By Amber Lanier Nagle
A proud historical landmark, Sea Island’s Shooting School dates back to 1929, the year after the resort opened. One of the oldest standing buildings on the Island, it still boasts its early, rounded design.
“The viewing area was modeled after a ship’s wheelhouse with lots of windows,” explains Jon Kent, Sea Island’s director
of outdoor pursuits. “It’s a great place to sit, watch and prepare for a lesson or practice session.”
The Shooting School was one of the first skeet clubs in the country, and for much of its history, it was run by the legendary Fred Missildine, a National Skeet Shooting Association Hall of Fame inductee and a 30-time world champion shooter.
“Fred was a well-respected shooter and instructor,” Kent explains. “He actually established the Sea Island Invitational [a historical shooting competition] here decades ago.”
Though the Shooting School has seen some updates through the decades, the overall structure and mission hasn’t changed much since Missildine was at the helm.
The facility still offers two skeet ranges and a trap field. Twenty years ago, one of the original skeet shooting ranges was converted to accommodate a field for competitive five-stand, which Kent describes as a compact version of sporting clays. As always, the Shooting School boasts a team of accomplished instructors—certified by the National Sporting Clays Association and the National Skeet Shooting Association—who have more than 60 years of teaching experience between them.
“Strong instruction can make a big difference in performance,” Kent comments. “It can turn beginners into skilled shooters, and skilled shooters into experts.”
Lessons are given both privately and in groups, and they accommodate all skill levels. For newcomers to the sport, instruction covers shotgun safety, effective stance, gun mounting, general tips and techniques. Younger shooters rave about special activities aimed at their enjoyment and learning such as Air Rifle Bull’s-Eye Hour (for children ages 6 to 12) and Targets for Teens. Women love the Annie Oakley Shooting Hour, specifically designed for ladies to improve their skills.
“We believe we’ve introduced more people to clay target shooting than any other facility in the country,” Kent says. “Dads bring their sons here before their first quail hunt. They trust us to get them tuned up and ready.” Thousands of beginners discover clay target games each year at the Island.
But novices aren’t the only ones who come to the Shooting School for tuneups. “The Shooting School has seen its share of world-class shooters over the years, too,” Kent says. “Most come here to practice.”
From helping first-timers to being the home of a world champion, the Shooting School is rooted in the historical fabric
of Sea Island. It’s a role that the facility will continue to play as it welcomes each new generation of shooters to steady their gaze on the targets before pulling the trigger.