Corey Kilgannon with a fun NY Times Sunday profile of golf instructor Mario Calmi from North Woodmere Golf Course, a nine-holer near Kennedy International Airport.
Calmi combines his love of food with his instruction, and as he says it's not for everyone.
“Hey, I’m Italian — we know how to use bricks and tomatoes,” said Mr. Calmi, who keeps a narrow garden along the side of the range to grow his tomatoes, supported with stakes made of — what else — broken golf club shafts.
For the arugula he grows, Mr. Calmi has bottles of olive oil stashed on shelves in his teaching shed next to golf equipment, and a bottle of balsamic vinegar in his golf cart.
“It’s an Italian thing, we do food,” said Mr. Calmi, lighting his charcoal barbecue, another daily ritual, to grill some cheeseburgers. Then he made cappuccinos in the shed, to have with the fresh cannoli he brings daily.
“My students come hungry because they know I’m all about food,” he said. “Teaching golf is like cooking. You can’t learn golf from a recipe. You have to teach by feel. You add a little garlic and you stop and taste it.”
Mr. Calmi charges $100 an hour, or $60 for 30 minutes, which includes a video swing analysis he emails to students immediately after the lesson for further study.
“A lot of my students don’t come back, which is good,” Mr. Calmi said.
“Golf pros are like chiropractors. They want you to keep coming back. But I tell my students, ‘I’m going to teach you so good, you don’t have to come back.’ ”