Thinking of taking some refresher lessons now that golf is officially back and seemingly more popular than ever? We hear you. Editor Harriet Shephard tells us how she got on during her first coaching session in a while...
It seems that taking on the role as Editor of Women & Golf has been the push I needed to finally sign up for some more golf lessons.
It’s something that I threaten to do every time I have a bad round (so quite often), but for some reason I never seem to follow through with it.
But this time, I was doing it.
After all, if there was ever going to be a year when my golf came on in leaps and bounds, it had to be 2020 - the year that the rest of Britain realised that our great game is the coolest thing around.
I booked them in at Leeds Golf Centre, my local club and where I first had lessons when I was a total beginner.
My initial burst of coaching was so helpful in making sure I had the basic techniques correct from the beginning but since then I have just been going for it alone with the help of my boyfriend acting as a very unqualified but enthusiastic coach and advisor.
I love golf but I know that if I got just a bit better – lost less balls and spent more time on the fairway rather than trudging through the rough – I'd love it even more.
So to put it simply; I want to have lessons so I can enjoy the game even more than I already do.
I’m not expecting to break any records or get a super low handicap, but I’m young (relatively) and fit, so I feel like I have the ability to be much better than I am at the moment.
But despite this care-free approach I was still a bit nervous on the morning of my lesson.
Of course a golf lesson is nothing to worry about, we all know that, but sometimes I do like to worry for no reason.
I’d been to the range the day before just to confirm that I still knew how to hit a ball (you never know) and most importantly, I already knew Ellie (my golf coach) so I already knew that she was going to be super friendly and the least scary teacher imaginable.
Lockdown has made us all go a bit crazy, right?
Of course it turned out that I absolutely loved every minute and my 30-minute slot absolutely flew by.
We were in the studio where clever Trackman technology meant that every element of my swing could be analysed.
Today was all about irons and after I had taken a few swings with a 7-iron and we’d watched back a video of it in slow mo, Ellie already had a very good idea of what she was dealing with.
Which thankfully wasn’t a totally hopeless cause.
Without going into too much detail she said that I needed to stand closer to the ball, bend my knees less, twist my body a bit more, adjust my grip and open up my club face more in the back swing.
Once she pointed these things out it seemed obvious and I couldn’t work out why I hadn’t managed to realise this for myself.
It just goes to show that sometimes you really do need the trained eye of a professional.
She said that I pretty much had the basics (all thanks to my solid introduction into golf), and now I just needed to tighten them up.
We did this by first putting down my club and working on my twist and then putting the rest together step-by-step.
Then, holding my breath (probably not advised), I took a swing in my new position...
And the difference was amazing.
A few painless adjustments meant that my shots were going further and straighter even though I felt like I was putting less effort in (the screenshot below shows this with my 'after' shot on the left and the 'before' on the right).
Of course, not every shot was a triumph.
However, the difference between my first shot and the ones after Ellie had helped me was ridiculous.
I was happy, and she seemed to be too.
But she warned me that this was just a starting point and the real work was still to come.
“The most important thing is to practice between lessons,” she said.
“Ladies in particular seem to think the lessons are enough and it will just magically be enough to improve.”
I’m totally never guilty of being one of those people, honest...
I promised her I would practice and get myself out for at least one lot of nine-holes before our next meeting.
Fingers crossed the weather behaves so I don’t feel tempted to let her down...
She told me that I wasn’t the only one who wanted to work on their game now that coronavirus restrictions had been lifted.
Interestingly, she’d had a lot of requests for lessons from women and beginners, too.
She also said they were so busy that there were queues for the range most evenings and that the club was still doing well this year despite being closed for seven weeks.
It’s all further evidence that despite how horrible this whole situation has been, the silver lining is that golf might emerge from it stronger than ever.
I left with a fresh enthusiasm and desire to improve.
Next week we’re moving on to woods (my favourite), so watch this space to find out how that goes.
You can find out more about Leeds Golf Centre and the coaching Ellie Robinson offers by visiting www.leedsgolfcentre.com. Or, for more about Ellie’s fabulous Rohnisch wardrobe (I’m very jealous) and to view the full range visit www.rohnisch.com.
Image: Getty Images