Thursday, 5 October 2017

Lesson With Golf Monthly Top 25 Coach

Welcome back to the Three Off The Tee blog. As you may be aware, I am an active member of the Golf Monthly Forum (The Golf Monthly Forum Link) and it's a great melting pot to discuss all things golf related (and non-golf subjects). Games are arranged on a local level regularly, and there is an annual Help For Heroes charity day, held at a course always rated in the UK top 100.

Forum members are very lucky that Golf Monthly take a keen interest on the goings on and we are indebted to the editor Mike Harris and his team. We are also fortunate that they provide a number of opportunities for forum members to enter competitions to win places at product tests and many other prizes. They recently ran a competition to give eight lucky winners a chance to have a 90 minute lesson at the London Club in Kent with one of their panel of top 25 coaches (The Golf Monthly Top 25 Teaching Panel).  I was fortunate enough to be selected for a ball striking lesson, having suffered in the last month or so with a big pull left.

On Friday September 29th, I braved the M25 and arrived bright and early to a London Club being battered by strong winds and peppered by squally showers. I enjoyed a lovely breakfast and headed to the range to warm up and await the arrival Jake O'Reilly, the Golf Monthly Technical Writer, a photographer to record the day for a future copy of the magazine and their social media, and my teacher.

I was being taught by Paul Foston, a GM coach with an impressive CV (Paul Foston). I had my wife on hand to film the day for my youtube channel. I've managed to condense 90 minutes of tuition into two videos. The first one, featuring the early shots and Paul's initial prognosis is already up on the channel and I strongly recommend you watch it here to understand what faults Paul saw and how we began to tackle these and move my game forward - London Club Tuition - Part One

As you will see from this first instalment and part two which is going to drop on my channel in a few days time, there's a lot of issues in my game. Perhaps the biggest, and the one that will be the hardest to break is the over swing. As you'll see, feel and real are two different things for me and while I think I've made a short swing, the club continues to travel at least six inches further than I think. This has blighted my game for years and is going to take a lot of work to get the club anywhere remotely in the positions Paul is asking for. Add on the need to stop cupping the wrists, again something I've had since I learnt the game in the late 70's and making the wrist flatter and bowed is going to be difficult.

Until I can make these first two elements into something more in line with what I'm showed in the video I can't move on to address the other issues. This is going to be forming the basis of all my range work in the coming weeks as well as some practice at home, just taking the club away in a less jerky manner, more inside and then stopping correctly with the wrist in the correct position. Slow motion work, rehearsals and repetition is all required.

At the end of the second video I've added a little bonus. If you've ever wondered how a golf magazine gets the pictures that feature in technical and tuition pieces and on their internet content, you'll be able to see what happens.

I hope you enjoy this first video and the subsequent second part coming. It's something very different. Despite the difficult conditions with the wind gusting into our faces, showers (including one that enforced a short break) and cool temperatures, it was a great lesson. I found it hard to take in all the changes Paul wanted to make and while it may seem on film I'm ignoring what I'm being told, the reality is my inability as a golfer to control the club very well and certainly reduce my swing length. As you can imagine, being filmed and coached on a busy range at a top club brought a lot of attention and it was hard, certainly early on, to focus on the job in hand without feeling very self conscious and a host of eyes looking at me and wondering what was going on.

I have a plan to work hard on what I've been shown in the next few months. I've taken the decision not to take tuition from any other local professionals. I have the information and drills from the day to work on and feel any outside input will muddy the waters. The idea is to work on the shorter swing over the winter and then book an hour lesson with Paul at his state of the art studio in the new year, certainly prior to the start of the 2018 season for him to cast an expert eye on progress and refine what I bring to him.

I'd like to thank Paul for all his help, Jake from Golf Monthly, Dan the photographer and my lovely wife for recording it all on film in the wet and windy conditions. A big thanks to the London Club for their hospitality and for Mike Harris for making the forum possible.

I hope you enjoy both parts of these tuition videos. It was a unique opportunity and I hope its some content you'll enjoy. Please subscribe to the youtube channel while you are there, thumbs up the video (youtube loves the thumbs up) and if you have any comments please feel free to put them in the comments box and I'll respond.

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