Burhill Ladies Golf School at El Romped November 7-14 2018
On our first full day we used the range to warm up and get some practice in. This session also gives me opportunity to see how each individual is with their game. I talked about the importance of making contact with the ball and maintaining good balance throughout the swing. We worked on improving the low point in the downswing being sure to hit the ball and then the ground and keeping arms straight right through until the end of the swing. If they look at Tommy Fleetwood’s swing it shows a good visual image of what I was explaining. I challenged them to work on this and keep good balance ( I was pleased to see this seemed to work). After lunch we set out on the South Course which is new to most of the group. They needed to plan their way round and they all loved the course. I asked them to look where the tee boxes were pointing, observe the slopes on the fairways and make their aim the centre of their target.
Day 2 was given over to coaching. In the morning we worked on pitching and the afternoon focused on the long game. I started the pitching session explaining how to make best use of the ‘bounce of the club’ and how to use all the loft provided by the club they select. Too often players place the ball too far back in the stance with the consequence they apply too much forward lean on the shaft. The more extreme these are the less the loft of the club is used effectively. We also worked on selecting landing points and looking closely at how much green there is between the selected landing point and the flag. There were some ‘light switch’ moments in this session. Back to the range to work on more long game, with the group changing their alignment on every shot, a good session for developing discipline for each shot. After lunch we took the morning coaching out on to the North Course.
We started day 3 with on course coaching. This is a session I always enjoy because it gives me the opportunity to help each individual with whatever issues they face. It was also very nice to get on the South Course early in the day. I like to focus on planning shots, bringing in thoughts about not just the immediate shot but also thinking about the best place for the next shot. After lunch we worked on short chipping and putting. This is essentially considering the choices and selecting the best option. Think first whether a putt would be the best option and if not whether to chip and run or to pitch. Most players believe the chip and run results in the ball passing the hole and opt for a pitch. However the key to the chip and run shot is selecting the landing point. A chip and run with a 7 iron will be 25% in the air and 75% run on from the landing point, whereas a pitching wedge will be 50% in the air and 50% run out and a sand wedge 75% and 25%. This is not set in stone and is very much affected by the trajectory of the shot. The higher the shot the shorter the run out. Overall it comes down to what you feel comfortable with and a lot of practice to build up consistency. We followed this session with putting practice, concentrating on where the putter face is at impact and to hold this through the finish checking it stays square. This also helps to keep the yes still and follow the ball but listen (hopefully) to the ball dropping into the hole. This drill is particularly effective for 3 to 4 feet putts.
The next day is a leisure day. Some of the girls asked to visit Montra Rae golf club as it has been voted the best course in Portugal. We had a good time there and I don’t think I have ever experienced a course with so many bunkers. Others practiced a little and went to the ‘Lighthouse’ for lunch so everyone did their own thing and had a nice day.
Day 4 coaching was partly given over to bunker practice. After the big deep bunkers at Montra Rae these seemed a lot easier. We worked on the fundamental of eyes on the sand, not the ball, and taking a more shallow swing so the club did not become stuck in the sand. We followed this with a session on the range using woods. Unlike bunker play the requirement is to tee the ball up high enough (generally with the top half of the ball higher than the club head when resting on the ground). The aim is to hit the ball slightly on the upswing. Later we played the challenging North Course and I enjoyed watching the group try new things learned and applying more thought to their shot selection. As we came to the last day the girls were understandably a bit tired but all ready for the competition. Before they teed off I talked through what we had covered over the week and discussed individually what each individual could work on over the winter. So off we went on the South Course in cool sunshine initially but warmer sunshine as the day went on. I saw some great shots over water, chip ins and long putts dropped. Viv Lea won the competition with a good score of 32 points.
Very well done to everyone, they had worked hard throughout the week and had a lot of fun.
Thank you to all the girls, you made my job easy and I wish you all well in your practice over the winter and success in playing once the season starts in 2019.