Frankel thought he had broken through in the early 1990s after he'd established his own school and worked briefly with Champions tour winner Rocky Thompson. "His enthusiasm can win you over," Thompson says. "What he teaches flies in the face of modern instruction, but I'm convinced it's the way to swing a club." Frankel had also made a video, The Golf Swing Motion, that sold briskly, but disagreements with his distributor over royalties ended up in litigation, and the video disappeared.
That's when Ron entered the picture. After trying various jobs in sales and marketing, Ron, who was also an accomplished junior golfer, returned to the game. Arnie taught him Jones's theories, and soon the brothers were partners in their eponymous academy. With little money to advertise, students came largely by referral. "We became the school of last resort," says Ron. "People who weren't improving with other teachers would come to us. We did very well for several years." In 1995 they produced the video Golf's One Motion, which they still sell, but the school, which operates out of Ron's apartment in Jupiter, Fla., and has moved from course to course over the years, lacks the allure of a name instructor or a famous resort. Business plummeted after 9/11, so much so that Ron recently obtained a Florida insurance license to help supplement his income. "My brother can live simpler than I can," he says. "I don't know how much longer I can hang on."
Arnie Frankel remains totally committed. "This is my mission," he says, turning back to his two pupils on the Hammock Creek range. " David Duval should come to me; I could fix him. He has the same gift of desperation that I had." Duval will not likely be booking a lesson anytime soon, but Frankel is content to bask in the progress made by Orrie and his fellow student, Ed Watts, a 74-year-old retiree from Birmingham. Each man has paid $695 for their private two-day school.
"I may not live long enough to change golf in my lifetime," Frankel says, "but I can plant the seed. Seeds are strong. They send out shoots that can grow through concrete." Arnie Frankel believes.
TOP 10 GURUS
Where would a nonconformist like Ernest Jones rank among the alltime great instructors? To find out, we asked a cross section of Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers to vote on the most influential swing coaches ever and came up with a consensus top 10. We then had a special three-man panel rank the finalists from 1 to 10. After the rankings were added up, the teacher with the lowest point total emerged as our No. 1. --Compiled by Rick Lipsey
SPECIAL PANEL: John Elliott, Golden Ocala ( Fla.) Golf & Equestrian Club; Mike Hebron, Smithtown ( N.Y.) Landing Golf Club; Jim Suttie, Cog Hill Golf & Country Club, Lemont, Ill.
[This article contains a table. �Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF]