Someone You Should Know: Sioux Empire’s Golf Guru

SIOUX FALLS, SD – It’s a cold November afternoon.  But, the temperature outside doesn’t matter at the Todd Kolb Golf Academy.  Inside a heated facility at Willow Run, golfers can keep their game hot in South Dakota’s colder months.

“This is the time of year, like in January and February, where we can actually make some changes in the kids’ games that need to be made,” says PGA Teaching Pro Todd Kolb, owner, operator and head instructor at the academy.

His lessons go beyond fine-tuning a swing or learning the rules.  The academy’s big focus is junior high and high school kids and getting them excited about this lifelong sport.

“The thing that really ties it all together quite honestly is the social aspect.  Kids, they want to be around friends, they want to do something that they can do with their buddies,” he says.

Todd started giving golf lessons more than 20 years ago.  What began as him and a few clients has turned into a full-fledged academy with multiple instructors and upwards of 80 students in peak summer months, including pros on the LPGA tour.

One of the most impressive things about the academy is its growth over the last few years during a tough time for the golf industry.  Reports from industry experts say the number of people who play golf has stayed flat over the last decade nationwide, if not dropped.  But, participation at the golf academy is on the upswing.

“One of the main reasons is our primary customer base is kids.  Youth sports has kind of become somewhat of a business for a lot of people, because kids are way more active in it and it’s way more competitive,” Todd explains.

Most kids take lessons at the academy eight or 12 months at a time and return year after year.  Spending lots of time together in group practices and play days keeps those players from getting burned out or lonely in what’s typically an individual sport.

“That’s why team sports like softball, volleyball and basketball are so popular because they do it with their friends.  When those relationships start to develop and foster, that’s when they start to spend the whole day at the golf course.”

One golfer benefiting from that is someone whose game Todd knows pretty well: his 18-year-old son Justin

“Everyone here just loves golf and loves to play it so it’s fun to interact with all the people here,” Justin says.

Todd uses high-tech equipment to break down a player’s swing or stroke.  But, Justin says his dad is especially helpful with the side of the game you can’t see.

“His mental side of the game is so strong, like he knows how to tell you to react to certain situations.”

Whether it’s mental toughness or swing mechanics, teaching is Todd’s passion and his number one goal is to make positive changes on and off the course.

“You just never know if a young gal or guy walks in here and maybe you helped them hit the golf ball so maybe they make the varsity golf team versus not making it.  And maybe that means then they associate with a different group of people and you just don’t know how that one little thing could impact the direction of their life.”

Todd also attributes his academy’s success to its location.  He says Sioux Falls is a growing city with a solid financial base of families who earn mid to upper level incomes.

For more information on academy programs and pricing, click here.

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