What makes Kevin Bleiler one of the most successful and highly-regarded golf teachers in the Dallas area isn’t just the fact that he consistently helps golfers dramatically lower their scores. It’s the way he does it — with patience, understanding, great people skills, and a depth of knowledge of the golf swing gained from over 25 years of schooling golfers of all age levels and abilities. For longtime student Reggie McHone, who has been studying on and off with Kevin for over fifteen years — bringing down his handicap from over 30 to “somewhere between a 5 and a 6″ — it’s Kevin’s attentiveness combined with resourcefulness:
“I found Kevin had infinite patience. If there’s something I’m not getting in a lesson, he’ll try another way to get it across — and if that doesn’t work, he’s got another way. And he always seems to end up conveying the idea, which I think is remarkable.”
“Another thing I like about his style of teaching is that he seems to adapt to what I give him to work with — the skills and approach that I bring. From the first time we worked together, he didn’t try to re-invent the wheel with me.”
“See, I’m an ex-high school athlete, and when I took up golf in my early 30s, I thought I could master it with no problem,” Reggie recalls, a little ruefully. “I discovered pretty quickly I didn’t know anything about the game, and found it to be very difficult. So I was looking for somebody who could give me the basics,work with me and build some fundamentals.”
In Kevin, Reggie found a friendly, unassuming teacher skilled in accentuating the positive. “Kevin took advantage of the things that he thought were strong points in my swing and focused on those, and used those to help me get better. And he’s continued to do that throughout the time we’ve worked together. As my skill level’s improved some, he can be a little more detailed about what we work on. But he’s still using the same approach: building on what we both know are the strong points of my golf game.”
One reason teaching comes naturally to Kevin Bleiler is he knew he wanted to be a golf teacher all his life. As he says, “Although there’s a lot of people that end up in this business who wanted to be a touring professional, I’m not sure I’d put myself in that category.”
“I grew up near a golf course — I started playing when I was ten — and by the time I was in high school, and working at the shop at a golf course in New Jersey, I knew that I wanted to be a teaching professional. Teaching golf is really all I ever wanted to do.”
Kevin Bleiler was a professional at Firewheel Golf Park and Dallas Athletic Club prior teaching at the Practice Tee (in fact, he’s developed a loyal following of students that includes many Richardson-area private-club members) as now has returned to Firewheel. As associate coach, Kevin helped start the golf program at the University of Texas at Dallas, taking the team from a raw beginning to competing at the National Championships six years later, where the team finished 14th.
Kevin has the kind of single-minded devotion that allows him to work well with golfers of all levels. “Kevin takes a comprehensive look at what you’re doing,” says Dave Lesh, who has gone from shooting “around 150″ to scoring in the low 100s in less than a year of study with Kevin at The Practice Tee.
“He’s helped me to understand how everything comes together,” says Dave. “I lacked a comprehensive structure and approach to learning the game and getting better at it. Kevin’s given me that structure, and I’m improving and enjoying playing golf more each time I play.”
“He had the patience to bear with me even when I felt like I was going backwards. He just did a great job of keeping me in a positive frame of mind.” Like Reggie, Dave appreciated his teacher’s versatile approach. “It’s all about the imagery. If he sees something that needs to be changed, he’ll try telling you things alot of different ways.” (As Kevin puts it, “I’ll try several different ways to get my students to do the thing they need to do to improve their golf swing.”)
Reggie McHune gained length with all his clubs, one of his most important
objectives: “When I was studying with Kevin early on, I felt that I wasn’t nearly as long as I should be, and Kevin agreed. These days — well, I’m never the shortest player in the foursome off the tee, just put it that way.”
It all boils down to being a people person. As Reggie says, “When I see him at the Practice Tee, he always has the time to say hello — even when he’s really busy, and he needs to do something else, but he’ll still take the time to chat with you or stop, and ask when you played last.” It just goes to show that teaching golf is more than a job to Kevin Bleiler — it’s his lifeblood.