February 6, 2024

Mike Carbray, PGA – An Elite Coach Who’s Bringing New Golfers to the Range

By Vinnie Manginelli, PGA

Mike Carbray started winning Golf Range Association of America awards in 2018, and once he won his first, he didn’t stop. With two GRAA Top 50 Growth of the Game Teaching Professional Awards and three Top 100 honors since that year, 2023 marked a milestone as Carbray enters the land of the Elite. He is one of just 52 golf teaching professionals classified as 2023 GRAA Growth of the Game Teaching Professionals with Elite Member Status.

Carbray also earned the Youth Player Development Award for the Illinois PGA Section in 2012 and the Section’s Teacher of the Year honors in 2018. As the PGA of America Director of Instruction at Butterfield Country Club in Oak Brook, Illinois, Carbray serves an active membership of 450 golfers and runs his own teaching studio just a few miles from Butterfield.

Growing up in New Haven, Connecticut, Carbray caddied and worked in the bag room at New Haven Country Club after being introduced to the game by his dad and maternal grandfather, a scratch golfer back then who’s still playing three days a week at age 98.

When Mike was in 4th grade, his grandfather leased a 3,000-yard nine-hole course that brought a young Mike into the business of golf. He spent a lot of time around the golf shop and otherwise played golf and practiced all day.

Carbray attended Elon University in North Carolina, where he walked onto the men’s golf team. After college, Carbray would work for Dave Tiedemann at Shelter Harbor Golf Club in Rhode Island and Eden Foster at Maidstone on Long Island and Calusa Pines in Naples, Florida.

After a few years as a head golf professional at Kinloch Golf Club in Virginia, Carbray realized that teaching was his real passion. He wanted to be on the lesson tee, improving the skills of his current golfers and bringing new golfers to the range.

He joined the team at Butterfield Country Club 13 years ago, the same year he opened his indoor golf studio, Journey to Better Golf. With a brisk teaching schedule during the winter, Carbray employs four other PGA of America Golf Professionals but still works 50 hours per week during a time of year when golf is usually not the top priority in the Chicagoland area.

The indoor business has eight hitting bays, two TrackMan launch monitors, a Trackman golf simulator, a Garmin launch monitor and Exputt technology. Carbray runs junior clinics during the winter and conducts private lessons with his adult students. He’s teaching kids and adults, beginners and seasoned golfers.

Butterfield Country Club is a 27-hole private facility about 20 miles from Chicago. With a roughly seven-year waiting list to join, Butterfield has tennis, pickleball, paddleball and a gorgeous swimming pool. Members also enjoy a state-of-the-art fitness center and two indoor golf simulators to keep their bodies and their golf games in shape all winter long.

Carbray runs a vibrant junior golf program of almost 250 kids, starting them as young as four years old and nurturing them through high school. He also facilitates programming for new members, many of whom are new golfers, splitting his time between group and private instruction.

“Because Butterfield is such an active club, I’ll be on the range teaching all day and will see our head professional or assistant pros teaching members, as well,” Carbray explains. “We’ll focus on students’ short game and ensure some time with them on the golf course. With 27 holes, this is easier than at some other facilities.”

Carbray mentioned a major range renovation and performance center build-out slated for next year. They’ll expand the driving range and build a five-bay studio with five indoor simulators on the structure’s upper level. As you might expect, we’ll have all the details as they happen here in Golf Range Magazine!

Carbray can’t say enough about how special Butterfield has been to him and his family – wife Meagen and kids Keegan and Beckham. In fact, Mike and Meagen met at Butterfield when she was a summer employee to supplement her income as a teacher in the area.

For more information on how Mike Carbray is bringing new golfers to the range, check out his website or Instagram page today!