The Villages Golf Academy - Instructors

Rob Shaffer
PGA Facility Manager

Palmer Legends Country Club
Sarasota Practice Center

Rob is the PGA Facility Manager and Director of Player Development at the Villages Golf Academy. He oversees the daily operations of the Golf Academy while teaching and working with his team to further enhance player’s games. The Academy staff has three locations Palmer Legends, Sarasota Golf Practice Center and Nancy Lopez. Rob was born in Springfield, Massachusetts and was raised in Florida. He has a diverse background in hospitality and golf. He has also been fortunate to work at three of the top ten clubs in the state of Florida, most notably as well as his favorite, Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club and Lodge. As a player he spent time competing on various mini tours and the Nationwide Tour. As a Golf Professional at the Hank Johnson School of Golf and most recently the Faldo Golf Institute, he was fortunate to work with players of all skill levels. The players include juniors, amateurs, NCAA athletes, Professional Tour players and PGA/LPGA Tour professionals. Rob believes that there are many ways to swing a golf club and that a diverse instruction program based on core fundamentals will help a player reach his/her individual goals and objectives while making the game more fun.

Maria Brooks
LPGA Teaching Professional

Palmer Legends Country Club

Maria is a dedicated Class A member of the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Division and is originally from Lockport, NY. She started her teaching career in the New Hampshire seacoast area in 1993. In December 2005 she moved to The Villages to join the Golf Academy where she teaches the New to Golf program as well as private and group lessons. She has also had the privilege of working with many of the LPGA’s Top 50 teachers.

Maria is a former teacher liaison with the Jane Blalock Company, and taught for 8 years with the national LPGA Golf Clinics for Women program. Maria has also worked with the National Amputee Association and their First Swing Program to teach people with physical disabilities. Her approach to teaching the golf swing is to teach the individual to swing to their physical and natural ability. Through her enthusiasm and commitment to her students, Maria excels at creating a wonderful learning environment on the lesson tee.

Craig Griffin
PGA Teaching Professional    

Sarasota Golf Practice Center

Craig is a dedicated Class A member of the PGA of America and does group and private instruction for The Villages Golf Academy. He moved to Florida from Fort Worth Texas and currently resides in Wildwood. Craig has been in the golf business for 16 years and has been a PGA member since 1998. Craig spent a year and a half caddying on the PGA Tour for Mark O’Meara and David Gossett. He coached PGA Tour Player Robert Gomez helping him break his 15 year winless streak with a win at the Texas Open in 2005.

Craig enjoys working with players of all skill levels and believes that good set up fundamentals along with proper motions are the path to playing consistent golf

Joey Hidock
PGA Teaching Professional    

Sarasota Golf Practice Center

Joey Hidock is a dedicated Class A member of the PGA of America with over 25 years teaching experience. He has had the privilege of working with many of the best players in the world which included caddying on tour for Tom Lehman. He has been fortunate to have worked with some of the best teachers that include Nancy Lopez, Phil Rodgers and Kathy Whitworth. His tremendous research and dedication helped to assist in the development of SwingModel, a leading sport Science Company based on the application of Biomechanical research to the teaching of athletic performance.

Joey's core strengths are the ability to motivate people about their golf game and his passion for teaching the game. Currently Joey is ranked by Golf Digest as a Top 20 Instructor in the State of Florida. He is also ranked in the Top 50 by U.S. Kids Golf as well as Eastern Golf. Joey is most proud to have developed and lead the charge for the Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital program "Putting on Smiles".

Bob Intrieri
PGA Master Professional        

Palmer Legends Country Club

Bob is a dedicated Class A member of the PGA of America and brings 44 years of experience. He is the 31st Master Professional in the history of the Association and is celebrating 28 years of that honorable status. Bob is the 2009 Florida State Senior Honoree chosen by his peers for contributions to the game, the PGA and his recognized playing ability. During his tenure at Penn State University, he organized and implemented the PGA Golf Management Degree. Bob is a ten (10) time winner of the Horton Smith Award for excellence and contributions to education. He has served the PGA as an elected officer Sectionally and participated on numerous National, Sectional and Chapter committees.

Bob has competed world wide throughout his career. His instruction accomplishments have been performed through excellent communication skills, superior knowledge and experience. Champion students have been female, male and juniors, collegiate stars, state champions, USGA national competitors, PGA professionals and numerous club champions and members. With Bob's lessons, you will play better golf and have more fun.

Wade Martin
PGA Teaching Professional    

Lopez Legacy Country Club
Palmer Legends Country Club

Wade Martin is a dedicated Class A member of the PGA of America and has been for over 20 years. Born and raised in Cedartown, Georgia, Wade grew up on a local golf course developing an early passion of the game of golf. Moving to Florida in 1995, he worked for a few country clubs before turning his focus to teaching in 2001 when he joined National Golf Schools. In 2005 Wade was recognized by National Golf Schools as "Teacher of the Year" in the U.S. Since moving to The Villages in 2006, Wade has become involved with the Tri-County Junior Golf Foundation and The Villages Charter Schools. He coached The Villages High School Girls’ Golf Team, making two consecutive State Final appearances in 2010 and 2011. Currently he is coaching The Villages High School Boy’s Golf Team.

Tom Talbott
PGA Teaching Professional    

Sarasota Golf Practice Center

Tom Talbott is a dedicated Class A member of the PGA of America and brings over 25 years of teaching experience to The Villages Golf Academy. Tom owned the Meridian Golf Learning Center in Denver Colorado where he was a highly decorated instructor. He is the 2007 Colorado PGA Teacher of the Year and was voted “Best Teachers in State” by Golf Digest Magazine ten years in a row. He is an Authorized Golfing Machine Instructor receiving his master’s level in 2001. This knowledge makes Tom uniquely qualified to work with all body types and physical limitations.

Tom made his reputation working with junior golfers and his client list reads like a who’s who in Colorado junior golf including nine Colorado High School State Champions. Many of his students have gone on to play college golf and several have reached the professional ranks. Tom has always worked with players of all ages and abilities including two Colorado Senior Players of the Year. Tom’s knowledge and passion help his students reach one simple goal of customer satisfaction.