About Mike Dowd
Born in Bermuda, Mike Dowd relocated to California at an early age. A graduate of California State University of Sacramento , he joined the P.G.A. at the age of 20, wanting a head start on a career in golf; a goal of his since first picking up a golf club at the age of seven. Mike has been teaching golf professionally for more than 25 years, was elected a P.G.A. Class A Member in 1997, was the recipient of the N.C.P.G.A.'s Bill Strausbaugh Award in 2013, was nominated for N.C.P.G.A's Teacher of the Year in 2016, is the author of the Lessons from the Golf Guru series of books, is a three term member of the NCPGA's Board of Directors, and since 2001 he has been Head Golf Professional at Oakdale Golf & Country Club, in Oakdale, just outside of Modesto California.
Mike spent his early teaching career studying the mechanics of the golf swing and a range of different teaching philosophies, with inspiration coming from legendary P.G.A. Golf Instructors Bill Strausbaugh, Mike Hebron, Dean Reinmuth, and Mac O’Grady. An additional influence during this period came from studying the swing of Ben Hogan and the art of golf course design under the tutelage of Former P.G.A. Tour Player, Golf Course Architect, and personal friend of Hogan’s Bert Stamps. Being exposed to a broad range of styles and studying their effectiveness with different types of students, Mike began to settle in on a core teaching philosophy that embraced the individuality of every golfer’s uniquely authentic swing; a philosophy that establishes that there is no one way to swing the club that is the right way for all people. "There's a thousand different ways and a million different methods, so don't get hung up on any one model" is one of Mike's mantras. Each golfer possesses a natural swing for their body type, physical capabilities, and sense of personal rhythm; one which he or she has the best chance of repeating once you remove the tension created by expectations and preconceived notions about the right way to swing the golf club.
It was during this early period as well, that Mike began to develop a comprehensive Junior Golf Program which incorporated the idea that fun + fundamentals + friendship creates a culture that fosters a love for the game and an atmosphere of fierce but friendly competition among peers. As a result of this formula, his programs and camps, and his coaching, he has seen former students go on to attain golf scholarships and play collegiately at USC, UOP, USF, U.C. Berkeley, U.C. Davis, Hawaii, Missouri Valley State, C.S.U. Stanislaus, Sacramento, and Chico, Dordt and Whittier Colleges, as well as on both men’s and ladies professional tours and to become members of the P.G.A. of America. After continual refinement of these programs over the years, he launched the Acorn Academy for competitive Jr. Golfers in 2011. A program for Jr. Golfer’s ages 8 to 14 that desire to play competitively and advance their educational goals through the game of golf.
Having long desired to be more than just a swing coach for players, in the past decade Mike has shifted his primary focus in teaching the game from refining his swing theory, to studying the process by which elite level golfers and athletes in every sport separate themselves from the masses as well as how everyday life strategies translate to success both on and off the course. By developing relationships with and studying the work of top sports psychologists, researching the work of coaches and experts in every sport, and following the most cutting edge work in brain and behavioral science Mike has attained an extensive level of knowledge and perspective about the mental side of the game. Using this knowledge, he developed GOLF IN MIND, a unique coaching program that teaches some of the most important mental game skills and habits that elite performers possess. This program helps aspiring competitive golfers and players of all levels to develop the optimal mindset for competition, build strong goal-setting and self-disciplinary habits, and to learn how to get past specific mental blocks that can be keeping them from getting their games to the next level.
At present Mike is serving his third 3 year term on the Northern California P.G.A. Board of Directors and is the Chairman of their Player Development Committee. He is an active volunteer within his community, serving on the Turlock Community Theatre Board as well as being a member of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Turlock, and the former chairman of the Parks, Arts, and Recreation Commission. He has a passion for writing, enjoys playing golf with his friends and family, fishing, and listening to audiobooks so he is always on the look-out for suggestions on his next read.