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Community Highlights: Meet Mike Bender

Hi Mike, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I played on the PGA Tour until 1990 when I decided to start Teaching the game for a living. I had a family started and I lost my full status on the PGA Tour so I liked teaching and decided to do that full time. My first break was securing the director of Instruction at Timacuan Golf Club in Lake Mary. I moved my family to this part of town and began the Timacuan Golf Academy. Having played on the PGA Tour gave me the kind of experience that aspiring young professionals wanted to know. I taught many top ranked junior golfers as well as the Mini Tour players who were trying to get onto the PGA tour. I continued to develop a world class golf academy that brought players from all over the world. We also offered golf schools for people who lived up north and wanted to learn golf in the winter time when the weather was poor up north. In 1996 Golf Magazine came out with the Top 100 teachers in America list in which I was included. A few years later I was also listed on the Golf Digest list of Top 50 Instructors in America (currently listed 3rd). In 2009 I was awarded the PGA of America’s highest honor for Teachers as the National PGA Teacher of the Year. My most famous student is Zach Johnson who has won both the MASTERS and the BRITISH OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS. In 2012 I moved the academy from Timacuan golf course to Magnolia Plantation where we built a large golf academy. We have 6 instructors and teach all ages of juniors as well as professionals, sports figures and celebrities from all over the world.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
For the most part the evolution to our business and success has been gradual and fairly smooth. Having said that, shortly after opening up the new academy at Magnolia, the owner sold to another person who has closed the golf course. His actions have caused us to have to maintain our own grounds and find other golf courses to play in our playing lessons and for our juniors. This continues to make things less than perfect but the academy continues to thrive due to our long-standing reputation.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
We have programs at our golf academy for every level of player from beginners to professionals. We are probably best known for the high quality of our instruction. I am proud of starting in a tiny corner of a tennis shop with a small TV and VCR and growing into one of the best golf academies in the world. I have always been an independent contractor so have not been an employee. I have also invented several training aids and training systems for golf, many of which are copied all over the world. What sets us apart from other academies are several creative training tools and methods not seen anywhere else. Also, our staff has over 150 years of experience and we are the only facility that has two Top 100 Instructors teaching together.

What would you say have been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
Call people back and always do what you say you are going to do

Contact Info:

  • Address: 580 Shadowmoss Circle Lake Mary, Florida 32746 407 321-0444
  • Email:
  • Website:
  • Instagram: Mikebendergolf

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