Analysis of swing at Leadbetter Academy

Golfmagic competition winner Andrew Picken gives us his take on La Manga Club and its new Leadbetter Academy

andrew picken's picture
Tue, 7 Oct 2014

Up and at it, we had a brilliant series of lectures regarding club head path and ball striking. This led to a real light bulb moment for me. The only thing that matters is what happens to the ball at impact. It’s about consistent quality of strike. The ball doesn’t care how the club got to the impact position; it will only react to what the clubface makes it do. Think of Jim Furyk. Not a classical swing but a brilliant golfer.

We were then showed footage of our ball strikes frame by frame showing exactly where we hit the ball. I regularly was hitting behind the ball. On a range this doesn’t really affect the ball strike as the club bounces into position. Take the same shot onto the course and crap happens.

This was a perfect description of my game. Great on the range but unable to transfer it to the course.

Seeing how the club face reacts to a toe strike and a heel strike and having a better understanding of the physics involved was really helpful. I cannot possibly do justice to the quality of the tuition we received in this area but would heartily recommend the reader to check out Adam Young golf on the web. Lots of his articles have been published and I fully expect him to become one of the next group of world leading coaches.

We then undertook a great range session that leaves me soaking with sweat after 10 minutes.

During my phone call home that night I mentioned to my wife how hard I was working to keep up the pace of socialising and golf. I can't repeat exactly what we said but this was clearly a grave tactical error on my part.

The academy area had dedicated rooms to famous golfers and teaching mantras painted onto the walls in Spanish and English. We worked on a range of skill sets each individually tailored to our swings. Sensibly, no massive changes, just trying to make each swing more efficient and ball strike more consistent.

We then undertook Trackman analysis. Amazingly, my swing speed was around 90 mph with a 6-iron that travelled an average of 167 yards. Club face was 5-degrees open. This provided me great confidence as those numbers mirrored those of some of the staff. I just couldn’t do it as consistently as they did.

Another gourmet meal followed for lunch, overlooking the pool, which consisted of the best tuna steak I have ever eaten. Magnificent. No alcohol was drunk by anyone at lunch as we were playing the famous South Course at 14.09. This was a little more open than the West Course allowing driver to be used at will. It was much longer, though, so driver was certainly needed.

The South is an excellent golf course. Long and challenging needing good strategy off the tee. I was disappointed at the number of unrepaired pitch marks on the green but accepted this was a problem at a number of golfing locations.

Our fourball had a great day. 37, 36 and two 34 points respectively on a championship course new to us. Brilliant fun and so much learning as each shot was accompanied by advice from the coaching staff on all aspects of the game.

These real-time lessons were some of the most meaningful I have ever received. I wish I could have recorded the entire round for later play back. I did, however, write some notes and comments immediately after we finished the round.

There was five hours of intense tuition in the company of three of the most accomplished golfers I have ever had the pleasure of playing with. The round was completed by 19.15 and a quick shower meant I was able to make the meeting for another gourmet night out. Our taxi arrived at 19.50 and took us to Asia Restaurant. This was an incredible fusion of all eastern cuisine. Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese and Indian meals all provided with relevant accompaniments. Fantastic.

Up at 6 the next day for a 7.30 tee time on the North Course, which seemed a good idea last night, but I was feeling a little jaded! After a couple of shots, though, all thoughts of fatigue disappeared. This was a magnificent golf course played with great company. The course was almost empty. Millionaires golf.

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