Dr. Gary Wiren is an impressively fit 81 who looks resplendent in plus-fours, prefers to carry his own clubs and can hit a driver in the neighborhood of 300 yards. But when you’re in multiple golf halls of fame and have earned numerous distinguished service awards; when you have written 14 books and lectured and taught all over the United States and abroad; when you have been a pioneering figure in the fields of golf instruction, rules education and professional golf management; when you have amassed one of the most unusual collections of golf memorabilia in the world and have showed it off to Warren Buffett, a friend, and Bill Gates at the same time; when you are a successful entrepreneur and inventor in the field of golf teaching aids; and when you hold the title of senior director of instruction for the golf courses owned by President Trump …
Described as a “philosopher coach,” Wiren was PGA teacher of the year in 1987 and for years a regular on lists of the nation’s top teachers. In 1990 he wrote the 600-page “PGA Teaching Manual: The Art and Science of Golf Instruction,” a three-year project considered to have had international impact on teaching pros.
Over the years, he played some professional tournaments in the U.S. and Japan, including the U.S. Senior Open at Pinehurst in 1994 (carrying his clubs, he shot 75-72 to make the cut), was a hickory golf champion and won a long-drive contest with a mark of 381 yards, 1 foot.
By 2000 Wiren was teaching at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla. He now holds the title of Senior Director of Instruction for the Trump courses worldwide, sending the latest research to teachers and writing a quarterly newsletter. Yes, he’s seen the now-President play. His scouting report: “He’s a good player. … He’s got more than adequate distance, is a very good bunker player and he’s an excellent putter with not what you would call a Tour-looking putting stroke.
According to one estimate, Wiren’s taught more than 250,000 people in 34 countries. His thick scrapbooks contain notes and letters from Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, and luminaries in the world of sports, business and broadcasting. In 2006 he was the 15th inductee into the World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame and was named to the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame.
Wiren and Ione, married 56 years, live in North Palm Beach. Now and then, someone asks “Dr. Golf” when he’ll retire. He has unfinished projects, including expanding the professional golf management curriculum to include the nine core values of the juniors First Tee program — such as integrity, perseverance and sportsmanship — the values of sport an important concept for Wiren since his days as a University of Oregon doctoral student. Which is where this all began in August 1962.