Saturday, February 16, 2019

Getting to Know: Eric Cogorno, Golf Teaching Professional, Rising YouTube Personality

American Golfer: When did you start playing golf?
Eric Cogorno: I started playing when I was about 12 years old. Like most kids new to the game, I had someone I looked up to as a reason for why I got started. For me it was my dad. I idolized my dad and anything he did I wanted to do as well. Golf was just part of that process. He and all of his friends would play every Saturday and Sunday and I just wanted to be part of that process. He got me a little junior set for me to hit balls in our backyard and I was off and running.

Eric Cogorno
AG: How did you become a golf professional?
EC: Mostly just because I didn't want to get a real job :) I started teaching when I was 18 and was in college. At that time (2008) there was the economic collapse. A lot of the kids I was going to school with who were supposed to be getting these great finance jobs weren't able to find a job. Also, at this time I was working at the golf course - picking balls, washing carts, etc. making like $8 an hour. I remember one day one of the golf pros came into the shop and told me that he just made $50 doing a golf lesson. Didn't take me long to realize that $50 was better than $8.

AG: You have a popular YouTube channel. What kind of content do you post and how often do you post?
EC: We post three videos each week as well as a live session now once per week, so four total. All of the content is basically "how to" golf videos. Our goal is to make videos to help all the golfers who are watching get better at the game and or enjoy the game more. Most the videos are pure instruction videos. How to fix flaws, how to improve, etc.

AG: What’s your favorite thing about being a golf professional?
EC: Getting to work with people to improve their game and enjoy their time more. A lot of times the same principles we talk about in golf are the same principles needed to improve their lives, that is where it is the most fun is when you are able to have a positive impact on someone’s life outside of just golf. Generally, this happens with younger players.

AG: How can we grow the game of golf?
EC: This is a tough one. There are a lot of barriers to entry. It's expensive. It takes TOO LONG to play. I think things like Topgolf are doing good things in terms of brining "non-golf" audiences into the game. More of that would be good. We as a whole are generally too traditional, too uptight, too many rules. There will always be part of the crowd that is like that. But if we want a greater percentage of the population to play our game, what should it look like when they are first starting? The barriers to entry should be less. I think offering more 1-, 3-, 6-hole options instead of just 9 or 18 holes when people don't want to spend 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 hours playing. The other reality is the game is really hard and takes a lot of time. In 2019, people are not more inclined to have patience and work hard at something.

AG: What’s the most common mistake amateur golfers make on the course and/or driving range?
EC: The most common mistake in terms of the swing itself is an open club face. It causes so many problems. The most common problem on the range is just beating balls. No structure to their "practice." No idea of what they actually need to be doing to improve their swing. No feedback to know if they are doing it correctly. Lots of pure trial and error, which can work to an extent but a lot of the time times makes the game more frustrating than it needs to be.

AG: Is there a shot you dread?
EC: Putting.

AG: How can golfers in the Midwest and Northeast stay sharp over the long, winter months?
EC: It’s hard. There is no substitute for being outside. Having said that, if you can find a good indoor facility or get a net up at home you can make some nice improvements. Ideally you are working with a coach to ensure you are practicing the right pieces. One big key is you need a ball of some form there. We have all gone through the process of being able to make a good practice swing and then when the ball is there its different. You need a ball. It can be a golf ball, wiffle ball, foam ball, etc. non-negotiable. You can improve full swing mechanics for sure. You can also improve chipping and putting mechanics. Tough to improve skills (speed control, etc) inside, but you can improve pure mechanics.

AG: What’s your “dream foursome” (living or dead, golfer or non-golfer)?
EC: Tiger Woods, Tom Brady, Connor McGregor, Me.

AG: What course tops your “bucket list” to play?
EC: Augusta!

Watch and subscribe to Cogorno's YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/c/ericcogornogolf

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- For lessons (including online lessons) with Cogorno: ecgolfcoaching.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php
- Cogorno's membership site: www.cogornogolf.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/ericcogorno