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Golf Chips
Palm Coast Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 7 years ago

A little coaching goes a long way

by: Jock MacKenzie Contributing Writer

You can’t fake success on a golf course. 

That’s always a reason why my ears spring up like a bird watching someone like Fred Ferrara at the Pine’s Grand Club as he prepared for a lesson to a school youngster. Hitting the little white pill in my usual helpless style I hollered out: “Fred, you got a moment?”

“Take a swing,” he replied.

Then the good news: “Keep your hands stiff on the club,” he shouted back.


It was akin to Tiger Woods steering the boat. The ball went straight. It went long. And I had the best round in a year.

Ferrara, working in the pro shop at the tender age of 21, is in the PGA Apprentice Program. But he never forgets that at age 14, while a student at Matanzas High School, it was Lawson Mitchell, of River Bend, who got him going on the right track. 

I’ll tell you the truth. This handsome dude is headed for big things as a player and teacher. Then I also think how fortunate the Grand Club is to have two such highly regarded golf teachers in their fold like Ferrara and Eric Gonzales.

But always remember, one would have to go to the moon to beat the teaching excellence of Dane Winger, at Grand Haven. Like they say in the boxing ring, “He’s the man!”

Another top golf story — not a luck-and-pluck situation — is Daniel Gerhard, of Flagler Palm Coast High School.

The First Tee of St. Johns County awarded him the William E. Carpenter Scholarship at its annual Ambassador Night fundraiser.

The group stated it was impressed with Gerhard, and it wanted to support his efforts to reach his goal of pursuing a medical degree.

This Palm Coast youngster is a terrific golfer. But more importantly, he is a super individual.

Another star I’ve enjoyed for years is John Sbordone, an actor, a theater director, an athlete, a sprinter in the 100-yard dash at the blistering time of 10.2 seconds and a solid golfer to boot. 

Every time I saw him, he would say: “Why can’t I break par?” 

Well, he did in a different way when he nailed a hole-in-one on the eighth hole at Pine Lakes, using 6-iron from 160 yards. 

Looking on were Jim Kennard, Ed Chemel and Joe Pelligrino.

As Sbordone says, “The voices in my head may not be real ... but they have some good ideas. See you in the theater.”


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