By Vinnie Manginelli, PGA
Bob Dickman is the owner of Robert Dickman Golf, located at Willow Hill Golf Course and the adjacent Willow Hill Dome that opened earlier in 2023, giving him several great year-round teaching environments in Northbrook, Illinois. He works with his daughter Kim, who has been teaching at his academy for two years. Bob was the 2016 Illinois PGA Section Teacher of the Year and a 2022 GRAA Top 100 Growth of the Game Teaching Professional.
Dickman started playing golf with his dad at age 7 when they lived across the street from two golf courses, a public layout where he got his start and a private club where he’d end up working for 17 years. Dickman started caddying at Glen View Club, the home of the Western Golf Association, when he was just 10 years old and actually caddied for Chick Evans several times!
Dickman attended Northern Illinois University, where he captained the golf team and graduated in 1984. He was the Illinois PGA Section Assistant Professional Player of the Year in 1985, 1986 and 1987 and qualified for the PGA Professional Championship twice.
After more than two decades as a PGA Head Professional and PGA Director of Golf at Old Warson Country Club and Glen View Club, Dickman started his own teaching academy about 15 years ago at Pine Meadow Golf Club and set up shop for good at Willow Hill five years later. Teaching, after all, had always been an integral aspect of his role, regardless of his title at the time.
Dickman has taught LPGA champions, elite Chicago business professionals, local club champions and the very greenest golfers in the game. About the latter, he says, “I like teaching people where they are, getting them into the game and helping them become passionate lifelong golfers.”
Bob and Kim offer beginner one-day golf schools that help novices get the ball airborne, and they encourage golfers to get on the course after that first three-hour session. On-course play is important to him. In fact, if he sees some success in their swing or ball contact early in a lesson, he’ll implement golf course situations on the range OR even move their session to the course itself.
Kim teaches five ladies’ classes per week, as well as junior camps and private lessons. “Ladies have entered the market in droves, and we’ve accommodated them, offering new golfer programs that teach the fundamentals and establish a foundation of learning upon which they can grow in golf,” Dickman explains.
About half of Dickman’s lessons are long-term package lessons and the other half are one-off sessions that often focus on a specific deficiency in the golfer’s game. He’s on the lesson tee or course with his students six days per week, taking Sundays off.
He also teaches a successful high school development program that gets juniors ready for high school competition and motivates them to take their game to the next level if college golf is in their plans.
Dickman has many awards won, certifications earned, technology available and decades of knowledge and expertise that he shares every day with his diverse student base. He is a fitness-minded TPI-certified instructor, a topic we’ll cover in our Golf Fitness Monthly sister publication this summer. “When you sign up for a lesson, you get a new student assessment form mailed out to you immediately,” he says. “When I start a lesson with a new student, I already have a plethora of information about the individual, meaning there is no time wasted getting acquainted.”
The Willow Hill facilities include a very active grass range, a short game area with a huge putting green and a separate wedge area that are all ideal for teaching and practice. As mentioned, they added a dome this past January that measures 165 yards long so he can teach year-round. Dickman uses TrackMan simulation during the winter months and two Golfzon simulators in their Golf House on rainy days or for practice and playing opportunities.
Everything you need to know about Robert Dickman Golf is on his website. If you’re in the Chicagoland area, check him out now!