Athlete, coach, speaker and father Ryan Dailey played every sport he could growing up in Saranac Lake, NY. He loved the competition and the chase to get better. Never the most gifted athlete in terms of size and skill, he tirelessly worked to improve his skills. As a young teenager, he negotiated with the local ice rink manager to get a key to skate in the early morning hours before school started. Ryan and his father would drive over at 4:30am in the below zero temperatures to practice and skate before anyone else woke up. His father would film him during these early morning sessions so he could review and improve. Ryan competed in soccer, football, hockey, basketball, baseball, golf, swimming and skiing throughout his youth career.
In 1999, after playing multiple sports throughout his youth, Ryan decided to pursue a golf career. After failing to make both the Lynchburg College and Campbell University golf teams, Hall of Fame Coach John Crooks said, “You need to get better, go find some coaching and come back.” Never one to give up, Ryan left college to train in Dallas, TX with one of the most well known golf coaches in the world. His daily routine would include early morning workouts, range time, lessons and playing. Sun up to sundown he dedicated himself to improving and wanting desperately to make his college golf team. He observed some of the best touring professionals practice including the #1 player in the world Tiger Woods and 2-time major champion Mark O’Meara. His scoring average went from the mid 70s to where he couldn’t break 90 on a regulation golf course. What happened?
With his golf game in shambles, Ryan happened to meet David Orr, PGA in 2005. David took Ryan under his wing and helped him for 2 years get his golf game back. It culminated with his first professional win in Pinehurst at a Carolinas Section PGA event in 2006. Intrigued by what information David had, Ryan decided to take a job as a faculty member at Campbell University’s PGA Golf Management Program in January of 2007 to continue to learn from David. Through David, Ryan met many of the instructors who have influenced him and his teaching today. Ryan spent 10 years as a full time faculty member at Campbell leaving in the Fall of 2016.
In the Spring of 2009, Ryan’s first son was born and he wanted him to grow up at the golf course spending time with his friends. The local course at the University did not have a junior golf program or any juniors at the course to speak of. His wife urged him to start his own. Knowing very little about coaching juniors, Ryan teamed up with one of his PGA Golf Management students at the University Matt Reagan and decided to search out the best information available in junior coaching. After learning just enough to get them started, they began a program at Keith Hills. Each semester the program slowly grew and before they knew it they were getting calls from around the state and country from other coaches wanting to know what they were doing. This lead to the creation of Operation 36 and both Matt and Ryan now train coaches to run their own long term programs at facilities across the world.
Ryan is dedicated to helping grow the game of golf worldwide through the Operation 36 platform. He and Matt deliver training for coaches online and in person. Currently Operation 36 is at over 100 golf courses across the world and expanding rapidly. They credit the success of Operation 36 to the ‘Play to Learn’ format of getting golfers on the course right away in an easy to learn and easy to see measurable progress format. Ryan still coaches at Keith Hills Golf Club in Buies Creek, NC where he is the Academy Director of the Junior Program and spends his free time on the course with his 3 children and wife enjoying this wonderful game as a family.