Like a true professional, Anthony Maestrini is well equipped for his job. Three weeks ago, Maestrini was named the new head golf professional at the Half Moon Bay Golf Links and he already knows the operation inside and out, having worked his way up at the Golf Links since 2008.
He played golf for Menlo College from 2003-2005 and earned his PGA Class A
membership in 2014. The Half Moon Bay resident is involved with golfers of all levels, from seasoned veterans to inexperienced youth. He led several junior golf programs and was also involved with developing the Boys and Girls Club of the Coastside golf program in 2014. That led to the formation of the Half Moon Bay High School girls golf team in 2017.
When it comes to teaching golf, Maestrini, 44, believes in developing a well-rounded game. Sure, hitting drivers all day can be fun, but when it comes time to get yourself out of a sandpit or sink that long putt, Maestrini’s extensive experience teaching short game clinics can go a long way.
When he’s overseeing all golf-related operations, like managing the Legends Club (which has 2,600 members), pro shop and cart barn, Maestrini loves to get out on the courses just steps from his office, which he says are some of his favorite in the world.
Maestrini agreed to answer a couple of questions for Review readers.
What does it take to earn a PGA Class A membership?
You have to pass a playing test, which involves playing 36 holes on a designated course. I did mine at San Jose Municipal. I had to shoot 15 over the course rating times two, which came out to shooting 11-over for 36 holes in one day. If you shoot 11-over total, you’re qualified to start the bookwork. There are three levels, and at each level you learn about six different genres of the game, ranging from cart barn, fleet management, merchandising to tournament management, virtually every aspect of golf. It’s like homework, and you have to be hired by a club as well. The PGA of America home base is in Port St. Lucie, Fla., so after you turn in your books, you stay there three times for seminars, learn the following level and pass tests.
What’s one common flaw you see among golfers?
I’d say most new golfers tend to slice the ball a lot. Consistency is probably the No. 1 thing, though. I always tell people never to follow up a bad shot with another bad shot. I see a lot of golfers who try to learn on their own, and they start with bad fundamentals. Once someone starts practicing bad fundamentals, it’s hard to get them to learn new tricks. Course management and decision making are also key.
What does a typical session with you look like?
I usually assess the golfer’s skill level. I like to teach from the hole back to the tee. For a new golfer, we’ll start with 3-foot putts, and, by the end of a multilesson series, the last lesson will be on the tee box. A typical session for a new golfer would be an hour to an hour and a half lesson in the short game area here. I’ll usually do 20 minutes of putting, chipping and pitching each. By the end of that, hopefully, I have a new golfer hitting 50-yard shots.
The Golf Links courses are known for their aesthetics and oceanfront location. How do they rank in your eyes?
What I love about our properties is that we have two completely different courses. The Ocean Course is a Scottish links course. No homes or trees and exposed to the elements. Beautiful ocean views, you really feel like you’re in Scotland. Then you have the Old Course, which is a parkland-style course. It’s tree-lined with doglegs holes and homes, and it finishes on one of the prettiest holes in the world as far as I’m concerned, the 18th hole right on the ocean. I love that there is variety and you have options depending on the conditions. Do you want British Open conditions or U.S. Open conditions? We have a little bit of both.