The story of Red Ledges’ Jim McLean Golf School
History of Jim McLean and Tony Burns
Tony Burns, Red Ledges’ managing owner and developer, says that life is “all about friendships and relationships.” This idea is the foundation for Red Ledges’ award-winning Jim McLean Golf School.
In 1983, Tony Burns was named president and CEO of Ryder Systems, Inc. in Miami, Florida. In 1985, Ryder Systems, Inc. began sponsoring the famous Doral Ryder Open—a professional golf tournament on the PGA Tour.
The Open featured a ProAm Tournament where tournament sponsors partner up with a professional golfer for a round. Feeling the pressure to play well, Burns reached out to Jim McLean, a world-renowned golfer and instructor, for help, and their friendship began.
The first year, Burns drew Jack Nicklaus as his partner. In 1985, Nicklaus had already won 17 major championships. Nicklaus’ would win one more major championship before retiring—a record that still stands. Ryder Systems, Inc. sponsored the ProAm Tournament for 14 years—each year Burns magically drew Nicklaus’ name.
Through this pattern of interaction, Burns established friendships with McLean and Nicklaus—22 years before Red Ledges started development. Here’s how these friendships continue to impact the community:
Opening the School
As Red Ledges was being planned and developed in 2007, Burns wanted to create a community that was more than a series of roads and houses. Delivering high-quality amenities and experiences serves as a focal point where community members can share experiences.
In an interview, Burns said, “I knew that if I wanted Red Ledges to be a winner, we needed to align ourselves with winners.” Based on experience, he spoke to three individuals. Each individual contributed the following:
McLean created the renowned Jim McLean Golf School
Nicklaus designed our two beautiful golf courses
Cliff Drysdale started the award-winning tennis program
At the grand sales kick-off for Red Ledges, it was clear that the decision to collaborate with these three men was the right one. Everyone that attended this special event wanted to talk to McLean, Nicklaus, and Drysdale.
Jim McLean Golf School
The Jim McLean Golf School at Red Ledges started in 2009 with an open-air pergola for the building with one instructor – Jon Paupore. Today, Paupore is our director of golf and instruction.
In the winter of 2010, Red Ledges opened a small indoor golf school on Main Street in Park City, where Paupore taught lessons to the winter ski crowd. As the community grew, Burns and McLean knew they needed to create a permanent year-round learning center on the property.
The golf school practice facility, which currently houses the Jim McLean Golf School, was built in 2015 and is one of the best facilities in the state. The school includes the best teaching technology available, including two TrackMan simulators, JC Video for instruction, and body tracking.
The school continues to grow as more people move to Red Ledges—keeping Jon Paupore and our five other certified instructors busy. The success of the Jim McLean Golf School is directly related to Red Ledges’ success.
Our Teaching Philosophy
Jim McLean said that “people come back for lessons if the lessons are good,” and the number of lessons taught at the Jim McLean Golf School at Red Ledges is a testament to the instructors and the philosophy.
The teaching at the school centers on what McLean calls the 25 percent theory, which divides the game into four different parts and includes the long, short, management, and mental games.
McLean believes that you must become proficient in at least three of the four areas to improve as a player—the best golfers are skilled in all four. Red Ledges’ instructors teach in a way that creates a progression of improvement in your game and focuses on consistency in instruction.
The same fundamentals are taught by the instructors year after year and in all the Jim McLean Golf School locations worldwide. The school provides the instruction template, and then it is up to the instructors to apply it to their students – whatever their skill level.
All Jim McLean certified instructors undergo an intense certification process involving months of learning, training, testing, and observing. Instructors all over the country keep their certification and skills up to date by attending weekly calls led by McLean himself.
Red Ledges’ foundation continues to stand on solid relationships. Today, Red Ledges is proud to call McLean, Nicklaus, and Drysdale friends, and these individuals are an integral part of the community. Every year, McLean visits Red Ledges and provides instructors with exceptional training techniques and hosts special clinics and lessons.
To learn more about the Jim McLean Golf School, click here.