CARROLLWOOD – In the back of Golfsmith, one of Tampa Bay’s largest professional golf shops, there is a long wall leading to the office of golf professional Matt Davis.
On the wall are more than a hundred golf balls, all with a golf inscription directly underneath, citing a major accomplishment of one of the students of GolfTEC, a nationally known golf teaching program that is located throughout the country. Davis is one of two head professionals at the Carrollwood location and those golf balls are there for a reason.
“The greatest moment as a teacher is when he see them get their ‘aha’ moment. It means they figured it out. When we can do that for the students, it means everything. The golf balls on this wall represent a lot of ‘aha’ moments.”
Every golfer who spends a little bit of time out practicing finds the occasional “aha” moment, but it’s rare that it becomes a natural feeling. Davis has had his share since he started playing as a kid. However, he’s not even the best golfer in the family. His wife, Carrie, played on the professional tour briefly before giving it up to have a family.
“She’s better than me and she knows it,’’ Davis said. “She can usually beat me.’’
Davis has moved up the ladder to PGA professional. It’s a tough and expensive road, but Davis landed the job with GolfTEC last year and is moving toward the top status of PGA professional.
He started playing golf in his hometown of Jacksonville. Jacksonville, Ill., that is, a town without the chance to play year-round golf at beach resorts. He spent his time reading magazines and was pretty much self-taught when he started traveling to golf schools in Florida around eighth-grade. Back in Illinois, he won a state high school championship and went to Eastern Illinois to play golf and found the desire to make the game his career, even if he wasn’t going after his PGA Tour card.
He thought about qualifying school, then met Carrie and decided to become her caddie. Money is hard to come by on any professional golf tour. For one thing, golfers are responsible for all of their expenses. For another, there is a decent chance that they won’t make a penny. It’s a great way to go broke. For every Tiger Woods or Paula Creamer, there are dozens of golfers who simply can’t afford to play golf for a living.
“It’s so expensive and I wanted to get married and now we have a kid on the way,” Davis said. “I like to teach and I don’t have any regrets. I like GolfTEC and the game has been good to Carrie and me. I am around it every day and I work around 50 hours a week teaching people what I love.”
Davis can’t play as often as he’d like but can still break par on a good day. He’s had five holes-in-one, but he also understands how difficult it is to play the game. Anyone who wants a quick fix isn’t going to get one here.
“I can’t teach one-and-done lessons,’’ Davis said. “I treat every game personally. It is too tough to get it all in one lesson, but once you get the aha moment, it’s worth the time.”
The TPC Tampa Bay will host the first annual TuTu Cute for Leukemia Golf Tournament on Nov. 1 at 1 p.m. with a four-person scramble format. The tournament is benefit sufferers of leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma. Call (813) 843-0703 … BayCare Health System will host its fourth annual Heartwalk Golf Tournament at Westchase Golf Club on Oct. 24. There is a four-person scramble format with an 8:15 a.m. shotgun start … The Early Childhood Council of Hillsborough County will host its first annual charity golf tournament on Oct. 28 at Hunter’s Green Golf Club. There will be a four-person scramble with a 9 a.m. shotgun start. Prizes will be awarded. Check www.ecctampabay.org … The Morning Star School will present the 29th annual Morning Star School Golf Classic at the TPC of Tampa Bay on Oct. 24. Call (813) 935-0232 … Westchase Golf Club will host the Tee Off for Ovarian Cancer Awareness & Research Golf Tournament on Nov. 16 with a 1 p.m. shotgun start. The event will benefit the Belinda Sue Fund. It will be a four-person scramble with on-course contests. Lunch begins at 11:30 p.m. Call (813) 854-2331 … Carrollwood Country Club will host its fourth annual Melting Pot Golf Classic to benefit the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital on Nov. 4 with an 11 a.m. shotgun start. Lunch is sponsored by Burger 21 and Grillsmith … The National Amputee Golf Association will host its annual Stumps-R-Us Scramble at Rocky Point Golf Club on Oct. 26. There will be an 8 a.m. shotgun start with a four-person scramble … Cambridge Christian School will host its second annual golf tournament on Jan. 11 at Westchase Golf Club. A 1 p.m. shotgun start will follow lunch. Call (813) 215-6578 … Countryway Golf Club will host the first annual Randy Randazzo Moose Legion Golf Outing with a 1 p.m. shotgun start on Nov. 9. There will be a post-game gathering at the Moose Lodge 2373. Call (727) 432-5991 … The WestPark Village YMCA Express will host its eighth annual charity golf tournament at Westchase Golf Club on Nov. 1. Proceeds will benefit the YMCA’s annual giving campaign. There will be a 1 p.m. shotgun start. Cost is $125 per golfer. Call (813) 249-8518 … 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. Email email@example.com … Belleair Golf Club will host the 24th annual Transamerica Golf Tournament to benefit the Dr. George Morris Earn As You Learn Nursing Education Program on Nov. 8 at 12:30 p.m. Call (727) 462-7036 … 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 … Northdale Golf Club is offering Weekday Replays every day. A second round of golf costs only $18 and that includes a sandwich and a soda … Fox Hollow Golf Club will have its member-guest tournament from Oct. 25 to 27. It is the final “major’’ of the year at Fox Hollow … Crescent Oaks Golf Club will host a Trick or Treat shot game on Oct. 26 from 2 to 3 p.m. ... 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 to 5:30 p.m. There are two age groups: 7 to 9 and 10 to 14. It is an 11-week program with 22 sessions that costs $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 … Lake Jovita Golf Club will host the Jan Henrick Achievement Award Benefit Golf Tournament on Nov. 9 to recognize students from Plant City, Wharton and Pasco high schools. The award provides funds to the Caminiti Exceptional Center, a special education school in Tampa that provides high-tech teaching tools. Cost is $95 per player. Tee time is 12:30 p.m. Call (813) 996-0019 … 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 older will play the red tees on all par-4s plus the long par-3 17th. Players 75 and older will play off four red tees, and players 70 and older 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 at 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 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 Highway 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 events at East Lake (Nov. 14), and the Bayou Club (Dec. 16). There are 12 clubs involved. Call (727) 365-6418 … Tampa Bay area 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 … 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 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 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 in Odessa 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 regripping 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 semiprivate lessons are also available … The Tides Golf Club in Seminole is offering memberships in its Loyalty Club. For a $10 membership fee, members can receive a dozen 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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