It was a very excited group of ladies who met up at Luton Airport just at sparrows fart (3.30am). We were on our way to a new venue for my golf school in Benidorm – Meila Villaitana – close to the metropolis that is Benidorm. However, the club, hotel and course is up in the hills about 10 minutes by car from the beach and away from the hustle and bustle. All in all what a nice surprise – the hotel was really nice; the rooms lovely and the food good. So the signs were good for an enjoyable week.
We met on the range after breakfast and we spent the first period going over plans for the week so that everyone had a good outline of what would be covered and how the week would be split between the principal elements of good shot making, practise and playing. The morning clinic focussed on set up, alignment and ball contact. As is usual I use the session to video each member of the group so there is a record of the start point against which to measure progress as well as highlight the key areas for individuals to work on. The sun was shining and the girls were keen to get to work, so everything was good with the world. Quite naturally lunch breaks the day and in the afternoon we embarked on the first experience of getting to know the course which was in very good condition. The opportunity was there for the girls to concentrate on the fundamentals of set up and alignment as pre-requisites to keeping the ball in play. It was a great day in the Spanish sunshine.
We began with grasping the skills of short pitching. I explained how the “bounce” on the club worked and the need to keep wrists firm through impact and finishing with the club face pointing to the sky. To replicate playing situations I set 3 landing points at different distances, so they learned swing length needed to achieve the marked landing points. This part of the game is about technique and judgement so the best way to learn is by doing and practise. The second part of the morning was devoted to going over the long game and what was covered on the previous day. After lunch we played the short course – par 63 – but very challenging. It proved to be a lot of fun with the girls scoring around 90!!
Long pitching requires players to adjust their swing and tempo by comparison with short pitching and so we started day 3 with pitching over distances of 20 to 60 yards. This is a fun session and I do enjoy seeing everyone successfully judging the swing lengths and speeds required to hit the targets which I had set out at different distances. This session also brings the ball roll out into consideration depending on the club used. Following this session we concentrated on the long game and I introduced “think box play box” as a way of trying to clear the mind of too many thoughts going on when addressing the ball. It is important to have focussed thoughts and not confused thoughts. I recognise that every lady wants to hit their drives further and I think it important to understand that confused or complicated thoughts often result in poor drives. It was very interesting to observe how many experienced “light switch moments” about their thinking processes. After lunch we set about playing the course again but this time the girls had a much better idea of the course layout and were more successful in plotting their way around. They all demonstrated an understanding of when to lay up rather than just try to blast their way around.
As is tradition, a day off with the chance to relax, recharge their batteries, do some shopping and experience Benidorm. I, too, wanted to see what the town and beech were like? I can best describe it as a concrete jungle with wall to wall high rise buildings and completely FULL beach. I don’t think I have ever seen so many disability scooters in one place – there were even 2 seat versions. I feel really sorry for those for whom these scooters are essential – to me it seemed that some did not really need them! Nevertheless it was interesting to see the beach and the shops.
Was for getting back to golf and we started with a clinic on bunker play and putting. I like these sessions because they have the possibility to save so many shots and card good scores. The rewards for improvement in these aspects of the game are greater than in other aspects. I divided the group into 2 to ensure that everyone had plenty of time for individual coaching and practise under a watchful eye. We then tackled the problem of playing from sloping lies and considered how the ball behaves differently when hit from a down hill lie and when hit from an uphill lie. I demonstrated how to deal with these and the group spent time practising and gaining the skills to counter the movement of the ball. After lunch we played the shorter course, but from the yellow rather than the red tees.
The final day came around too quickly, the sun was again shining brightly for the round up session of Q & A’s and advice for dealing with issues raised by individuals. I use this session to try to ensure everyone has a clear message of what to work on and how to approach practising. The afternoon game was the final opportunity for me to play with the girls and continue the important on course coaching as I move from one group to another. I saw some very good golf and was impressed by the scores. Hilary had the best score – a fine 37 points – there were 7 in the group with scores in the 30’s so I was a very happy coach.
Thank you so much to everyone for putting in the work, showing great improvements and providing a fun week. I look forward to hearing from them with improving results and falling handicaps.