Neff validates his golf interests

Neff validates his golf interests

August 08, 2005|by TIM KOELBLE

Smithsburg High School golf coach Dan Neff has always enjoyed being a teacher, but he recently transformed himself into a student as he attempted to validate his interests in golf.

Neff conquered a four-course requirement and is now a golf teaching professional as certified by the United States Golf Teachers Federation, an organization recognized by the United States Golf Association.

"This is something I've wanted to do," said Neff. "I think physically and mentally I've prepared for this for about a year. As a teacher and a coach, it is ideal."


Neff went through the required rules testing, written examinations and oral testing and then proceeded to shoot a 79-73-152 at Penn National's Iron Forge, where he was one of three individuals out of about 30 who were on hand attempting to gain their certificates.

Neff will now be able to accelerate his teaching at his home, which is equipped with many of the teaching aids that are found in golf centers.

"I love the teaching and probably more so than playing," he said.

His love for teaching also benefits junior golfers. He saw the need for another outlet to enable junior golfers to hit the course and put together the Junior Masters Tour, which concluded its second season Thursday.

"Too many kids can't play in the AJGA because of costs, so this was good for them," Neff said. "We've had a lot of good people support us and local sponsors have made it happen for the kids."

Second Futures visit

Hagerstown's Ashley Grier's summer at home must be coming to a close. It's time for a visit to the Futures Tour and for the second straight year, she'll get a chance to tee it up against young pros beginning their hopeful careers.

One year ago, Grier received an invitation to play in the Hunters Oak Classic, and she made the 36-hole cut and is now looking forward to the invitation she was extended in the upcoming Betty Puskar Classic in Morgantown, W.Va., Friday through Sunday.

The Futures event will be played at the Pines Country Club, expected to be a layout of nearly 6,200 yards at par 72.

"I think I can go there and play well," said Grier. "I shot a good practice round there (69) and I know I can play as good as a lot of the players there."

Grier, who will be a senior at the University of Central Florida, said she hopes to extract some experience gained in the 2004 Hunters Oak Classic.

"Last year I really didn't have an idea of what I would do," she said. "I think my game has improved in the last year and getting stronger off the tee has helped out."

Grier also has forwarded an application to the Futures Tour, hoping to gain entry into the qualifying school in Lakeland, Fla., in November.

"I definitely want to move forward .. that's the next step," Grier said.

Bricker ready to go

Waynesboro, Pa.'s Chad Bricker has two tournaments remaining on his summer schedule before reporting for classes at Penn State University later this month.

First, Bricker has high hopes for the Pennsylvania Open Championship, which begins today at the Sunnybrook Golf Club in Plymouth Meeting, Pa.

Bricker starts his round today with a 1:55 p.m. tee time on the 10th hole at Sunnybrook, measured to about 6,800 yards at par 72.

"I'm definitely excited about playing," said Bricker. "I feel good about my chances. I think I can take the whole thing."

Bricker said he's happy with the progress of his game but is always looking for improved results with the driver.

"My confidence is up," he said.

Bricker will finish his summer in the WACO, a tournament he has not played in for two years.

Tim Koelble is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His Divots column appears every other week. He can be reached at 301-731-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at

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