Pine Needles has been an innovator in golf instruction since the late 1950s. No matter your skill level or time constraints, Pine Needles has a learning program designed to enhance your ability and improve your game.
A Golfari – “Safari of Golf” – is a unique combination that represents the perfect balance between learning golf, playing golf and the relaxation that you’ll find here at Pine Needles. Each day is a mix of instruction, both on the lesson tee and on the golf course, and relaxing in the company of friends. We offer three types of Golfari throughout the year; Ladies Golfari, Adult Golfari and Youth Golfari.
The Pine Needles Golf Academy is designed to improve golf skills and educate golfers on the fundamentals of the game. Our PGA and LPGA Instructors teach you all aspects of golf: putting, chipping, pitching, full swing, course management, fitness and stretching. The learning facility at Pine Needles overlooks our extensive practice areas and serves as a private location for your instruction. For more information, visit our Golf Academy page.
Private lessons are scheduled in half-hour increments. Frequency and scheduling is arranged at your convenience, without restriction. For more information on our private instruction programs, call 910-692-7111 or request more information here.
Meet the Instructors
Our golf instructors represent many years of experience teaching the game to novices, as well as accomplished amateurs and professionals.
Peggy Kirk Bell, Founder of Golfari
October 28, 1921 – November 23, 2016
Peggy Kirk Bell laid the groundwork for our golf instruction programs during her 60+ years as owner and head golf instructor of Pine Needles. Her philosophy was simple: play golf and have fun doing it. It was her enthusiasm and passion for the game that inspired her students.
In 1959, Peggy Kirk Bell held her first golf instructional school at Pine Needles. The ladies golf school was the first of its kind and evolved into what became known as Golfari, Mrs. Bell’s signature golf program. Golfari – Safari of Golf – has taught thousands of men, women and youths how to play golf and improve their golf game. Each Golfari is built around the same guiding principle: the perfect balance between learning golf, playing golf and the relaxing in the company of friends at Pine Needles. It’s a tradition kept alive in today’s week-long Golfari schools with program offerings for Ladies, Adults and Youths.
During her playing career, Mrs. Bell won several tournament championships including: Two-Ball, Palm Beach Amateur, Titleholders, Eastern Amateur. She was a member of the 1950 USGA Curtis Cup Team and 1951 LPGA Weathervane Team.
Other honors include: LPGA Teacher of the Year, LPGA Master Teacher, Golf Digest’s one of the six Best Women Teachers in the World, member North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, one of five Most Influential Women in Golf, member Carolinas’ Golf Hall of Fame, National Golf Foundation’s Joe Graffis Award, winner of the first LPGA Senior Championship.
Mrs. Bell also received the 1990 LPGA’s Ellen Griffin Rolex Award and the 1990 Bobby Jones Award. In 1994, she was presented with the William D. Richardson Memorial Trophy at the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia.
Mrs. Bell authored “Woman’s Way to Better Golf” and “The Gift Of Golf, My Life With A Wonderful Game.” She appeared as an instructor in the ESPN video – “How to Play Your Best Golf” and was named one of Golf for Women Magazine’s Top 50 Teachers. She was also named by Golf Magazine as one of the Top 100 Teachers in America and, in 2004, became the first woman inducted into Golf Magazine’s World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame.
Pat McGowan, Director of Instruction
Pine Needles’ Director of Instruction. Pat joined the PGA tour in 1978 and was Rookie of the Year. He won the 1984 TPS Sacramento Open. Other top finishes include: Second in the Canadian Open, second in the Quad Cities Open, fourth in the PGA Championship. Pat attended Brigham Young University and is an active supporter of junior golf. Pat qualified to play on the Champion’s Tour beginning in the 2005 season.
Bonnie Bell McGowan
One of Peggy Kirk Bell’s two daughters, Bonnie is a former outstanding amateur golfer who played on the University of North Carolina Women’s Golf Team. She is married to Pat McGowan, Pine Needles’ PGA Touring Professional and Director of Instruction. Bonnie is the mother of Michael and Scottie.
She has been an Instructor for over 20 years in Pine Needles’ Golfaris. Bonnie is also Owner of BBM Designs (golf jewelry, infant shoes and other golf related items) and Co-Owner of Player’s Design (golf and outerwear apparel).
A Virginia native, Donna is a five-time winner of the Virginia State Amateur Championship. She won the prestigious North and South Amateur title in 1984 and 1988, and was runner-up in 1989. She received All-American honors as a member of the University of North Carolina team in 1989.
As a professional, Donna has captured six events, including one major title: The Nabisco Dinah Shore in 1994. She placed third in the 1992 U.S. Women’s Open and tied for second a year later. She had four top ten finishes in 2002, and her best finish in 2003 was a tie for seventh in the Canadian Open. Donna has served on the LPGA Executive Committee since 2001 and was president of the association for two years.
Peggy Bell Miller
One of Peggy Kirk Bell’s two daughters. Former member of the University of Alabama Women’s Golf Team; married to Kelly Miller, Chief Operating Officer of Pine Needles and Mid Pines. Peggy is the mother of Blair, Melody, and Kelly Ann. She has been an instructor for over 20 years in Pine Needles’ Golfari programs.
A graduate of Methodist University in Fayetteville, NC, with a degree in Business Administration and a concentration in Professional Golf Management. In 2001, Graham joined the staff at Mid Pines and worked as an Assistant Golf Professional for three years. Graham, now General Manager and Director of Golf at Pine Needles and Mid Pines, has been teaching with the Golfaris since 2002.
Tyler Yancey, Mid Pines Head Professional
Tyler’s passion for the game of golf started in Durham, N.C. at a young age. After playing collegiate golf for a year, he focused on a career in the golf industry and graduated as a PGA Professional from North Carolina State University in 2011. Tyler joined our staff in 2013 and has assumed several roles in Golf Operations including his current role as Head Golf Professional at Mid Pines. In his fifth season as an instructor at Pine Needles & Mid Pines, Tyler enjoys improving each student’s skill set in our golf schools and private lessons.
Andy Kiker, Pine Needles Senior Assistant
Originally from Midland, N.C., Andy was introduced to the game of golf at the age of 13 and quickly discovered his affection for the sport. Playing in numerous junior events, he began working as a Cart Attendant in 2008 and fell in love with the golf industry. Andy is currently progressing through his PGA Apprenticeship toward his goal of becoming a Class A member. Andy has been teaching golf since 2012 and joined the Pine Needles & Mid Pines team in 2014. He continues to promote the game of golf through individual instruction as well as group lessons.
Mike Asbury, Assistant Golf Professional
Originally from Winston- Salem, N.C., Mike has played and enjoyed the game of golf for two decades. He graduated from Winston-Salem State University and was a four-year letterman on the Golf Team. Mike has had the opportunity of working at many illustrious clubs across the Carolinas and the Southeas. It is his ultimate goal to spread his love for the game of golf to others that share the same passion.
Loren Forney, Assistant Golf Professional
Originally from Rifle, Colo., Loren is currently a PGA Apprentice through the PGA of America and is working hard to become a Class A Member. Her passion for golf started as a young girl when she was introduced to the game by her father. She played Division I Collegiate golf at Portland State University where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. After college, she served as Assistant Women’s Golf Coach at Colorado Mesa University for two years. Interested in learning more about the game? Loren suggests reading: Every Shot Must Have a Purpose by Pia Nilsson & Lynn Marriott, Golf is Not a Game of Perfect by Dr. Bob Rotella and Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons by Ben Hogan and Herbert Warren Wind.
Scott Moody, Assistant Golf Professional
Scott Moody, born and raised in Natick, Mass., is Class A Assistant PGA Professional. He is a graduate of Coastal Carolina University and remains an avid fan of the university’s athletic teams. Scott has a passion for teaching golf and helping players enjoy the game more.
Landon Shirley, Assistant Golf Professional
Born and raised in Charlotte, N.C., Landon learned the game of golf from his grandfather. It wasn’t until his first high school job as a cart boy that he realized his passion for the game. Landon anticipates to graduate from NC State PGA Golf Management program in Spring 2017 and earn his Class A membership to the PGA shortly thereafter. He has worked at many different courses both private and public, but most recognizable would be an internship with Whistling Straits when they hosted the 2015 PGA Championship. He is very excited to be part of the team and continue to grow the game we all love.
Richard Toth, Assistant Golf Professional
Richard Toth was born in Philadelphia, Penn. An avid sports fan, Rich enjoys engaging in sports banter with his fellow associates and all who welcome it. From an early age, he played soccer and was fortunate enough to play at a competitive level into college. Golf drew Rich’s interest while he was studying at Widener College. He applied for the PGA PGM Program, then headed to Methodist University in Fayetteville, graduating with a bachelors in Business Administration with a PGM focus. He is incredibly grateful for this opportunity at Pine Needles – Mid Pines and looks forward to the learning experiences it will provide.
John Vasquez, Assistant Golf Professional
Originally from Las Cruces, N.M, John attended New Mexico State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and specialized in the PGA Golf Management. John grew up around the game of golf. He would often take weekend trips to the golf course with his dad and grandfathers. John is a Class A PGA Member with experience working at both public and high-end private golf courses. He enjoys helping golfers to fine-tune their game while also having fun. John joined the Pine Needles & Mid Pines Resorts staff in October 2017.