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Read on about Mike Bender's passion for golf instruction.


You have displayed incredible dedication to the game of golf and to the North Florida Section. What is it that motivates you to show such dedication?

It all stems from helping people enjoy a sport that I love so much. As a professional player, I know how important it is to hit great shots, but when the kids I coach hit the ball "better", it becomes more fun. Helping someone do something they love is so rewarding. Having success and sharing that success with other professionals is an amazing feeling. Everything we do is about growing the game of golf and it is all about people enjoying the sport.

You have had many years of experience with the PGA Tour. How has your experience influenced you to be a better instructor?

I think what it has allowed me to do, playing on the Tour for three years, has allowed me to develop the competitive players that I teach and help them understand what it takes to learn at the highest level and learning what junior pros need to know to get to the Tour. My experience with the Tour has allowed me to coach in a way that exemplifies who I an not only as a golfer, but as a person.

I never had an instructor growing up and the juniors today are so much better than I ever was.

What would you say is your worst golf habit?

During my youth, I grew up watching some of the best players including Johnny Miller and Jack Nicklaus and I always tried to copy their swing: big reverse C. My swing takes after that and I blame my idols for that.

How did you get started with the game of golf?

Sometimes out of bad things come good things. My parents got divorced and I moved to California from Iowa, and part of the arrangement was to go back to spend time with dad. My first year back, he wanted to do something with me so that we could bond. I wanted to go fishing but there were no fishing poles in the garage. But there were golf clubs. So we decided to go golfing, but we needed two sets of clubs in order for both of us to play. I watched my dad play nine holes and all I wanted to do was try it because it was very intriguing. My aunt had an extra set and I played every single day after that. I made my dad drop me off at the course every day after that weekend.

If your golf ball could speak, what would it say to you?

Hit me straight because I don't want to get lost!

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