TARPON SPRINGS - There are two things that most golf instructors have in common. First is the love of the game, while the second is that little voice, tucked into the back of their head, that reminds them that, with a little more time, they could make it to the big show of professional golf.
Steve Didik isn't like that. The head professional at Tarpon Springs Golf Club freely admits that golf is a hobby and he's never had the big ambition to make a living playing golf. He's a teacher - and he is serious about teaching more than just golf.
Take a woman who recently came to him. She wanted to continue the game, but had lost the use of an arm due to a stroke. She turned to Didik for help.
Thanks to Didik, she learned a technique to help her swing a golf club using her good arm, and her spirits rose rapidly. She gave Didik a big thank you for teaching her that she could keep doing the things she used to do - because Didik proved it was possible.
"I guess I try to do things a lot differently than a lot of teaching pros," Didik said. "A teacher's job is to be able to touch their students forever. That's the biggest challenge, and I love doing it and hearing about their success stories."
Didik was never the classic golf prodigy. In fact, he really just wanted to have fun playing the game. Through college, his passion was baseball. He made it to a few tryout camps but he never made his mark.
But something told him to try making a living in golf. He earned his PGA of America card and has been teaching for 25 years. He has no regrets about never pursuing a serious playing career.
"I just want to teach the game and enjoy the game when I do get the chance to play," Didik said. "I have a family, kids, and they come first. It's more important for me to see someone come in and learn the swing and see them get better. It's much more fun than playing the game. I guess I am just different."
One of Didik's strengths is patience. Every pro has the new golfer walk in and expect to shoot 80 their first time out. Most golf professionals can tell you all about them. They have never played the game and were invited by the boss to join in for a round. In a panic, they run to the nearest golf shop, buy an expensive set of clubs, then run to the nearest golf course for tips. Didik says that for those customers, he tries to do the best he can.
"They all come in looking for that one perfect swing. They want me to help them now," Didik said. "All I can do is teach them the best way I can, but I also let them understand that you can't graduate from college in one year."
The biggest challenge, he said, is to teach every golfer by adapting to that golfer's personal swing.
"Every swing is unique," he said. "I break down what makes each golfer's swing work for them. They are all different. There is no generic golf swing. You work with what they have."
Didik said his biggest concern is helping to grow the game of golf, especially among women and children. He believes there need to be more nine-hole courses and some shorter courses to make it more accessible and less time consuming.
His views might be a bit different, but he's having a lot of fun making a living while enjoying his hobby.
For lessons at Tarpon Springs Golf Club, call Didik at (727) 934-5191.
The Cross Bay Club is offering limited golfing privileges at four of its tennis/athletic membership clubs. Golf clubs include East Lake Woodlands, Hunter's Green, Tampa Palms, and Countryside. Initiation fee is $50 with a 12-month agreement. Call (727) 784-8576 . The Tampa-Sarasota Senior Amateur tour will continue through the summer. The format is 18-hole stroke play using only gross score and conforming to USGA rules. Golfers will be placed into a flight according to handicap and remain there until their flight warrants a move. Coming events include Grand Cypress Resort (North and South, June 22), TPC of Tampa Bay (July 6), and TPC Prestancia (July 27). Call (863) 514-0176 . East Lake Woodlands is offering complimentary golf and tennis clinics each Saturday. Call (727) 784-8576 . Golf professional Tony Pasquine will be hosting events for his High School Summer Series at East Lake Woodlands South June 26. Call (727) 776-0450 . 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 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 624-3029 . 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 . The Eagles is starting its summer golf season featuring Ladies Only on Monday nights, Men's Night on Tuesdays, Eagles Open League play for men and women on Thursdays, and Gross Skins starting at 3 p.m. on Fridays, followed by Mixed Couples at 5:30 p.m . Nick Brothers won in a sudden death playoff to win the Florida State Public Links Championship at Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club in Dade City . 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 . The First Tee of Clearwater and the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Suncoast will be hosting summer golf camps at the Chi Chi Rodriguez Golf Club through Aug. 12. Costs are $155 per week for a full day and $105 for half-days. Call (727) 726-8829 . Legacy Golf Club will host the Freedom Cup Local Qualifier to benefit the Field of Honor Foundation on June 29 presented by the PGA North Florida Section. Tee times start at 7:30 a.m. with a four-person gross scramble. Team total handicap index must add up to at least 40.0 to be eligible. A team can consist of only one player that has an 8.0 handicap or better. Call (941) 907-7920.Golfer's Grail will begin summer weekday hours and be open from 9 a.m.- 10 p.m. There will also be an open house on June 18 from 4 - 7 p.m. . Wentworth Golf Club is offering full memberships through October with $16 cart fees after 2 p.m. Call (727) 942-4760 . The Claw at USF will host the First Annual U.S. Central Command Family Activities Association Tournament on July 5 at 4 p.m. with a four-person scramble format. Call (813) 653-6893 . Crescent Oaks Golf Club is hosting its summer kids golf camp from June 24-27 . 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 Eagles is offering a first Monday After the Majors two-person team scramble on the Monday after each of the four PGA Tour majors. Each event will have a net and gross flight. Each player must have a USGA handicap to compete. There will be a chance to win a trip to the 2014 U.S. Open at the famous Pinehurst No. 2 Course . 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 . Rocky Point is hosting its 20th annual Big & Little Golf event on June 22. For players going 18 holes, tee time is 1 p.m. with a 3 p.m. tee time for nine-holers. There are pairings for adults or an adult with a junior. Call (727) 667-2939 . The Eagles will host its Firecracker Open to benefit the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Tampa Bay on June 29. Cost is $80 per player and $300 per team and includes an awards banquet, free draft beer and contests. There will be a 1 p.m. shotgun start. Call (877) 820-CLUB . Countryway Golf Club is hosting a VFW event on June 23 starting at 9 a.m. Cost is $26. Call (813) 854-1182 . Rocky Point is offering Sunday golf clinics for $10 by teaching pro Cindy Dzuro. Classes run from noon-12:45 p.m. . Innisbrook will host the 21st annual Innisbrook Amateur on July 5-7. Friday and Sunday rounds will be played at the Copperhead Course and Saturday's will be at the Island Course. Entry fee is $285. Practice rounds are available for $60. Call (727) 942-5557.Golfers Grail junior golf camps begin June 17. The indoor academy will feature weekly camps for kids ages 5-14. Golfers will learn fundamentals in a cool environment and have their choice of more than 60 courses. Call (813) 969-2100 . Seminole Lake is offering annual memberships for as low as $110 per month. There are no initiation fees. Call (727) 391-3311 . The Claw at USF is starting its summer golf camps. Half-day camps from 8 a.m.-noon or noon-4 p.m. at $100 per junior golfer. Full-day camps are also offered from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. for $200 per golfer. Camp dates run through mid-August. Sessions a four days each. Call (813) 632-6893 . 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 . The Claw at USF is sponsoring "Putterpalooza" every Friday from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. until July 6. Golfers who sink a 30-foot putt can win a free round of golf. Contestants can sample the latest Odyssey putters . Countryway Golf Course is holding biweekly 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 June 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 Emerald Green (Sept. 8-9); SaraBay (Sept. 28-29), and Lake Jovita (Sept. 28-29) . Live Laugh Love Foundation will feature its third annual golf tournament on June 23 at Heritage Harbor to benefit children battling pediatric cancer. Dinner will be provided. Registration is at 11 a.m. for a 1 p.m. shotgun start . 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 . Several Bradenton clubs have come together to form Partners Golf Card for the Summer Season. This new card will offer more benefits and value than have been available in the past and can be purchased in the Legacy Golf Club pro shop. It costs only $39. Participating clubs include: Legacy Golf Club, River Strand, River Wilderness, Misty Creek, Serenoa, Rolling Green, Bent Tree, Manatee, and Buffalo Creek. Call (941) 907-7067 . 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 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 West Florida Golf Tour is about to announce its summer golf schedule. There will be 10 weeks of 54-hole events with no cut. Courses include The Founders Club, Laurel Oak, and several others. Call (941) 735-4428 . 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. 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 Morning Star School will present the 28th Annual Morning Star School Golf Classic at the TPC of Tampa Bay on Oct. 25. Call (813) 935-0202 . 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.
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