CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO - With numerous PGA and LPGA pros on his resume, Erik Horve is now coaching in Creswell.

While the game of golf may have begun in the Middle Ages, modern technology and new coaching philosophies are helping today’s elite players reach the next level of expert play.

And right here in Creswell, a recent transplant is bringing both tech and teaching to Emerald Valley Golf Course and his roster of clients throughout the region.

Erik Horve, originally from Southern California, recently moved to Lane County and set up shop at Emerald Valley to open his second Erik Horve Golf Academy.

A long-time coach with 30 years’ experience, Horve brings not only a wealth of coaching knowledge to his craft, but also a wonderful blend of old-school wisdom and innovative vision.

“When I started, there really weren’t a lot of tools, other than a coach’s eyes and ears, to help a player become better,” he told me recently from his home in Eugene. “Now, I can blend what I see and hear with amazing tech and use data points to truly find and analyze a player’s weakness. And that’s the name of the game in golf coaching – finding the weak point so you can change it and turn it into a strength.”

Horve brings a rich pedigree of coaching success, including eight PGA Section and Chapter awards, the 2011 Southern California PGA Teacher of the Year honor, and membership in the Southern California PGA Teachers Hall of Fame.

Among his more notable students, past and present, are four-time PGA Tour Champions winner Estaban Toledo, eight-time PGA Tour Champions winner Michael Allen, PGA Tour players Brendan Pappas and Bio Kim, PGA Tour China and Latino America player Paul Imondi, and LPGA Symetra Tour players Dayoung Kim and Jisoo Park.

But Horve doesn’t just coach those who wish to become the next big player on the PGA Tour. 

“I’m just as interested in working with a young student who wants to make his or her varsity golf team as I am working with someone who could go pro,” he said. “To me, ‘elite’ is more of a state of mind, and I work with all kinds of athletes who are serious about being coached to the very best of their abilities.”

Here again, his success at helping young players reach the next level of competition is impressive. Over the decades, athletes he’s coached have gone on to major collegiate programs including those at Stanford, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Colorado, Oregon, UCLA, and USC.

When Horve moved to Creswell and was in the market for a new home, his lender, Justin St. Claire, a former golf instructor himself, availed himself to his client. “Honestly, Erik is one of the most knowledgeable and straight forward instructors I’ve ever had, and he helped me improve my game in ways I’ve never been able to do previously,” said St. Claire. “I think being an instructor myself, I can really evaluate how good Erik is.”

So, given the success of his coaching career in the LA area, why move to Lane County? 

“My son obtained his undergraduate degree at the U of O and now he’s in the PhD program,” Horve told me. “We’ve visited many times and really fell in love with the community. We were ready to leave the LA traffic and move to a smaller market that still appreciates the game. With Emerald Valley being Oregon’s home course, it really works out well.”

Now that he’s established in Creswell, Horve employs a vast array of tech tools to get the most out of his students. He often talks about his holistic approach to instruction, which focuses on full swing technique, short game scoring, golf fitness, mental preparation, equipment evaluation, and tournament preparation. To accommodate such instruction, Horve utilizes such space-aged tools as V1 and JC Video’s Swing Analysis Software, Blast Motion’s Putting Sensor, and FlightScope’s Launch Monitor.

According to experts, such tech is where golf instruction now lives. “We know nothing is more powerful than video and ground pressure analysis,” said Chris McGinley, Chief Marketing Officer for V1 Sports. “Our V1 Sports Pro Software integrates ground force data from the V1 Pressure Mat for an unbeatable combination to help improve a golfer’s swing. With the knowledge and expertise of a golf instructor, like Erik, using V1 to create and deliver lessons makes for indispensable instruction for any level of athlete.”

Obviously, Horve is all in on the tech revolution. “These tech toys really allow me to analyze the key aspects of a golfer’s game and find out exactly what they need corrected. Golf instruction is now a data-driven discipline, and these tools provide me with the data needed to help each player get better and better.”

Another key part of Horve’s arsenal of teaching is his new home course at Emerald Valley. “I’m really impressed with the current facilities and also what the future will bring,” he said. “And the U of O has plans for some big improvements, which will only make the course even better down the road.”

So, with his new academy, his cutting-edge tech tools, and the grounds at Emerald Valley, Horve has successfully migrated a new frontier of golf coaching from Southern California to southern Lane County.

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