Jay Nash - The Palms Golf Club at Forest Lakes
I have just recently become a Life Member of the PGA after 25 plus years of service. Held several Head Professional positions in the Sarasota area over the 25 year time frame with Forest Lakes being a 16 year run. Followed my passion for teaching and coaching high school golf leaving the shop and daily duties behind. Built in 1964 Forest Lakes C.C. has gone through numerous owners and renovations with the most recent giving way to The Palms G.C. , condos and a shorter golf course. Nestled in the heart of Sarasota it is local friendly and great for any level golfer.
How old were you when you got started in golf and what eventually pulled you into becoming a golf professional?
Family forced me to play as a young kid which I hated, but came to love in my late teens. Played one semester in college before grades got me removed from the team and I went the fraternity route. Realized after several years out of college I hated a suit, tie and cubicle and decided to pursue becoming a golf professional.
How do you stay current with the latest developments in teaching methods?
I do a lot of reading and video….Been very fortunate to be around some great players and teachers who have also helped me develop a basic style of teaching.
What are 2 trends in golf that you’re excited about?
1. It appears more young people are coming to the game. I had 19 boys try out this year for high school golf. I can remember when I would struggle to get a starting 5. 2. Players today have a much better understanding of the swing than when I was a kid. This makes teaching a lot more fun for me because their interest seems to be more focused.
Do you specialize in teaching any facets of the game?
I teach all aspects from full swing to short game, but my forte is the short game. I missed so many greens in my playing days it was crucial I had a good short game. Learned a lot of neat tricks around the greens from many old timers that I use in every lesson….
What sets you apart from other golf professionals?
I think my relaxed nature. I keep every lesson very simple regardless of how demanding the player may be. Never give too much information to confuse or overwhelm.
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
Trying to get my high school boys team to the State Tournament again this year. We have been on a roll over the last 10 years with multiple district and regional titles, but still haven’t won the big one.
What has been your most challenging experience with a student and how did you handle it? How did you overcome it?
My most common challenge is the shut club face at the top of the swing. This Flaw as I call it is very common and one I deal with on a regular basis. To fix it we usually focus on the grip and the takeaway, but each student is different and processes information differently. I realize it is more accepted now that DJ is shut, but not the way to learn or play in my opinion.
Do you actively play competitive golf? Any recent bragworthy performances you’d like to share?
Negative. I haven’t played competitive golf in a long time. I used to love playing in all our chapter and section events etc. but once I had kids that all stopped. One of my sons is currently playing college golf, so a fair amount of time is spent watching him.
Is there a highlight from your career in golf that stands out above the rest?
Being able to work in the summer at The Country Club in Brookline, MA was pretty special. We are dead slow in the summer in Florida, so one our owners gave me an option of spending summers at The Country Club, Balleymead on the Cape and Norton C.C. in Norton MA. Those are special memories especially prior to the Ryder Cup.
Any advice for someone considering pursuing a career as a golf teaching professional?
Make sure you have the right mind set and credentials to teach. I have seen several who were good players, but terrible teachers with no credentials other than they could play golf. It took me years of watching and learning how to have discipline teaching. Just because you can play does not mean you can teach.
Anything else you’d like to comment on while we have you?
I hope the great game of golf keeps on growing. Thank you for this opportunity.