Struggling with your driver? Editor Harriet Shephard tells us why for her, one coaching session was enough to make all the difference.
“You’re not playing cricket.”
Is weirdly enough one of the most helpful pieces of golf advice I’ve ever been given.
I mean, of course I’ve always been aware that the sport I play is called golf and not cricket, but when my golf coach suggested that I think about this when I hit my driver, it actually helped a lot.
But going back to the beginning; my second lesson with Ellie Robinson at Leeds Golf Centre started with a very quick recap of the irons work we’d done the previous week (I hadn’t forgotten everything, thank goodness).
So, satisfied we could move on, Ellie asked me to get my driver out...
And I felt my body tense up immediately.
Now, I knew I had it in me to be actually pretty good with the driver but recently I had totally lost my confidence with it.
I’d started to go from loving it to being a bit scared of it and if there was an area of my that I really needed help with, then this was it.
This meant that I couldn’t have taken my first shot with less confidence if I tried, I was one step short of closing my eyes and hoping for the best.
So predictably, it just sort of pathetically flopped off the tee and rolled about two metres.
If Ellie was desperate to laugh, she hid it very well.
Instead, she told me to concentrate on making sure my club head went first in the swing, rather than my wrists (this was where the ‘you’re not using a cricket bat’ reference came in).
As we all know, using a driver is more of a sweeping motion and apparently because I was so used to practicing with my irons, it wasn’t unusual to struggle going back to this different way of striking a ball.
I also needed to think about not swaying when I twisted, keeping my right hand far enough over in my grip and not letting my wrists and club flop over too much in my back swing.
Nodding hesitantly, I set myself up to take another swing and seconds later, as if by magic (or very good coaching techniques), that amazing sound and sensation of properly strike the ball came back to me.
Name me a better feeling in the world then delivering a good tee shot with a driver?
As always, some shots weren’t great. But my before and after efforts were hilarious to compare.
I went from hitting it about two yards to about 140 and for me they were unusually straight too.
But the one thing I was NOT good at, no matter how many times I did it, was balancing the ball and tee on the matt. Does anyone else struggle with this or is it just me?
It was basically the hardest bit of the lesson and further proof (not that we needed it) that golf coaching isn’t the career for me.
I made this breakthrough just in time to make the most of the return of the sunny weather, too. After-work nine holes, here we come!
Don’t you just love it when everything comes together?
It was probably the most productive 30 minutes I’ve ever had.
For more information about Leeds Golf Centre and Ellie's coaching services visit www.leedsgolfcentre.com.