Cape Elizabeth High golfer Michael Mangravito was slicing several drives on the practice range at the Falmouth Country Club. A few quick tips from Peter Kostis produced a much different result.

Mangravito’s next tee shot was long and straight. His smile said it all.

It also brought a big smile from Kostis, one of the country’s top golf instructors and a CBS-TV analyst. Last week the 19 members of the Cape golf team got a rare chance to get tips from someone who critiques the swings of the world’s best players and whose students are on the PGA Tour.

Kostis, a Sanford native, owns a home at the Falmouth Country Club. Among his pupils there last week was Paul Casey of England, the 27th-ranked player in the world, just before Casey drove to Boston for the Deutsche Bank Championship.

Two days later, Kostis was on the range with the Capers. Cape’s coach is Chris Whitney, who is in his first season as an assistant pro at Falmouth. Kostis donated his time as a favor to Whitney.

“It was pretty surreal,” said Austin Legge, a freshman who won the Maine Junior Amateur this summer. “It was just amazing to have (Kostis) come here and see your swing. I was pretty excited when I heard he would be working with us. I see him on CBS and I know his credentials.”

The rest of the team was just as excited, albeit a bit tentative, when Kostis addressed them.

“Who has the best grip?” he asked the team.

When no one answered, Kostis said they all should have had a two-word answer: “I do.”

Soon the team broke into four groups and Kostis spent more than two hours with them.

“Hi, I’m Peter,” he said as he went around to each golfer as they introduced themseleves. He helped with their grips, stances and swings, also giving them drills to work on.

The Capers had their second regular-season match later that day, but Kostis made it clear he didn’t want them to use his tips in matches.

Work on them later in practice, he said.

It’s important to start slow and build your swing, he said.

“Mini swing success before full swing success, it’s basic stuff,” said Kostis. “You have to start slow and small, then you’ll go faster and bigger. That’s human nature.”

The Capers are young and talented. They also feature the girls’ champion at the Maine Junior Amateur, Lauren Schonewolf.

“It was pretty unreal working with Mr. Kostis,” said Schonewolf, a junior. “I watch golf every Sunday and see him highlighting the swings of Jason Day or Tiger Woods.

“He helped me get more hit with my hands. He stressed the importance of throwing the club toward the ball rather than just swinging at it.”

Legge wasn’t making crisp contact on his wedge shots during his warmup. Kostis got him to hit his shots crisply with a slight draw. Kostis told him to move the ball back in his stance and cock his wrists early in his backswing.

“He was helping me get better contact and trajectory with the wedge,” said Legge. “Because of that I was hitting it a lot straighter with a better swing plan.”

Kostis obviously enjoyed himself.

“It’s fun working with the kids,” he said. “It brought back a lot of memories.

“If they can learn how to play at this age, go to college and get a job, it will make it a lot easier to pick the game up again later. It’s pretty difficult to take it up cold turkey at 35. The more kids we get playing and learning the proper fundamentals, the more chance they will play later.”

Toward the end of the lesson, he watched Mangravito hit a shot again – and reminded him to smile.


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