Terry Gingell makes a career of golf
Terry Gingell learned at an early age that he had a knack for hitting a ball with a stick, and that he liked the challenge of trying to hit a ball into a small hole.
It’s all added up to a career in golf that has spanned 25 years and taken Gingell (pronounced Gen-jell) from his native England to Carson City, where he now works as director of golf instruction at Eagle Valley Golf Course and The Golf Club at Genoa Lakes. His move to Carson City in 1994 has turned out to be a good one.
“I didn’t really envision living up here just because it is a short golf season and in America you’ve got some areas that have great golf weather year-round and I kind of thought we’d end up living in one of those places,” said Gingell, whose wife grew up in the Lake Tahoe area. “But here we are and I’m glad we moved here because this really is such a nice area.”
Gingell developed his reputation as a golf instructor while still a teen-ager in London.
“I actually started teaching golf when I was 16 years old working part-time for a public golf course,” he said. “Even though I was young, I was an advanced player and had studied a bit, so I started giving a lot of lessons and gaining experience. I also studied under some really top teachers and worked with them and that really helped me with my teaching.”
Gingell keeps busy teaching around the area as an independent contractor.
“The summers are very busy for me. I have the sports camps and junior golf camps and I also do a lot of adult group lessons and private lessons as well. I have about six months being very busy and I spend the other six months preparing for the busy times,” said Gingell, who has lived in Carson City since 1994.
Gingell worked at golf courses on the outskirts of London, including the Richmond Golf Club and Twickenham. “The only way you would have probably heard of it, that’s where the rugby stadium is and all the international rugby matches England plays are played at Twickenham.”
He spent a lot of time with various sports when as a youth.
“I was always pretty athletic. I played a lot of soccer, I played cricket and I enjoyed rugby,” Gingell said. “Rugby is a great sport. I couldn’t run real fast, but I could knock people over pretty well and tackle pretty well.”
Then he was introduced to golf by his father.
“My father started playing when I was about 12 and I joined him and started playing myself,” Gingell said. “I think I was fortunate in a way in that I’ve always been able to hit a ball with a stick. Ever since I was a little kid, I could pick up a bat and make contact with the ball. So with golf, I was able to make contact right away, and I think a little bit of success gives you some pleasure.
“I did reasonably well right from the beginning, right from picking up the club,” Gingell said. “My dad enjoyed the game a lot so we got to play together a lot and it just went from there. I just started playing a lot and practicing a lot and by the time I was 15 or 16, I was a low handicap, probably a 3 or 4 handicap.”
That was the start of the path to the future.
“My goal was to try and make a living playing golf,” Gingell said. “I practiced very hard for a few years there, so I could try to make a living playing golf.
“I’ve played in a lot of tournaments, but I’ve never made a dime, which is why I teach for a living,” he added, laughing.
Naturally, Gingell has his favorite players — Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo, among others.
“I’ve seen Gary Player play a lot at some of the courses in England and he’s played a lot on the European tour, so I got to see him a lot,” Gingell said. “I saw Jack Nicklaus just because he’s the best to have ever played. And I still am a great big fan of Nick Faldo, who’s the best player England has ever produced, really. He’s won six majors — three British Opens and three Masters — which is a tremendous achievement, of course.”
Nicklaus is regarded as the king of golf by virtue of his 18 championships in the majors, a record long regarded by many as untouchable. Until Tiger Woods, who at age 26, has now won eight major championships.
“You can’t help but like Tiger Woods,” Gingell said. “It’s very difficult to compare one generation to another, but you’ve got to say he could potentially be the best player to ever pick up a club. He’s a phenomenon. He’s totally unique in that he has so many attributes to his game. A lot of people have one or two attributes, but he has them all. He has the power and the finesse on the physical side. Of course he’s a physical specimen, as well, but he also has a tremendously strong mental game where he doesn’t succumb to pressure, so he’s got the complete package.”
In the meantime, Gingell plans to stick with passing his knowledge of golf on to others.
“It is a great game and it is a great game they can play forever,” he said. “That’s one of the things we try to get across to the kids, although it’s not an easy concept for youngsters to grasp.”
The Eagle Valley Junior Golf Program is offering a series of junior camps for girls and boys aged 6 to 16 this summer: June 17-20, July 8-11, Aug. 12-15 and Aug. 19-22. Each of the sessions will consist of two-hour lessons to be held Monday through Thursday from 1 to 3 p.m. at Eagle Valley. The camps will offer instruction in which all aspects of the game are covered, including tee shots, fairway shots, chipping, pitching and putting. Equipment can be provided. The cost is $60 per student.
The Carson City Recreation Division is offering a series of sports camps for girls and boys 6-16 which will cover golf, tennis, soccer and baseball/softball. Sessions will be held on June 24-27, July 15-18 and July 29-Aug. 1. Regular sessions will be conducted 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Centennial Park. The cost is $100 for the camp (for $125, additional supervision will be provided until 5:30 p.m. each of those days).
For more information, call Gingell at 887-7174.