Former BHS star opens golf academy
Marc Anthony Benavidez has never taken a golf lesson in his life, but he believes — with good reason — that he can teach you how to swing a golf club properly and thereby improve your game.
Having been a teaching pro in Albuquerque and Las Vegas, NM, for 25 years, the Belen native has returned home and opened the Golf Teaching Academy at 2290 N.M. 304, where he is gives lessons at bargain prices.
Benavidez’s golf career began at the age of 11 on the Tierra Del Sol Golf Course, where his work ethic propelled him to being a top golfer on the Belen High School golf team that won back-to-back state championships in 1981 and 1982.
After working jobs outside of the golf industry, Benavidez decided to return to “what I do best,” which is golfing.
He found employment at the Four Hills Golf Course in Albuquerque, and during his 14 years of employment there, he learned how to teach.
His theories are based on observation of pro golfers and then transferring those observations into his own golf swing. His swing has undergone constant tweaking during the intervening years, which has translated into vast improvement of his own game. He says he is now playing the best golf of his life.
But perhaps the most important aspect of his evolution as a golf teacher and player is his study of psychology and learning how the mind works.
“The number one problem with any golf swing is tension, and our focus on what causes that tension,” Benavidez said. “Whether you play golf or not, if you focus on anything you can’t control in life, your body inadvertently reacts to those things. The key is, instead of focusing on the problem itself, one must focus on the solution.”
The key to a good golf swing is to release the tension from the body by disconnecting the body parts, he said. Thus, the neck is disconnected from the shoulders and the shoulders are disconnected from the arms. The upper torso is disconnected from the lower torso. It all results in a “loosey-goosey” swing.
“All athletes move relaxed,” Benavidez said. “People think you have to be tight to be in control. The key is to recognize the tension and get rid of it.”
To prove his point, Benavidez gave me a lesson. I’ve taken lessons throughout the years with several golf pros, but I’ve never achieved the level of play that I thought I was capable of.
Benavidez immediately corrected two bad habits I’d accumulated throughout the years — a stance that is too wide, and hands that were in front of the ball.
He also quickly corrected a backswing that initiated an “inside-out” swing I had been taught by the first pro I took a lesson from and was never corrected by the other pros I’d seen.
He then got me in touch with all of the tension that was in my body, from my head and neck to my shoulders, to my arms and hands.
With gentle guidance, he worked me through the swing path, from backswing to finish.
After hands-on assistance and a few golf swings on my own, he videotaped my swing. Presto! On the screen, I saw myself executing a swing I could be proud of. And the balls were coming off my club crisply.
Those who might be interested in receiving Benavidez’s help can do so at bargain rates.
“The price of a normal golf lesson was $90 an hour,” Benavidez said. “So instead of doing that, I’m charging $75 and you can come in for a whole month to work on your swing, and I’ll be there to help you.”
He’ll also record your swing to see how it has improved.
“It’s a great deal, $75 a month is like nothing,” he said.
Those interested can call the academy at 864-4480, or Benavidez’s cell phone at 702-279-6448.
Contact Curt Gustafson