Simply put, Gary Gilchrist is synonymous with junior golf. In a coaching career that spans more than 20 years, Gilchrist has been responsible for recruiting, training and developing more top-ranked junior-level golfers than any other coach in the business.
In his illustrious coaching career, Gilchrist has taught more than 75 American Junior Golf Association All-Americans, six AJGA Players of the Year, two U.S. Amateur champions (American David Gossett and Colombia’s Maria Jose Uribe), two U.S. Junior Girls champions (Chile’s Nicole Perrot and Korea’s In-Kyung Kim), one NCAA women’s champion (Thailand’s Virada Nirapathpongporn) and one U.S. Public Links champion (American Michelle Wie).
Gilchrist also teaches many of the game’s best professionals and helped Yani Tseng ascend to No. 1 in the world. Gilchrist also coaches China’s first fully exempt LPGA Tour player Shanshan Feng, who when combined with Tseng, have won a combined 6 majors since 2010 under Gilchrist’s guidance — Tseng (4) and Feng (2).
European Tour winner Peter Hedblom also works with Gilchrist, as well as Sandra Gal, Karen Stupples and PGA Tour rookie Morgan Hoffmann, who is GGGA’s first student to go from the Academy to college and on to the professional ranks.
Gilchrist, who was recently recognized by Golf Digest as a Top 50 Teacher in America 2011-2012 and 2013-2014 and by Golf Magazine as a Top 100 Teacher 2012-2013
Gilchrist solidified his position in junior golf circles when he became an official partner of the American Junior Golf Association, the highly respected junior golf association that has featured hundreds of future golf stars, including Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel. As part of Gilchrist’s AJGA partnership, GGGA is the umbrella sponsor of the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series for golfers aged 12-15.
Working on the whole person is something Gilchrist has always valued. That’s the main reason he partnered with Montverde Academy, a private independent co-ed college preparatory boarding and day school located just 20 minutes from GGGA. Montverde is where GGGA students get a rigorous academic foundation during a half day of school.
“Montverde Academy was one of the biggest attractions with bringing the Academy to Mission Inn,” says Gilchrist, who attended Texas A&M University prior to turning professional in 1987. “The fact it was nearby was valuable. Most of the families investing in their children to come to our academy want them to go to the best Ivy League schools or top NCAA Division I universities.
“It’s not like going to school at some of the other golf academies. We’re building that foundation and understand the importance of what it means to be a student-athlete. Not just at the junior level but at the college level.”
It’s not like going to school at some of the other golf academies. We’re building that foundation and understand the importance of what it means to be a student-athlete. Not just at the junior level but at the college level.
– Gary Gilchrist
Growing up in Durban, South Africa, Gilchrist dreamed of playing pro golf like many juniors. After playing golf for two years at Texas A&M,Gilchrist’s dream came true when he won the South African PGA Tour School and started competing against the likes of Ernie Els and RetiefGoosen. Gilchrist played on South Africa’s elite Sunshine Tour for five years, and was a three-time winner on the South African PGA Winter Tour.
Later, Gilchrist’s professional golf interests led him to the David Leadbetter Golf Academy in Florida, where he helped Leadbetter coach PGA Tour players such as Nick Price, David Frost, Mark O’Meara, Andy Bean and Els. After seemingly being at the pinnacle of his coaching career, though, Gilchrist ventured toward unchartered territory: junior golf.
In 1995, Gilchrist was charged with developing the first full-time junior golf academy in the world. After running IMG’s David Leadbetter Junior Golf Academy as the Director of Golf from 1995-2004, Gilchrist took his expertise to the International Junior Golf Academy (IJGA) in Hilton Head Island, S.C., where he oversaw hundreds of elite junior and professional golfers for another three years.
Though Gilchrist was initially trained as a technical teacher, he quickly realized to take golfers to the next level, they needed to master more than just technique – they also needed a comprehensive training program that incorporated every aspect of being a champion and that’s just what he did with starting the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy.
“It was never my goal to be the most famous instructor… My dream was to help support young people in realizing their potential and dreams. I love golf; I love to train young people.”
– Gary Gilchrist
Basically, Gilchrist’s mission to foster a holistic and nurturing environment where student-athletes can train and develop into future champions – both in golf and in life.
- Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher 2012-2013
- Golf Digest Top 50 Best Teachers in America 2013-2014
- Golf Digest Top 50 Best Teachers in America 2011-2012
- Won 10 amateur tournaments
- Member, South Africa’s national team
- Helped Texas A&M win Southwest Conference championship, 1987
- Won South Africa PGA Tour School, 1989
- Played South Africa’s Sunshine Tour, 1989-1994
- Three-time winner on South African PGA Winter Tour
- Trained at David Leadbetter Golf Academy, 1993-95
- Appointed Director of Golf at David Leadbetter Junior Golf Academy, 1995-2004
- Director of Golf at IJGA, 2004-2006
- Selected by Nike as green grass elite instructor, 2004
- Author, “Train Like a Champion” e-book, 2006
- Established Gary Gilchrist Golf Inc./Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy, 2007
- Co-author, nationally distributed book, “Going for the Green,” 2009