You may recognize John Webster if you've been lucky enough to stay or play at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida. John is the Director of Instruction at the famed resort and also founded The John Webster Golf Academy. We are fortunate to be able to partner with him as an H&B Brand Ambassador.
John is a master of the game and he is as nice as he is stylish, so he is a natural fit to represent Holderness & Bourne.
We wanted to catch up with him to learn a little more about his background, his work as a teaching professional, and his thoughts on all things golf. We hope you'll enjoy the second installment of In Good Company.
1. H&B: What is your hometown, and did you have a favorite course growing up?
JW: I was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. I grew up playing The Audubon Par 3, where I would chase after my father’s shag bag of balls. I had my first birdie on that Par 3, but I was fortunate to later play a Donald Ross that hosted the 1934 PGA Championship...Park CC. That is where I grew to appreciate golf but its reciprocal course, Oak Hill in Rochester, is the course that truly inspired me to achieve more in the game.
2. H&B: How, when, and why did you get involved in the game?
JW: My father, Gerald Webster, captained his University of Notre Dame golf team and had always been a good amateur player. He loved introducing me to the game at a very young age, and it certainly was a key ingredient in the development of our relationship.
JW: Like many, my first job in the golf world was caddying at a very young age. I would ride my bike to both The Country Club of Buffalo and Transit Valley to earn a dollar.
My first job later in life was an assistant’s position at Loblolly Pines in Hobe Sound, FL. Buddy Antonopoulos was at The Medalist and sent me over to Rick Whitfield to start right at the bottom washing carts, cleaning clubs, picking the range, etc.
I spent my college days at Loyola University in Baltimore, and I was lucky to meet a number of Baltimore folks at Loblolly. Henry Lebrun was kind enough to introduce me to Dennis Satyshur, who was now the Director at a relatively new club called Caves Valley. I was immediately immersed in the North-to-South seasonal golf chase as a professional in the club business. While in my first season at Caves, I met Jim McLean who asked me to come work for him at Doral. This was the beginning of nearly a decade working for both Jim and Dennis.
I was fortunate to ultimately work my way into Director of Instruction at both locations. When the position of Director of Instruction opened at The Breakers Palm Beach, I knew that it was the perfect convergence of the high-end private and resort worlds and would allow me the opportunity to create my own business - The John Webster Golf Academy. The owners and Senior Management at The Breakers are more family than colleagues. Due to incredible timing, I’m lucky to have been there for 16 years.
4. H&B: What have you learned most working in the golf space?
JW: The life lessons you learn being around the game of golf are endless. There are too many to name, as the game and life truly are one in the same. More than anything, golf is a people and relationship business that requires more selflessness than selfishness to really be successful. The relationships you develop and what you get back from them is really the greatest reward.
5. H&B: Favorite time of day to play? Favorite time of day to teach?
JW: Playing with shadows is always the best… any time is a good time to teach.
6. H&B: What was your all-time favorite day of golf? Describe the day.
JW: Sinking a 60-foot putt to win the father-son championship in a playoff at age 10. Everyone behind the 18th green at Park CC booed my father for somehow snapping a wedge low left to a back right pin and he felt terrible. Making that putt was my first real golf victory and possibly one of the greatest for my Dad.
7. H&B: Any advice for amateur players? Where should they focus their practice time?
JW: There are three types of players: those who appreciate a well-struck ball; those who don’t care how it flies as long as it gets in the hole in the least number of shots; and those who are a combination thereof. Figure out which one of those you are and focus on it...the game will be much more enjoyable that way.
8. H&B: Sweater or quarter-zip and why?
JW: I could go either way and do like both so long as they are lightweight. There is not much cold weather down my way, so my layers can’t be cumbersome. If forced to choose, I’d go with a sweater as I tend to favor simplicity. This is probably due to the fact that my day job revolves around streamlining and simplifying the game.
9. H&B: Favorite H&B piece and why?
10. H&B: Post-Round Drink?
JW: A Transfusion with or without the giddyup juice, depending on the time and place.
11. H&B: Describe your personal style
JW: Tough question as I don’t really try to have one… I know I like clean and simple with something small that makes it stand out. Kind of like chrome on a classic car. A little shine on quality that can be appreciated for a long time.