Jake Moscoso is the new assistant golf professional at Miami Lakes Golf Club.
Though he is just 23, Moscoso has a handicap of 1 (the lower the handicap, the better the player), he has competed in prestigious tournaments and has learned from renowned mentors.
They include his father, PGA Golf Professional John Moscoso, the late Charlie DeLucca, founder of the First Tee Miami junior golf program, and famed instructor Rick Smith.
“I grew up in a pro shop,” said Moscoso, who was raised in Coral Gables and lives in Doral. His mother Dana Frio is a Registered Nurse.
He began swinging clubs at age 3, started competing when he was 8 and participated for 10 years in the First Tee junior golf program at International Links Miami – Melreese Golf Club, where his father was a director.
During his teenage years, Moscoso volunteered when his father ran clinics for veterans and classes for Special Olympians.
He played varsity golf during his four years at Christopher Columbus High School.
As he learned the game at Melreese, opportunities came along, including competing at the Nature Valley First Tee Open pro tournament at Pebble Beach when he was 17.
Golfers remember their best stats: His best round in that competition was 68; his best round ever was 66 when he was 16, playing at The Dye Reserve in Jupiter.
“For First Tee to remain in Miami is very important,” Moscoso said. “It was life-changing for me, and I can rattle off 30 names off the top of my head, who if it wasn’t for First Tee they wouldn’t have gone to college or have the careers they have now and the jobs they have now. I made lifelong friends there.”
His education includes attending Missouri Valley College (an NAIA or National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics school) in Marshall, Mo. golf scholarship and he said he received an associate degree from Tallahassee Community College.
When COVID hit, Moscoso returned to South Florida and taught at Melreese.
In January 2021, he followed his father to Trump National Doral and the Rick Smith Golf Performance Center.
Moscoso works there part-time, teaching junior golfers after his shifts at Miami Lakes Golf Club.
He said he hopes to earn a bachelor’s degree, along with his Class A Golf Professional certification during the next couple of years.
His dream foursome? Tiger Woods, Tom Watson and Adam Scott.
But first, he is looking forward to getting the Miami Lakes Golf Club’s junior golf camp underway this summer.
“My passion has always been in the golf industry, particularly in junior golf, developing mature and responsible young men and women on and off the golf course, setting them up for success for the rest of their lives,” he said. “My family’s motto is building generations of golfers.”
Moscoso has ties to the course that he says has an “old school” design, with dog legs, tight fairways, bunkers and water hazards.
“It’s a good teaching course because it tests you mentally more than anything,” he said.
When he was 12, Moscoso won a Gold Coast tournament there.
It’s also where DeLucca, who died at age 78 in 2019, was a young golf pro at the course -- then called Miami Lakes Country Club and later The Senator Course at Shula’s Golf Club -- before becoming manager and operator of Melreese.
“Charlie DeLucca was like a second grandfather to me,” Moscoso said. “From the ages of 9 to 16, 17, I was at his hip every day. Hanging out with him, listening to what he had to say and seeing what he did with junior golfers.”
Moscoso said DeLucca taught young people the game of life, within the rules of golf.
“He never wanted to make better golfers, he wanted to make better people,” Moscoso said. “Teaching discipline, the rules. He always had a way of connecting with people, not through golf but just by the person he was.”
So, what’s the one thing weekend players all do wrong and that as a pro, he finds himself fixing for them?
“One thing that I tell all of my students is that, ‘OK, are we trying to make it to the PGA Tour? No.’” he said. “Expectation management is the biggest thing for junior and amateur golfers.
“Whether it’s the goal for today or a goal for the week or the month – ‘I want to shoot a certain number,’ or ‘I want my swing to get to this point,’” he said. “More often than not what I get is, ‘Dude, I just want to go out and play with my friends and not look like a chump or that I have no idea what I’m doing.’”
He said learning golf is a long process and requires focus on basic skills.
“Your grip, your stance, are your shoulders square?” Moscoso said. “The best players in the world, they don’t do swing changes. They work on fundamentals more than anything. If you’re a serious golfer, your swing may be developed by age 13.”
Moscoso said he helps golfers with their mental game. During a first lesson he asks if they have prior injuries or recent surgeries and about their goals -- whether achieving a new posture, making better ball contact, lowering a score or entering a tournament.
“The way I teach, I don’t fix swings,” he said.
Instead, he said he looks at a player’s strengths and adjusts their weaknesses to balance against the skills they already possess.
“If they didn’t play a lot of sports growing up, we start off real simple and slow, with a Y swing,” he said. “Your arms and the club make a Y. If we can hit 30 balls in a row and it lands around the same area, we can go on to the next step.
“I want their eyes and brain to visually see and feel like what contact feels like when they do it right,” he said. “Whatever aspect of your game that you want to work on, I can help you with it,” he said.
IF YOU GO:
The Miami Lakes Golf Course is at 7601 Miami Lakes Drive in Miami Lakes.
To book a lesson with Jake Moscoso call 305-820-8088 or go to https://www.MiamiLakesGolf.com.