“There are many ways to help players reach their goals. However, the formula is different for everyone and there is only one common theme –
having a purpose every day for every single thing you do.”
José Maria Sánchez, or “Txema” as he is called by all who know him, is the Director of Junior Programs for The David Leadbetter Junior Golf Academy and the latest addition to the Leadbetter coaching staff. Born in Barcelona, Spain, Sánchez started playing golf at the age of 14 at a local country club. In order to earn credit for his own lessons, Txema would volunteer by helping his coach and the other instructors teach the young junior golfers at the club. Sánchez played professionally for a few years while getting his degree in business administration, but something was missing. Fueled by his lifelong passion for helping others, he decided that it was time to shift his focus to a different version of his dream.
“I have many fond memories of occasions where I would find myself spending hours at tournaments talking to players about their swings and proposing new drills to make them better that week, even though they were my competition! So now, looking back, I can see that deep down I ultimately wanted to be a coach.“
Sánchez immediately set his sights on helping his home country’s most talented players in junior camps supporting the national team coaches.
He began working with the Regional Team in Barcelona, but quickly moved up the ranks. In Spain, the highest achievement is to work with the Spanish Golf Federation but despite his successes in Europe, Sánchez still had aspirations of eventually moving to the United States.
“I was reading David’s books and spending hours talking about the swing and how to improve my student’s games. I wanted to move to the states and join those other young instructors with the fancy VHS cameras.”
Armed with his resume of teaching the top juniors in Spain at the time, Sánchez moved to Florida to coach at a The Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy for almost 8 years where his success continued. There, he had the opportunity to work with several Tour players including Morgan Hoffman and Morgan Pressel, as well as overseeing the development of the Mexican National Team where most recently he was appointed “Team Leader” at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
These days, his teaching stable includes PGA Tour and Web.com players including Carlos Ortiz and Juan Sebastian Muñoz, as well as top-50 world-ranked junior and collegiate players including Maria Fassi and recent Stanford commit, Karl Vilips. Along with working with his Tour players, Sánchez is also an active advisor for the AJGA Latin America.
Now based at the Leadbetter Golf Academy World Headquarters at ChampionsGate, Sánchez brings over 20 years of experience to an exciting project, the rebirth of The David Leadbetter Junior Golf Academy or LJGA. As Director of Junior Programs, Txema heads up the team that will, once again, change the world of junior golf instruction.
“The real value here at LJGA is to utilize the knowledge of one of the greatest names in golf instruction as a resource and help our students to not only become better golfers, but also more rounded individuals. The passion and track record that the coaching staff brings to the table is something you won’t find at any other junior academy. One of the complaints from parents we hear a lot in the industry is that their son or daughter seems like just a number in the system.
Every golfer is different, and every swing is unique. And that’s why at LJGA, the maximum student-to-coach ratio is 2/1 for our full-time academy, and 5/1 for seasonal camps. The coaches here are experienced and passionate about what they do, and they really know how to fine-tune young players to help them reach their potential.
Since I started teaching, I’ve taught juniors with goals that vary: to improve their handicap, qualify for a team, earn a college scholarship, or turn professional. Regardless of the student’s goals, he or she needs a great team of coaches and a support system to guide the players to become a great player and great person. The importance of having a unique plan for each student and a great team around them are two things we will focus on here at LJGA, our focus is on the individual. We will create a personalized plan for each student and our coaches will help their students achieve quality practice every day. Every single action or decision that we take or make together will have the purpose of putting the student a step closer towards their goals.”
Txema will be overseeing a group of specialized coaches- technical, mental, and physical- to create personalized plans for each student and monitor their progression throughout the programs. The Full Time Academy program will be capped at 10 students per semester and requiring an in-depth application for enrollment. A waiting list will also be available once the program is full. Seasonal Camps will have a cap of 15 students per week, allowing for individualized instruction while still having a fun, group-based training atmosphere.
For more information on LJGA Summer Camps, click here.
For more information on the LJGA Full-Time Academy programs, click here.