LENOX -- If you watch all the instruction shows on the Golf Channel or read all the tips in golf publications, you'd think the golf swing was more complicated than sending an astronaut to Mars.

However, LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals Hall of Fame instructor Kay McMahon has developed an instruction program trademarked as "Golf 8.5" that she believes makes learning golf easy and uncomplicated.

"There's so much instruction and all that stuff is correct, except it's like a patchwork quilt," said McMahon, eduKaytion golf's founder and director of instruction. "Golf 8.5 makes it simple, easy and doable."

Now, with a gentle nudge from Eloise Trainor, eduKaytiongolf's vice president and director of operations, McMahon is going national with a five-stop tour from January into early March that certainly isn't an effort to stay warm while we shiver. The clinics will be held in hotel ballrooms in suburban Boston (Natick); Minneapolis-St. Paul; Kansas City, Mo.; and Milwaukee. There is also a "home game" at eduKaytion golf's facility at Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Club.

"It has proven to be such a successful method of teaching both beginners and low-handicap players, that I believe Kay's methods need a national platform," Trainor said. "I feel like we are obligated to do this."

So, what exactly does Golf 8.5 signify?

"Everyone makes golf seem so complicated, but I've broken it down to four things you have to know before you swing and 412 positions you need to reach during the swing," McMahon said. "You don't have to think about 1,002 things. This simplifies learning to play.


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"From the putter to the driver, it is all the same. The setup is the same and the impact is the same. That is what makes it simple. Making the game easier isn't about 15-inch cups. It's about making people better players. Let's help people get the ball airborne so they can get off the Tarmac."

Trainor says she has received glowing feedback o n Golf 8.5 from all levels of golfers.

"I talked to a 4-handicap player recently, and he loved it," Trainor said. "He said Golf 8.5 makes sense and is so simple."

Perhaps not as simple is planning the tour and making sure that the various golf communities are aware of the opportunity for golfers to work on their games in the dead of winter.

After all, while McMahon has earned a great reputation during a teaching career of 30-plus years -- she has won countless awards, including LPGA Teacher of the Year, and is a former president of the LPGA T&CP -- she is venturing into areas where she hasn't worked before, though she is a native of Minnesota.

How do they plan to drum up interest? "I'm going back to my roots," Trainor said.

Those roots go back to Tampa, Fla., where, in 1981, she started the Tampa Bay Mini Tour as a place for young female players to play for money and gain experience in the hopes of some day making it to the LPGA Tour.

The early years were a study in perseverance. The tour became known as the Futures Tour in 1983 and it did, indeed, become the training ground for future stars thanks to Trainor's determination, marketing and knowledge of golf.

She sold the rights in 1999 to the LPGA, and it became the official developmental tour. It is now known as the Symetra Tour.

They have a head start in Minneapolis-St. Paul and Kansas City. HERLIFE magazine -- a lifestyle publication geared for women -- wrote a lengthy cover story on McMahon and her teaching methods in July entitled "Golf the Easy Way." The New York-based magazine is circulated in both of those cities and announced in its article that it would help launch the Golf 8.5 tour.

And for their "home game," they will be drawing from golf communities who are well aware of McMahon's teaching skills.

Given how she beat the odds with her mini-tour, Trainor sees this as an easier sell.

"We are going to places where there are large population bases and we only need 72 people at each site [three clinics of 24 people]," Trainor said. "We hope it is lucrative, but more important is we want the world to see that the game can be easy to learn. More people will play if they see success and Kay can honestly say she has a 90 percent success rate."

Practicing in hotel ballrooms with potentially sub-zero weather outside? It makes perfect sense given one of the many golf axioms McMahon is known for.

"Golfers are made in the offseason," she often points out. "That's when you should make changes and develop your swing."

To contact Richard Lord:
rlord@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6236.