TARPON SPRINGS – You can spend all the money you want on a fancy set of golf clubs, you know, the ones advertised on the weekly PGA Tour events, but if you really want to know the truth, spending all that money on the clubs that the pros use won’t get you anywhere.
The clubs don’t guarantee a scratch handicap. Unless you know how to use them you might as well go to the nearest store and plop down $100 for something right off the rack.
Playing golf starts long before you invest in an expensive set of clubs. Just ask Dana Saad.
Saad is a director of golf instruction at Jim King’s King of the Green Golf Academy, a leader in golf instruction throughout the Tampa Bay area. King not only operates out of the Bayou Golf Club and the Bardsmoor Golf Club, but also sets up shop at the Northdale, Lansbrook and Feather Sound golf clubs.
Saad, a longtime friend of King, said that anyone can spend all they want on golf clubs – lessons are the most important part of the game.
“It is so much more important to invest in golf lessons than golf clubs,” Saad said as King nodded at his side at Lansbrook. “You can spend a lot on clubs, but the most important thing is lessons.”
The clubs, King said, have little to do with the game. The player’s grip and his alignment to the ball are more important.
“It is all about what you do before the swing,” King said. “Once you are in the right position with the right grip, all you have to do is just swing the club.”
Saad played for the University of South Florida, but neither he nor King ever aspired to the PGA Tour. They both play local PGA events, and Saad has held positions at many local golf clubs including Avila Golf Club and Emerald Greens.
Both King and Saad say that golf has to be about fun more than anything. Sure, they still enjoy the game, but they like to teach the game, too. Even after all these years, seeing their students smile after hitting the ball means more than anything.
King was teaching golf when he was encouraged to start his own academy.
“We are just here to help people enjoy the game,” King said. “There are a lot of golfers out there, but we are looking for more nongolfers. We are just trying to grow the game.”
King had a recent student from Nigeria who had never held a golf club. After four days of lessons, he had a textbook swing and an appreciation for the game.
Saad said that the main part of his job is to get people to have fun. For while the golf boom of the new millennium produced hundreds of new golf courses in the state of Florida, the number of golfers has slightly decreased. Saad said that it is now up to golf professionals to teach the joys of the game.
“The major emphasis should be on junior golf now, getting the next generation out on the course,” Saad said. “There are thousands of juniors just starting to learn the game. We have to be concerned about then future of the game. It is the best.”
For information on Jim King’s King of the Green Golf Academy, call (813) 205-5143.
East Lake Woodlands is hosting its Golfers Against Brain Cancer Tournament on Nov. 22 with a 1 p.m. shotgun start. Call (727) 784-8576 … The Lansbrook Golf Club Women’s Golf Association is recruiting women golfers of all skill levels to participate in its fall season. It meets Thursdays at 9 a.m. and all women golfers are invited There are no dues. Call (727) 784-7333 … Lansbrook will also host an event for the Pinellas County Police Athletic League on Dec. 14 to benefit “A Christian Golf Outing’’ for underprivileged kids. Cost is $25 plus an unwrapped gift. Call (727) 784-7333 … The Eagles Golf Club will host the sixth annual Tampa Bay Cup on Dec. 7. It is a Ryder Cup format featuring the best of Hillsborough County against the best of Pinellas County. The event is a two-person scramble starting at 9 a.m. Golfers will receive a golf shirt and free beer. Call (877) 820-2582 … Charity Works is hosting its 11th annual Cup Challenge on Nov. 21 at Belleair Golf Club on the West Course to benefit underprivileged children and families throughout the Tampa Bay area. There will be plenty of prizes and competitions and the sponsor of the winning team will receive the inaugural Charity Works Tampa Bay Championship Cup, made of Waterford crystal. There will be a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start. Charity Works is looking for players and sponsors. Call (727) 447-2064. Email firstname.lastname@example.org … Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Sam Fuld is hosting a benefit with the National Aviation Academy on Jan. 10 at Belleair Golf Club. Fuld has been diagnosed with Type-A diabetes and this will be his third annual event to help raise awareness for the Check Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Check www.lightforacure.org … Wentworth Golf Club is offering a Friday quota point and skins game at 1 p.m. Cost is an optional $20 for the quota point and skins game. Call (727)942-4760 … On Dec. 7, Tarpon Woods Golf Club will host a four-person scramble to benefit the first annual Casey Quinn Memorial Golf Tournament for juvenile diabetes. Call (727) 341-2070 … Crescent Oaks Golf Club is offering a weekly Thursday shootout with nine holes and a 5:30 p.m. shotgun start. Cost is $15. (727) 937-4653 … The Countryway Thursday Golf Club Women’s Association is hosting weekly events throughout the month. On Nov. 28, the format is even holes less handicap … Joey DiPompo, assistant golf professional at The Downs, is offering private lessons for adults and juniors. Playing lessons and half-day golf schools are available by appointment … Lansbrook Golf Club is busy every day of the week with different events – “Blind Bogey” Monday and Tuesday, it’s a gathering of the Insider Plus League with a quota point format. Shotgun time is 9 a.m. Wednesdays are an afternoon men’s and women’s outing at 11:30 a.m. Thursday’s is a doubleheader. At 9 a.m., there will be the morning women’s game and night golf starts at 5:30 p.m. with a $10 fee. Call the pro shop for details … The TPC Tampa Bay is offering a Vantage Membership where golfers can enjoy full use of all golf and clubhouse facilities and a $30 rate for tee times for a year. There are year-round practice privileges with complimentary practice balls and a complimentary subscription to Golf Digest. Call (813) 949-0090 for details … Cambridge Christian School will host its second annual golf tournament on Jan. 11, 2014 at Westchase Golf Club. A 1 p.m. shotgun start will follow lunch. Call (813) 215-6578 … There’s more going on at Rocky Point. It will host the first annual Junior Winter Invitational on Dec. 18 for kids 8 to 18 with a stroke play format. Tee times begin at 1 p.m. and players will be notified in advance of their tee times. Prizes will be awarded to the top three in each age group and proceeds will benefit Feeding America of Tampa Bay. Call (727) 667-2939 … Rocky Point will also be busy during the holidays. The Turkey Week Golf Camp will run from Nov. 25-26 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., and there will be two winter break camps on Dec. 30-31, and Jan. 2-3 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Call (727) 667-2939 … The Concession in Bradenton will host the 2014 Archie Griffin Celebrity Golf Classic to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County on March 4, 2014. Griffin, who won the Heisman Trophy twice at Ohio State, will be bringing along plenty of other former Buckeyes as well as other celebrities … Tampa Bay Golf and Country Club will be having several member events coming soon including the Gaiser Scramble on Mondays at 3:30 p.m., and the Happy Golfers 9-hole event on the Executive Course at 8 a.m. Wednesdays. Any ladies interested in playing nine or 18 holes on Saturday mornings should call (813) 588-2759 … Westchase will also host the St. Mary’s Saints Golf Classic on Nov. 22 with a noon shotgun start. The field is sold out, but hole sponsorships are still available … The Claw at USF is offering student memberships for two months at a cost of $100. It includes unlimited greens fees at anytime. Register at The Claw pro shop … Northdale Golf Club is offering “Weekday Replays,’’ every day. A second round of golf only costs $18 and that includes a sandwich and a soda … Wentworth Golf Club will be offering a First Responder program with greens fees of $30 on Mondays through Thursdays, and $35 all other times. Guests include retired military, law enforcement officers, EMT, and fire department employees … Westchase Golf Club has started its After School Junior Golf Program on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. There are two age groups, 7 – 9, and 10 – 14. It is an 11-week program with 22 sessions with a cost of $250. Call (813) 854-2331 … Prime Time is offering winter golf memberships where players can play more than 40 courses for six months for only $99. Junior golf memberships go for as low as $19. Corporate memberships are also available. Call 1-800-605-CLUB … Countryway Golf Club is featuring a weekly men’s Tuesday morning scramble starting at 6:45 a.m. Cost is only $5 plus cart fees. Players 80-and-over will play the red tees on all par-4s plus the long par-3 17th. Plays 75-and-over will play off four red tees, and players 70-and-over will play off of two red tees. Check www.tuesdaygolfers.com … Yoga Golf is underway at Golfers Grail and runs through November with classes on Tuesday, 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m., and Thursday classes at 9 a.m. Cost is $20 per session or five sessions at $15 each. Call (813) 969-2100 … Edwin Watts Golf shops are offering free video tips from more than 100 of the top teaching pros in golf. The videos will be delivered to email boxes once every week with drills and tips to use at the range. Go to wattstips.com to register and create your own account. It is a $60 value … Quail Hollow Golf Club has a Friday evening scramble every week featuring two-man/two-women teams or one-man/one woman teams starting at 5:30 p.m. Cost is $15 per person with a $4 skins game. Call (813) 333-0033 … TPC Tampa Bay is offering a Vantage Membership program where players will receive free use of all golf and clubhouse facilities for one year, practice privileges all year with complimentary range balls, and more. Call (813) 949-0090 … Quail Hollow Golf Club is offering Civil Service Appreciation Mondays with $20 greens fees. Golfers must present ID cards … Golfsmith on Dale Mabry is offering low minimums and quick turnarounds on golf ball logos, including more than 100 different designs. Check golfsmith.com/business … The Pinellas County Men’s Interclub Golf Association will be hosting its monthly event at the Bayou Club (Dec. 16). There are 12 clubs involved. Call (727) 365-6418 … 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 … 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 … 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 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 … 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 … 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 … 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 … 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.
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