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Above & Beyond: John Forton


John Forton, Director of Golf Instruction at Egypt Valley, has taught tens of thousands of students over the years.

Learn where his passion for golf comes from, which Egypt Valley course he prefers playing, and more.

Where does your love of golf come from? 
My father introduced me to the game at the age of five at Greenville Country Club and it’s been a love affair ever since. I have had an incredible ride for the last 55 years and now I’m in the position to give back to the game by teaching here at Egypt Valley and coaching at Grand Rapids Community College. Teaching and coaching has provided me the most gratifying experiences in my golfing career because it allows me to share my knowledge of the game to improve my students and teams playing abilities.

What is something that people would be surprised to know about you?
My membership in the PGA of America started in 1990, however I have been teaching golf since the age of 20. I have given over 35,000 lessons during the last 40 years and would like to continue to teach and coach for the next 15 years.

Throughout your years at Egypt Valley, what is one of your favorite memories? 
There have been too many tremendous memories here at Egypt Valley to single out just one that stands out. The experiences that are most memorable are the countless times that my students have shared their successes on the course. I would like to thank all my current and former students for their business throughout my seven years here at Egypt Valley.

What is your best piece of advice for golfers? How do you suggest they work on their game during the winter months? 
In a discussion with Butch Harmon many years ago, he mentioned that if you are going to teach this game, keep your method of instruction uncomplicated. I feel that the younger instructors of today are becoming too technical and are focusing too much on their student’s mechanics of the golf swing instead of teaching them how to play the game. My advice to my students is to focus on the basic mechanics of the swing and learn how to manage your game on the course. Also, get consistent professional instruction to keep them on track during the season and in the winter months.

During the winter months, it is beneficial to implement extensive weight training and stretching programs that are focused on the core, legs and arms. I’ve found that yoga has increased my ability to keep my clubhead speed and has prevented the possibility of injury. Continuing to swing the club in a simulator and doing drills throughout the winter months will also keep your game in shape and prepare you for the upcoming season.

Ridge vs. Valley: Which course do you prefer playing and why? 
Definitely the Valley Course. It’s not as difficult as the Ridge Course and is better suited to my shot making abilities. The best two nine holes are the back of Valley and the back of Ridge.

Have you ever had a hole-in-one? If so, where? 
I’ve had ten holes-in-one, the last one was on the Valley Course number three on September 5th of this year. Other courses I’ve had holes-in-one on are the Ridge Course number three, Tullymore Golf Course, Grand Cypress Golf Resort in Florida, Greenville Country Club, Boca West in Boca Raton, Florida, and Paako Ridge Golf Club in Sandia Park, New Mexico.

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