So moving day from Penina to Islantilla for me. As arranged I met Brian Knight at the airport and headed by road to Islantilla before going over to El Rompido to check the arrangements and rooms for the mixed pro am as well as for the ever increasing popularity of the Ladies pro am. This is fast becoming the biggest and best in Europe. Islantilla is my second home and it was good to meet up with the ‘fab’ staff who are always eager to help me in any way.
The first day of coaching and practice opened with working on the short game. The objective here being to improve ball contact and distance control with short pitch shots. We moved on to the practice ground and explained what I would like to see in their swing – then videoed each member of the group so we had a record of their starting point against which they could measure progress. After lunch we went out on the blue and yellow course (consecutive 9 holes). I very much like the on course coaching and I talked with each playing group how a golf pro sees the shots and how the pressure of playing the course can affect their swing by comparison with practicing on the range.
We started with the short game again, this time mixing chipping and pitching. I explained how these shots need different techniques and thought processes. The keys are club selection, considering how the ball lies, picking landing points, judging how much role out is needed, whether there are any obstacles and ball flight needed. Rather a lot to take in one go so I split them up and coach the techniques over the course of the week. To start, we concentrated on ball trajectory and how this determines roll out. We moved over to the range and worked on different landing spots, concentrating on ball contact, trajectory and direction. The importance of consistent practice with a target always in mind is paramount – just hitting balls aimlessly is not good practice. After lunch we played the yellow and green courses. I walked with each group for a few holes and concentrated the coaching of course management, strategy and a target for each shot. The group soon got the idea of always having a plan for each shot. It was really good to experience individuals questioning why I focussed on certain things and seeing them trying to work out things for themselves. As is customary after dinner on the 2nd day we went through the videos from the previous day. Depending on the size of the group this can take some time but is a worthwhile exercise as it sets up what each individual needs to focus on the next day. This often leads to the ‘light dawning’ as they watch their video and compare this what they want achieve!
We stated on the course and I got to play 4 holes with each group. As some had not played with a golf pro before and this was a new experience. I explained why I was playing a particular shot and encouraged them to apply contractive thinks to their own shots. It is a really go way getting the points across. I feel that groups really befit from this approach. After lunch we tackled the basics of putting. For a lot of players the problem are caused by too much movement including moving eyes before hitting the putt. It can be difficult to settle into a consistent swing path and tempo with putts and I explained the importance of this and the need to practice properly. I established a number of drills for each individual to use and watched with great interest how they coped.
Was a day off and everyone chose what to do. Some relaxed, some enjoyed a day out and I had a day in Sevilla with some of the girls. It turned out to be a most interesting time.
As always the last day comes around too quickly. I presented a round up clinic geared to giving help to individual’s on the key points to work on. The girls played competitively on the course and I was very pleased to watch some ‘fab’ golf. The winner for the week was Eileen, the secret pairs were Jan and Margaret and the winners of the challengers were Maureen, Beryl and Jenny. We finished of the day with some skills tests which focussed on the short game and was great fun to watch. A good week all round, I feel with a lot of hard work and everyone made good strides forward. Lots of hard work ahead to keep up the progress. I am a happy coach.