July 24, 2009
DeKALB, Ill. - Northern Illinois men's golf head coach John Cleary was recently voted as the ninth best golf teacher in the state of Illinois in an article published by Golf Digest that set out to determine the top instructors in the country.
"It's a neat feeling because it's a list done by other teachers," said Cleary. "It was determined by a peer group so that means even more that your peer group thinks of you in this way. It's a nice honor.
"I've been teaching the game for about 20 years and I've given a lot of private lessons. I feel like I have a pretty good wealth of knowledge on the game it's an honor to be recognized like this."
In order to determine the top teachers in each state, Golf Digest sent out over 1,000 ballots to teachers that allowed them to judge each other on a scale of one to 10. Each state's rankings represent a proportion of that state's total amount of instructors relative to the total teaching population of nearly 20,000 throughout the United States.
With his ninth overall ranking in Illinois, Cleary ranks ahead of the only two other collegiate coaches on the list as Northwestern University's men's golf head coach Pat Goss ranks just behind him at 10th and the University of Illinois' men's golf head coach Mike Small sits at 14th. The top spot on the state's list belongs to 2001 NIU Hall of Fame inductee Dr. Jim Suttie (1966-70), who teaches at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Lemont, Ill.
"It's neat that all three of us are considered in this list," Cleary said. "I know both Mike and Pat and actually worked for Pat so I think maybe he should be higher on the list, but it's nice to be in there with those two to represent the only three college coaches on the Illinois list."
"Obviously, Dr. Jim Suttie, a former Huskie, tops the list, and deservedly so. He is definitely one of the best in the country."