Director of Instruction, Des Moines Golf and Country Club
2019 Iowa Section PGA Teacher of the Year
Though a little blurry, this is me at Roger's Range in Ames at the Age of 6 - marking the the Day the Golfing Bug Bit!!
Though playing better golf is a process that takes hard work and dedication, it's something you CAN do, and I look forward to helping
Adults or Juniors, Private or Semi-Private, I've got your Instructional needs covered!
Keep an eye on this space for weekly videos to help you with your game!
The best part of my job has been the many great friendships I have made along the way!
For even more content, please check out my channel on YouTube- MarkAtchisonGolf.com!!
I was bitten by the golf bug at an early age, having hit my first golf ball at the age of five. One summer afternoon, I watched some neighborhood kids through the fence that separated our backyard from the adjoining school yard, as they swatted and chased a little white ball across the two baseball diamonds and soccer field the connected them. Seeing that they were having a great time, I went into the garage and grabbed the closest thing I could find that resembled what they were using, a croquet mallet. Now I never said that I hit my first golf ball with an actual golf club, but unbeknownst to me, my life's ultimate direction was set in motion that day on the playground of Sawyer Elementary School!
The next summer, seeing my newly found interest in his life-long passion, my Grandpa Charlie took me to Roger's Driving Range in Ames, IA, where I grew up, and showed me the basics of how to grip and swing a real golf club. To be honest though, I think on some level this was a selfish gesture on his part, since up to this point, visiting family meant NO GOLF! Who could fault him? Wasn't he simply following his duty as a grandfather to meet all of his grandson's needs and desires, by making sure he took him to the course every day of his visit? Smooth move, Grandpa!! Even though the clubs were way too long, the golf balls were nearly smooth, and the AstroTurf we were hitting off was worn through to the cement, I had an unbelievable day.
Although I played baseball from tee-ball through 9th grade, and basketball, tennis, soccer and football through middle school, golf was the sport that I always gravitated towards, spending every available moment playing with my friends Phil, Dave, Mike, and Jon. When they were unavailable, I would venture across the street to hit balls on the soccer field at Brookside Park- even chasing orange golf balls in the snow, when I just had to get out of the house during the long Iowa winters.
My high school golf career went by with little fanfare, except for firing an even par 36 at Willow Creek as the sixth man on Varsity my Junior season, earning the individual medalist while helping our team to a team victory at the 1993 Valley Classic, but I digress. Practicing at the local country club during the season, I ended up working there throughout high school, where I innocently started my teaching career at the age of 15, under the tutelage of PGA Professionals Jon Ward and Chris Winkle- my first golf mentors after Grandpa Charlie. Helping out with junior golf and taking a few lessons myself, I saw my future in the action of those two men. To this day, I still think of all three of the aforementioned gentlemen quite frequently, either while teaching or playing.
After a few failed attempts at walking onto the local university team, I fell into the traps of life like many of my students, which led me away from school and the game of golf for a number of years. As they say, you don't know what you had until its gone- no truer words for me! In my mid-20's I had a huge hole in my life without a name, and it wasn't until I was talked into going to a local 9-Holer one summer in Solon, Iowa, with no woods, my MP-14's blades, and a borrowed putter, that I found out it was golf!! Just like riding a bike, eh? Not exactly!! But, even though I shot in the mid 80's that first summer, I once again knew that I was destined for a career in golf.
Having gone back to school, I picked balls and washed carts at the university course for a few years, before becoming the first Assistant Golf Professional, in the history of Veenker Memorial Golf Course (est. 1938) at Iowa State University, upon my graduation in 2004. So began my official pursuit towards membership with the PGA of America.
Since then, I have worked not only in Ames, but Tampa, Phoenix, and most recently Portland, having been employed in public, semi-private, and private facilities. I have taught beginners, high school and college players, and single-digit handicappers alike. I have taught young and old, male and female, physically gifted and physically handicapped, and literally everything in between!! I am currently a certified PGA Professional, as well as a Nicklaus Academies Trained golf instructor, giving roughly 1000 individual lessons a year, as well as many clinics and classes. I relish the opportunity I have to impact the lives of hundreds, just like my mentors Grandpa Charlie, Jon, Chris and most recently Mike Malaska, 2011 PGA National Teacher of the year, who I had worked under for the last several years in Phoenix. Having been involved with this game for more than 35 years now, I am always striving to improve as a teacher, a player, and most importantly a person, realizing perfection is only a swing away.
Why am I telling you about the impact golf has had my life and how it brought me to this moment, you ask?
Because I am a golfer! I've been there and done that, trying every quick-fix gadget and secret move to play my best, and I want you to know that I have walked in your golf shoes. I have hit rock bottom on and off the course in my life many times, just like many of you have, and I want you to take comfort in knowing that I am a real person, just like you- hell I am you! I understand that golf is very important to you, I understand that your time is very important to you, and I understand that your hard-earned money is very important to you, and that is why it is so important to me, to help you be the best golfer you can be!!
Mark Atchison, Golf Teacher
Like Standing, Walking, or Patting your Head while Rubbing your Stomach, hitting a Solid Golf Shot, is simply a task made up of a series of coordinated movements or skills, Learned Skills!! Once a student has a clear understanding of which skills they must LEARN to complete the task, they will greatly reduce the time it takes to Master that Task!!
In order to Master a Task, a student must have a complete understanding of how to apply each skill to the task at hand, be it rolling a putt 5 feet versus 25 feet, or hitting a ball under a tree on one shot and over a bunker on another! Once these thoughts are in order, one can complete each task with confidence, rather than anxiously anticipating the result! Understanding what it takes to Master a Task, allows one to complete the task more efficiently and consistently, thus allowing them to simply swing the club and Enjoy the Results!!
With the process of LEARN and MASTER in the proper order, one exerts less energy and focus on completing the task, there by increasing the chances of producing the desired result! By understanding this process, one will Learn the necessary skills more efficiently, Master the necessary tasks faster, and Enjoy positive results more quickly - a Simple Recipe for seeing Lasting Improvement, and having more Fun on the Golf Course!!
*Adult Private Lessons run 45 mins
*Scheduling Based on Course Availability
*Semi-Private Lessons are available upon request
*Scheduling Based on Course Availability
*Semi-Private Lessons run 60 min per lesson and are Priced Per Person
*Scheduling Based on Course Availability
"Mark has been my swing coach since 2002. During this time he's been able to bring me to a point where I've won a club tournament and developed a repeatable and fundamentally sound swing that doesn't take a lot of time to maintain. Mark truly knows the mechanics of the golf swing and has a unique ability to break down its complexities into easy to understand points, then give you drills to improve. There is no doubt that Mark loves teaching golf, which is evident in the time and effort he delivers to make sure you reach your goals."
"I've known Mark for 25 years. Our conversations concerning the game have always been enjoyable and his philosophy is solid. We continuously discuss fundamentals and keep it simple. Whether we're talking about posture, alignment, or something as simple as hand position, his reassurance makes me a better player. He's a tremendous instructor and his students genuinely enjoy working with him." - Jon Olson
2019, 2015 USGA Mid-AM Qualifer
2019, 2011 IGA Match Play Champion
2016 USGA Four Ball Qualifier
2015, 2014 Briarwood Am Champion
2015, 2014, 2011 Iowa Mid-Am Champion
2014 IGA Player of the Year
2012 Iowa Amateur Champion
2007 Iowa Open Champion
“I have been working with Mark for the last six years. His approach has been easy to follow and focused on the fundamentals. Mark helped me to understand my golf swing and even showed me how to practice, on my own, in between lessons. Mark is dedicated to seeing all golfers improve and is always willing to help in any way possible. After lessons with him I know that my swing fundamentals have improved and, my mental game and ongoing passion for the game have increased with each lesson. Mark's a top notch instructor with an easy going personality that makes it fun to take lessons and improve my game.” -Valerie Miller- Star Pupil and Most Improved Student
"Over the last few seasons, Mark has helped me improve from a 4-handicap to a +2. He was quickly able to identify some swing flaws I had and immediately built a plan and drills for me to work on. He didn't confuse me with complicated terms or theories, and I shot more scores in the 60's this past summer than I had in 15+ years of competitive golf. Best teacher I've had the privilege to work with!" - Nate Erwin
2015 Ames City Champion
2015 Briggswood Am Champion
2015 Jewel Am Champion
2015 and 2014 Men's Club Champion, Ames Golf and Country Club