So, I said goodbye to the ladies Pro Am and to the Tarleton Staff and welcomed my new group for a week long golf school in El Rompido. The sun was really hot. To start the day I set the girls work on their long game and whilst I know that some would prefer me not to, I got the video sessions completed. I do completely regard this session a very important part of the coaching as it provides a clear understanding where their game is and what individuals need to work on. After lunch we played the North Course; the course was in great condition; not many people about so it was great for practice and the girls loved it.
Started with further work on the long game reprising what we did yesterday and focussing the essential need to keep the club head low at the point of contact and of course the other essential need to follow through and always aiming at the target. It is important to mix up the coaching to keep everyone fresh and interested. We set to work on aspects of the short game by getting to grips with hitting the ball in the air over short distances with a short swing, landing the ball on the green and experiencing how far the ball rolls out. This part of the game is very much learning from practice, feel and judgement. As is common with my golf schools we played in the afternoon, this time on the South Course which is a greater challenge than the North Course. Despite the added difficulty the girls enjoyed the session as it provided opportunity to put into practice what we had covered so far.
We started going over what we had previously covered but adding the need to keep the weight forward, the left shoulder down in the back swing (right shoulder for left handers) and arms really straight in the follow through. As with most players the girls all wanted to hit their drives longer and straighter so I emphasised the need for balance, tempo and control. Additionally we considered for each player the optimum height of the ball on the tee, the ball position relative to feet and techniques to ensure this is always the same for normal shots with the driver as well as what adjustment to get higher or lower ball flight trajectories. We followed this session discussing the difference in pitching/chipping with a 7 iron as compared with a wedge. Having covered the theory and me demonstrating, the girls set about experimenting for themselves as this is the best way to learn how the ball behaves on the green when using different clubs. To develop practise I set up a box as a landing point for them to see how by using different clubs the bounce of the ball and roll out was different. It’s then a matter of judgement in choosing what to do in any given situation.
I was delighted to see how well the girls understood how to play short pitches and chip and run shots. In order to see how these skills worked out on the course as compared to the practice ground we played a round in the afternoon. I include tuition on the round to help my group to handle the difference between hitting balls on the practice ground and playing the course when numerous added factors have to be taken into account. With a card in their hand the mental factors come to the fore.
We took as a day of rest and everyone went of into El Rompido for lunch and relaxation. The next day everyone was refreshed and ready for coaching bunker play. I always really like this session as it provides a lot of variation and is good fun seeing how individuals experiment using different club angles in their endeavour to get the ball out of the sand. Of course we covered the essential basics and it was great see how perceived techniques did not work and how well everyone improved by adopting the correct basics. I followed this session with time on the range encouraging the girls to vary their practice using different woods and irons. In particular I use this session to introduce practice routines, selecting different targets, different clubs as well as establishing good practice routines. After lunch we played the North Course without a card in hand so as to encourage the group to try different things and focus on target selection, judgement and consistency.
The last day came around all too soon. We had a revision and Q & A session which helps ensure that everything discussed and worked on is clear in everyone’s mind. Most important is an understanding of the drills to work on over the summer as well as remembering what to concentrate on when playing socially, in competitions and in matches. I was very pleased with the progress made and look forward to hearing from the girls – a big thank you to everyone who was at El Rompido this time around.