Teaching pro Wade Binfield believes his lessons can lead to victory
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Written by Adam Stanley @adam_stanley
Wade Binfield has a regular student he gives lessons to. He’s a firefighter in Kansas City who wanted to know if he could get some time with Binfield at 9:30 a.m. Monday.
Since Binfield isn’t set to fly out to Knoxville for next week’s Korn Ferry Tour tournament until Monday afternoon, he might just do it. Unless, of course, he wins this week’s AdventHealth Championship.
“I don’t know if he’d want a lesson from me after a win,” said Binfield with a big laugh.
Everyone’s got their own journey and their own way of getting to the Korn Ferry Tour. There are college stars and can’t-miss kids, long-road veterans and everyone in between. Binfield very nearly had enough of this sort of journey. But sometimes there is some thing or some moment that pulls you back in.
Binfield, who works as a swing instructor and club-fitter at The Golf Stable in Kansas City, Mo., had his last summer. The AdventHealth Championship, the annual Korn Ferry Tour stop in his hometown, was in for the week and where was Binfield?
“I taught a work-out class on Monday,” Binfield said.
His wife and mother-in-law were involved as volunteers, but Binfield watched from outside the ropes.
Fast-forward a year and the AdventHealth is back. Only this time Binfield has a tee time.
Binfield got to Final Stage of Q-School last year but didn’t make his first start until the Astara Chile Classic. He made the cut there and finished tied for 25th, setting him on a nice path. He’s made the cut in each of his three starts and was tied for fifth at the HomeTown Lenders Championship April 30.
Wade Binfield chips in for birdie at Pinnacle Bank
One of the other instructors at The Golf Stable is Charlie Hillier. The week that Binfield got into the Chile Classic, Hillier won on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica. These guys know what they’re talking about.
“It adds a cool dynamic in there because we can look at a lot of people and say like, ‘This is how it works. This is what we do. And this is why it works.’ “ said Binfield.
After taking some time away from the game last year, Binfield ended up in the field at a few local tournaments and decided he wanted to go to Q-School again. He wasn’t ready to give up on things quite yet.
The plan, he concedes, was never to be “done.” The plan was to join up with the folks at The Golf Stable (it’s led by long-time holistic-focused instructor Kevin Ward) because Binfield enjoyed what Ward did. He wanted to pursue playing, he just wasn’t sure what that looked like.
“I’ve got a different perspective and I’m re-appreciative of all these opportunities,” said Binfield. “Not that I wasn’t appreciative of what I was doing (before) but it was pretty good to take a step back.”
Binfield said there’s been plenty of benefits for him being around helping others with their golf. He feels like sometimes he’s giving himself a lesson when he’s in the teaching bay.
It’s not like he’s coaching himself how to swing, but there is a lot of the body movement and holistic approach to fitness they champion, which can be applied to everyone. Binfield has dived into tools like 3D body screening, for example, and is working on his own fitness alongside a pupil.
“I’m not hitting balls or getting reps, but it still feels like I’m helping myself in a weird way,” he said. “I’m attached to the game even though I’m not physically doing it.
“There is no substitute for doing it yourself but it’s quite cold in the wintertime (in Kansas City). There’s not a lot of outdoor golf. The indoor space is really fantastic. I can work on my own fitness and how my body moves and what I need to do to feel ready to play.”
To this point in the Korn Ferry Tour season, Binfield has been ready whenever his number has been called. At 36 he’s got plenty of experience to draw on when it comes to being under the gun. He knows what to expect – not necessarily shot-by-shot every round, but he’s got a good sense of how his body will feel and how his brain will react in certain situations.
But why keep doing this, especially now? Married and inching past his mid-30s – and especially with a solid gig and a nice list of clients in his pocket – it would be easier to put this part of his life behind him, right?
Binfield has seen friends graduate from the Korn Ferry Tour and have sustaining power on the PGA TOUR. He wants exactly that.
“It’s still the dream, right? It’s still what we’re shooting for,” he said, “and I haven’t really lost that view of getting to the PGA TOUR and succeeding and playing well.”
He just may need to re-schedule a few lessons first.