The stats are in—Austin beats out other cities by a long shot with more than double the requests for golf lessons than the national average. Clearly Austin is more athletic, driven, talented, and good-looking than all the rest.
What’s the appeal of golf in Austin? Garry Rippy of Garry Rippy Golf is a PGA Golf Professional who’s been teaching the sport for nearly 40 years (and a highly rated Thumbtack pro). Here he talks about the unique perks of Austin golf.
What is the biggest request you receive?
Broadly, it’s students seeking golf instruction to improve their golf games. My students are all ages. That’s the neat thing about Thumbtack, I have requests from the most junior players to seniors golfers.
What do more people need to work on?
The secret is in the short game. I wish more people would work on it. A lot of people want lessons on their full swing, which is great, but the full swing has ingrained habits that can take time to correct. For quick results to improve your score, focus on your short game which includes chipping, putting, pitching, and bunker shots (sand shots around the green). Don’t ignore your long game, but work on that short game, too.
What’s your favorite golf course in the area?
Austin has so many choices. There are resorts, daily fee courses, and city fee courses, all within a 50 mile radius. You can play some of the top courses in the country, all in this area. To top it off, our beautiful weather means people are able to play all year round.
My personal favorites in each category are:
- Omni Barton Creek for a resort course
- Falconhead Golf Club for daily fee
- Roy Kizer Course for city fee. (Fun fact—this 36 hole course is spread over 200 acres of wetlands and lakes and also offers residency to migrating waterfowl).
What’s the golf culture in Austin?
Growing! Golf culture is growing because Austin is gaining 100 new residents a day. The golf world is booming. All areas are growing, especially the technology industry, so there’s been a growth of tech golfers. That said, we have a lot different types of golfers. Austin is such a diverse community—people retire here, people move here for their careers, people come here to study at the university. Golf is everybody.
That it is so diverse. The neat thing about Austin is there is affordable golf. We have a golf course that fits any budget or skill level.
Any tips for newcomers to golf?
The worst thing you can do is try to learn the game by yourself. Your friends may be well-meaning, but they won’t set you on the right path. I recommend any new golfer to sign up for lessons and realize learning golf is a process. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Before committing, plan on 10-15 lessons to understand how to really play the game. If you start the right way and get the proper fundamentals, you’ll have more fun in the long run.
Any advice for seasoned pros?
Don’t rule out taking a lesson. A lot of people are resistant to change, but if your scores aren’t improving, think about taking a lesson—especially on your short game.
What types of services do you provide?
I offer individual instruction and golf clinics. Golf clinics are customized programs for private groups of golfers—maybe a husband and wife who want to improve together, or a small corporate team building activity.
What should someone ask to get a great golf coach?
How long have you been teaching? More experience means an instructor will be quicker to identify the root of your problem. Read reviews, and read the teacher’s profile. Look for the person’s teaching style. There are so many approaches, so make sure it meshes with you.