Playing better golf is big business. We all know it.
Look at the number of swing training aids on the market, from clubhead speed measurement devices to the perfect pendulum putting stroke, or the latest invention – the alignment sticks – which are nothing more than two straight pieces of coloured plastic which the pros and low handicappers slot in their golf bags to look cool.
At Global Golfer we love golf and travel and chances are if you like golf you want to be better at it.
We sent our editor Matthew Moore to check out a golf tuition break with a difference to find out whether holidays that promise to lower your scores are more trick than treat.
Jeremy Dale, is a British PGA Professional who also happens to be one of the world’s best golf trick shot performers.
When he’s not hitting a golf ball while standing on an exercise ball or swinging a driver that is four times longer than standard, he also runs Jeremy Dale’s Scoring Schools at Heythrop Park Golf Club, a beautiful parkland course set in a vast country estate in Oxfordshire, England.
Imagine if Harrison Ford was your golf coach
When you meet Jeremy, it’s a little intimidating. He towers well over six-foot, is handsome like Harrison Ford and charming to boot.
In fact he’s one of those people who makes mere mortals feel a little sick – especially when he tells you – he can play great golf right handed but taught himself to play lefty for a challenge and he’s just as good wrong way round.
Over coffee, I expect to hear how he’s going to make me swing better, hit straighter and look more like a golfer. After only a minute it’s obvious he’s not to change anything at all.
What? I thought this was a golf school?
“It is,” says Jeremy, “and you are going to learn to score in a single day without changing your swing.”
Ok, novel idea, I’m open to it.
“Most teachers concentrate purely on the golf swing,” he says.
“Many believe that that all people need is a perfect swing, and that a video analysis comparing you to Tiger Woods is the way to achieve it.
This is fine if you can work at it but many golfers don’t have time to make major swing changes. They need simple, easy to digest, shot-making strategies they can take onto the course tomorrow – and that’s exactly what my Scoring Schools provide.”
Golf psychology is more than just a trick of the mind
We discover that not only does Jeremy have 20-years experience of teaching golf but he has also studied psychology at University and combines these attributes with the creativity of his trick-shot routines to teach a brand of golf that is more about avoiding triple bogeys than making more birdies.
We head out to the golf course and the discussion turns to golf course management.
I half expect someone to say is that not the greenkeepers job? but it doesn’t materialize.
Jeremy goes on to say we all need to learn how to “play golf ugly.”
I take it he means you hit bad shots but you can learn to recover easily.
Jeremy likes to teach small groups, between six and eight, so he can really focus in on people’s understanding of course management, strategy and the physical skills they need to execute simple rescue shots.
We try our hand at various scenarios, the reachable par-five, the short dogleg par four, the dicey decision between blasting out of the trees and chipping out sideways and the most useful – playing the percentage shot around the greens.
It’s important to know your strengths and execute the shots you feel confident you can pull off says Jeremy. We work through the basics, the chip and run, the bunker shot, the lob shot, the 30-yard pitch and end on the putting green.
“I’m not offering golfers a different golf game, I’m offering them a better version of the game they already have – it will work for everyone but typically the day appeals to golfers who have little time for practice but want to break into the next scoring level for them.”
There are golfers of all ages and handicaps on the school and it’s clear that no matter whether you want to break 100 or 70, having a better short game can help you achieve that, and after a day with Jeremy Dale our group undoubtedly had more confidence in their ability to get the ball up and down.
There are countless quotes from golfers who attended Jeremy’s clinic talking how it improved their game and their ability to score. Personally speaking, my day with Jeremy gave me a new and refreshing outlook on how to think your way around a golf course and match the right short game shot to your ability. The result = lower scores.
Mid to high handicappers will notice the improvement more and make gains more rapidly but Jeremy’s own brand of intuitive teaching and common sense approach to course management will benefit players of any ability.
There are six Jeremy Dale Scoring Schools left in 2012. A place on Jeremy’s school costs £178.50 for a whole day’s tuition including lunch and unlimited range balls.
Find out more: Jeremy Dale Scoring Schools