Byron Nelson Golf School: It's A Passion For Instructor Humphries

By David R. Holland, Senior Writer

Paul Earnest, Four Seasons Director of Golf, Byron Nelson and Shawn Humphries, Four Seasons Director of Instruction.IRVING, TX -- A few months ago Shawn Humphries, Director of Instruction for the Four Seasons Resort Byron Nelson Golf School, got an unexpected treat.

Mr. Nelson himself, age 87, was hitting balls at The TPC at Las Colinas.

"Mr. Nelson was catching them thin and he asked my opinion," said Humphries, who played collegiate golf at Oklahoma City University. "I immediately thought of his book Winning Golf and remembered the pictures of him in the book. On this day he had the ball a little too forward. So I suggested he move the ball back in his stance a bit and right away he was striking the ball solidly."

Humphries loves his job. He explains that The Byron Nelson Golf School has two purposes -- it will sharpen your golf skills so that you enjoy the game more, and it will provide a fun and team-building experience for business groups and their clients. He says you will find the participants creating a bond.

Mr. Nelson agreed it's all about enjoyment: "For one, there is no sense in participating in a golf school unless your ultimate goal is to increase your own enjoyment of the game. Second, it's difficult to change playing habits in golf without some advice from an instructor you trust."

The three-day clinics coach the golfers in the basics and will help them fix a slice and find confidence in bunker play. Humphries said that students can come away from the instruction with a better attitude and will have a foundation to continue improvement.

Group instruction in the sand. About 24 corporate groups, averaging about 16 individuals, will pay up to $50,000 this year to entertain clients. They stay at a luxury resort, the Four Seasons, get expert golf instruction, play on a championship course and have meals prepared by top chefs during the 2½-day event. It can be a reward for top executives
or for key customers.

"You know many corporations treat their clients to the Final Four, the World Series, the Masters and other events all the time," Humphries said. "But this is more than just sitting across the table at a dinner or witnessing an event. This is a first-class program where each individual can interact with others in the group, 16 hours a day. Our groups develop camaraderie and team building. I'd love to go through it myself."

And when his schedule permits, Mr. Nelson might even visit during one of the corporate sessions.

This year the school will also open the first week in June and the first week in November to individual instruction.

Shawn Humphries (right) works with Bill Nardiello of<br />
Chicago on his swing. "I get a lot out of this," Humphries said. "I have a passion for working with the people and their game and being around people who want to learn. I have the same passion for teaching that Mr. Nelson had for playing competitively.

Humphries also looks forward to every minute he gets to spend with Mr. Nelson.

"Every time Mr. Nelson comes by and I get to talk to him I learn something," Humphries said. "Just when I think I've heard all his stories I hear another. I think he has the best recall of any human being ever."

So while the wind was whipping 30 mph on Thursday for the opening round of the GTE Bryon Nelson Classic, Humphries had the day off so to speak, because the PGA Tour pros were using his teaching ground. But he was still working – he was catching up on administrative duties and he had just finished a segment with The Golf Channel's Golf Academy Live.

It seems Shawn Humphries has a passion for this game.

Byron Nelson Golf School

Contact Lance Peters, Golf Sales Manager, Four Seasons Resort and Club, 4150 North MacArthur, Irving, Texas 75038. Telephone 972-717-2520. Fax 972-717-2428.

David R. HollandDavid R. Holland, Senior Writer

David R. Holland is an award-winning former sportswriter for The Dallas Morning News, football magazine publisher, and author of The Colorado Golf Bible. Before launching a career as a travel/golf writer, he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force reserve, serving during the Vietnam and Desert Storm eras. Follow Dave on Twitter at @David_R_Holland.


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