Mar. 5, 2009 -- PGA Professional Kevin Weeks, one of the most respected golf instructors in the country, got an unexpected surprise last Sunday -- a "thank you" from a student. Not that gratitude is unusual for the Director of Instruction at famed Cog Hill Golf and Country Club, but the forum and the person made this one stand out a little bit.
The special call was from Mark Wilson, who had been talking about the importance of his work with Weeks during a press conference in Mexico. Wilson had just won the PGA Tour's Mayakoba Classic.
"I'm going to call Kevin Weeks and tell him I'll pay him in pesos," said Wilson, who earned $648,000 -- or about 9.4 million pesos for his victory, his second win on the PGA Tour.
Wilson, who had been struggling on the greens as of late, came to see Weeks a week earlier and asked for some help with his putting stroke. Weeks, who has one of the most state-of-the-art putting laboratories in the country, put the Tour veteran through his high-tech analysis and the results showed a fairly simple fix.
"I used a Sam Balance Lab which is a force plate marketed by the SAM PuttLab people," Weeks explained to PGA.com. "A force plate is a device that -- when someone stands on it -- it shows where their weight is distributed in real time. Not only left and right, but also heel and toe. It is built in my putting platform and the student does not even know they are standing on it. I have been doing research on the weight distribution for over 3 years now."
So Weeks suggested, based on the scientific findings, that Wilson widen out his right foot for better weight distribution. Less than a week later, Wilson was holding a trophy, a check and a two-year exemption on Tour -- and extolling the virtues of Weeks and their work together.
"I've worked with many players who have had great success," said Weeks, a two-time Illinois Section Teacher of the Year. "But Mark's win and public acknowledgement in the manner he did it were really special. He's such a great guy who deserves great success."
Weeks noted that he was actually working, teaching a junior class on Sunday afternoon, when he learned of Wilson's impending victory.
"I try not to look at scores during the tournament, I find that it's better for my blood pressure if I don't," he remarked.
But when another student inquired about Week's work with Wilson from the previous Sunday, Weeks answered and then inquired why the student asked.
"Because he's two shots up with two holes to go," came the quick reply.
In a nod to today's tech-crazy/savvy world, another student turned on his iPhone and began to relay play-by-play information via PGATour.com's leaderboard. "He's in the fairway on 17. He just parred 17..." Weeks and the class followed all the way through the clinching putt. And before the class could leave, Weeks' phone rang with appreciative words from the Wilson camp. That was followed by a call from Mark Wilson right after he left his champion's press conference.
"Sometimes, a simple 'thank you' is the greatest reward you can get," Weeks commented. "I don't know that I can put into words how I feel -- but it's something that I wish everyone who loves golf could experience."
Weeks' golf resume is expansive and the teacher who has worked with scores of champion golfers on all levels -- while still relishing in teaching the beginner how to get a ball airborne -- could easily justify a break during the harsh Chicago area winter to relax, recharge and refocus.
"I think all teachers, true teachers, really enjoy watching their students succeed. That's why they teach. It's not always about money or fame, it's about a sense of accomplishment for you and the student. "
This may explain why Weeks has, in the last few months while fellow Chicagoans were battling ice and snow, attended the PGA Teaching and Coaching Summit in December, opened a new indoor hitting bay/teaching area at Cog Hill and traveled to various Tour stops including going down to Palm Beach Gardens for this week's Honda Classic.
"I don't have to go to work," explained Weeks. "I get to go to work. I love what I do. It's a thrill and privilege for me to be doing these things."