Among the Best in the Business

Golf Magazine’s list of top instructors in the country includes more than a few teachers with strong Colorado connections

By Gary Baines – 8/23/2023

This week, Golf Magazine published its package on the best golf instructors in the U.S., and quite a few with strong Colorado ties were among those recognized in one way or another.

Golf’s Top 100 Teachers in America list debuted in 1991, with the criteria for being selected based on “teaching experience and accomplishments, student portfolio and peer ratings, along with their overall commitment to the growth of the game, both through volunteerism and their ability to use digital platforms.”

Instructors are nominated by the PGA, LPGA, United States Golf Teachers Federation and the public at large, among others. A committee typically reviews about 250 nominations before selecting those they’ll include on their lists.

Among instructors who teach in Colorado for at least part of the year, five were included in the 2024-25 Top 100 Teachers in America:

— Nick Clearwater of GOLFTEC in Englewood.

— Ed Oldham of The Ranch Country Club in Westminster, a Colorado Golf Hall of Famer who works with three-time LPGA Tour winner Jennifer Kupcho. 

— Jeff Smith of Eagle Springs Golf Club in Wolcott.

— Stan Utley of Maroon Creek Club in Aspen, who won the 1989 Chattanooga Classic on the PGA Tour.

— Trent Wearner from the Trent Wearner Golf Academy in Denver. 

Also on the list is Eric Alpenfels, who grew up in Colorado and teaches at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina.

Oldham and Wearner made Golf Magazine’s top 100 for the first time this year.

In addition, two instructors with significant local connections are among those included in Golf Magazine’s 2024-25 Teachers Hall of Fame:

— Jim Hardy of Gunnison and the Houston area, the husband of two-time CGA Women’s Senior Stroke Play champion Marilyn Hardy.

— Former longtime Coloradan Mike McGetrick, who’s now based in Gainesville, Va.

For Golf magazine’s complete list of the Top 100 Teachers in America, CLICK HERE.

About the Writer: Gary Baines has covered golf in Colorado continuously since 1983. He was a sports writer at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, then the sports editor there, and has written regularly for since 2009. He was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2022. He owns and operates