Okay, I’ll admit it: I’ve never been treated to watching what I’ve heard is one of the better movies of our generation. Whether it was a lack of passionate interest in the “National Pastime” or just pure jealousy of that Costner guy, I’ve never made “Field of Dreams” a part of my life – that is until now. Yours truly had the privilege of representing Capitalareagolf.com at the recent spring meeting of the Northeastern New York PGA.
Two area golf professionals and high school golf coaches earned high praise from the Northeastern New York Section of the PGA of America this week. NENY PGA announced Friday that Cairo-Durham coach Peter Maassmann, of Blackhead Mountain Lodge & Country Club, was tabbed with the Bill Strausbaugh Club Relations Community Services award while Hudson coach Lucas Cohen, of New York Golf Park, won the Player Development award.
Standing on a slight rise in front of the pro shop at New York Golf Park and gazing the length of the driving range, landscaped with yardage markers and scattered golf balls, I can see a handful of thoroughbreds grazing in the bright fall sunlight. This is Columbia County, New York, and this 10-acre golf park is wedged between farmland and apple orchards. The only sound to disturb the rural setting is the whacking of practice balls.
Ok, so this blog post is about golf. Wait. Before you skip ahead or turn this off I have to say this...I realized I'm not too old to learn something new. For reasons I'll discuss in later posts, I asked my friend Laura if she'd take a golf lesson with me. She said sure, and she said she could suggest a good golf pro not far from where we both live in Columbia County. His name is Lucas Cohen and he runs Start to Finish Golf in Claverack on Route 9H just before you get to the new Hannafords.
Six years ago, I left Brooklyn for the Hudson Valley, two hours upriver. There were many reasons. Foremost, the mortgage on my beautiful 1860 Victorian on two acres in the picturesque village of Staatsburg was half the rent of my two-bedroom apartment in bustling Brooklyn Heights. Not far behind: I was sick to death of fighting traffic to and from the golf course. Eastbound, the Long Island Expressway, famously “the world’s biggest parking lot.”
On a warm April evening, Lucas Cohen sat bone-tired on a bench at his newly purchased practice range in Greenport, N.Y. The 34-year-old PGA teaching professional and newly minted entrepreneur had just completed another long day of landscaping and assorted grunt work. In any direction that he looked he could see a long-nurtured dream becoming reality.
Since most youngsters are familiar with baseball, PGA Professional Lucas Cohen at Grand Palms Golf & Country Club in Pembroke Pines, Fla., has put together a version of “golf baseball” to help juniors learn the fundamentals of golf through a fun game that incorporates both sports. Cohen’s golf baseball field requires a 50 by 50-yard grass practice area, six small orange cones for bases, a round miniature foam ball the size of a softball and an oversized monster golf wedge.