By RANDY CAVIN
Special to The Messenger
After 25 years of being around the game of golf, Gary Keating, the owner and operator of Doe Valley Golf Center in South Fulton, still has a passion and love for the game.
Keating is using his experience and knowledge from playing on the PGA and European tours to teach those who seek to better their games, even on the professional level.
He says he wants to share what he has learned over the years and give back to the sport he loves.
“There are not very many things we can actually give back,” Keating said. “We need to give the tools so somebody can play a better game of golf and see that smile on their face. That is pretty cool.”
If there is one thing Keating knows how to do, it is teach the game of golf. He was named Teacher of the Year in Florida four times — 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2008.
Among his other accolades in teaching golf, he was the winner of the 1996 and ’97 Southwest Florida PGA Player of the Year. He qualified and played in the 1995 and ’97 Honda Classic.
Keating is so well known as an instructor, he has people to fly in to have him help improve their game. One such person is Aaron Sherry, a young golfer who, thanks to Keating, is now qualified to play on the Canadian Tour.
“He lives in Fort Myers, Fla., and he worked with a golf professional down there who I have known for 20 years,” Keating said. “They worked on some stuff, but he did not reach his potential. So he called me about five months ago about some lessons and stuff like that.
“When he first came up here, his average score was 75 or 76 and now he is on the Canadian Tour.”
Sherry has been at Doe Valley since June 11, working on the practice range with Keating.
Keating said he will be going to Canada in two weeks to see if Sherry is doing everything right and he will also be going out to California to work with George McNeill, who won the Puerto Rico Open March 11 and, most recently, played in the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis where he finished tied for 38th.
Keating has also worked with a Senior Tour member and a couple of players on the women’s professional circuit.
But right now Keating is focusing on Sherry and his game. Sherry says since he has been instructed by Keating, he has been better prepared for the tough challenge that golf presents.
“When I first came to Gary, it was right when I wanted to start playing professionally,” he said. “I was kind of at a loss with my game. He simplified it (my game) and helped me get my Canadian Tour card. I have come a long way.”
Keating is working on a once-a-month program with Sherry and, since the time he has spent with Sherry, he has worked on his physical and mental mechanics.
“Mechanically, my game has improved a lot and, mentally, I am less cloudy upstairs,” he said. “My understanding of what is going on has improved. My anxiety is lowered and all things you need to have to take place in order to get out there and play a tough game.”
Keating will give anyone the help they need to improve their game. He offers private lessons at $40 for a half hour and $80 for a full hour. Currently, he has five clients who fly in for private lessons. He also has two clients he flies out to see.
He has owned Doe Valley for six years and within the last two years he has made improvements to the golf course such as making the course longer and more challenging, new tees, and he changed the greens over to Bermuda grass.
The course is a par-66, which makes for a challenging round of golf.
He has a course record challenge planned for10 a.m. Dec. 5. The person with the lowest gross score from the orange tees will win $150.
Doe Valley Golf Center is located at 9786 Reams Road, just outside of South Fulton off of Highway 45 between South Fulton and Martin.
The phone number is (731) 479-9309.
Published in The Messenger 6.19.12