New Direction Golf Academy

Let the New Direction Golf Academy staff improve your game with individual or group instruction, along with our teaching software, Trackman, available upon request. We ensure that all students, from those learning the basic fundamentals to those committed to long-term personal improvement, can maximize their own golfing potential.
Our instructors are committed to helping you grow your game.

Mike Byrd

 Mike Byrd is the President of New Direction Golf Management which was launched in January of 2018.  Since its conception, Mike has worked tirelessly to create a new and exciting environment both in the clubhouse, on the golf course and within the Gauntlet’s membership.  His goal is to create a family atmosphere where all ages and playing abilities feel welcome and at home. 

Since the age of 15, Mike has been developing his skills both as a golfer as well as a golf course operator. After graduating from the San Diego Golf Academy in 1992 with a degree in Golf Management, he started out as both an Assistant Professional and Head Professional in Medford, Oregon. After a brief stop in his hometown in Klamath Falls, Oregon, he moved east to take over the General Manager position at East Potomac Golf Course. From there, he transitioned to Head Pro/GM at Gauntlet Golf Club, in Stafford, Virginia. Mike has been at the Gauntlet since 2005 and has focused his efforts on player development, creating athletes first, and then golfers. Mike and his team have since cultivated programs to create, develop, and sustain golfers while planting a seed of passion for the game he loves at not one but two NDGM locations.

 New Direction prides itself on growing the game of golf in Stafford County and the surrounding areas as well as creating a product that the residents and members can be proud of.

Kevin Porter

Kevin is a lifelong golfer who has constantly worked to improve his own game. He is a Certified Mach 3 Trainer and Ultimate Long Drive Academy Instructor, and believes increasing efficiency and mobility are a huge part to improving and enjoying your golf game. While specializing in teaching speed, the techniques he employs have carried over to players hitting longer and straighter shots.

Most recently, he has coached the PGA Junior League at the Gauntlet and enjoys watching kids grow their confidence right alongside their love for golf. In addition to his work as an instructor, Kevin is the Tournament Director of the Amateur Long Drive Association’s Mid-Atlantic Region. Kevin is currently enrolled in the USGTF program to become a complete Golf Teaching Professional and will be attending the Mitchell Golf Performance Master Class this fall to earn his Master Fitter and Club Builder certification.

Kevin’s main goal with his program is for you to increase speed and efficiency. He has gained an average club head speed with his students of 2-7 MPH. While some students have gained up to 14mph in the first session as well. After the initial speed gains, the drills he will send you have doubled that gain in 3-4 weeks. The program has seen over 2000 students across the country. He only uses the driver in these sessions, but the techniques carry over through the entire bag leading to shorter approach shots and lower scores.

Kevin lives in Fauquier County with his wife and two boys on their family cattle farm and is an avid sports fan.

Shawn O’Donnell

Growing and enjoying the game of golf has been a life-long journey for Shawn. From becoming a caddy at the age of 10 to an accomplished player and assistant club professional he has spent over 50 years in and around the golf industry and has played over 130 different courses.

“As a caddy,I learned the importance of understanding the goals and desires of each individual’s approach to the game. Those factors along with their individual physical ability and commitment become key to understanding the instruction, teaching methods and coaching required to maximize each student’s path toward improvement.”
Over the years Shawn’s teaching and coaching style was influenced by a variety of golf professionals: “Herb Meinert at Ravisloe Country Club in Homewood, Illinois was one of the first proponents of what was called the”square to square” swing and provided a base for me to learn modern swing fundamentals. 
“Charles “Chuck” Tannis, considered by many to be the dean of Chicago area golf professionals,spent hours on the practice tee helping me develop an understanding of the interaction of clubs and balls individual’s swing while building me a custom set of left handed McGregor clubs.
“Dave Williams, the legendary coach who took the University of Houston golf team to 16 NCAA titles, provided me with a working knowledge of how individual goals and accomplishments can be integrated into a total team approach that enhances boths growth and development. He used team interactions to maximize the long term love and enjoyment of the “game we call golf”             
 Shawn’s personal golf journey started at Ravisloe CC where he caddied, worked in the pro shop, was the cart attendant (all electric), first tee starter, tournament scorekeeper, and had a variety of other jobs and duties. He worked as an assistant pro at Prestwick CC where he also studied course maintenance and agronomy. Having participated in a variety of IHSA,WGA, NIMAGA, PGA,USGA and VSGA tournaments he has a working knowledge of competition at the high school, college, club, amateur and professional levels.  
As an instructor with New Direction Golf Academy, Shawn is focused on helping each individual enhance their game and show improvement on every level while incorporating the latest in TrackMan technology and club building into his teaching. 


TrackMan4-driven simulator golf is a complete indoor coaching and simulator solution in one device. Key to TrackMan4’s pinpoint accuracy both indoors and outdoors is its patented multi-sensor technology that synchronizes an inbuilt camera with two bespoke designed ultra-sensitive radars. The power and precision of TrackMan4 is unrivalled. There’s simply nothing else to match it.

TrackMan’s simulator golf solutions delivers an experience that redefines what is possible to achieve in a simulator environment. Every training session, every hole you play, every fun tournament you have with your friends… it’s all faithful to the true feeling of the game. World-famous courses appear in simply stunning detail. The gameplay is unbelievably smooth, all your club and ball data is shown with unerring, pinpoint accuracy. So if you think you know what simulator golf can do, think again.