I had the opportunity to catch up with Greg Perry who serves as the General Manager for the Sunday River Golf Club. In the winter, Greg is an avid skier and oversees the Sunday River Ski and Ride School helping people to perfect their turns. Come summer, Greg is like many of us and has one thing on his mind: golf.
Q. General Manager - big role!- tell our readers a little bit more about your position at the Sunday River Golf Club: I’m responsible for the day to day operation of the club. The overall responsibilities are too numerous to list here. I work with the professional staff and Dave D’Andrea (the head superintendent) to create a memorable golf experience for each and every golfer. We host a variety of tournaments and outings, and I work with the coordinators to accomplish their goals and needs.
Q. Does this mean that you golf every day? I’m on the golf course every day. I manage to play 2 to 3 times a week.
Q. Two part question: When did you start golfing and did you know that you would make a career out of it? I started golfing around nine years old. Golf was originally a distraction that I played through high school. After my formative years I played once or twice a year in charity tournaments. I started teaching skiing at Sunday River in 1987. When Harris Golf built the Sunday River Golf Club I knew I had found my “off season” home. Golf is a perfect balance with skiing. I have the pleasure of seeing most of the same people in two completely separate circumstances.
Q. In your opinion, what is the most challenging hole on the Sunday River Golf Course and what advice do you have for golfers up to the challenge? If you are not in the short grass every hole at Sunday River is difficult! Hole 17 on the scorecard and for 90 percent of our golfers is the most difficult. It is a long uphill par four. If you mange to hit your tee ball in the middle the approach shot is long and to an elevated large green protected by deep bunkers. The average player should play 17 like a par 5. Hit your second shot to 100 yards, and then your approach shot to the middle of the green. One or two putts later you will be heading to the 18th tee with a respectable number.
Q. Assuming that you’ve played golf all over, what sets the Sunday River Golf Club apart from the rest? The way the course was designed and how it is maintained. The views of the Mahoosuc mountain range is 360 degrees from everywhere you stand. The fairways are wide and tend to filter a left to right shot back to the middle. The greens are some of the largest greens you will ever play on.
Q. If you could only take three clubs out on the SRGC with you, what three would they be and why? Driver, 25* hybrid, and my putter. The driver to shorten the longer holes; the hybrid because I can do anything with it and the putter for the most important part of the game. More strokes are lost on the course with the flat stick than any other club in your bag!
Let’s talk technique….
Q. As a golfer, I am confused about how strength plays a part in the normal golf swing. I've been told to hold the club like I am holding a bird so where does strength come into play? I had a conversation with our pro Peter Flint and he had some thoughts: Golf is similar to skiing - “core” strength plays an important role in your golf swing. Exercise increases your mobility and improves flexibility. As you achieve higher levels of fitness you can generate more power with less effort. This will allow you to produce more club head speed with a smoother swing.
Q. All golfers know that round of golf are either lost or won in the short game. What advice do you have for someone looking to work on their short game? Start at the hole! Practice putting from short distances to build confidence. Start at 3 feet and make 10 in a row before moving back to 5, 7, and then 10 feet. For the longer putts work on your lag putting. Putt to an invisible circle 2-3 feet around the hole. Your practice at the shorter putts will guarantee a two putt. If you can cut 18 three putts to 18 two putts you have saved 18 strokes from your final score! The difference between a 72 and a 90!
Q. For a golfer just starting out, what advice do you have for them? Have Fun! Spend time on the putting green, spend time on the range, start playing nine holes, and see your local pro to get you moving in the right direction. Remember: If golf was easy we would all be playing on Sunday!