Joe Saladino of Huntington has produced some of the premier moments in local amateur golf, such as his dramatic win in the Travis Invitational this year and, recently, another low amateur title at the New York State Open. Now, in a new phase of his career, he has produced an Ernie Els video.
Actually, he produced an entire Ernie Els interactive instructional app, which allows golfers to replicate drills and perform challenges from Els, a four-time major champion. A golfer also can try to match his or her swing rhythm to a metronome, or to the famously smooth tempo of the player known as the Big Easy.
The app was released by a company called Driven, an outgrowth of the Drive 495 fitness center in Manhattan run by Saladino and his brother Don. The Saladinos had help from their friend Dan Martin, sponsor of the Long Island Open and a friend of Els, to line up such a big name. They plan on releasing a series of apps for other sports.
"It's an industry that I don't have a lot of experience in, but we've put together the right crew for the various components," the two-time Metropolitan Golf Association player of the year said. "Apple has featured it. They love the content."
Saladino said he uses it for his own game: "As you're doing these little games, hitting five balls near the green, you're concentrating more on those shots as opposed to hitting five quickly from the shag bag and moving on. It kind of simulates what you'd do on the course."
A pair of LI winners
Kyle Burke of West Sayville, an all-L.I. high school golfer for Sayville, won the International Junior Golf Tour's Summer Series event last week at Palmetto Hall Plantation at Hilton Head, S.C. He beat runner-up Ludovico Durante of Turin, Italy by eight strokes . . . Brandon Meltzer of Melville, who played at Half Hollow Hills East with his twin brother Jordan, won a tournament only weeks after turning pro. He emerged from a three-way playoff to win last Monday on the Golfslinger Tour in Boynton Beach, Fla. Golfslinger is a mini tour that encourages aggressive play because it has one-day tournaments. It is seen by young pros as a good crucible to prepare for the pressure of big events.
New course for Island?
At a time when more courses are closing than opening, is there an appetite for yet another golf course on the East End? As Newsday's Our Towns page reported Wednesday, the town will hold a public hearing Aug. 27 on the plan called The Hills at East Quogue. The Discovery Land Co. of Scottsdale, Ariz. will detail the course, which would be surrounded by 82 vacation houses on a 440-acre parcel.
Consider it golf's answer to a combined no-hitter. Michael Donuk and Brian Ronan, playing a scramble format in the UNICO outing at the Hamlet Golf & Country Club on Tuesday, teamed for a double-eagle 2 on the par-5 18th hole. They used Donuk's drive and Ronan holed a 238-yard 3-wood, the latter said . . . Members at Lawrence Yacht & Country Club were intrigued by the story in last Sunday's Clubhouse Confidential about four aces in a day at Shinnecock Hills. They saw the quote by club pro Jack Druga saying he had never even witnessed two aces in one club event. Just one day earlier, both Scott Gilbert (16th hole, 169 yards, 6-iron) and Howard Fields (ninth hole, 178 yards, 3-hybrid) had holes-in-one in a men's club tournament . . . Vote at PGA.com through Saturday for one of four hole locations to be used on the 15th hole next Sunday during the final round of the PGA Championship. In an initiative endorsed by Jack Nicklaus, the PGA actually will use the location chosen by fans.