At 13 years of age a starry-eyed kid in attendance at the RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey watched swing coach David Leadbetter instructing Nick Faldo on the range. He was impressed – with Leadbetter! He boldly declared to his dad that one day he would be a golf instructor. Not a golf pro. A golf instructor. That teen was Sean Foley.
Born and raised in Burlington, Sean grew up playing golf at Millcroft Golf Club. The Notre Dame Catholic High School alumnus was an integral member of the junior program created by Robert DiFrancesco. Sean would go on to earn a full golf scholarship to Tennessee State University. After graduation he began to “live the dream.” Sean developed a holistic approach to teaching golf that incorporated biomechanics, physiology, performance psychology, and philosophy into his instruction.
Sean’s instructional career is rooted at Glen Abbey where he became a highly sought-after coach of local juniors, amateurs and Canadian professionals. In 2003 he was named the head coach of the Canadian Junior Golf Association.
In 2006 Sean left Glen Abbey and moved to Orlando Florida to help start a junior program for Canadians. The weather in the Sunshine State was clearly more attractive than Canadian winters. Sean worked with Canadian golf pro Stephen Ames in Florida. His success with Ames elevated his status among not only other swing coaches but also members of the PGA tour. Credit goes to Stephen Ames for “bringing Foley into the PGA fold.”
Hunter Mahan, Sean O’Hair, Lee Westwood, Danny Willett, Justin Rose, Tiger Woods and Lydia Ko all have been tutored by the Burlington-born swing coach. Another success story is Cameron Champ who Sean started working with at 14 years of age and who went on to become a three-time PGA Tour winner.
In 2010 Tiger Woods hired Sean and with his help climbed back to world #1 status. Sean coached Tiger from 2010-14. Under Sean’s tutelage England’s Justin Rose won Olympic gold (2016) and the FedEx Cup (2018). Rose, too would rise to #1 in the world. And another of Sean’s students Englishman Danny Willett won the 2016 Masters.
Clearly, Sean became a “Master” teacher. He was voted top golf teacher in the world by players on the PGA Tour.
Sean is much more than about teaching the game of golf – about trying to perfect the student’s swing. He is about the whole person. Just ask Hunter Mahan. In an interview with Golf Digest Mahan stated that “he’s not just happy Foley’s his instructor, he’s grateful he’s in his life.”
Sean continues to teach on the PGA Tour. He teaches out of Sean Foley performance, a full-time golf academy at Timacuan in Lake Mary, Florida. There, along with his team, he offers elite golf training and world class experience for junior players.
For that, and his outstanding contributions on both sides of the border the Burlington Sports Hall of Fame is pleased to welcome Burlington born Sean Foley into the Builder’s category.