The Armory Golf Center

Jeuron Dove | July 11th, 2014
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Keith Hunter and wife

In the past, whenever Keith Hunter wanted to wind down or relax he played tennis, but the moment the former Cleveland Browns free agent was introduced to golf his whole world changed.

Hunter was well into his 30s before he ever touched a golf ball. The game just didn’t appeal to him; but some friends eventually coerced him onto the golf course and as he puts it, “$500 later I was in love with the game.”

He not only fell in love with the game, he fell in love with everything associated with the game. From apparel (he owns his own golf apparel company-KGH Golf Collection) to the all-important skill of caddying. His life is consumed by the game. At one point he was going to golf school and taking every class he could find. It became a necessity because he soon wearied of constantly being told what to do and how to hit the ball by people who weren’t experts. His days were spent hitting balls, up to 6,000 a week, and perfecting his craft. He even played on the Senior Sunbelt Tour. It’s all about how he learned the game and it’s the reason he’s so passionate about his business.

Hunter is the owner of The Armory Golf Center in Winston Salem, NC. The facility is the perfect place for the golf enthusiast as well as the novice. As the master instructor, Hunter offers private lessons, academies, clinics, junior camps, and he even designs special event programs for schools, corporations and non-profits. He’s particularly proud of his caddy program and believes it is one of the best programs in the area.

“I’m teaching them how to become a caddy over the course of three or four months. It’s a full curriculum,” he says. “Being a caddy deals with math, science, physics and being the watchful eye for the golfer. You can take any kid, it doesn’t matter their educational background. Once they learn that skill they can enhance it later in life because they will already know the rules and etiquette.” Accordingly, he believes that it can be a launching pad and open gateway for someone willing to learn.

There’s an academy for men, women, boys, girls and every age group beginning at three years old. Golfers are taught proper techniques such as swing, grip, stance, posture, alignment and balance. Summer camps are also available for seven to 16 year olds. There’s no other facility in the region that offers such substantial packages at reasonable rates, which is all definitely by Hunter’s design. He wants to provide a source of entertainment and education to the area and particularly to those who wouldn’t ordinarily see golf as their sport of choice.

DSC_0956 - CopyThe response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive. Corporations and Fortune 500 Companies regularly call on him to design and host retirement, fundraiser, employee reward and moral boosting clinics. Churches and non-profits are even requesting clinics as a new and innovative way to host traditional events. Want to give the ladies of the church an opportunity to get to know the first lady? Why not do it while learning or enhancing golf skills? The men of the church want to have a nice calm gathering? A golf clinic will fit the bill perfectly. Additionally, the center offers basic drive range services for anyone interested in spending the day with a golf club and bucket of balls.

Hunter believes his background as a professional football player and college football coach helped perfect his eye for the game of golf. He took the basic lessons, fundamentals and techniques he acquired and decided to incorporate them into teaching golf and has been doing so for over 10 years.

“I use them to teach people how to get from where they are to where they want to be. I teach from the ground up. A lot of pros teach up down. Most people just want to see their ball in the air going straight and when they see that beginning to happen they start believing what you are teaching them,” Hunter says. “We don’t change your swing, we reverse your thinking. The thing most golfers worry about is someone changing their swing. I don’t have to change your swing at all. Once I get you to change your thinking, I can get you to swing the way you need to in order to hit the ball where you want it to go. It doesn’t matter whether you have an outside in swing or an inside out swing.”

Hunter admits many people are intimidated by the game because they don’t know much about it and it appears awkward, but he believes it’s a great sport, especially for women and children who are quickly becoming the sports fastest growing population. In fact, his fiancé Terri Kemp, who helps run the day to day operations of the business and had never played golf, is playing remarkably well-like someone who has played the game for years in fact. Likewise, her children, who range in age from five to 13 are not only playing the game, but are learning the business of the game. “It’s a natural fit for women and children. They even have a natural swing. It’s the men that you first have to get rid of the ego,” he jokes.

DSC_0966 - CopyHunter is making sure The Armory Golf Center is on track to become Winston Salem’s premier golf facility. The technology and amenities that he has integrated is nothing short of top notch, including the V1 Pro Swing Analysis, the Tomi Motion Putting System and the ES14 Launch Monitor as well as other high tech training aids, a weather protective canopy, 20 acres of landing area, a lighted range, Wi-Fi service, flat screen TV’s, food and beverages and much more. Plans are already being made to enlarge the pro shop where he will sell everything golf related and more.

The possibilities are endless and the future is bright for Hunter and the center. The excitement that he has for the game is sure to ignite a fire and drive in everyone from golf pros to timid newcomers.

(Photos by Howard Gaither)

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