Semiahmoo golf instructor Jeff Coston came from a shot back to force a playoff and then beat Redmond’s Tom Sovay on the second hole of a playoff to claim the Pacific Northwest Section Senior PGA Championship for the seventh time in eight years on Friday, Sept. 6, at the RMG Club at Oakbrook in Lakewood.
“I’ve won this thing seven times now,” said Coston, who reclaimed the top spot after missing in 2012. “I guess that must mean that I’m getting old. … I’m feeling like a young man, though. I’ve done 500 pushups so far today, and I’ve just got to beat the traffic home so I can do another 500.”
The pushups seemed to help, as Coston rallied from a stroke back entering the final round to tie Sovay by shooting a second-round 68, following his first-round 69.
“The weather was crazy and rainy today, but the course held water well,” Coston said. “I was told I was leading going into the last hole, and I birdied the last hole, but it turned out they had the scoreboard wrong. It ended up needing a birdie to tie.”
Both he and Sovay birdied the first playoff hole, but Sovay missed a short putt that would have tied Coston on the second.
Coston already had an exemption to the Southworth Senior PGA National Championship Oct. 10-13 at Creighton Farms and River Creek Club in Virginia. Shortly before that tournament, he’ll play in the PGA section championship in Richland.
Brooke Branigan , student of Coston, was named High School Player of the Year 2013. She will play for Western Washington University next year. Coston has high hopes for Brooke. Brooke hits the ball far. She understands the elements of scoring. As she continues to grow and challenges herself, many victories are in the future!
Tumwater, WA – Jeff Coston, PGA Teaching Professional from Semiahmoo G&CC and Mike Dowaliby long time PGA Professional at Whitefish Lake Golf Club have been honored as the 49th and 50th members of the Pacific Northwest Section PGA Hall of Fame. Founded in 1981, the Pacific Northwest Section PGA Hall of Fame recognizes those individuals who have distinguished themselves among the professionals in the Pacific Northwest and contributed to the game of golf.
Jeff Coston has won more Pacific Northwest Section PGA major championships than any other professional or amateur in the 90 year history of the Pacific Northwest Section. In total, the 57 year old Coston has been to the winner circle 19 times – Pacific Northwest PGA Championship (7); Northwest Open (2); Washington Open (4); Oregon Open (2); Rosauers Open (3) and Al C. Giusti Memorial (1). In 2006, Coston became the only Pacific Northwest Section professional to win the prestigious Senior PGA Professional National Championship. The following year Coston was low club professional in the Senior PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, SC. Coston’s many playing accomplishments include the 1977 PNGA Amateur Championship and the 1991 Shreveport Open on the Web.com Tour.
Coston has develop an outstanding reputation as one of the top teachers in the Northwest. His Jeff Coston Golf Academy has been a fixture at Semiahmoo Resort in Blaine, Washington since 1994 and Coston prides himself in helping not only elite players but players of all abilities.
Coston has earned Pacific Northwest Section Player of the Year honors 12 times and Senior Player of the Year honors 7 times…every year he has been eligible.
I qualified for the PGA Championship at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island in South Carolina. This is the fifth PGA I have qualified for and The Ocean Course is a super place. I played the Professional National Championship there in 2005 and The Senior PGA in 2007. Good stuff. It is sure a long way from Semiahmoo for sure. Terrific things happened this year at Kiawah. I’ve been asked to journal my week at the 2012 PGA Championship. Here goes!
I arrived Sunday night. I left my house to drive to Sea-Tac at 3:30 am to catch the first flight to Atlanta. Tough to get up after teaching all week and leaving the course at 6:45 pm. But I’m young and my car is fast so off I went.
I stayed at a mutual friends home on the Island. The accommodations on Kiawah, especially during a major are high, high dollar. Let’s call it many golf lessons per day so this is good. Nice people! Zach Shriver, a long time student of mine is caddying all week. I’ve been coaching Zach for many years. Zack has played the Canadian Tour and knows golf. It’s a fun opportunity for him to rub elbows with the best players in the world.
Monday is check in and registration. Getting badges, parking passes, identification. Zack is able to get a family pass to eat with the players in the players dining room. Good food, good friends.
I get organized and step on the putting green and I shake hand with Tiger. I first met Tiger in 2004 at the PGA at Whistling Straights. The only time I made the cut at the PGA. I had Tiger sign a picture for me there. Tiger thinks I shot 59 in a tournament. I did not shoot 59, I shot 60 but I’m just going to let him think it was 59. Someone told him that in 2004 so it’s all good. Hello Tiger! He has always been kind to me. My host family saw this pic on the Kiawah home page. Weird, that shake was very quick. I guess I was being followed….haha.
Played the front nine and worked out. The tour has a huge workout trailer and another trailer with physical therapist and chiropractors. When I leave there I feel 25 years younger. Did that daily.
Tuesday: Zach Johnson and Jonathon Byrd are friends. They both are coached by Mike Bender, my friend and partner at my golf schools. We went to the back side to play nine about 9 am with Gary Woodland. Never met Gary. He is a nice guy and bombs it. Easy going guy. Talented. One of my fun things of the week was Jon, Gary and Zach the slot. I was up on #10 and overheard Zach say to Gary, “Watch this.” I hit a nice shot and Zack said, “Told you!” I felt really good! We played a few holes and a storm came in quick. Play suspended. Pouring, lightening, serious stuff. We all headed back to the clubhouse. I was in the locker room drying off and overheard Phil Michelson telling a story to a group of guys. I’ve know Phil since 1985. 1985 was my first year on the PGA Tour. The San DIego Open, Phil was 14 years old and my standard bearer on Saturday of the tournament. We have kind of kept in touch. I walked around the corner to say hi and he’s talking to Dustin Johnson, Davis Love and Ricky Fowler. Sweet. Phil says to me, “I’m not carrying your sign this year, ok?” We had a good laugh and I sat with those guys for over an hour. Listening to the is a different world. It was nice. Good memory.
Went back out later with Zack to pick up on #13 with Hunter Mahan and Aaron Baddley. Aaron and I hit it off. Much in common., a truly nice day. These guys hit it long. I went back to the get young quick trailer that afternoon.
Wednesday: I played the back side again, met Marcel for the first time. It started to rain about hole 14 and everyone but Marcel and I ran off the golf course. He is from Germany and European Tour and I live in the Pacific Northwest. We played on and had the golf course to ourselves. Anytime one gets ready for a tournament pitching, chipping, bunker play, speed on the greens and putting 5 feet and in saves shots. Many golfers say that but few see enough value in those areas to commit to practice very much around and on the greens. Making an up and down or two putts from 25 to 40 feet is kind of like making a birdie. It takes shots off our score. I spent time around the greens on Wednesday afternoon.
Thursday: I teed oit at 9:10 off #10. Played with Robert Rock who beat Tiger head to head in Dubai and Bud Carley who played his way on the PGA Tour last year. Good group. I played solid at even par coming into my final hole of the day, #9. My tee shot felt good. I looked up and it was headed ot the right. I must of been aimed there. I hit it in the hazard and made double. That did not feel good. Solid to ick. 74.
Friday: My time was 2:20 off #1. There was a 20 minute delay. I birdied #5 with a 3 iron to get to +1 for the tourney. I was just playing normal golf, no biggie. The wind was moving hard but I was dealing with it. From there on I made some mistakes and the wind howled. The back nine was tough and I finished in the dark. 79. Not happy. Early exit. Missed by 3. The wind made scores go way up. I’d sure like to play those last 13 holes again. I guess I’m still learning. That’s golf and life. Next year Oak Hill. I plan to see Tiger and Phil again there.
Jeff Coston is an 18 time Pacific Northwest PGA Player of the Year. He can be reached for appointment at Semiahmoo by calling 360 201 4590.
A solid struck golf shot sounds good, feels good and even smells good. People come to me and they want to “be more consistent.” I show students the proper path, plane and sequence of all involved. Through the years I found an effective way to improve solid contact and even impact. You can call it a compression board if you will. (1st photo) This is a sample piece of cut out plywood. This “compression board” forces and gives golfers feedback to where their club enters the turf. I usually paint a line, put a ball on a tee and want my students to strike in front of, not behind, the line missing the board. (1st and 2nd photo) One must LEAD with the grip/hands and right elbow to and beyond the ball to create this compressed strike.
If the player strikes the board first (3rd photo) and or hits the ball fat; the club is releasing early and the hands and grip are slowing down toward the ball. This exercise is very effective in solid striking!
Note: The hands should be well ahead of the clubhead and ball at impact.
I had an interesting opportunity last month. The Intuit company called and asked me to do a nationwide commercial for them featuring the Jeff Coston Golf Academy. About a dozen folks came up to film at Semiahmoo. Then the next day they shut down a street in downtown Seattle and built a driving range. I taught passers by most of the day on the range they built on 2nd and University. (Photo 1) Check out the commercial online in May!
Last month I played The PGA Championship at The Atlanta Athletic Club. This PGA is the 13th major championship “on tour” that I have played. My first was The 1977 United States Open at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I was 21 years old! Now I’m 55. That is a lot of years in the middle. That is a lot of miles too. Fortunately, they are highway miles and I’ve kept up a regular maintenance schedule. Perhaps I’m Benjamin Button and getting younger rather than older. I’m going with that. The older the violin the sweeter the music!
The golf course was amazing. It was long, difficult and in wonderful condition. Everyone I played with felt like the fairways were as good as they have seen.
I thought I would journal my week for the readers of “Inside Golf;” perhaps you would enjoy being a part of it. August 1st marked 17 years at Semiahmoo. My golf academy. Semiahmoo and the members have been a huge part of the Coston’s life. When I arrived off the PGA Tour in 1994 I had not grey hair and no wrinkles. Many things have changed since.
This is my fourth time qualifying for The PGA and my 13th major. Things have changed since I first played the Tour in 1985. Many of the tournaments then players had to buy their own range balls. Now each player uses whatever company’s ball off the range that they play in the tournament.
SUNDAY: I left my house at 5 am and drove to Mount Vernon to pick up Curt Lindsey who caddies for me a few times a year. Curt came to me in 2002 to improve his game and we have become great friends. Our flight left at 9 for Atlanta. On the plane I read Bob Rotella’s “Putting Out of Your Mind” for the millionth time. The reminder for proper thinking never hurts. I also watched “Something’s Gotta Give” with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton. Its a MUST see.
MONDAY: With the time change I went to the Atlanta Athletic Club around 10. Getting registered, lockers and just finding where everything is takes time. While checking in I saw Bob Rotella for the 1st time in several years, we caught up and I told him how he has affected my teaching, playing and we laughed about how many times I need to redo his stuff. Mike Bender, who comes up to Semiahmoo was there with Zack Johnson and Jonathon Byrd. I hooked up with Zack and Lukas Glover to go play the front nine. We all wacked it off the first tee, Lukas much further and off we went. A fourth player to be un-named wanted to join us, Zack and Lukas did not care for him at all. To watch the dynamics the next couple of hours was educational. My friend Curt’s eyes were wide open. Monday night was the premiere for a new golf movie coming out in September. It is called “Seven Days at the Links of Utopia.” The book was great, I’ve given many away. The movie stars Robert Duval and Lucas Black were there. It is a very well done film. Being a part of the premiere was fun.
TUESDAY: Now players and spectators are flooding in. Its getting difficult to get anywhere! I get to the course at 6:15 which is 3:15 at home. I go off #10 with a young man named Scott Stallings. Phil Mickelson is going off #1. I have not seen him since The PGA in 2005. He grabs me and said, “I’ll always remember being your standard bearer at age 14 in the San Diego Open, play well.” That felt good! Scott and I hit it off playing that morning. On 15 I asked him his best finish this year. I found out he won two weeks ago. We had a good laugh! I met Rickie Fowler that morning and we happened to be in the work out trailer at the same time that afternoon. He was working out with his normal Puma hat on. Crazy. Nice you man, only 22. I can remember being 22. Nice.
WEDNESDAY: The food is good. Served all day, every meal. Had egg whites and oatmeal, I could get used to this. I was putting and TIger walked up and dropped his golf balls right next to me. He is wearing a type of athletic shoe. Very lite. I met him in 2004. We shook hands, said a quick hello, he was cool. I played the back nine at one with Zack. Just the two of us. It was good. Zack is a great guy. I told him he was one of my picks to win it. I lost $10 to him on that back nine. Darn. The course is tough especially the back nine. The last several hole are serious! It will be a great tournament. I almost forgot. Kelly wanted Adam Scott’s autograph. She has this crush on Adam. I’ve knows Adam since 2000, we played at the Air Canada the first two rounds. Well Kelly, I got your autograph and told him about your crush. You owe me!
THURSDAY: I’m in the last group of the day; 2:45 start. The late start gives me time to work out in the trailer, get stretched out and eat. I love to work out, it gives me energy. Getting stretched out makes me feel 20 years younger. I was paired with D.J. Trahan, a multiple winner on tour and a young Korean 20 year old, Sung Noh. Both wonderful players. Noh turned pro at age 17. He is a fearless and very aggressive player. He will be a player to be reckoned with. I ripped it the first few holes and had good opportunities but did not convert. Number 4 I made a mistake hitting a 4 iron in the water made 5. I birdied the next hole. Made a bunch of pars, messed up on easier holes 12, 13 and 14, now I’m 6 over with the difficult finishing stretch. Parred 15 through 18, finished with a 76. Reconnected with Davis Love. Davis is a class act and hits it as good as ever. I wanted him to get it done. Golf is weird.
FRIDAY: Started on the demanding back side. One birdie, one bogie. I pushed a bit on the final nine. Bogie on #2, double on 3. again a bunch of pars, shot 73. Reflecting on my 36 holes. 3 double bogies and bogies on easier holes Thursday hurt. I did not drive the ball as well as normal. That was the difference to not see the weekend. To eliminate mistakes or unforced errors is key to any round, especially a major. I did many good things so I will take that with me. I wanted something EXTRAORDINARY. I’ll be back.