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2023 Gateway Teaching and Coaching Summit Program

Welcome to the 2023 Gateway Teaching & Coaching Summit Presented by:

Monday, February 6

Schedule of Events

1:30pm - 2:00pm


2:00pm - 4:00pm

2009 PGA of America Teacher of the Year, Mike Bender, PGA
Mike Bender Website

4:00pm - 5:30pm "Unplugged" Chat

Mike Bender, PGA and Jay Delsing, PGA will conduct a casual, fun conversation.
Jay Delsing Website

Tuesday, February 7

Schedule of Events

7:30am - 8:00am


8:00am - 8:45am

Decade Golf

8:45am - 10:00am

2009 PGA of America Teacher of the Year, Mike Bender, PGA

10:00am - 10:30am


10:30am - 10:45am


10:45am - 11:30am

2009 PGA of America Teacher of the Year, Mike Bender, PGA

12:15pm - 1:15pm

2021 Gateway PGA Teacher of the Year: Ed Schwent, PGA

1:15pm - 2:15pm

Sports Psychologist: Dr. Dirk Downing

2:15pm - 2:30pm


2:30pm - 3:45pm

Gateway PGA Teacher of the Year Finalists Discussion Panel, featuring:
Zach Conlin, PGA
Blake Sharamitaro, PGA
Shane Blankenship, PGA
Will Shelton, PGA

3:45pm - 4:00pm

Dan Polites - Closing Remarks, Q&A

Speaker Bios

Mike Bender, PGA

Growing up in Waterloo, Iowa, Mike Bender was an inveterate tinkerer. He would dismantle, then reassemble, radios, televisions, bicycles and anything else that could be taken apart and put back together. It was this razor sharp mechanical aptitude, an eye for detail and a passion for golf that have combined to allow this Midwestern native to become one of the top golf instructors in the world. Today, Bender can efficiently assemble a better golf swing for any golfer from rank beginners to the game’s top touring professionals. This extraordinary knowledge combined with his ability to explain the necessary fundamentals in a clear and concise manner is why he is the 2009 PGA of America National Teacher of the Year, ranked among the Top Five Best Teachers in America by Golf Digest Magazine and, for more than a decade, has been included in GOLF Magazine’s Top 100 Teacher list.


Jay Delsing, PGA

Jay Delsing was born in St louis Missouri. His father played Major League baseball for 10 years
and was a member for the World Champion New York Yankees in 1949. Jay received a golf
scholarship from UCLA where he became a 2 time All American and was a prominent part of
perhaps the best college golf team of all time. (Cory Pavin, Tom Pernice, Duffy Waldorf and
Steve Pate all played on that team). After graduating from UCLA in 1983, Delsing earned his
PGA Tour Card in 1984. Jay played in nearly 700 PGA /Champions Tour events earning over 4
million dollars in prize money. He has 7 professional wins to his credit including the Fort Smith Classic, The Omaha Classic as well as the Gerald Ford Invitational in Vail Colorado. In 2015,
Fox Sports added Jay to their broadcast team, and June of 2018 the US Open Championship at Shinnecock Golf Club in Long Island, New York, marked his fourth consecutive national open coverage for Fox Sports. Jay also enjoys working for PGATour Live which is the Tour’s own network. In April of 2018, Jay was added to the St Louis Sports Hall of Fame. In 2019, Jay launched his radio show Golf with Jay Delsing. It has quickly become the golf show in the St Louis area and a national syndication of the show is underway. It airs on 101
ESPN on Sunday mornings and can also be found on Scoops with Danny Mac as well as Jay founded the the First Tee of St Louis in 2005 as well as Jay Delsing Golf (1990) which provides corporate entertainment and hospitality through out the country. The Jay Delsing Foundation of Jerseyville, Illinois supports Junior golf in that rural area. On a personal level, Jay is the proud father of Mackenzie, Gemma, Brennan and Joely. Being the dad of his daughters has been the true joy of his life.


Ed Schwent, PGA

As a tournament player, Ed Schwent was one of the best amateurs and professionals in the St. Louis area. Ed Schwent achieved some of the highest levels in St. Louis golf by coaching at Saint Louis University and becoming the Head Golf Professional at The Missouri Bluffs, Gateway National, and for the past eleven years at Old Hickory Golf Club. Old Hickory will continue to be the home of Ed Schwent and the Ed Schwent Golf Academy. Ed's personal approach to each student is unique in golf instruction. His teaching attracts students of all ages, gender and ability. Ed's goals are to help each student reach their own goals. From golf swing instruction, to the mental side of golf to fitness and short game, contact Ed today to schedule a lesson package to start you on your own improvement and enjoyment of golf.

Ed is a Gateway PGA Teacher of the Year once again in 2021!nEd has been named the #2 teacher in Missouri in the latest Golf Digest Best Teachers in the USA edition 2015!!! And every addition including the latest 2021-2022.

Dr. Dirk Downing

Dr. Dirk Downing grew up in Saint Louis, Missouri, active in golf, swimming, diving, baseball, basketball, and football. His love of sports and interest in the mental aspects of performance led Dirk to earn his PhD in Sport Psychology at the University of Missouri - Columbia, where he worked extensively with a wide variety of Division 1 Collegiate athletes. His research led him to work with world-ranked PGA tour professionals, studying the best mental performance practices of elite athletes.
Dirk is owner and founder of Zoning In: Peak Performance Coaching ( Launched in 2017, Dirk currently works with many athletes — from high school and collegiate to those who simply want to enjoy themselves and their game more on the golf course. He also coaches beyond athletics, providing training to entrepreneurs as they work to improve their daily motivation and engagement in building their own businesses.


Shane Blankenship, PGA

Starting in March Shane will be the Director of Instruction at Osage National Golf Course located at the Lake of the Ozarks. He is a 2004 graduate of New Mexico State University and been a Class A member since January of 2007. Shane is a 4 time Assistant Player of the Year for the Gateway PGA and has qualified for 16 National Championships for the PGA of America.

Zach Conlin, PGA

Zach Conlin is a PGA teaching professional at Old Hickory Golf Club. He has been teaching since 2013. In 2017, Zach started his own teaching business in which he teaches full time. In 2022 Zach gave 1,400 private lessons. Zach brought indoor golf instruction to Old Hickory Golf Club in 2020 and he is passionate about bio mechanical movement in the golf swing.

Blake Sharamitaro

The St. Louis native born started his career as a PGA Professional in Denver, Colorado. He is entering his 15th year as a golf instructor and coach where he enjoys teaching the game. Blake's focus has evolved into coaching several competitive junior players, but also teach intermediate players of all ages as well. This is a great time to be a PGA Professional especially in the Jr Golf realm. To see programs like PGA Jr League and other junior golf initiatives taking off is exciting for Blake. At the PGA Show is 2023 Blake earned the #GameChanger Award for having a Jr. Golf Program in the Top-11 in size nationally.

Will Shelton

Will is a St. Louis native, growing up in South County where he attended and played golf for Mehlville High School. He was participated in the Gateway Junior PGA where he found his love for competitive golf. After high school, will attended the University of Missouri before he transferred to the University of Central Oklahoma to join the PGA Golf Management program. Upon graduation from UCO, Will migrated back to St. Louis to do an internship at St. Clair Country Club. After the completion of his internship Will accepted the Assistant Golf Professional position at Sunset Country Club and gained his PGA membership in 2016. Will served as an Assistant Golf Professional until 2021 where he transitioned to his Player Development role at Sunset. Will believes he has found his true passion in his new role and looks forward to molding golfers of all levels for the rest of his career.