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Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014
Community News

A simple love of the game


Published:

TAMPA — For all the information packed into not only golf magazines but the Golf Channel television network and the thousands of golf instructors around, according to Jan Johnson, it’s still a really simple game.

Johnson is the operations manager at the Babe Zaharias Golf Course in Tampa, 11412 N. Forest Hills Drive. She’s been involved with golf since she was a child and is a certified teaching instructor.

“I try to teach golf at its simplest,” she said. “Teaching is a lot easier now because you have so many resources that you don’t have to break it all down, but it’s still an easy game in most ways. Everybody plays it differently, but it’s all the same if that makes sense.”

It makes a lot of sense if you look at Johnson’s long career in golf. She has been seriously involved with golf in the Tampa Bay area for a long time and she has owned a private golf academy in Hudson — The Jan Johnson Golf Academy — for more than 15 years. Her academy has been hugely successful, and she has taught with some of the top golf instructors in the area.

She’s got plenty of experience. She started playing, with her father’s encouragement, at the age of 10 at a time when women’s golf was hardly a blip on the radar of the golf world. She grew up in Kentucky and went on to win the state’s high school championship. She moved on to the big time, qualifying twice for the Women’s U.S. Open and won two LPGA Section titles.

Johnson has been a PGA member for more than 25 years and has attained the level of Master Professional in the LPGA. For now, she has no interest in being a head professional.

“Why would I want to spend 10 hours a day in the sun?” Johnson said. “I like doing what I am doing, directing things and making sure this club works as well as any in the area. I love to teach, but on a one-on-one basis.”

Even though she was somewhat of a prodigy in Kentucky, she got her degree in education before the golf bug really bit. She moved to Florida to work in the business side of golf and everything started to click. She started as a teacher at Beacon Woods Golf Club in Bayonet Point in 1978 and, while she’s worked at other golf clubs in the Tampa Bay area since, she learned a lot, from running a golf shop to teaching, eventually mastering the part of the golf world that Sunday hackers don’t even know exists.

Once she got the information she needed, she found the urge to compete again. She went to Q-School for the LPGA Tour, but missed by three strokes, something that, now, she doesn’t regret.

“I know how tough it would be to do so much travel,” Johnson said. “I decided that my goal was to teach and play when I can and live happily ever after.”

She still plays Tampa Bay mini-tour events and was a factor in the beginning of the Futures Tour, now known as the Symetra Tour. It is a national tour that is one step away from the LPGA Tour. She was there at the beginning and even helped it financially. She’s proud that The Futures Tour has produced some of the most well-known women on the LPGA Tour.

Still, it’s the teaching part of the game that Johnson enjoys the most. She has taught PGA Tour golfers such as Gary Koch and John Huston, and started the local AAU Junior golf club in 2009, where she holds classes at Lexington Oaks. Attendance at the classes has been larger than expected, but that’s no bother to Johnson.

“Anything I can do to improve this game and make it better, that’s what it’s all about,” Johnson said. “It’s a really simple game.”

CHIP SHOTS

Tampa’s Gary Koch, a former PGA Tour professional, finished third in the Florida Senior Open last week, five shots behind Miami’s Peter Horrobin…PGA member Tom Shea has been named the new golf coach at Berkeley Prep. He is the area Tour Director for U.S. Kids Golf…Golfer’s Grail will begin hosting its Shelter from the Swelter Tournaments featuring three nine-hole rounds of individual stroke play on three unique courses. There is a $45 entrance fee with one domestic beer per player. Call (813) 969-2100…The Morning Star School will present the 28th Annual Morning Star School Golf Classic at the TPC of Tampa Bay Oct. 25. Call (813) 935-0202…Carrollwood Country Club will host its Member-Member event on Oct. 4 – 6. Cost is $140 per team and the first 30 teams to register will receive free admission to the club’s OctoberFest on Oct. 5. The format is six holes alternate shot, six holes cumulative scramble, and six hole scramble…Celebrate Labor Day weekend at the Silver Dollar Golf Club for its sixth annual event on Aug. 31. There is a 9 a.m. shotgun start with a $40 entry fee that includes golf, lunch, drink tickets and range balls…The Florida State Golf Association will host a one-day tournament at Pasadena Country Club (Aug. 29). Check www.fsga.org for details…Westchase Golf Club will host parent-child golf events every Saturday during August starting at 3:45 p.m. It includes parents and juniors aged 8 and under, and parents and juniors age 9 and over. Call (813) 854-2331…Countryway will host its fourth annual LCOS Golf Tournament on Sept. 21 to benefit the Church of Lutheran Our Savior. There will be a 1 p.m. shotgun start. Call (813) 829-6485…Rocky Point Golf Club will host the Stumps R Us Scramble on Oct. 26 with all proceeds going to the National Amputee Golf Association. There will be a meal at the American Legion Post 152 following golf…Heritage Harbor will host a tournament for the American Legion on Sept. 28 with an 8 a.m. shotgun start and a four-person scramble format. Benefits will go to provide tables and chairs for the Post hall. There will also be a longest drive and closest to the pin contest…The Pinellas County Men’s Interclub Golf Association will be hosting its monthly events at Clearwater Country Club (Sept. 2), Crescent Oaks (Oct. 21), East Lake (Nov. 14), and the Bayou Club (Dec. 16). There are 12 clubs involved. Call (727) 365-6418…Golfer’s Grail will begin its five-week indoor league on Aug. 26 with two-player teams. Play is weekly for five weeks with flexible scheduling and prizes. Cost is $95 per player with a two-man best ball format. Call (813) 969-2100…Countryway Golf Club will host a Labor Day scramble on Sept. 2 at 8:30 a.m. with a shotgun start. Cost is $5 for members and $30 for guests. The event will be followed by a buffet…The Eagles will host its Par 3 Challenge Cup on Aug. 31. It features 18 holes on the Forest Course featuring each of its par 3s played three times each. Format is a four-person scramble. Cost is $35. Call (813) 920-6681…Throughout August, The Eagles will charge women $25 to play and that includes a sleeve of pink Pinnacle golf balls with a pink ribbon…The New Tampa Lacrosse Association and Marco’s Pizza are hosting the first annual New Tampa Lacrosse Outing on Sept. 14 at Pebble Creek Golf Club. There is an 8 a.m. shotgun start with a charge of $380 per foursome and $95 per player. It includes golf and cart fees, lunch, a gift bag, and free Marco’s pizza. All proceeds will go to the start up costs for Freedom and Wharton High School’s lacrosse programs. Check the NTLA website…The GolfWeek Amateur Tour will close down with three local events to end the summer with events at the Ritz Carlton (Aug. 24), and Lake Jovita (Sept. 7). Call (863) 514-0176…Tampa Bay women can join Diva Golf, which has reduced cost to $99 per year. It includes “Nine and Wine’’ events and local clubs and there are no obligations. Call (813) 477-6224…Schalamar Creek will host the All Pro Pastors “Day of Play’’ event on Aug. 24 to benefit Mission Uganda/Kenya. It includes the tournament, a putting contest and fellowship. Nearly 120 pastors participated last year. Check www.allpropastors.org…Carrollwood Country Club will host “Beer & Birdies” on Sept. 14 with a 3 p.m. shotgun start. It is a $30 nine-hole scramble that includes golf and dinner. There’s a twist. Birdies can be added by correctly guessing the beer served on each hole…The Early Childhood Council will have its first annual golf classic Oct. 28 at Hunter’s Green Golf Club. It’s a four-person scramble with a 9 a.m. shotgun start and boxed lunches at the turn. Check www.ecctampabay.org…The New Zion Missionary Baptist Church will present its first annual charity event Aug. 31 at East Lake Golf Club. Events include a longest drive contest and closest to the pin. Call (727) 678-3222…Oliver Horowitz, who graduated from Harvard and went to St. Andrews University in Scotland and wrote about his experience as a caddie at The Old Course, will publicize his book about the experience, “Caddie at St. Andrews,’’ at Carrollwood Country Club on Sept. 12. There will be scotch tasting from 6 – 7 p.m. and a question and answer book signing from 7 – 8 p.m. Call (813) 961-1381…The Landings Golf Club will host its Ladies Golf Clinic on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. Cost includes $20 and includes range balls and a glass of wine. The Landings will also host the Clearwater Hackers Golf League every Sunday at 9 a.m. for men, ladies, singles, and couples. Call (727) 447-5272…East Bay High School will host its 16th annual Athletics Golf Scramble Aug. 17 at Summerfield Crossing. There is a four-person shotgun scramble format starting at 8:30 a.m. Call (813) 244-9427…The Claw at USF is offering specials including weekday tee times for $22 before 8 a.m. and $27 after 2 p.m. Weekend specials are $29 before 8 a.m. and $34 after 2 p.m.…The Special Olympics is looking for a golf coach to work for two hours, one night a week. Call Sid Altner at (727) 944-4248…Tarpon Woods Golf Club is offering its Golf Plus card which costs $34.95 per month and offers unlimited golf… Ace Golf is offering U.S. Kids Golf group sessions every Saturday at 3 p.m. for $20 per session at its Riverview location. All instruction will use U.S. Kids golf instructional materials and there will be monthly sessions where juniors can test for pins. Instructor Matt Primrose is the only U.S. Kids certified instructor in the Tampa Bay area. Call (813) 672-7750...Lansbrook Golf Club is offering its Insider Plus membership that includes 20 percent off golf at all times. It includes golf privileges at 41 local clubs and bonus rounds at private clubs. Call (727) 784-7333…Northdale Golf Club is offering a two-man “money game’’ on Mondays at 2 p.m. There is a two-man blind draw with a FedEx style point system. There will be a $2,500 grand prize. Call (813) 962-0428…The TPC Tampa Bay will start its second season of match play tournaments starting Sept. 9 and running until Nov. 17. Cost is $60 per player with a $1,600 purse based on a 32-player field. Jonathan Shapiro is the defending champion…The Golf Channel AM Tour, the largest amateur golf tour in the nation, is looking for new members. Call (877) 465-5094. Golfers of nearly any handicap are invited and play is held at some of the top courses in the country, including many in Florida…The Early Childhood Council of Hillsborough County is hosting its first annual Early Childhood Council Golf Classic on Oct. 28 at Hunter’s Green County Club. There will be a four-person scramble with a 9 a.m. shotgun start. Check www.huntersgreencc.com…The Eagles Golf Club has a weekly skins game consisting of a 3 p.m., nine-hole shotgun start with twilight rates with golfers playing for $10 skins. Call (813) 920-6888…The Cross Bay Club is offering limited golfing privileges at four of its tennis/athletic membership clubs. Golf clubs include East Lake Woodlands, Hunters Green, Tampa Palms, and Countryside. Initiation fee is $50 with a 12-month agreement. Call (727) 784-8576 …East Lake Woodlands is offering complimentary golf and tennis clinics each Saturday. Call (727) 784-8576… Ace Golf is offering free buckets of range balls to kids 15 and under at its driving range locations in Brandon and Riverview as well as Crescent Oaks, Pebble Creek, and Wentworth Golf Clubs…Seminole Lake Golf Club is offering its Member for the Day program where players can golf for $42. It includes free lunch and free range balls…The Babe Zaharias Ladies Golf League meets on Wednesdays at 7:30 a.m. for an 8 a.m. tee time. There are about 24 members right now and the league is looking for more. The league is not too serious and is a great way to make friends and have fun. Call (813) 624-3029…Lansbrook Golf Club is offering its Insider Plus membership that includes 20 percent off golf at all times. It includes golf privileges at 41 local clubs and bonus rounds at private clubs. Call (727) 784-7333…Northdale Golf Club is offering a two-man “money game’’ on Mondays at 2 p.m. There is a two-man blind draw with a FedEx style point system. There will be a $2,500 grand prize. Call (813) 962-0428…Lansbrook Golf Club is offering its Player Development Program, featuring unlimited range balls and unlimited golf starting at 3 p.m. Juniors play for free and there is no long-term commitment. Call (727) 784-7333…Julie Ashlock, owner of BFIT4Golf is a Level Two certified medical professional and is offering an 11-point physical screening analysis, which can provide a unique golf workout session. She promises to modify workout routines as the golfer’s game progresses. Call (813) 373-8312 for more…The Continental Golf League takes place at Bloomingdale Golfers Club every Thursday with a 5:30 p.m. shotgun start. Groups will play alternate nines each week. Call (813) 689-2985…Silver Dollar Golf Club is offering regripping while you wait for just $5…Seminole Lake is offering annual memberships for as low as $110 per month. There are no initiation fees. Call (727) 391-3311…Golfers Grail is offering lessons with its PGA professionals and apprentices. Lessons are 30 or 60 minutes starting at $35. The simulators provide a detailed analysis of every swing so adjustments can be made immediately. Call (813) 969-2100…The First Tee of Tampa Bay is looking to sign up golfers who want to play rounds of golf in an organized setting. Teams will meet once a week for 15 weeks on Saturdays from 2:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. at Rogers Park, Terrace Hills, Rocky Point, Magnolia Valley, and Countryway. Call (813) 238-7320…Countryway Golf Course is holding bi-weekly tournaments on the first and third Sunday of each month starting at 9 a.m. Call (727) 593-3726…The TPC of Tampa Bay will host its women’s golf tee time during July through August $30 cart fees with a four-day advance notice…The TPC Tampa Bay is also offering its junior golf camp for one to three weekly sessions at a cost of $150. The sessions run from 9 a.m. – noon...The Florida Junior Tour Championships are starting and will be held at Emerald Green (Sept. 8-9); SaraBay (Sept. 28-29), and Lake Jovita (Sept. 28-29)…Paradise Golf is offering seven-month memberships at more than 65 Tampa Bay courses for $199. Members can receive more than 40 percent off regular rates. Call (800) 605-2582…Black Diamond is featuring Stay & Play packages at its 45-hole resort, including a one-night Pure Golf Getaway featuring two round of golf on its Quarry, Ranch, and Highlands courses. Call (352) 746-3446…For re-gripping services, you can call Cindy Dzuro at Rocky Point Golf Course at (813) 673-4317…Pebble Creek Golf Club is hosting private lessons for adults with a certified PGA instructor. Fees for a one-hour lesson start at $60. Juniors and seniors can get a half-hour lesson for $30, and semi-private lessons are also available. Also, Pebble Creek is offering adult group clinics on Saturdays at 10 a.m., and junior clinics every Saturday from 9 – 10 a.m. for ages 3 – 9, and 11 a.m. – noon for kids ages 10 – 18. For Pebble Creek lessons, call (813) 973-3870…The Tides Golf Club in Seminole is offering memberships to its Loyalty Club. For a $10 membership fee, members can receive a dozen free golf balls after six visits and free weekly clinics for members and their families…The Pinecrest Golf Club is looking for new members for its Women’s Golf Association. Tee time is every Wednesday at 9 a.m. Call (727) 584-6497 for information…The Rocky Point Men’s Golf Association is looking for players at all levels to compete on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. It starts at 7:30 a.m. Call (813) 205-6828 for information…Lansbrook Golf Club will host Thursday clinics from 10 – 11 a.m. at its Shriver Golf Academy. Cost is only $15…Rocky Point Golf Club has a Friday 3-hole course clinic from 5 – 6 p.m. and supervised practices on Saturdays from 10 – 11 a.m. coordinated by leading golf instructor Brianne Murphy, and Cindy Dzuro will teach a golf clinic at the range every Sunday from noon – 12:45 p.m.…Rogers Park Golf Course, Babe Zaharias Golf Course, and Rocky Point Golf Course are offering a group membership plan that includes all three courses. Golf costs $12 for 18 holes with a membership…Silver Dollar Golf Club is now offering a Thursday Ladies Day with half-off all rates. Players can walk or ride nine or 18 holes. Call (813) 920-3884.

To submit any golf news, coming events, holes-in-one, local tournament results, or anything related to local golf, send all information and a phone number to jeffberlinicke@gmail.com

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