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Concession golf instructor named a 'best young teacher' by Golf Digest

Joe Ostrowski previously received the honor from 2018-2022.

Joe Ostrowski (right) said his approach is to tailor his advice to each individual client instead of using a "cookie-cutter" approach.
Joe Ostrowski (right) said his approach is to tailor his advice to each individual client instead of using a "cookie-cutter" approach.
Courtesy photo
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Looking for one of the nation's best golf instructors?

The Concession Golf Club has one. 

Joe Ostrowski was named one of Golf Digest's Best Young Teachers in America for 2023-2024 on Feb. 14. The magazine's biennial list recognizes the best golf instructors under 40. The 2023-2024 edition honored 160 instructors, 30 of whom are in Florida. 

This is not Ostrowski's first time on the list as he previously was on the list from 2018 through 2022. But that does not make the honor any less sweet. The first time he tried to get on the list — there's an application process involving letters of recommendation, a resume and an intensive questionnaire that asks applicants what they would advise a golfer to do in various situations, among other things — was in 2016. He was not selected, but he believed in his teaching ability enough to try again in 2018. 

"Seeing my name on the list the first time, it was exciting," Ostrowski said. "To be acknowledged as one of the best instructors, you can't believe it. It's a testament to the hard work you do on the golf course and on the lesson tee." 

Ostrowski came to The Concession in November 2021 after spending two years at Glen Head Country Club in Glen Head, New York. Ostrowski's coaching journey did not come into focus until after he was done playing college golf at New York's Adelphi University. He then realized any thoughts of playing professionally were likely misplaced.

Coaching was a way to stay in the sport, and he had heard from friends that they appreciated the advice he had given them. Ironically, Ostrowski was a self-taught golfer, so his plan became to soak up as much information from established coaches as he could.

What Ostrowski learned is that he never wanted to be a coach who gives "cookie-cutter" advice, he said. Though some golfers might deal with similar problems, the solutions to those problems will be unique to each golfer, since everyone's bodies are different. 

Joe Ostrowski was named one of Golf Digest's Best Young Teachers in America for 2023-2024.
Photo by Ryan Kohn

"My motto is to teach everyone based on their body's ability to perform," Ostrowski said. "I don't teach a specific swing model or swing theory. I take the person in front of me and work with what they have and hopefully improve every facet of their game."

Ostrowski said this approach is what sets him apart from many instructors and has helped him land on the Golf Digest list. While a cookie-cutter approach might help some golfers in the short term, Ostrowski said, it will also lower many golfers' ceilings by forcing them to play in a way that does not naturally suit them. 

Also setting him apart is his love of technology. Ostrowski was one of the first 20 instructors in the world to be certified by TrackMan, the digital shot tracking company that produces products which allow golfers to get real-time data on each and every swing. Ostrowski said he also tapes people's swings so they get a different perspective on their swing. It can be difficult for some people to see a specific issue in their swing otherwise, especially if the change suggested is subtle.

Ostrowsi said the members at The Concession have welcomed his advice. He was not sure if they would. 

"Sometimes it's hard as a new instructor to start your program because you have to change the culture," Ostrowski said. "But the members here were great right away. It's a tough course, so I'm spending more time on the course with my students and talking them through course management."

Ostrowski said a general tip for anyone playing The Concession — or any difficult course — is to focus on the swing process in the moment. Ostrowski said golfers have a tendency to fall back on what feels comfortable when they are put in difficult positions on a course, and usually, what feels comfortable is a bad habit they picked up. 

Ostrowski said he also advises people to be realistic about the clubs they are selecting. 

"A lot of people will think, 'Hey, I can hit my 7-iron 150 yards,' when really they did that one time in their career, and it typically goes 140. " Ostrowski said. "They're expecting a hero shot every time. It's not going to happen." 

Above all, Ostrowski preaches consistency. Ostrowski said trying to "reinvent the wheel" on every swing will only lead to frustration. Stick with one swing plan, he said, and things will improve, even if it takes a bit of time. 

Hunter Talcott, the club's membership director, has been on the course with Ostrowski, and can attest to Ostrowski's skills as an instructor. While he's overflowing with golf knowledge, Talcott said, he's also "one of the nicest people I've ever met" and makes his clients instantly feel loose. 

"He keeps it simple," Talcott said. "He can take all that information from TrackMan and translates it so it's easy for people to understand. That's the biggest thing. He uses technology, but he always focuses on the person in front of him."

The Concession is a private club, but nonmembers can take lessons with Ostrowski at the club — if they can find time in his busy schedule. People interested in lessons can call the club's golf shop at 322-1922 or send an email to [email protected] for more information.



Ryan Kohn

Ryan Kohn is the sports editor for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. He was born and raised in Olney, Maryland. His biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. His strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.

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