GILBERT, Ariz. (Feb. 23, 2015) – The reigning Southwest Section – PGA of America Teacher of the Year is not your ordinary PGA golf instructor. For Craig Hocknull, life on the links is a bucket-list collection of amazing stories.
At an early age, Hocknull knew he wanted to grace the fairways and greens as a PGA TOUR pro, earning enough money to buy his second grade teacher a brand new sports car. While he was unable to follow-through on that promise, he did go on to play a few years on the web.com tour after qualifying for the PGA’s developmental tour through Q-School. At one point, Hocknull led all golfers in the grueling 108-hole test after birdieing four of his first five holes of action.
The affable native of Australia is passionate about the game of golf and lends his expertise and knowledge to his students in all facets of the game. A 1997 graduate of Jackson State University in Mississippi with a Bachelor of Science in Health and Physical Education, Hocknull earned the school’s coveted Walter Payton Award, named in honor of the late NFL Hall of Famer. Payton’s brother, Eddie is golf coach at Jackson State. “My time spent at Jackson State further solidified my dream of playing professional golf and meeting and speaking with Walter Payton and seeing first hand his dedication and love for his sport made me realize that hard work and perseverance can go a long way in developing and eventually realizing your goals,” said Hocknull, who would graduate at the top of his class in college.
Hocknull’s teaching career started at the Yuma Golf and Country Club and made his way throughout Arizona with stops at The Nike Golf Learning Center at Kokopelli, The Golf Academy of America, Resort Golf Schools at Gold Canyon, Hot Stix Golf, Dobson Ranch, Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club, Western Skies Golf Club and Desert Forest Golf Club. He also taught at the Club at Black Rock in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho for two summers. Hocknull has active PGA memberships in his home country of Australia along with the PGA in Canada and is also advanced certified by the PGA of America in teaching and coaching. Throw in his unforgettable performances as a trick shot artist with his Outback Golf Trick Shot Show and you may have the most unique and entertaining golf professional in the world. “I truly love golf and performing my trick shot shows is an extension of that passion and enables me to show the crowds that golf first and foremost should be fun to play,” added Hocknull, who will perform his amazing display of golf shots at Golf Fest at Oaks North golf course in San Diego on March 6-7. The Outback Golf Show is a perfect blend of mind-blowing hand eye coordination, and side-splitting Aussie humor. Craig entertains for member-guest events, corporate outings and charity fundraisers.
Hocknull, who was sidelined briefly in 2012 with a broken bone in his left hand can still play with the best of them.
He earned Player of the Year honors in 2013 after capturing two prestigious SWSPGA events: Arizona Open and the Yamaha Match Play Championship. “I still want to tee it up on the PGA TOUR and play with the world’s best golfers and now that my health is not a concern, I plan on doing just that.”
Through his playing moniker and business title, “Learn, Play and Laugh,” Hocknull’s extensive list of golf programs include the Tiny Golfer Program, the kids golf league, the Outback Junior Academy, the Outback Golf University, Ladies Only Get Golf Ready and the Patriot Golf Academy. All of these outstanding activities can be found on his website – www.learnplaylaugh.com.
Hocknull is also the PGA teaching professional at Desert Forest Golf Club in Carefree, Arizona, one of the country’s most decorated golf courses. He spends the winter season there which is usually November through May and when he’s not at Desert Forest, Craig is continuing to grow the game as owner/operator of the Outback Golf Academy which has several Valley locations. “My goal as a teacher is to help my students find more consistency in their game. Everyone has their own unique make-up of strengths and weaknesses. I strive to help my students find the most efficient and athletic motion that will ultimately create consistency and a greater joy through repetitive solid golf shots.”
From former SWSPGA Player of the Year to current Teacher of the Year for the Southwest Section – PGA of America to world-renowned golf trick shot artist to one of the game’s leading teaching professionals, Craig Hocknull can do it all in the game of the golf.
For more information on Craig Hocknull and his Outback Golf Academy, call (480) 561-4653 or visit www.learnplaylaugh.com.