By J.T. Smart

My story begins as a brain tumor survivor at the age of 18 months old. The main side effect of removing the tumor was loss of the fine motor skills to my right side. In other words, my right side is as strong as most 10-year-olds’ at best, and I am missing a lot of dexterity most people would take for granted. It also affected my memory in regard to long-term and retention.

With all that being said, these disabilities brought me to golf at the age of 12, and golf was a sport that made me feel like everyone else. I competed at the varsity high school level as a freshman, winning a valley championship and dozens of tournaments on various junior tours. I also volunteered at several junior clinics throughout those years year. My golf journey continued in college and mini-tour events, and I even got to caddy for my great friend in his early start on the PGA Tour.

These stepping-stones lead me to a career in golf instruction. The notches in my belt I acquired throughout my years of competitive golf, combined with my unique perspective on how to swing the club, has shaped the teaching philosophy I have today. I gained my USGTF Certified Golf Teaching Professional status in 2014 under the mentorship of Master USGTF instructor Jim Perez, a man I admire not only for golf instruction, but for his ability to communicate to his clients. I also acquired a TPI Golf certification; an International Golf Psychology Association certification through the USGTF; a U.S. Kids Golf certification and Vector Green Reading certification, thanks to Hector Avila, who’s also a USGTF instructor.

As of today, I am married to a wonderful girl named Kelsey and we have bonded over playing the game of golf together. We love playing new courses with each other, and of course, we both love the competition of couples’ events. I have an indoor teaching facility where I give more than 1,000 lessons a year. I coach for the Fresno City College golf team, and I have built a golf program with a team of club fitters, personal trainers and instruction, all in the aim to help reach my clients’ maximum potential.
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