The 2011 PGA of America National Teacher of the Year


mmalaska.jpgMike Malaska, the PGA Director of Instruction at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club in Superstition, Arizona, who pioneered a standard of physical fitness evaluation for all golfers that evolved into today's model program, is the recipient of the PGA Teacher of the Year Award. The award was established in 1986, honoring outstanding teacher of golf among the PGA of America membership.

Malaska, 57, is a 31-year member of the PGA of America, oversees the development, implementation, training and certification of all professional instructors at Jack Nicklaus Golf Academies and Golf Centers around the world. Nicklaus Academies has facilities in the US, Mexico, Brazil, Spain, Denmark, China, Korea and Japan with planned expansion in the coming years in India, Canada, South and Latin America, South Africa and Russia. Back in the 1980's, Mike spent 3-years in Japan opening the successful Jack Nicklaus Golf Centers. Upon his return, Malaska spent 16-years as a Senior Instructor alongside Jim Flick with the Nicklaus-Flick Golf Schools.

"Our 2011 national award winners reflect the best values and qualities of our Association," said PGA of America President Allen Wronowski. "By their career work, our recipients have left an impact among their Section peers, their respective communities and influenced others throughout the country. They are inspiring to juniors as well as aspiring professionals."

Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Malaska was an all-round standout sports performer first in basketball, baseball, swimming and skiing before concentrating on golf his junior year in high school. His interest in golf innocently began as a "business venture" while Malaska was 14-years old and jumped a fence with his friend to search for golf balls at Nibley Park Golf Course. The host PGA Professional, Tom Sorenson, caught the youngsters in the midst of their ball search and in turn for ending the trespassing, offered to give them a part-time jobs at the course. Mike took to heart the writings of Jack Nicklaus in ‘Golf My Way' and Ben Hogan's ‘Five Lessons - The Modern Fundamentals of Golf' which served him well. 

Malaska accepted the offer and went on to attend Weber State University, earning All-American honors in 1974. He graduated in 1976, and turned professional that year, absorbing the golf teaching precepts of such teaching professionals as Don Johnson, Ben Doyle, Joe Nichols, Tag Merritt, John Schlee, Jim Flick and Bob Toski. From the blend of methodology of those respected instructors and his own personal professional playing career, Malaska inserted the fitness element that he calls "the athletic personality". That concept, said Malaska, is determining the make-up of the student, from how they move to the small motor skills that they possess. "Then you can determine what needs to be developed and how to get the most of their practice time. You also clear up the confusion that they have as to what makes sense to them in their swings and the development of their game."

In 1986, Malaska teamed with physiologist Pete Egoscue of San Diego to develop "The Swing Game" in a feature presentation in 1990 at the second PGA Teaching and Coaching Summit. The groundbreaking presentation is now part of most player development programs.

"What is gratifying for me is to see the validation of what we proposed 30-years ago and has been part of the Nicklaus Academies' curriculum for 20+ years is now being instituted into our educational programs," said Malaska. "I always believed that it is more important to evaluate whoever you have standing on the lesson tee as how they move through their swing and determine what you can do to help them get the most of the game."

"Mike's contribution to what makes Nicklaus Academies successful around the world is immeasurable. With Mike's insight into every facet of the individual and their golf swing, and his passion and ability to communicate that to our staff professionals separates what we have developed for the Nicklaus Academy programs," said Ted Simons, Executive VP / COO for Nicklaus Academies. "He is an open book, a sponge for information of different concepts and ideas that he then evaluates and personally tests. Mike then brings those concepts that will truly help our students enjoy the game of golf."

"I spent years learning from as many sources and as many teachers and players out there as possible, not just today, but also from the greats of the past. I developed a very good understanding of different ways to play and brought fitness into my teaching. ‘Athletic Personality' is essentially understanding who you are physically and emotionally; and developing a teaching method to maximize that individual's talent."

Malaska and his wife, Charlene, live in Mesa, AZ, and are parents to daughters Jennifer, 27, and Ashley, 21, a senior and member of the BYU women's golf team.

About The PGA of America

Celebrating its 95th year, The PGA of America ( ) has maintained a twofold mission of its founders; to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf. By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, The PGA enables its professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game.

About Nicklaus Academies

With locations in 9 countries, Nicklaus Academies ( ) continues to grow the game of golf participation on a global scale. The success of facilities with 20+ years in the Nicklaus Academy family speaks volumes to the proven system and philosophy of how to properly teach golfers of every age and ability around the world. Driven by how Jack Nicklaus learned to play the game at the highest level to constant updates and adjustments based on modern training techniques, state of the art coaching studios and analysis tools, and high-tech advancements in equipment, the Nicklaus Academies are in the forefront of golf instruction.

For additional information:


Please Share