Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Lee Westwood wins The Dubai World Championship and the Race to Dubai

Congratulations to Europe's No1 Player Lee Westwood on winning the Dubai World Championship and the Race to Dubai. In doing so he finished as Europe's top golfer for the second time in his career and is now the 4th best player in the world!

Earlier this season Lee Westwood returned to his long-time golf coach, Europe's top coach Pete Cowen. Unsurprisingly, this conicided with his return to sparkling form which culminated in a breathtaking display of power and control for 4 days in Dubai. He showed the kind of form and presence that usually only World No1 Tiger Woods shows. His final round 64 was awesome and even Tiger would have been blown away with the consistency shown by Lee on the final day - all fariways hit and GIRs!

Consistency is one of the keys you hear from Lee's coach Pete Cowen all the time. Consistency in practice leads to consistency in results. If you haven't got your copy yet, then buy Pete's golf instruction DVD, it's the perfect Christmas present for any golfer this Christmas - you can even hear what Pete really thinks of Lee's swing!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Jeremy Dale's Short Game Scoring Schools

The Day I Learned to Score Better Without Changing My Golf Swing

I've been on my fair share of 'golf instruction days' over the years and I have to say that this was different and better in so many ways than so many I have attended before.

On Sunday, I attended a Jeremy Dale – Scoring School set in the beautiful surroundings of Stapleford Park Golf Club just outside Melton Mowbray. Before, I go into what I learned and how it will transform my golf; I first must explain what is different about this golf school and the approach of Jeremy Dale that I feel is at the root of his success.

Jeremy Dale is one of the country’s most accomplished trick shot artists. He’s performed his golf trick shows in over 30 countries worldwide and once finished second in the World Trick Shot Championships.

He is also an accomplished and ambidextrous scratch golfer.

Yes, he plays golf better than most of us with left handed or right handed clubs!

I believe it his ability to play the difficult shots (some would say impossible) with such ease that makes his Golf Scoring Schools so refreshingly different. He has a knack, even a gift, for making the difficult seem easy; and better still he communicates this so masterfully.

In one day, he had helped me let go of all the technical swing thoughts and paralysing mechanics of the golf swing and had helped me focus on the one thing that really matters, the one thing that everyone cares about - saving shots. The day started with a friendly group chat with the four other golfers who have travelled from across the country to learn how to lower their scores.

Within half-an-hour, with the help of a few flipcharts and the odd diagram, Jeremy had convinced us all that the area of our game that would make the biggest single difference to our scoring ability was the Finesse Game – chipping, pitching, bunker play; and the Mental Game – making good decisions and controlling one’s emotions and concentration.

We then spent the rest of the day on the practice ground ‘re-learning’ each aspect of the game, but not from a technical perspective, from a shot making and shot saving point of view. Sure enough, Jeremy went round the group in turn giving us a few pointers about various aspects of our technique and showed us the key Dos and Don’ts for each type of shot. But his focus was primarily on changing the way we approached each shot, by giving us a method that would help us make better shot making decisions that would increase our margin of error and make the percentages work for us.
Every aspect of the day and his coaching was geared around giving you practical tools that you could use in your practice that would make you more effective out on the course. Whether, it was his practical tips for practising long putts, so you get a great feel for the strength required to play a 9 yard, 12 yard or 15 yard putt; or his practical short game tips for consistent wedge play using different clubs and a 9 O’clock, 10 O’clock and ‘L—Shaped Swing’; and then applying the same swings to your bunker play so you instinctively build a short, medium and long bunker shot into your shot making arsenal.

As a leading golf trick shot artist, Jeremy Dale is ideally suited to translating what most people find a difficult and sometimes frustrating game into something that all of a sudden seems simple!

As a consequence, his session on the mental game was peppered with practical suggestions about how you can use these skills on the golf course to make the right decisions and keep a cool head; and left me feeling confident that the skills I had learned on the day would stand the test of time.

After a full day’s ordinary golf coaching you often leave with more questions than answers, more swing thoughts and technical modifications than you can possibly remember and perhaps a handful of tips that you think might really work for you.

After a full day’s golf scoring school with Jeremy Dale, I left with a much clearer picture of how I can lower my scores and a golf bag brimming with an exciting new repertoire of golf shots (none of them trick shots). If you are interested in attending a Jeremy Dale Golf Scoring School then visit www.jeremydale.com or call Jeremy on 07748 307849. To see what my fellow golfers thought of the day please visit http://www.saveamillionshots.com/golf_scoring_school.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Explanar Takes Some Explaining to My Wife

In my quest to get to single figures I have brought home many, many weird and wonderful contraptions and peculiar paraphernalia for lost and desperate golfers.

My wife has always been very supportive and hasn't seemed to mind me cluttering up the garage, the garden and now the house with these brightly coloured items....until now.

Generally, golf swing improvement aids or golf putting training aids are small bits of kit that attach to a club and are reasonably portable. Explanar on the other hand comes in a huge 44kg box, and is a large steel hoop that stands 8 feet tall and 13 foot wide and dominates an entire room. It is big, shiny and solid and looks like it will last a lifetime.

As my garage was full of other golf equipment, I decided to assemble my shiny new Explanar Home System in my living room early one Friday evening. Later that evening, long after my wife had given up trying to watch TV and gone to bed, I managed to finally get it fully assembled. For a piece of training kit that costs £615 (including delivery) I would have hoped the instructions could have been a bit better – colour photos would definitely have helped. But this is only a small gripe about what is probably one of the most useful training aids I have ever used.

Explanar was designed by PGA Master Professional Luther Blacklock as a training aid that could help any golfer develop the correct golf swing action. It has been endorsed by leading coaches such as fellow PGA Master Professional Pete Cowen and Butch Harmon to name a few; so it must be good! Even Tour Players are using it and recently Explanar celebrated their ‘first Tour win’, when YE Yang won his first PGA Tour title at PGA National when he secured the Honda Classic.

It consists of a weighted power roller that you swing around a large adjustable steel hoop that stands on a solid base. Assuming a golfer has the basics of a good grip and posture then all they need to do is adjust the hoop to their height and then swing the weighted power roller back and forth around the edge of the hoop on their optimum swing plane.

It really is that simple; but it does come with a useful golf swing DVD by Luther Blacklock if you really want to fill you head with even more golf technique!

The one part of the DVD I did scoff at was the safety demonstration; that was until a friend of mine nearly took my chin off swinging the heavy power roller whilst I was still adjusting the height of the hoop! You have been warned!

The real safety question I wanted to answer was whether it was safe to use Explanar to change my golf swing; and the answer is a resounding ‘Yes’.

I have been trying to rectify some problems in my golf swing for many months. I have what my more polite friends call an ‘unorthodox swing’. I have a tendency to take the club away with my arms outside the line and disconnected from my body in the backswing, and then re-route it across my body to a reasonable, if a little steep, position at the top, before dropping it inside the swing plane on the downswing (a la Jim Furyk).

I have been working for several months on many drills to help me take the club on the correct inside path and back up and down on the correct swing plane with moderate success. But finally after only a few hours on Explanar I have started to develop an instinctive feel for the correct positions and I am much closer to a better hand line and my correct swing plane than I have ever come close to before.

Blacklock says Explanar creates ‘swing feelings’ and this is exactly what it has done for me.

It is not a substitute for lessons, I still go to see London’s leading golf instructor Dave Wilkinson at the Knightsbridge Golf School. He tells me Hugh Grant has an Explanar on his roof – but he too still drops in for lessons.

And the jobs of other PGA Pros are safe; after all it can’t teach you course management, straighten out your putting and improve your bunker play. In fact hundreds of teaching professionals have bought the Explanar Professional System at £1,999 to help them accelerate the improvement of their students.

The Explanar can help groove new swing positions that you have been trying to reach, it can allow you to practice your golf without leaving the house and braving the elements and it can help you exercise the correct ‘golf muscles’.

I am not sure why, but my wife thought it was essential that I mention that Explanar is offering a ‘Golf Training Aid Amnesty”. If your garage is like mine and full of old swing training aids that are past their sell by date, then return them to Explanar and they will refund the original cost up to £130 against your purchase of an Explanar system.

I like my Explanar and I have a feeling that it will be in my backroom for many months (my wife isn’t exactly thrilled but she’ll be delighted for me when I finally get to single figures).

The Explanar Home Edition at £615 is probably the most expensive golf training aid you are likely to buy.

But what price do you put on a lifetime of better golf?

(Has anyone else bought one or used one? Let me know your thoughts?)

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

My Golf Goals for 2009

Following up on my last post, I have been working on my golf with Frances Goodman a performance coach who specialises in working with leading sportsmen and sportswomen, athletes and business people (sadly I fall into the last category - and I'm not sure about the 'leading' either). She does a lot of work with golfers and has worked with 2005 US PGA major winner Michael Campbell as well as a host of other top golfers and coaches.

I am now working on my golf with her as well as helping her build a new website called "Best Golf Yet". On the site she is developing some fantastic tools and resources to help everyone achieve their goals in golf. Believe me I have looked at hundreds of online coaching and mental game and coaching for performance websites and there really is nothing quite like it.

She envisages launching the service in the summer. There will be a quite reasonable subscription price to play for access to all these great tools but if you register your interest early then she'll give you a special offer when it launches. Why not join this exciting golf programme now?

Podcasts - Pocketshots video free golf lesson downloads to iPod, iTunes, mobile phones

Pocketshots - Free Golf Video Lessons from famous European Tour golf coaches