Mike Bender, ranked as one of the Top Five Best Teachers in America by Golf Digest Magazine, will open the Mike Bender Golf Academy’s new world headquarters at Magnolia Plantation Golf Club in Lake Mary, Fla. on Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The new academy facilities include a one-of-a-kind 5,000 square-foot building with an all-weather teaching and club-fitting bay, a state-of-the-art putting studio, a fully-equipped fitness room staffed by an on-site trainer, club repair facilities, private video rooms where teachers and students can review swing video from their lessons, a player lounge with kitchen facilities, bathrooms with full shower facilities and academy offices.
Additional practice facilities include a 150-foot long putting green designed by Bender, a chipping green with two sand bunkers and undulating fairway, Bender’s famous Wedge Range for pitching practice, two TrackMan shot-analyzer computers, a SAM PuttLab, the world’s largest MEGSA Perfect Practice Equipment training facility, uneven lies practice station, mirrors, practice walls, plane board, stretch cage and, of course, a full-size grass practice tee.
The grand opening will be a special celebration for Lake Mary and the Orlando golf community of which Bender has been a part of for more than 25 years since his days competing on the PGA Tour. The grand opening will include free clinics including an appearance by special guest two-time U.S. Open Champion Lee Janzen, nearly $5,000 in prize drawings including a grand prize of a set of Nike golf clubs, free food and beverages, tours of the new facilities, contests and special one-day only discounts.
“To be able to build one of the best golf training facilities right here where our academy has been embraced by the community over the past 20-plus years is a dream come true for me,” said Bender. “This facility has been carefully designed to help every level of golfer maximize their improvement in every facet of the game. I couldn’t be more pleased with what we’ve been able to create.”
In particular, the new facilities have been designed to provide the best training environment possible for the Mike Bender Elite Golf Academy, a new boarding program run in conjunction with Lake Mary Preparatory School. This program includes 20 hours a week of training during the school year personally supervised by Mike Bender who is with the program participants nearly every day. The program is limited to two-dozen competitive high school-aged golfers from around the world.
Bender has achieved worldwide recognition as a teacher who gets students to make significant improvement in their games, with some of golf’s top players seeking out his advice. Zach Johnson, 2007 Masters Champion and six-time winner on the PGA Tour, has trained with Bender since Johnson began on the mini-tours more than a decade ago. LPGA four-time tournament winner Seon Hwa Lee also has worked with Bender, as has Chella Choi. More recently, PGA Tour veterans, including Jonathan Byrd and Janzen, each have worked with Bender.
All told, Bender has helped more than two dozen PGA, Champions and LPGA Tour professionals with their games.