools to help every golfer meet their goals.
Lead Instructor Bryan Lebedevitch has been a big part of the Golf Academy’s success since coming to PGA WEST nearly 25 years ago, heading a team of pros with vast experience and expertise.
SoCal native Max Homa won The Genesis Invitational at Riviera. (Courtesy The Genesis Invitational)
Five things we learned about Genesis champ Max Homa from his Wiki page
Los Angeles has long been known as the City of Angels, but in the last six months it can also lay claim to the title “City of Champions.” First it was the Lakers winning the Covid-delayed NBA Finals in October for the first time in a decade, followed 16 days later by the Dodgers taking home their first World Series trophy since 1988.
For golf fans, the holy trinity was achieved when SoCal native Max Homa captured The Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club on February 21, becoming the first hometown kid to win the city’s revered PGA Tour stop since John Merrick did it in 2013.
Homa, 30, earned his second win on the PGA Tour after a two-hole playoff with Tony Finau following rounds of 66-70-70-66 (272). After missing a three-footer for birdie on the 72nd hole to win in regulation, Homa made a remarkable par save from the base of a tree on the opening playoff hole, the diabolical 10th, then made a par 3 on the 14th hole as Finau bogeyed from a greenside bunker.
Travelin' Joe Passov has teed it up in all 50 states and 35 different countries.
Award-winning journalist is a living encyclopedia of golf course knowledge
Veteran golf journalist Joe Passov, also known as “Travelin’ Joe,” has spent the last 30 years teeing it up at courses around the world and sharing his insights with readers, listeners and viewers in a fashion that informs and entertains.
Some of the highlights of his career include being a staff editor for Golf Illustrated, a course rater for Golfweek, and for 13 years answering readers’ questions in his “Ask Travelin’ Joe” column at GOLF Magazine and golf.com about where to play, stay and dine. He also has written extensively for the SCGA's FORE Magazine, spotlighting many SoCal courses throughout the region.
Currently a resident of Cave Creek, Arizona, Travelin’ Joe has won multiple writing honors, including the 2019 Donald Ross Award from the American Society of Golf Course Architects, and he currently writes and co-hosts a radio show in Arizona. His website, TravelinJoeGolf.com, highlights an array of golf courses and resorts, as well as golf course history and design. He's covered two dozen major championships and Ryder Cups, and remains the youngest person ever appointed to the Golf Digest National Course Ranking Panel, which he did in 1987 at age 24.
We queried Travelin’ Joe to reveal a little more about himself and to get his opinions about some of the top tracks in the game…
Highlighting his career in the game, Robin Shelton named SCPGA president
Robin Shelton will be the first to admit that he sort of fell into his career in the golf industry. But he just as readily will tell you how fortunate he is for it to have happened.
Shelton, the PGA General Manager at Seacliff Country Club in Huntington Beach, began a two-year term as President and Chairman of the Board for the Southern California PGA in early December – and his election to the position means he’ll be able to give back to the game that has given him so much.
“It's both an honor and humbling at the same time to step into this president's role for the Southern California PGA,” Shelton said. “I knew when signing up for this commitment that it would give me an opportunity to serve the membership, and I'm excited to be actively making a difference in the Section. I follow in the footsteps of some incredible leaders and I am very honored to serve during these next two years of my presidency.”
Carlsbad-based Upper Deck unveils authentic Tiger Woods memorabilia
We all have that one golfer on our holiday gift list who is notoriously difficult to shop for. They already have all the latest and greatest equipment and apparel, and a gift card to their favorite course or golf retailer just seems so impersonal.
That’s why surprising that special someone with a truly unique gift featuring the greatest golfer of his generation is a terrific alternative.
The Tiger Woods Collection from Upper Deck Authenticated Memorabilia includes pieces that you won’t find anywhere else, and thanks to Tiger’s decades-long relationship with the Carlsbad-based company, every item is put through a rigorous authentication process to ensure you’re getting the real deal.
Torey Edwards is the reigning Long Beach Men's Amateur and SCGA Mid-Amateur champion.
Long Beach’s Torey Edwards shoots second career 58 in recent SCGA event
Torey Edwards said the best way to describe it was like an out-of-body experience. Similar to a baseball player who experiences stretches where the ball looks as big as a grapefruit coming out of the pitcher’s hand or a quarterback who finds himself knowing exactly what the opposing defense will do before the ball is snapped, Edwards was without a doubt in the zone.
So as the Long Beach native and Long Beach State graduate lined up a 30-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole at Pasadena’s Annandale Golf Club on October 29, he felt confident he had a great chance to make the downhill, slightly right-to-left putt. What he didn’t know as his Titleist rolled into the center of the cup was that he was putting for the second 58 of his life, because a math error had him convinced it was for 59.
“You can sabotage great rounds if you start thinking about the end result and what it means - whether you’re trying to break 80, break par or card a career low,” Edwards explained. “I was able to stay out of my own way and focus on each shot, and I was in a mode where I felt like I was going to birdie every hole I played. I was definitely in that zone that you hear people talk about.”
SoCal junior Jason Bannister hopes to continue his winning ways in Indiana
Look out, Indiana, here he comes.
Jason Bannister, who is in the midst of his senior year as captain of the boys golf team at Dana Hills High School, committed to go to the University of Southern Indiana after graduation next fall and, odds are, he can’t get to the Hoosier state fast enough.
After all, he’s played in nine major junior golf tournaments in the state in the past two years and he’s won four of them, his most-recent victory coming in June at the Indiana Junior PGA Championship in Peru.
In July alone, Bannister notched a fourth-place finish at the AJGA Yoder Oil at Knollwood in Indiana and advanced to match play in the Indiana Boys’ State Championship before being eliminated after the first round.
Bannister’s victories in the state include two Indiana Junior titles in 2018, one at Hidden Creek Golf Club and one at Otis Park Golf Course, and two victories in 2019 that include the Age Group Championship in French Lick and an AJGA Qualifier at Knollwood.
So why does a kid who grew up playing golf in Southern California have so much success in a state so far away?
Major champion Francesco Molinari relocates to L.A and lands at Riviera, with a stop at Virginia Country Club
For many decades, Southern California has been at one time or another home to some of the game’s greatest major champions. Billy Casper, Gene Littler, Fred Couples, Mark O’Meara, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson immediately come to mind.
We can now add Francesco Molinari to that list.
The 2018 winner of The Open Championship, three-time PGA Tour champion and native of Turin, Italy, relocated earlier this year with his family from London to the tony L.A. suburb of Brentwood. The three-time Ryder Cupper will make Riviera Country Club in neighboring Pacific Palisades his home course, according to longtime friend Jamie Mulligan, the Chief Executive Officer and PGA Professional at Virginia Country Club in Long Beach.
SCPGA Teacher of the Year Randy Chang shares his secrets to golf success
Ask Randy Chang about his teaching style and he'll sum it up in one word: SURF.
The acronym stands for simple, understandable, retention and fun, and it's a formula that has worked well for the Director of Instruction at Journey at Pechanga in Temecula and the founder of Randy Chang Golf Schools.
Chang was named the Southern California PGA Teacher of the Year for a second time in August, which is a credit to his teaching abilities and his easy-going style.
“The atmosphere is laid-back and relaxed,” Chang explained, "but the program and process are regimented and seriously effective.”
Chang’s programs, such as Pechanga’s Tiny Tees lessons, Journey Golf Academy and Golf for Girls seasonal clinics, go hand-in-hand with SCPGA’s mission of growing the game. He is dedicated to early golf education and believes that encouraging youth’s positive habits by way of golf sets a precedent for a healthy lifestyle in the future.
Meet three-time SCGA Senior Amateur champion Craig Davis
Chula Vista resident Craig Davis made history in the summer of 2019, becoming only the second player ever to win three consecutive SCGA Senior Amateur Championship with his victory at El Niguel Country Club.
The 2020 event is slated for October 20-22 at Red Hill Country Club. We spoke to the current champ about his special feat, his golf game, and what he likes to do when he’s not on the golf course:
Greetings, fellow golfers, and welcome to SoCal Golf Insider! We are Rob Lyon and Eric Marson and we've been reporting and writing about the game throughout the region since 1995. Here, we will provide you with the latest news, features, reviews and more on all things golf in Southern California. Let’s tee it up!
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