Kendall Academy’s success is its students, success

(Ypsilanti, Mich.) Webster’s Dictionary says an Academy offers “instruction or training in a special field.” Plato offered instruction in a park in Athens, Greece. Dave Kendall shouldn’t be confused with Plato, at least not yet. But the Kendall Academy is on the border of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, Michigan’s second oldest city named after another famous Greek—General Demetrius Ypsilanti, a hero in the Greek war for independence.

Kendall’s instructional park is at Miles of Golf where it teaches, coaches and trains champion golfers from juniors to seniors. And this being PGA Championship week, it’s a fitting time to review the progress of teachers and students alike.

Kendall, twice named Teacher of the Year by the Michigan PGA, and his staff have helped high school boys and girls win state championships and later move up to college squads. Other students are excelling in major state amateur events and on the professional tours. In all, there are nine instructors at Kendall Academy—Kendall, Paul Haase, Tom Harding, Scott Hayes, Nick Ma, Frank McAuliffe, Jack Seltzer, Sandy Wagner and Jim Yuhas—making it Michigan’s largest golf faculty under one roof.

“We all receive so much satisfaction to see our students perform well in competition,” said Kendall. “As Bobby Jones once wisely said, ‘there’s golf and then there’s tournament golf.’ There’s so much to learn about the latter and we’re here to help.”

A two-time Michigan Senior Open champion, Kendall finished eighth in the recent Michigan PGA’s Boyne Tournament of Champions and where one of his longtime young pupils also competed as a former state junior champion. Earlier this summer that same player won a prestigious AJGA event at Treetops and this fall he’ll attend college in North Carolina on a golf scholarship.  And Matt Harmon, Kendall’s student since high school who later excelled at Michigan State, is again competing on the Webdotcom Tour. Earlier this summer, he qualified for the U.S. Open at Merion.

Haase, also voted Teacher of the Year by his peers, is known for his work through various age groups, juniors, high schoolers, pros and seniors. Seltzer, a member of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame and winner of every major state professional title, has worked with dozens of All-State golfers and is deeply involved in Kendall Academy’s Elite Junior Development Program.

“Many people are surprised to learn how busy I am during the winter and even over the holidays,” said Haase. “But that’s when many of my students work on major swing changes ahead of the competitive season. For instance, during the second half of last December, my lesson sheet was booked solid because that’s when my college students were back in the area.”

This past spring, Haase was thrilled to see one of his students win a Michigan boys’ state high school individual championship and later was named “Mr. Golf.” His female students this summer won Golf Association of Michigan championships in open and age division play while Britney Hamilton, another longtime student and a former women’s state champion, is competing successfully on the Symetra Tour, the gateway tour to the LPGA.

Bill Zylstra, a member of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, has credited his work with Haase for lifting him to Golfweek’s ranking as the top senior amateur in the country.

The Kendall Academy’s Elite Junior Development Program (EJDP) has seen its graduates compete in top national tournaments. As its Coordinator, Seltzer is a firm believer in a sound foundation thanks to growing up in Flint’s outstanding junior program.

“The most important factor for success is desire. Talent is also key but not as much as the sheer desire and will to be a better player,” said Seltzer. One of Seltzer’s junior students, and a former member of the EJDP, qualified this summer for two national junior events and will playing college golf this fall on a scholarship.

Other teachers at Kendall Academy continue to work with juniors and amateurs, many of whom have won club and local titles this season. It’s all about getting better and performing well at tournament golf—just the way Bobby Jones or Plato would have liked it.

Offering year round instruction, Kendall Academy is located at Miles of Golf, a full-service golf operation offering a retail store, practice & teaching facility, and club-fitting center in Ypsilanti. For more info, call 877-973-9005 or visit and   For more details on the EJDP, contact Jack Seltzer at [email protected]