BUIES CREEK -- Ryan Dailey, assistant director of Campbell University’s PGA Golf Management Program, has been named the Carolinas PGA Section’s Junior Golf Leader of 2013. According to the Carolinas PGA, the honor recognizes a PGA professional who has outstanding character, provides opportunities and experiences for juniors to learn and play golf, and exhibits a commitment to junior programs and initiatives that impact the lives of junior golfers.
“This award and recognition does not come without the help and assistance of so many,” Dailey said.
Dailey started the iGrow Golf Program at Keith Hills Golf Club, which Campbell’s PGA management (PGM) program runs, in 2010 with the help of Matt Reagan, a 2012 Campbell graduate. At the time, Reagan was a PGM student at Campbell who shared Dailey’s vision to create an environment at Keith Hills that welcomed children and provided them with a long-term roadmap for success in golf. Today, Reagan is working full time for iGrow and will head the Crooked Creek Golf Club location in 2014.
The program’s activities include providing coaching to junior golfers once a week over the course of eight months. Throughout those eight months, the students progress through a six-level learning system that is the first of its kind; it trains junior golfers to become a competitive scratch golfer by the time they graduate Level 6. In contrast to iGrow’s approach, the majority of junior instructional programs take the form of one-week golf camps during the summer or through private lessons.
“Training junior golfers for eight months a year for multiple years versus attending a one-week campus in the summer or taking random private lessons is much more effective,” Dailey said. “We have seen some amazing results and transformations with our students. One of our first students is now entertaining offers to play at some big-time Division I schools. However, our greatest success is seeing a student who is shy and has no self-confidence changing into a confident and skilled golfer. We have seen this start to spread into other areas of children's lives as they start to excel at school and other activities.
“This is just the beginning for Matt and me as we aspire to change the way junior golf is taught.”
In addition to the eight-month instruction program, staff and interns with iGrow visit schools in Harnett County to introduce golf to children and provides curriculum to members of the community and to collegiate and high school teams. Currently, the program operates out of two facilities in North Carolina, including at Keith Hills, and there are plans to expand to additional facilities in the state.
iGrow also gives students in Campbell’s PGM program the opportunity to teach young golfers and to operate a world-class junior golf program. “Working closely with Mr. Dailey and Matt Reagan at the junior program has allowed me the rare opportunity to actually teach golf while at school,” said Luke Donah, a junior from Ballston Lake, N.Y. and one of the more than dozen Keith Hills and iGrow staff members whom Dailey credits for the success of the junior program.
Another is Seth Thompson, a sophomore from West Virginia, who said: “In continuously pursuing to become positive role models for the children and to create the best junior golf program possible, I find that I have improved in the process. To me, this program is not just about growing; it is about impacting and changing young children’s lives.”
A Saranac Lake, N.Y., native, Dailey received his Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Business Administration from Campbell in 2004 and 2009, respectively. After completing his undergraduate degree, he spent two years teaching at GolfTEC in Dallas, Texas, while working toward playing golf professionally. Two years later, he returned to North Carolina to receive instruction from David Orr, the director of instruction for Campbell’s PGM program.
“A large part of my golf instruction success is due to David Orr,” Dailey said. “He instilled in me that to help someone become a better golfer you need to believe in yourself, be able to demonstrate what you are teaching, and be steadfast in your beliefs.”
After working with Orr for a year, Dailey won his first professional tournament -- the Area V Event at Pinehurst No. 6 -- in 2006. He played professionally for several seasons before joining Campbell as the assistant director of the PGM program. In addition to teaching Campbell’s 150 PGM students each year and running iGrow, he offers private and on-course lessons and lectures on fitness, equipment and Trackman, a Doppler radar technology used by players such as Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson.
Dailey will receive the Junior Golf Leader award during the Carolinas PGA Section’s 21st annual Special Awards and Honors Ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 16, at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C.
"Ryan and Matt’s iGrow Golf programs at the Keith Hills Golf Club are certainly fulfilling the mission of the PGA of America to promote the enjoyment and involvement in the game of golf and to contribute to its growth,” said Kenneth Jones, director of Campbell’s PGM program. “Ryan Dailey also serves as a working role model for the students in the PGA Golf Management Program, and his entrepreneurial spirit and passion for teaching are the types of traits we’re looking to develop in the students." -- Cherry Crayton, digital content coordinator