Who Is Sean Foley?

We get to know the well-known golf instructor Sean Foley, and who he has worked with, in this piece.

Who Is Sean Foley?
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Who Is Sean Foley?

Sean Foley is a golf instructor that has coached a number of Tour Pros including Tiger Woods, Justin RoseLee Westwood, Stephen Ames, Danny Willett, Sean O'Hair, Hunter Mahan, Lydia Ko and Seung-Yul Noh.

Known for a scientific approach to the golf swing, Foley was born and raised outside of Toronto, Canada. Despite graduating with an Arts degree from Tennessee State University, where he played on the golf team, according to his website; "Foley set out to be a teacher of elite players after watching David Leadbetter work with Nick Faldo on the range at the RBC Canadian Open in 1988."

He would begin his teaching career at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Ontario, and he has gone on to become one of the most well-known golf instructors in the world. 

tiger woods sean foley

(Image credit: Getty Images)

His most high profile pupil was Tiger Woods, when they began working together in 2010 at the USPGA Championship at Whistling Straits. Foley was credited with increasing Woods' distance as well as turning him into a fade-bias player.

Woods won nine times with Foley as his coach - once at the 2011 World Challenge plus three times in 2012 and five times in 2013, which included him returning to the world number one position. The pair split in August 2014 after Woods sustained an injury.

"With my next tournament not until my World Challenge event at Isleworth in Orlando, this is the right time to end our professional relationship," Woods said.

Foley described working with Woods as "one of the highlights of my career so far. It was a lifelong ambition of mine to teach the best player of all time in our sport. I am both grateful of the things we had the opportunity to learn from one another, as well as the enduring friendship we have built. I have nothing but admiration and respect for him."

justin rose sean foley

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Another world number one Foley has coached is Justin Rose. The pair spent 11 successful years together, which saw Rose win the 2013 US Open, 2016 Olympic Gold, reach the World No.1 spot and win the FedEx Cup. They would split in 2020.

Speaking at the time Rose said; “I am grateful for the successes I had under his tutelage and the career goals I was able to achieve. The door is open whenever I have questions or want his guidance, as he continues to be one of my closest friends.”

As we mentioned above, Foley has worked with many more players including another world number one in Lydia Ko, but they stopped their partnership in 2022.

lydia ko sean foley

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Speaking with Brian Wacker and PGA Tour.com back in 2010, Foley spoke of his philosophy and also teaching philosophy;  

"The mantra for me is what Ghandi said in that we need to be the change we want to see in the world. So it's not to condemn what we're trying to change, and I think it was Aristotle who said, 'A man can't think his way to proper action; He has to act his way to proper thinking.' Don't tell me, show me. That's some deep stuff I understand, but it's definitely happening. I just try to lead by example with my guys. My swing philosophy is the same way. I'm not coaching golfers; I'm coaching human beings who deal with love and hate and fear and all those different aspects in the emotional arena. If you look at them as just a golfer, you're missing out."

Sam Tremlett
E-commerce Editor

A golfer for most of his life, Sam is a Senior Staff Writer for Golf Monthly. 

Working with golf gear and equipment over the last six years, Sam has quickly built outstanding knowledge and expertise on golf products ranging from drivers, to balls, to shoes. 

He combines this knowledge with a passion for helping golfers get the best gear for them, and as such Sam manages a team of writers that look to deliver the most accurate and informative reviews and buying advice. This is so the reader can find exactly what they are looking for.

Sam now spends most of his time testing and looking after golf gear content for the website, whilst he is also responsible for all content related to golf apparel. 

He also oversees all Tour player content as well so if you need to know what clubs Tiger or Rory has in play, Sam is the person to ask. 

Unfortunately, Sam is not a member of any club at the moment but regularly gets out on the golf course to keep up the facade of having a handicap of five. 

Sam's What's In The Bag: 

Driver: Titleist TS3 (9 degrees) 

Fairway Wood: Callaway Paradym (15 degrees), Nike Covert Tour 2.0 (19 degrees) 

Irons (4-PW): Titleist AP2 

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 54˚, 58˚ 

Putter: Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5.5 

Ball: Srixon Z-Star Diamond

Shoes: G/FORE Gallivanter/Nike Air Zoom Infinity NEXT%/Cuater The Ringer