By the time golf season is in full swing, T.J. Yeaton not only will be busy but will be giving instruction to players at opposite ends of the talent spectrum.
Some days, he’ll work with beginners, young and old. On others, he’ll tutor juniors and amateurs, male and female.
On others, he’ll offer guidance to some of the best players in the world.
It’s a variety Yeaton, the new director of instruction at The Legends Golf Club in Franklin, finds challenging and thrilling.
The Yeaton File
Name: T.J. Yeaton
Position: Director of instruction at The Legends Golf Club in Franklin
Home state: New Hampshire
College: Campbell University
Teaching background: Has taught full time on the PGA Tour level since 2011; currently works with Tour players Troy Matteson, Josh Teator and Garth Mulroy; also works with Tim Wilkinson and Madd Davidson from the Web.com Tour; taught at the PGA Tour Academy in St. Augustine, Fla., in 2011-12; has also taught at The Apawamis Club in Rye, N.Y., and spent one season at Prairie View in Carmel; founder of T.J. Yeaton Golf; is AimPoint certified
“I enjoy teaching people of every age, of every caliber, the beginning women, the juniors and the higher handicap players,” said Yeaton, who starts at The Legends in mid-April. “A lot of times they can do nothing but get better, and it’s exciting to work with people and see them get better.”
Among the people Yeaton regularly works with are PGA Tour professionals Troy Matteson, Josh Teater and Garth Mulroy. He also gives regular instruction to Tim Wilkinson and Matt Davidson of the Web.com Tour.
Yeaton is only 24. But he is an AimPoint certified instructor who has been teaching full time at the PGA Tour level since 2011. He worked at the PGA Tour Academy in St. Augustine, Fla., in 2011-12 and has spent much of the past two years managing the games of Matteson, Teater and Mulroy.
A New Hampshire native, Yeaton splits his time giving lessons and traveling to PGA Tour events to work with his pro clients. He typically spends about 25 weeks on the road during the Tour season but plans to cut the routine in half when he starts at The Legends.
His new boss is none other than PGA of America president Ted Bishop, general manager and director of golf at The Legends.
Pressure? Yeaton doesn’t feel any. He was drawn to The Legends in part because of a desire to relocate to central Indiana, where his girlfriend, Jordan Bacon, is a native and because the course is at the forefront of a number of PGA initiatives to grow the game, such as Get Golf Ready and Golf 2.0.
“From that regard, I feel like The Legends should be someone to model, how we run our golfers development programs,” Yeaton said. “I want to be successful with those programs. There’s not a lot of pressure because I know Ted will be very supportive, whatever it is that we do here. He’s been very open to doing different things, and I’m excited about the opportunity.
“At the same time, you want to make sure that when you’re under the eye of the president that everything goes well.”
Bishop is confident things will go better than well with a teacher regarded as one of the best young swing doctors in the nation.
“From his professional teaching standpoint, just the amount of knowledge he has absorbed in a short period of time is impressive,” Bishop said. “For us to have access to him here this summer, I think it’s a really exciting thing.
“With his enthusiasm and qualifications, I think we’re going to be a perfect match.”
A former high school player, Yeaton attended Campbell University in North Carolina, where in lieu of playing he focused on his teaching career. After graduation, he worked at The Apawamis Club in Rye, N.Y., the sixth-oldest club in the United States, and spent one season at Prairie View in Carmel before joining the PGA Tour Academy.
Yeaton’s most prominent client is Matteson, who is in his 10th year on the PGA Tour. He has two career victories — the Frys.com Open in 2006 and 2009 — and has won more than $8.7 million in his career.
Yeaton has worked with Yeaton since 2011, assisting primarily with his short game. He does the same for Teater but is a full-swing instructor for Mulroy and all his other players.
At PGA Tour events, Yeaton usually spends Monday through Wednesday practice rounds working with his clients.
“Basically, the entire day is spent at the golf course, depending which players are playing at which events. I might sit down with one player at the event,” Yeaton said. “There were a couple of events last year where I had three players at the event. It can get a bit hectic at times, with the traveling. But I enjoy the travel. As you do it more, it just becomes routine.
“I really enjoy spending time with players that play at a high level. Obviously, the stakes are a little bit higher at that level, when their careers and their incomes are basically dependent on how they play.”
Yeaton is equally passionate about working with amateurs, which will occupy most of his time at The Legends. He plans to attend 12 to 15 Tour events this year, toward the end of Indiana’s peak golf season.
“It’s always exciting to kind of balance out working with a Tour player and working with an amateur,” Yeaton said. “At the higher levels, because of the caliber of player that they are and the talent that they have, if they’re getting better it’s incremental, and it’s very minimal, whereas a junior golfer or a beginning golfer (improvement) is exponential.
“I always use the term, ‘It’s Tour-tested,’ so if it can work for a Troy Matteson or a Josh Teater at that level, it’s certainly going to help the beginning player or the weekend warrior or the average amateur.”