Canadian golf instructor Sean Foley obviously caught the attention of Tiger Woods. The former world No. 1 has employed Foley as his swing coach since late 2010.
But Foley has been noticed by everyone else in the golf world, too, from fellow teachers to touring professionals to fans.
In its latest ranking of "America's 50 best teachers" for 2011 and 2012, Golf Digest places Foley at No. 35. It's the first time the 37-year-old from Burlington, Ont., has made the prestigious list.
The ranking is based on a poll of 1,500 teaching professionals across the United States. Butch Harmon, Woods's first teacher as a pro, topped the list for the sixth time in the past seven rankings. David Leadbetter came in at No. 2, followed by Jim McLean.
Foley, whose other students include Justin Rose, Hunter Mahan and fellow Canadian Stephen Ames, was one of seven new entries in the top 50. That group was led by putting guru Dave Stockton (No. 13) and Golf Channel personality Michael Breed (No. 23).
Foley now lives in Orlando and is based at the Core Junior Golf Academy in nearby Winter Garden. His rate of $250 (all currency U.S.) an hour seems like quite the bargain compared to that of some other instructors on the list.
Leadbetter, for example, charges $3,500 for three hours and No. 5 Hank Haney bills $10,000 a day.
Foley also rates high among tour pros. Based on interviews with 115 PGA Tour and Champions Tour players, Golf Digest ranked Foley fourth, behind only Harmon, Randy Smith and McLean. He's ahead of such notables as Leadbetter and the Stack and Tilt gurus, Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer.
Among Golf Digest readers who answered an online survey, Foley came in ninth.
The magazine, in its November issue, also makes note of some "prominent teachers" who are based outside the United States. "It's not a formal ranking," the magazine says, "and is meant only to recognize those who are making a major impact as teachers in their respective countries."
The four Canadians mentioned are former men's national amateur team coach Henry Brunton, current coach Derek Ingram, Sean Casey from Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ont., and Jason Helman at Wyndance Golf Club in Uxbridge, Ont.
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