East Teaches West

Gathright Helps Students Understand Their Game from Both Sides of the Ball

Gathright Helps Students Understand Their Game from Both Sides of the Ball Being a left-handed golfer can – in many aspects – make the game more difficult. In years past, equipment was harder to come by, courses were designed with right-handers in mind and teaching (as far as terminology) was devoted to players standing on the west side of the ball. Bryan Gathright, who has been teaching the game of golf since 1987 and is currently the director of instruction at the famed Oak Hills Country Club in San Antonio, plays lefthanded. But a conversation with famed teacher Harvey Penick during Gathright’s tenure as the original director of Penick’s golf academy in Austin showed Gathright the advantages of teaching golf from both sides of the ball. 

“Harvey was watching me work one day and afterward, during a little talk, I noticed he had that little gleam in his eye he always had when he had an idea to tell you,” Gathright remembers. “He told me he respected the way I was able to play and teach as a lefthander but that my right-handed pupils would be able to relate better to me if I was able to demonstrate from the right-handed perspective they were experiencing. And that’s how I have tooled my teaching.”

If Gathright’s record of success in the years since is any indication, Penick’s idea took hold – to the betterment of both teacher and his students. For each of the past seven years, Gathright has been named one of Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Teachers in America. In addition, he is also one of the Top Teachers in Texas by both Golf Digest and Texas Monthly, and he was selected as the 1997 and 2000 Southern Texas PGA Teacher of the Year.

But being able to stand across from his pupils and show them mirror images of the swing techniques he is teaching is a huge advantage to learning the game.

“Many teachers will tell you to look in the mirror to determine where you are on your swing,” Gathright said. “I have the perspective of a lefthander and see things right-handed teacher might miss.”

Gathright has spent his life in the game of golf, and his experience in golf covers more than 45 years. He attended Lamar University, in Beaumont on a golf scholarship and earned his BBA in marketing. Upon graduation, he played professionally in more than 40 states and 15 countries.

Gathright has appeared on Golf Academy Live and numerous times on Golf Talk Live on the Golf Channel. He also does a weekly radio show on KVET 1300 radio in Austin – the show is in its 15th year and is the longest running show on KVET during that time span.

In addition, Gathright does numerous guest spots on ESPN radio, FSN Fox Sports and XM Radio Channel 146 nationwide, as well as several television guest appearances. He has had various articles published in Golf Magazine, Golf Digest and many other newspaper and regional publications.

Gathright’s teaching background is extensive and is highlighted by his selection as the original director of the Harvey Penick Golf Academy in Austin, where he had the unparalleled opportunity to work side-by-side with teaching legend, Harvey Penick. Additionally, Gathright developed the La Cantera Golf Academy in San Antonio in 1995 and directed its operations until 2002. He then moved to Oak Hills Country Club, where he remains today.

Certainly, if the ultimate measure of a teacher is the success of his students, Gathright has exceeded the standard. Gathright’s pupils include four-time PGA Tour winner Notah Begay III, four-time LPGA winner, U.S. Amateur and U.S. Junior Amateur Champion and 2008 World Cup Champion. Dorothy Delasin. He also taught former Nationwide Tour Player of the Year, Jimmy Walker and former Texas Open Champion, David Ogrin. Gathright also works with numerous other top tour professionals, collegiate and amateur players.

Gathright’s passion for coaching is exhibited in both his teaching players to further enjoy the game of golf and by passing along his years of experience in the game to young aspiring golf professionals.

During the fourth quarter of 2008, Gathright will assume the roll of president and partner in Southern Golf Properties, Inc. in a collaboration with golf course architect Roy Bechtol, Rafeal Alarcon and Billy Carreto to form a “cradle-to-running” management team.

Details on that partnership were still being determined at press time.


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