Posts Tagged 'EGU coaching'

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.

Return of investment

Imagine you are 16 or 17 years old and you have just been called to your first coaching session of the winter with the England Boys’ Team. This is held at the National Golf Centre in Woodhall Spa and you are due there on the Friday. When you get there you meet the Lead Coach, the rest of the staff and – Daniel Willett! The European superstar has decided to spend the weekend with his coach, Graham Walker, to pin down a couple of things in preparation for the final race towards Dubai. Now the coaching weekend has become partly a chance to learn from some great coaches and also an opportunity to benchmark yourself against a ‘real player’. This player also happens to be one of the friendliest that has ever walked in a pair of golf shoes and the amount of information that is available at Woodhall Spa has just skyrocketed, through the roof.

This could be a pretty nice thing to have couldn’t it? Or it could just be the first England U18 weekend that took place just this weekend. Thanks a million Daniel Willett!

What view do you choose?

Last week I spent three fabulous days with our coaches on golf courses in Scotland. We did something that must be considered very rare these days; we played golf ourselves! Or as on of the coaches put it:

-“I have not played selfish golf in 20 years!”

Coaches tend not to do that. Whenever we are on a golf course it is with somebody else’s game in mind, that we are tasked with helping to improve. It was pretty special therefore to have three days where three venues greeted us with open arms: Archerfield, Dunbar and Gullane no 1. Of course when coaches get to spend time together like this it is not only about the playing of the game. The discussions that took place way onto the night where pretty amazing and in most’s opinion worth more than any formal education can ever be.

View from Gullane across Muirfield

View from Gullane across Muirfield

On the last day we played Gullane number 1, my first return there since an Amateur Championship, I think in 1998, when the weather did not do the place justice, to put it mildly. Friday last week it was absolutely magical! Early morning, clear skies, very little wind and the views were breathtaking. One of our more experienced coaches said afterwards, after he and his partner for the day (of course play at Gullane is in two-balls!) had sat down on one of the benches on the course to enjoy the view:

-“What is it with golfers? We sat down and had a look around and the course was full of players. Everyone is looking down and muttering about their game when they could just look up and enjoy these views!”

In a way a bit of a metaphor for life, isn’t it? Do you look up and enjoy the views? Or do you just keep your head down and worry about what goes on?

Will the magnolia blossom?

Woods returns to golf

Woods returns to golf

It is Masters week again. Traditionally the first full week of April and the eyes of the golfing world once again turn to Augusta, Georgia. Only this year it is not just the eyes of the golfing world. Whoever is interested in juicy scandals and celebrities in the media of course have a reason to watch. And it is not to see if the magnolia will blossom. Apparently the very cold winter has made that questionable. The question of course is if Woods will blossom.

Leaving aside everything he has done I wonder if it is time to start to give the guy some credit. Walking in to that press conference on Monday I have to say I think was a pretty brave thing to do. Yes it was nicely directed by all his staff and one could argue that the media need Woods a lot more than he needs them, and therefore the questions will always be rather gentle. At least from the media that will ever have access to the players at Augusta. I am not saying that his answers were not carefully thought out and yes, he has been trained from an early age at handling these things. Whether rehab has done him any good is impossible to say. What is clear though is that he sat there and had his shortcomings displayed to the world. Not everybody would be prepared to do that. And of course he had to. His behaviour and character from now on will determine how the world will remember him. At the moment he is a rather sad story of a man who used to be pretty good at golf.

Winning – doesn’t happen in a straight line

Castellon Masters on the European Tour and an old winner is back again. Michael Jonzon last won in 1997 and was rapidly heading towards Q-school following this year after a season without much to call home about. But along came Sergio Garcia’s tournament, the last one Michael would get in to for the year and – Bam! He is a winner again.

Michael is not the first one, nor will he be the last one to go through something like this. One question that needs asking though is what happened between 1997 and 2009? Very few players that have just won would slow down or not want to go on to greater things. Quite common instead is that they try even harder and put more effort into their improvement. The big question though is whether they do the right thing.

Very often the quest for becoming a better player would involve some sort of technical intervention. Sometimes it is almost a complete re-design of the golf swing that has just won. The idea is obviously to come out on the other side, better than what you were going in. Does that happen? Sometimes perhaps. Is Michael Jonzon a better player 2009 than 1997? Quite possibly. Is he better than what he could have been with a different strategy? Well, there is the million dollar question!

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