A golf learning paradise
My best ever golf experience was spending a week or so in Scotland with Kendal McWade. Kendal was a PGA pro who woke up one morning and realised what he was teaching was a load of rubbish.
He was teaching his pupils the same way that he was taught the game. But this way had failed him.
– was no fun
– didn’t work too well
– was boring
– was slow
When he awoke this morning he asked himself, “there has got to be a better way”.
For the next two years he did what a lot of golf coaches are afraid to do. He questioned the system. He looked outside the industry and wasn’t scared to try something new. He put his hand up and said, “I’ve got a lot of learning and improvement to do”. He had the courage to walk his own path and leave behind what he knew in his gut to be wrong.
My week with Kendal came years after he started on his mission. It had a profound impact on me and the highlight was walking around Murfield with him watching the 2002 Open. I got to pick his brains and learn from a guy that saw golf differently. We watched the way the pros went about their business, how their coaches coached and listened in on the conversation. We both stood fascinated watching a young pro give a “wee lad” a complimentary golf lesson.
“Don’t swing too quick”
“Cock your wrists”
“Finish with your weight on the front foot”.
The barrage continued for several minutes. The young kid was having a great time smashing balls into the makeshift net (albeit slightly hindered by the pro’s requests) but I’ll never forgot what Kendal said next;
We have an important job to do here. We have to stop the destruction of golfing talent. We have to help these kids, not fill their minds with useless information. We have to teach them to play the game.
I knew what he meant. Prior to my trip I’d been to golfing hell. After a promising start to golf (basically playing “my” way and improving quickly) I started taking lessons. It was here that things unraveled for me as I had my natural flair and passion beaten out of me. All the pros wanted was for me to “fix my swing”. This never really worked that well for me – I had airswings, lost my power and ultimately became frustrated as my early improvement success came to a grinding halt.
At the height of the pain I spent 18 months working on my set-up position. The pro was too stubborn to change his approach and my body simply wouldn’t do what he wanted. In utter frustration I reverted to playing right-handed as I was able to achieve the specific spine and hip angle by switching. Those months should have been a highlight, learning the game, inventing new shots and watching my game improve. Should have been, but it wasn’t. It was a golfing hell.
Kendal taught me that I had the ability and skill to strike a ball already inside me. All I needed to do was get out of the way and it would pour out. I learned more from Kendal in one week then what most had taught me in 10 years. Hitting the ball was fun. Learning new shots was exciting. And exploring the art of the possible was exhilarating.
When I left Scotland the seed was planted. I wanted my own teaching facility where I could assist other golfers and offer them a golfing nirvana. In 2008 I set up an indoor teaching studio. It was OK but only just. Indoor coaching has its place, but it’s being outside where the magic happens. You can smell the grass. You can feel the wind. You get to see the ball fly against the sky.
It has been 10 years since my first trip to Scotland. And I’m more passionate than ever in exploring learning and human performance. I’ve written over a million words about coaching and thousands of golfers have read my stuff. What started out as a bit of a hobby has grown. I’ve learned lots and used my experiences to shape a better and easier way for golfers to play great golf and find more enjoyment.
But there’s a new chapter about to start. I’m getting ready to…[headline_tahoma_medium_left color=”#000000″]Open my own Golf Learning Paradise[/headline_tahoma_medium_left]
Clare and I have bought a property on The Sunshine Coast, Queensland, and will be moving there soon. I made sure we’d have enough land to set up a golf learning facility. Driving range. Putting green and even a bunker. There’s still a lot of work to do, but it’s not really work when you’re living the dream.
Things probably won’t be up and running until Feburary/March but I thought I’d plant the seed early. If taking private lessons with me is something that’s interesting to you then let me know. If you don’t live nearby I figure there are worse places to go for a holiday. Bring your clubs and have a lesson while the family goes to the beach.
This has been in planning for years now and will be Australia’s only natural learning golf facility. This is your chance to work one on one with me and get specific help for your game. I’m giving this my all and want to create a place where golfers can have a remarkable golf experience.
More information to come, but do contact me with any questions.