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Academy Blog

Raspberry Golf Academy’s Robyn James Voted Favorite Golf Instructor in Loudoun County

By Josh Apple

robyn resizeRobyn James recently joined the Raspberry Golf Academy team in the fall of 2017 and has since added her fascinating flair to the program through innovative teaching methods. Her primary initiative is the Birdie Belief Project, which is unique programming and instruction for women and girls. From gathering a group of girls on a bus trip to an LPGA tour event to painting golf balls and hitting them into a canvas to make art, Robyn has an out of the box way of relating to her female clientele.

It was through her unique programming that Robyn was one of eight individuals nominated for the “Favorite Golf Instructor in Loudoun County” recognition, an online poll run through Loudoun Now. Not only was she nominated, but Robyn went on to win, earning that distinguished title. The voting ran through June 30 and the winners were announced to the public on July 26.

“It was pretty cool to be nominated because there are a lot of very well established golf instructors in Loudoun County,” Robyn said.

Robyn even beat out her mentor, Tiffany Faucette of 1757 Golf Club, who finished runner-up in the voting. Robyn is an LPGA Apprentice and has been instructing for about two years, but has been working in the golf industry for about eight years.

“This proves that my connection with my students is resonating, and they are just as excited about working with me as I am working with them,” Robyn said.

Although she is relatively new to the world of golf instruction, she has developed an unrivaled reputation for enthusiasm among her students. She brings energy and a smile to every lesson.

“I get excited about coaching because it’s amazing to think about what you’re accomplishing on a regular basis through golf, you’re overcoming so much, pushing yourself, and you can measure how far you’ve come, and it’s a really empowering thing to see people go through that process,” Robyn said.

You can follow this link to see all of the favorites in Loudoun County of 2018!


Four RGA Students Qualify for the 2018 U.S. Amateur

Four RGA Students Qualify for the 2018 U.S. Amateur
By Josh Apple

The U.S. Amateur is the world’s biggest stage for amateur golf competition, and simply earning a spot in the field is a lifelong dream for many. Past champions include Bryson DeChambeau, Ryan Moore, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, and of course Tiger Woods, who won three consecutive times in the mid-1990’s. For the Raspberry Golf Academy to have even one student qualify for the field would be impressive, but RGA students have been beyond impressive in 2018, the 10-year anniversary of the academy.

Brandon Weaver, Connor Messick, and Ryan Smith each qualified for the men’s championship, which will be held at Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill Golf Course from August 13-19, and Katie Reilly qualified for the women’s championship, which will be contested at The Golf Club of Tennessee from August 6-12.

RGA brandon weaver blogBrandon Weaver is a member of the Longwood University golf team and has been working with RGA Director of Instruction John Miller since he was in high school. Under Miller’s guidance, Brandon’s golf career skyrocketed in high school, winning the state championship back-to-back years. That success has carried over to his collegiate career as well, as he won the Manor Intercollegiate this past season, Longwood’s home event.

Brandon played his 36-hole U.S. Amateur qualifier at James River Country Club in Newport News, Va. on July 10th, and fired incredible scores of 64-67 (-9) to finish in second place, just one shot back of first. That particular qualifying site had over 70 competitors but took just two spots, giving Brandon the second spot.

“I played super consistent, my ball striking was good.  I was hitting it in the right spots, giving myself good putts. I was really strong off the tee.  That course is really tight and I was able to put it in the right spots,” Brandon said.

Immediately following his strong qualifying performance, Brandon had a solid showing at the Eastern Amateur, one of the strongest amateur events on the East coast. He finished 22nd with scores of 69-69-67-72 (-3) over the four rounds from July 12-15.

“It all hasn’t really sunk in yet because as soon as I qualified I had to go the Eastern and stay focused,” Brandon said. “I’m pretty excited though to go out to Pebble and to play Spyglass too, which I’ve heard is even better.  I can’t wait to get out there in August.  It’s going to be so much fun.”

Connor Messick  blogConnor Messick recently concluded his career as a member of the University of Virginia golf team, and will be playing for George Mason in the fall as a graduate student transfer. He has been a student of RGA Director Patrick McGuire for two years, and has seen great success in amateur tournaments since joining the RGA team.

Connor played his 36-hole U.S. Amateur qualifier at the Country Club of Woodmore in Mitchellville, Md. on July 17th, and shot 73-69 (-2) to finish is second place. This qualifying site took five spots with a larger field competing for the honor.

“My main goal this summer was to get prepared to qualify for the U.S. Am with the help of my coach, Pat McGuire, and that is what we did,” Connor said. “I’m looking forward to getting out there and making the most of this incredible opportunity.”

Both Brandon and Connor made the cut in the Virginia State Open at Ballyhack Golf Club in Roanoke, held from July 19-21. Brandon finished T40 and Connor finished T44 in the strong 144-player field.

smith3 blogRyan Smith elevated the bar to three RGA participants in the 2018 men’s U.S. Amateur when he shot scores of 71-69 (-4) in his 36-hole qualifier on July 23 at Hayfields Country Club in Cockeysville, Md. The rising high school junior lives in California but is originally from Leesburg, Va., and has worked with Patrick McGuire since he first learned how to hold a golf club.

Under McGuire’s guidance, Ryan has steadily been one of the top junior golfers in the nation. Prior to qualifying for the U.S. Amateur, Ryan reached the Round of 16 in the 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur, held at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J. from July 16-21. Having already proved himself in junior golf competition, he will have chance to breakout on the amateur scene at Pebble Beach.

Ryan has committed to play college golf at the University of North Carolina in 2020.

Katie Reilly claimed one of three spots in the big event by shooting 70 (-2) at Glenmore Country Club in Keswick, Va. on July 2nd, when she managed to go 6-for-6 on up-and-down opportunities. Katie also works with McGuire and has seen her game progress through his teaching.

“I definitely wouldn’t have gotten here without all your (Patrick’s) help over the years,” Katie said.

Be sure to follow Brandon, Connor, and Ryan at Pebble Beach and Katie at The Golf Club of Tennessee next month as they look to grow their name on the big stage, and check back in for more updates from RGA as we celebrate the 10-year anniversary!

What is Project 130?

What is Project 130?

By Coach Josh Apple

RGA blog pic project 130

Project 130 is a wedging system under the performance-coaching category of the Raspberry Golf Academy. The term wedging refers to shots from about 60 yards up to about 130 yards, of course depending on age and skill level. Similar to the No Brainer short game program, Project 130 is built around the idea that natural swings will produce a consistent distance that can be tested and measured. This program is called Project 130 because it extends out to about 130 yards.

The end goal is to have three different distances with each wedge and potentially the 9-iron depending on your distances. The primary concept behind Project 130 is trajectory control. In order to produce three different distances with each club, the player will need to produce three different trajectories. When executed with proper technique, the high shot will carry the furthest, the mid shot will carry a medium distance, and the low shot will carry the shortest. By effecting change in trajectory, you are also effecting change in distance.

The most important part of the program is that we are measuring natural swings, meaning each player will produce unique trajectories and unique distances, but everyone will finish the program with three reliable distances with each wedge. Because these are natural swings, they are easy to repeat and to trust under pressure. Whether you take the Project 130 group class or learn it individually, you will be trained on how to properly produce three different trajectories, leading to three different distances.

Here is an example of the finished product; remember the numbers on the chart are just carry numbers. Notice some of the numbers are similar or overlap. By working alongside your coach, you can determine a process for picking the correct shot in various circumstances.


Club Distance 1
Distance 2 Distance 3
Lob Wedge 61 75 88
Sand Wedge 73 87 101
Gap Wedge 89 104 120
Pitching Wedge 105 119 134

For more information about "Project 130" group classes or private sessions, contact Coach Josh Apple at japple@raspberrygolfacademy.com or click here to register.

Next Project 130 Group Class:

Bull Run Golf Club
Start Date: June 4th
5 Week Series on Mondays: 5:30pm - 7:30pm
Skill level: Intermediate to Advanced