Hank Haney has been rated by many as one of golf’s top instructors. His students have won all four of golf’s major professional championships, as well as many amateur titles. While Haney is a PGA teaching professional, and was an excellent amateur golfer, he did not play on the PGA Tour.
As a teenager in Illinois, Haney wrote numerous college golf coaches in search of a scholarship. Tulsa University was the only school that was interested in Haney, who secured a four-year scholarship by traveling to the school and shooting a 73 at a local country club. Haney earned All-Missouri Valley Conference honors at Tulsa and graduated with a degree in education in 1973. He then went to work at MeadowBrook Country Club in Oklahoma, where his duties included the changing of batteries in the club’s golf carts.
Haney began teaching golf in 1976. He held titles such as head pro and director of golf instruction at facilities in Texas and California before opening his own golf center in 1991. According to his website, he has taught more than 200 professional touring golfers, including Tiger Woods and 1998 Masters and British Open champion Mark O’Meara. As of 2012, Haney has written four instructional golf books and produced 14 DVDs.
“My philosophy as a teacher,” Haney has said, “is to teach my students to become their own best teacher by getting them to understand the flight of the golf ball and how it relates to the swing.”
Haney was ranked second on the “Golf Digest” list of top 50 golf teachers in 2009. He was selected by his fellow instructors as the national PGA teacher of the year in 1993 and was the PGA’s North Texas Section teacher of the year for five consecutive years, 1989 through 1993.
In 2004, according to Haney, Woods phoned and asked him to be his swing coach. Haney served in that capacity until May 2010, when -- he says -- he resigned. During that time Woods won the PGA Championship twice, the British Open twice, and the Masters and U.S. Open once each. Woods was ranked as the world’s No. 1 golfer during most of his six years working with Haney. In 2012 Haney published a book, “The Big Miss,” that described his years as Woods’ swing coach. The book stirred controversy about the propriety of revealing the details of his working relationship with the famously private Woods. “The bottom line really was, I felt like these are my memories as well as Tiger's,” Haney says.