In roughly a year, the enterprising head of Joe Caruso Golf Academy has seen his operation evolve in rapid leaps, from simple instruction and driving range offerings to equipment fitting, a junior tour and ambitions for so much more.
"When you take a look at the industry as a whole, this is where you see things heading," Caruso, 42, said Tuesday. "You're trying to build a teaching center, a family center, a place for people to go. You're not only learning how to hit a golf ball, but about all of the technical side of the equipment."
With that in mind, Caruso's academy, located on Blanco Road between Loop 1604 and Bitters Road, has aligned itself with various partners focusing on specific areas of expertise.
Those associations include the recent arrival of Doug Querie (sic) and Andy Ruben, who concentrate on club sizing and repair through Golf Solutions of Texas; nationally renowned instructor Ruben Samaniego, who works with disabled players; and the recent introduction of a unique competition schedule, the Joe Caruso Junior Challenge Tour, for competitors in fifth through eighth grades.
Quirie is one of the top custom clubmakers and fitters in the U.S., having built equipment for the likes of Ben Crenshaw over the years. He's the clubmaker of choice for many current professional golfers.
Caruso's affiliate with pro golfers in the past has pretty much been limited to several Futures Tour players. Now, the Express-News articles goes on to say, Caruso is working with Ogrin and with Cameron Beckman. So things are going very well, indeed, for Joe.
I interviewed Joe several years ago for a publication, and his ambitions at that time - pretty much the same as they are now - were focused on junior golf. More specifically, he wanted to create a Leadbetter-style junior academy - providing golf instruction, boarding, schooling, the works - for junior golfers in Central and South Texas.
At that time, Caruso was working with around 200 area juniors. Many of them lived in small towns in South Texas, where access to golf, period - much less top-flight, modern golf instruction - was limited. We're talking places like Carrizo Springs and Cotulla. Caruso traveled to his students when they weren't able to travel to San Antonio.
I don't know if he'll ever achieve his Leadbetter-inspired dream, but as today's Express-News article shows, it's probably not wise to bet against him.