Meet the Pro with Go Golf U.S.
Welcome to the 7th edition of “Meet the Pro”. If you missed our previous articles, let us quickly explain what/why we do it. A goal of Go Golf U.S. is to build a personal connection in the game of golf again. We want to help players get to know the courses, golf shop staff and Professionals. When we see familiar faces and can add a smile or “Hello”, it makes a better experience for all. So, to gather content for these articles, I (Alan Liwush) put the Pro’s on the hot seat for an interview to find out more about them to share with our Go Golf U.S. community members.
Dave Granata – Golf Services Manager
Monroe County Golf Courses
Dave and I have known each other for years now via mutual friends. Our friendship grew to where it is today when my passion for golf lead to building the Go Golf U.S. app with Scott. Dave was one of the Pro’s at Webster Golf Club, so my time there drastically increased as we were in the development process of the app. With many hours spent in the golf shop working on the app, beverages shared at the bar and rounds played at WGC with him, I now consider him a great friend. I was more than excited to get the opportunity to write this blog about him to learn more about his golf past as well as his future in his new position as the Golf Services Manager of the Monroe County Golf Courses. Without further ado, please enjoy this edition of “Meet The Pro” with Dave Granata.
Dave got bit by the golf bug at the age of 9 when his step-father asked him if he wanted to try and play. Once he saw Dave swing, he knew he was going to be a decent player. From there, he started playing as much as his parents would let him. He even went as far as trying to build a putting green in the backyard as there was just enough room to hit a full gap wedge (I actually tried this as well but it never quite worked out how I envisioned it in my head). A majority of his time in middle school was spent hitting balls in my backyard chewing up the lawn. At 14, he went to Florida to visit his Grandfather for a golf trip. After a round with his grandfather one day, he overheard him telling someone on the phone, “this kids going to be a pro”. Ever since then, he didn’t want to disappoint. When he returned home, he joined the Penfield High School team and continued to play as much as he could.
As of January of 2018, Dave is the Golf Services Manager for the Monroe County Golf Courses. These courses include Genesee Valley, Durand Eastman and Churchville. Prior to that, he spent 11 years with Webster Golf Club. As Head Golf Professional of WGC, learning the industry was his top priority after college. Teaching private, group and junior lessons was a big part of his position. Learning the “business” side of golf was a huge boost in his career and path in the industry. Dave still uses many facets of what he learned there today. Prior to WGC, his first job was at Midvale Country Club, where he started at 16. In a span of 4 years, he learned mainly outdoor operations along with the “Private” sector of the industry. In working at each of these courses, he gained knowledge in the Private, Semi-Private and now, Public sector of the golf business.
Photo above is Dave’s Junior putting clinic at WGC
Granata’s Methods on Teaching and Working with Players
Dave had the pleasure of working with John Graham at Midvale and Webster Golf Club. John has an unbelievable reputation as one of the best instructors in the WNY PGA Section. Having the ability to pick his brain throughout his career for tips was a blessing and all he learned really stuck with him. He says, “I’ve been really lucky to have been able to learn from such a successful instructor.” He also relies on his students for influence as everyone has a unique swing to them.
On teaching style, Granata said, “It’s customized to each student. Every students swing is different and there needs to be a different plan for each. At the beginning of every lesson, I will start with questions to diagnose what exactly they’re looking for. Many times the questions don’t even pertain to golf. I believe you need to find out the students personality and learning style before you can jump into the swing. Once that’s determined, I will try to remove the “imperfections” in that individuals swing/stroke.”
When it comes to “myths” in golf training, the biggest one he hears is “keep your head down”. “This actually makes golfers worse on many occasions. The reason is because your head should be moving toward the target slightly on most shots. People also tend to bury their chin into their chest making it very difficult to create a full 90 degree shoulder turn. To correct this mistake, I tell the student to “keep your eyes down on the ball not your head”. The biggest waste of time in golf training is going to the range and hitting balls to no target. With no target, all you’re doing is exercising. If you want to see improvement, make sure you’re attempting to aim for a target at the range. Work on different types of shots as well. Of course we all want to go the range and just hit driver, however this game is won inside of 100 yards.” I couldn’t agree more with Dave on the short game work. If you really want to drop your score dramatically, work on your putting and chipping! Their is a reason they refer to the wedges as the “scoring” clubs…
Our conversation lead into resources for training like books and video. Unlike others Professionals, Dave gave some references to video with YouTube that he says is a great resource. “Now a days with these videos being at your fingertips, golfers can learn so much. Many golf professionals will post their own instructional videos for free. Although they’re not player specific lessons, they can offer many tips and hints to try something new or correct a common flaw in that person’s game.” I myself, am a very visual learner and like to do research on how to fix things. Though at times I get information overload, I think it helps more than hurts. Dave recommends that a new player not try to teach themselves solely by video and obviously to hire a PGA Professional if trying to learn the game.
Dave’s quick teaching tip to set beginners up for long term success in golf – “PGA” (Posture, Grip & Alignment) “These 3 items could take several lessons to get the student to have a great set up. The set-up is the most important step when playing golf because it starts every golf swing. The first thing you do when you get in your car is fasten your seat belt. I think of this being the 1st safety measure in the golf swing. If you can master a great set up, you will likely have great success in your game.”
Q and A
Q: What do you like to do outside of golf?
A: “I enjoy spending time with my Fianc, Courtney and our chocolate lab, Jax. Whether it’s taking Jax to the beach or running him on the golf course, this is one my favorite hobbies. In the off season, I play Ice hockey and love to play basketball when I find the time. I also love to do improvements to my house. Something about building or making changes to my home gives me a sense of accomplishment. Lastly, vacationing is one my favorite things to do. I believe travel is way better than material items as I like to explore the world and see different things.”
I too love to spend time accomplishing home projects. Their is no way of describing the feeling of accomplishment after putting time and effort into a project and seeing it be appreciated by those around you.
Q: Do you have a hole in one? If so, explain it briefly.
A: “The only hole in one I’ve had was during the “million dollar hole in one challenge” locally in Rochester. I was able to advance to the semi-finals one year. I’ve never had a hole in one while on the course though, and am starving for one. I’ve only seen one in person as well.”
FYI, Dave unfortunately did not get a million dollars for his hole in one during the challenge.. We also need some verification on this to confirm that it counts as a hole in one, we’ll just make sure the judge on this isn’t Scott Chambers…
Q: Name 3 things every player needs in their golf bag? – Can’t be a club.
- “A range finding device. Whether it’s a GPS, laser or App. This helps not only the individual’s game but also speeds up play.” I couldn’t agree more with Dave. I purchased a laser (model shown below) last year and it has been life changing!
- “A divot repair tool. No one likes to play on bumpy greens. I believe that when you’re playing, you should leave the green in better condition than you found it.” YES! It takes 30 seconds at most to repair a divot properly and most of the time we’re waiting on someone to hit on to a green or putt. Why not fix the green when you’re on it? Isn’t it our duty and responsibility as golfers to respect the course? FIX YOUR DIVOTS!
- “A writing utensil. Whether it be a pencil, sharpie or pen, you need one for score keeping or ball marking.” Their is a reason most of the modern bags have a slot for a sharpie on them…
We have listed below some links to great products Go Golf U.S. recommends on Amazon corresponding to Dave’s suggestions.
Photo above is Dave making an Eagle on Par 4 #12 at WGC
Q: What are the most common misconceptions of golf pros?
A: “The biggest misconception I hear is that “you play golf all day for a living”. Golf professionals know that if you’re not on tour, this is by no means accurate. Golf Professionals work sunrise to sunset most of the season whether it be teaching, running the shop, retailing, managing etc. Golf pros work many hours and playing golf always comes after the business is taken care of.”
Q: What golf book is your favorite, do you recommend to read or have you most gifted in the past?
A: “Like many golfers my age, Tiger Woods busted onto the scene and became my idol. The amount of emotion, personality and dominance made him an amazing player to watch. When I was young, I was gifted the book “Tiger Woods – How I play golf”. This is a book that I learned a lot from. From Tiger’s daily routine to fitness to the golf course, I would recommend anyone to read this book to gain some inspiration and knowledge.”
I will be adding that to my reading list! Currently, I’m reading “A Golfer’s Life – Arnold Palmer” but will be picking up this one next!
Q: What’s your view on technology and golf. Two meanings to this – Equipment – Everyone is developing the “farther” is better approach and Electric/mobile tech – more phones, apps and such. When is enough, enough?
A: “Golf has seen technology advance exponentially in the past 30 years from club making, golf balls, launch monitors, GPS, apps and more. I feel the most impactful one would be launch monitors, as this has changed many aspects of teaching. Ball flight laws have been directly impacted due to this. I think that most of the equipment today is all very similar. When customers ask me “what type of irons should I buy?”, I will tell them “whatever irons give you comfort”. Don’t just buy a set of irons because they look cool or have the best rating, go try several irons out and find what suits you. As far as mobile technology, I would say this is the world we live in now. People are walking around with computers in their palm and have instant access to answers they need. I believe that social media is great for the growth of any business and I believe it is the future of marketing strategy in golf. Although, I feel like technology has moved too fast, it’s the world we live in now and will continue to move even faster.”
Going along with what Dave said, I also recommend going and testing out irons for your optimal club selection. You may require a specific shaft stiffness or club head tweak that you won’t know unless you get fitted and test a bunch of clubs.
Q: What’s your view on golf and fitness? Has this changed the game? Do you think it’s positive for the game?
A: “I believe that if you’re a competitive golfer, having a good fitness routine can immensely help. Not only from getting stronger and hitting the ball further, but also from reducing injury and maintaining good stamina. So many golfers get tired out by the end of the round and have trouble finishing strong. Of course, being in good shape doesn’t have to be the case in golf like it is in other sports such as hockey or basketball. There are many players that are great golfers on tour that don’t find fitness to be that important. I believe that if you’re willing to take the time, this will help you reach your goals.”
I agree with Dave. When I play now, I walk and believe it or not, it takes a lot out of you. Having a good fitness routine that won’t lead to injury or soreness but more stamina and flexibility will only help your game.
Q: What’s a perfect day on the course looks like for you? (playing, not working)
A: “The perfect day for me on the course would be a morning round before too many people are there. I am the type of person who likes to play fast and not lose any rhythm. Having a foursome of friends playing a game and cracking jokes all 18 is the perfect day.”
Nothing beats a good day of golf, doing some light gambling, cracking a few bevs and hanging with the boys.
Q: What’s one failure in golf you have experienced that set you up for future success. Can be in golf business, on the course or in life?
A: “To become a PGA Professional, you must complete what is called the Player Ability Test. I had been struggling with my swing during the time of taking this test and failed to pass. Once I knew what I needed I change, I took it upon myself to make swing changes and practice hard. Once I felt comfortable with my game, I was able to go back out there and pass the PAT. This taught me that not everything in life is easy, you must work it at it, stay positive and never give up.”
Find Dave Granata and the Monroe County Courses Online
To help get Dave and the Monroe County Courses info out there, you can find them online on their website at www.monroecountyparksgolf.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/durandeastmangolfcourse, on Twitter @DurandEastmanGC at Instagram at @durand_eastman_golf_course. (Other social platforms coming soon)
18 Holes Golf and Cart. Weekday – $30. Weekend – $31.
With the Go Golf U.S. app, users can play for $15.50! Save 50% on your round! No restrictions, this is valid at all times!
That wraps up this interview! Thanks for reading our 7th edition of “Meet The Pro” with Dave Granata. I really enjoyed getting to further know Dave as I do with all the interviews. I’m very grateful to call Dave a friend and wish him the best of luck in his new role with the Monroe County Courses. When you have the opportunity to, go play and any of the 3 courses, they’re great!
Be sure to stay tuned for next month’s edition as well as other blog posts. Thanks for reading!