Nicklaus Academies’ Mike Malaska to play in the 2014 Senior PGA Professional
National Championship

mike-malaskaMike Malaska, worldwide Director of Instruction for Nicklaus Academies and the 2011 PGA Teacher of the Year, is making his fourth appearance in the Southwick Senior PGA Championship to be held at the PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Malaska is the lone nationally celebrated golf instructor in the 264-player field. Malaska also played in the 2014 Senior PGA Championship last week at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Harbor Shores Golf Club in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

In 2008, he tied for 15th in the Senior PGA Championship, one of the five Majors played on the Champions Tour. Malaska won both the Southwest PGA Section Championship and the Section Senior Championship this year in his home state of Arizona.

“I have preached to The PGA that playing should be a big part of what we do as an organization,” said Malaska. “If you are going to be in the game, you need to play the game and understand and feel what it is all about. If you are going to teach, if you are physically capable of playing, you need to go out and play. It keeps you connected with the game and the whole mental side of it. You need to experience what it really takes to hit a shot when it counts.

“We encourage all of the Nicklaus Academy instructors around the world to continue to play the game, to get out there and compete and post a score. Their teaching is spot-on and their swings might look great, but can they pull it off on the golf course when it counts? If you, as an instructor, can no longer relate to what your students are experiencing on the course, how can you give them the best information to improve? I believe that maintaining the playing relationship with the game, where you are constantly refreshing your memory is important. You have to know what it is to adjust under pressure, the same as you are asking of your students.

“And I feel it is critical to remain connected to this great sport by playing. If not, teaching golf is just ‘a job.’ Competition helps to feed the passion that is critical to be a successful instructor. I know from experience; when I stop playing, stop competing for any period of time, it becomes harder to motivate my students to become the best they can be,” said Malaska.

Mike Malaska recently completed writing and publishing his first instruction book, I Feel Your Pain, with a foreword by Jack Nicklaus. I Feel Your Pain is the compilation of everything Malaska has learned from such storied teaching professionals as Don Johnson, Ben Doyle, Joe Nichols, Tag Merritt, John Schlee, Bob Toski and the late legendary Jim Flick. This knowledge is combined with Malaska’s continued research into how the mind and body work with the golf swing which Malaska describes as one’s “athletic personality.”