Archive for January, 2011

On a midnight train to…

Well, perhaps not Georgia and maybe not even a midnight train… It was a late night train from Leatherhead the other night though after I did a presentation to a large group of parents that have just had their children accepted into the County Golf Academy programme or the Surrey Futures programme. It is actually quite amazing to see the enthusiasm that is spreading across the country, thanks to these academies.

In my presentation I talked a bit about the needs for young golfers and what to think about as a parent. I took the opportunity to quote Anders Ericsson on the 10,000 hour ‘rule’ to become an expert. Usually when I give these presentations I talk about PLAY and the importance of making it fun so that kids want to come back, even when they do not have to. Getting to 10,000 hours is not all that easy so ideally we want these kids to want to go to the golf course more or less everyday. As I talk about that I show a picture that I found on the internet and say that is it not quite incredible that footballers can come from THIS and make it to the Premier League?  The thing is obviously that PLAY on this pitch happens all the time.

After my presentation one of the people in the audience took me to one side and said – “That picture with the football. We don’t do that in golf!” And of course he is right. Playing golf is not easy as a youngster as golf courses tend to be rather occupied, rather difficult and rather not available for the children. I just wish we could get pack to the pitching and putting that took place outside of the normal course, on the little par 3 and make that the early stages of golf!

Great things are happening for England players out in Australia! Andy Sullivan has really hit the ground running in the early season events and just added a victory in the New South Wales Stroke Play Championship to his already impressive stretch of results in Australia. For full results click here.

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To your advantage?

One of the greatest cross-country skiers of all time happens to be Swedish. Gunde Svan won just about everything there was to win in the mid to late 1980’s. On Wikipedia he is actually described also as a race car driver but I would not say that he veer reached the same heights in that career. As a young boy a remember pictures like the below where the funniest thing was that not ever did he seem to find a woolly hat that fit his head. After every race his ears stood out and the hat was waiving like a flag on top of his skull.

It might have been that he not only looked like a lunatic. To enjoy those 50km, and more importantly the training leading up to the races, you probably have to  have a touch of that trait in your personality. One thing that I also remember with Gunde was when he in an interview about his training said that his best days were the days when the weather was really bad, perhaps both wet and miserable. He said that on those days, he always knew that he had an advantage as most of his opponents would skip training due to the bad weather. That did not wash with Gunde. He would put in twice the amount of training on such a day!

I come to think about this as I follow the progress of the England players out in Australia. Eight England players have opted out of the fairly dull English winter for a couple of months in the Australian sunshine. At the moment the Lake Macquarie Amateur Championship is full on at Belmont in Newcastle, Australia and Andrew Sullivan is so far in a tied for the lead. Andy have had a great start to his 2011 with already a second place finish in the Australian Master of the Amateurs. To follow Andy’s and the other’s progress down under click here.

6th hole at NSW GC during a ET event a few years ago

From Belmont the players move on to the NSW Golf Club for the NSW Championship. This could be one of the prettiest venues in the World so I would suggest even Gunde Svan would be jealous…

Phew…

Ever felt that your system has been pretty much emptied? I certainly do not have much to offer now as I sit down and reflect over the last three days that have included meetings with the EGU Coaching Committee, the Excel group (the EGU, EWGA and PGA staff involved in delivering the Elite end of English Golf), the England Lead Coaches and on top of that a two day Coaching Conference with 140 people from Counties, Regions and England Squads. Once the tension and the focus is gone it is like the mind, and the body, goes into some sort of hibernation, just as the laptop would when the battery is about to run out. In actual fact, I think that is what is happening with the human body battery as well.

Having just glanced through some of the feedback forms and listened to comments from people it would seem like the conference was a great success. Dave Alred delivered a fantastic opening key note that set many minds spinning. In a simple and direct way he explained how attitude and application multiply ability. Eddie Pepperell, the England International, then gave a capturing description of his journey as a golfer before the participants completed a SWOT-analysis for English Golf that was completed by an action plan on the Friday morning. Brian Hemmings, the EGU Sports Psychologist, on Friday shared his experiences from 15 years in English Golf and gave recommendations on how to take this area forward, while the University of Lincoln in a poster presentation delivered the latest golf-related research.

As the participants left Woodhall Spa this afternoon I think they did so with a lot of new found energy and inspiration. That I think is worth a bit of a lack in energy on my behalf…

Busy times in golf

I think it is about time to get back in to the blogging-habit again. Already 11 days into the New Year I have yet to put something in writing. I did a column for the Swedish Golf website the other day as I, along with loads and loads of other people, turned to the golf courses around Stockholm for cross-country skiing over the holidays. I wonder why all the club houses are closed when there is a market out there, on skis, waiting to buy coffee.

December and early January are supposed to be a rather quiet time in golf. Well, it is not! It is the time of the year when we put on everything that we do not really have time for during the season. Hence December saw the Christmas Camp that kept us going right up to the holidays and now January is starting on a high with the England Golf Coaching Conference at Woodhall Spa. Dave Alred among others is coming to speak and I bet there will be one or two messages worth taking on!

In the meantime, our top amateurs are in the Southern Hemisphere to get some of the rust out of the system. Talk about starting on a high – Royal Melbourne in January – it does not get any better than that! Check out Master of the Amateurs here.


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