Early Wins in 2023 for PGA Director of Instruction Mark Blackburn
Mark Blackburn, Greystone Golf & Country Club’s PGA Director of Instruction, added a number of player wins under his belt in the first two months of 2023. Named the 2020 PGA Teacher & Coach of the Year, Blackburn has been Greystone Performance Center’s not-so-secret weapon for over eight years. He instructs pros and Club members alike to improve their golf game through a holistic approach combining physiology and psychology.
He describes his approach as “pragmatic” and a little “old-school” while taking into account each player’s unique DNA. “Every player is different. You just have to embrace what you do,” Blackburn said in 2020 for Golf.com. With this personalized philosophy, Blackburn has garnered a loyal following and approaches a legendary status as a coach, especially seen in this year’s January and February leaderboards.
Max Homa had an exciting win at the 2023 Champion Farmers Insurance Open in January this year. This is his sixth PGA Tour victory, all since 2019, five of which have been since 2021 when he began working with Mark Blackburn. A golf obsessive with a widely followed Twitter presence, Homa was listed as one of ESPN’s most influential names in golf in 2022 and named The Athletic’s 2022 Golf Person of the Year. His career is taking off with the help of Blackburn’s instruction; Homa is 12th in the world according to the current PGA Official World Golf Ranking. Xander Schauffele, also coached by Blackburn, currently ranks 6th in the world.
In early February, Justin Rose–who started working with Blackburn in November–had his first win in four years, since the 2019 Farmers Insurance Open. At this AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am win, he finished 18 under par, even with play being suspended for dark conditions and rain. Rose recently spoke about his coaching relationship with Mark Blackburn with Fore Play podcast: “You can see the success [Blackburn] has with different guys with different body shapes and totally different swings. He doesn’t pigeonhole anybody into a particular style of swing, and I think that’s obviously pretty impressive.”
The PGA WM Phoenix Open just finished last week on February 12th, and the pros Blackburn coaches populated the leaderboard at this event. Adam Hadwin and Xander Schauffele both placed in top ten with ten under par. Hadwin in particular made a big splash at the famously rowdy hole 16 at the TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course; over 20,000 fans at the hole cheered and threw drinks on the course when Hadwin hit his tee shot to tap-in distance.
The success of Mark Blackburn’s players this year has been preceded by a great number of wins in recent years, notably Trey Mullinax’s win at the Barbasol Championship in 2022, Chez Reavie’s win at the Barracuda Championship in 2022, and Mike Weir’s win at the Insperity Invitational in 2021. A Canadian left-handed player, Weir won the Invitational–his first tournament on the PGA Champions Tour and first worldwide win since 2007–under Blackburn’s instruction. “I think he’s helped advance the game,” Weir said for PGA about Blackburn’s 2020 Teacher & Coach of the Year award. “I think he’s helped advance teaching to a new level.”
Other PGA Tour players Blackburn coaches include Robert Karlsson who placed top three in the Trophy Hassan II this February, Charley Hoffman who placed in the QBE Shootout top three in December 2022, and Kramer Hickok who’s had four top ten finishes since 2019. Blackburn also coaches Janie Jackson in the LPGA Tour and Martin Flores in the Korn Ferry Tour.
Greystone is proud to have Mark Blackburn and his instruction team with Blackburn Academy. “I coach these players out on the PGA tour, but they’re coming back to Alabama,” Blackburn said. “That’s where the real work happens–at Greystone.” His unique, player-specific instruction lends itself perfectly to coaching both pros and Greystone Golf and Country Club member amateurs. His robust, world-class team offers junior development and adult coaching through clinics and private lessons, even when Blackburn is traveling. With the help of his team, Blackburn said, “we’re giving people an opportunity to have a Tour coaching experience right at home at Greystone.”