Like anything, growing the game of golf begins at the roots, and the roots of golf in America are the PGA teaching professionals all over the country. Each day, these professionals are striving to improve and grow the game we all love.
At Back9Network, our mission is to grow the game of golf through the inclusion of all people.
We’ll be profiling head PGA professionals all around the country who have recently taken a new position and are taking a proactive approach to growing the game in all demographics. Through this project, we’ll be promoting their work and showing how they plan to grow the game at their golf club.
Head Professional: Joe Cordani
Golf Course: Hop Meadow Country Club
Location: Simsbury, CT
Q: What new equipment from 2014 are you most excited for?
A: This year all the companies have outstanding new equipment from Callaway, Titleist and TaylorMade. The new SM5 wedges for Titleist look and perform great. TaylorMade SLDR are terrific woods and the new SpeedBlade irons are some of the best around. Callaway has had a nice resurgence with X-Hot and now re-introducing the Big Bertha name is very exciting. Lastly, the counter-balanced putters will help those golfers who may struggle from time to time on the greens.
Q: Junior golf is an essential part of growing the game, what will you be doing at your club to help that initiative?
A: Junior golf will be a big part of the golf programs at Hop Meadow Country Club. First, we added some Spring Break Clinics during school vacation. This will offer a variety of spring/summer programs as well for a wide-variety of ages and abilities. Next, we will begin a Jr. Inter-Club team that will travel and play other area courses in the summertime. Mid-summer, the entire club will be offering a Jr. Golf Academy, that will incorporate tennis, pool and golf and be run as a week-long, 1/2 day camp. HMCC’s facilities are primed for these type of activities and will be an integral part of each member’s family summer vacation. Lastly, the club will begin a Jr. Golf League to take place on Sunday afternoons ending with the Jr. Club Championship. This league, along with Family Events and the ever-popular Parent-Child Championship is a terrific way to get juniors and the entire family into the game of golf.
Q: Women’s golf is another very important part of growing the game, what will you be doing at your club to help that initiative?
A: Women’s programs at HMCC will begin in early spring with Get Ready Golf clinics. This will follow up with some summer series of clinics at/or around the same time as the Jr. program is in full-swing. This is being done to get the whole family to the club throughout the year. We also offer a Mixed Nine and Wine & Dine league, which puts more emphasis on social aspects of golf as opposed to pure competition. During the week we have the WGA 18 holes group and the club’s Divine Nine, which typically play on Wednesday mornings. We will try and institute a weekly evening 45-minute clinic, followed by a few holes of golf with the professional staff for our newer golfers. All this and more will be offered throughout the year to help grow the game and promote the family, fun atmosphere at HMCC.
Q: Is there something from your previous club that you’ll be implementing to help the growth where you are now located?
A: A lot of the programs offered have been tried at previous places of my employment. The most successful are the Mixed Nine & Dine, Jr. Golf League, Family Fun Scramble and introduction to golf for women and children.
Q: What are your influences as an instructor? Do you prefer certain methods of teaching from some of the world’s best such as Hank Haney, Sean Foley, Butch Harmon, etc?
A: My biggest influence would be working individually with each student and working with them as opposed to wholesale changes. Find out what each student is looking for and work together to reach their desired goals. I do not use any one method, but many of the top teachers have had an impact in the way I approach teaching the game. I really just try to keep it quite simple, fun and somewhat informative. If I don’t talk about their swing, but instead focus on set-up and proper fundamentals, I consider it a successful lesson.
Q: What’s one thing you would tell a beginner golfer who’s just starting to take up the game?
A: I would tell them golf is a game of enjoyment and something that can be played forever. While reminding them the game of golf may be hard to master, it is one you can always enjoy. Remember you are outdoors, on a beautiful scenery and usually playing with family or friends. A little piece of heaven on earth.