Justin Rose has taken a step nearer achieving his goal to challenge Tiger Woods in major championships by securing the services of former Olympic coach Frank Dick, the man who steered Daley Thompson to his glory years.
The pair have been signed up to represent the exclusive Harborough Club, a fitness academy attached to Stapleford Park near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire where designer Donald Steel has also built an 18-hole course and practice facility.
Though Rose – honorary club captain – will spend much of his time on Tour around the world, he will keep in close contact with Dick in search of a higher physical and mental fitness level.
At 6ft 2 in and 11 stone 10 lbs., the 22-year-old England No.1 and World No. 41 says he has reached a reasonable level of fitness already but he knows he needs to step up to make further progress.
"This is a specialised area," says Rose. "I want to improve my consistency and enhance my longevity and to make myself as physically and mentally prepared for golf as I can be. Frank has a reputation for achieving this with other athletes.
"I want to be the best player I can possibly be," says the winner of four events this season, including the Victor Chandler Masters and who regularly e-mails video footage of his swing to coach David Leadbetter in Florida.
Dick says in golf, there’s a bias to one side of the body, depending on whether you play left or right-handed. If you don’t have a supple spine you will suffer eventually.
Diet is also important and after Justin returns from the World Cup in Mexico in December (where he’s paired with Nick Faldo) and analysis of the amino acids and the mineral content in Justin’s body will be regularly monitored to give him the edge he needs.
No more all-day breakfasts, no more packets of crisps, no more late-night fridge binges.
As part of the launch of the club, which is linked to Stapleford owner Andrew Parker’s sponsorship of talented local golf and tennis juniors who need a leg up in attempting to reach Justin’s level, I got to play four holes with the former boy prodigy.
While ignoring the way I nervously hacked my way to the first green, he was kind enough to compliment me on the smoothness of my swing even though the strike and ball-direction had a number of rough edges.
I asked him about the best advice he would give amateur golfers and he recommended warming up before we play.
"Even hitting about 20 shots on the practice range would help to loosen the muscles and prepare you for a round. It would give you a fighting chance of putting a reasonable score together, " he told me.
"It’s no good racing into the car park at the last minute and hopping to the first tee while lacing up your golf shoes. That’s a recipe for disaster."
Justin Rose first swung a golf club at the age of 11 months and broke 70 for the first time aged 11, after his family moved to England from Johannesburg. At 14 he had a plus one handicap and at 17 was the youngest player to compete in the Walker Cup and finished fourth in The Open.
He has come a long way since then and with his new regime will go a lot further.