Bunker Lessons with David Leadbetter at His Stoke Park Golf Academy
Article by Golfshake Ambassador Andrew Picken at Stoke Park
The globally respected golf instructor David Leadbetter recently opened his flagship UK golf academy at the luxurious Stoke Park Country Club in Buckinghamshire.
Sussex born, he now has over forty academies across the globe everywhere from Agadir to Bali, Bangkok to Beijing.
The coaching pioneer, who has worked with legendary figures including Sir Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, Greg Norman and Nick Price, has created this academy to become the headquarters of his European empire. David has coached players to 26 major championship titles and over 150 individual worldwide tournament victories. Seven of those players have even held first place in the Official World Golf Ranking.
The Leadbetter Golf Academy at Stoke Park
The Leadbetter Golf Academy at Stoke Park offers a holistic approach to golf instruction that incorporates swing analysis, course management, mental preparation and physical conditioning. They aim to provide structured and progressive lessons that enhance long term development and ultimately enjoyment of the game.
The facilities include a driving range with year-round grass and all weather surfaces, an indoor swing studio, tour standard short game area with four bunkers and putting green.
These facilities were used to great effect when David gave a superb coaching clinic, as I discovered myself. When the great man asked for volunteers (victims), my son (also in attendance) shouted out declaring that I am the poorest bunker player in the Midlands and in need of radical surgery.
This resulted in a one to one session with the revered coach in front of my media colleagues. What could possibly go wrong?
Firstly, David asked me to hit a line he has drawn in the sand. No ball, just a line in the sand. He wanted to hear the sound of me hitting the sand and see how I use the bounce of the club. He was in the bunker with me wearing a large protective boot as he was recovering from surgery. My first attempted shot gouges out a pound of sand. This lump of sand rose up David's leg and literally filled his boot. I was mortified. He made light of my error but I note he discreetly moved at least another six-feet away from my flailing sand wedge.
He explained that the main error made by amateur golfers is a failure to grip the club correctly He changed mine and within seconds I was launching balls out bunkers like Ernie Els. My bunker play since this visit has improved massively.
Leadbetter Academy at Stoke Park Opening Day Images
Academy Elite Scholarship Scheme
The academy features an elite scholarship scheme for 24 of the country’s best prospects, the majority of whom are playing at an international level for England Golf.
Pprovides support for among others; Conor Gough, the fifteen-year-old who broke the course record at Stoke Park with a 63, including a seven-under back-nine, a year ago at an astonishing fourteen years of age.
I first had the pleasure of meeting Conor at an event organised by Golfing 4 Life when playing in a media day at The Centurion Club. He played in the Golfshake team and made a very positive impression on me by his attitude and obvious talent.
I returned to the office clutching the winner’s trophy after this great experience and said that I felt I had played golf with some of the most talented golfers I had ever met. Could I just have played golf with a future major winner? It is a little unfair to burden these talents with the weight of expectation but my predictions are proving to have merit when monitoring the G4L stable.
Conor Gough claimed his second major win of the summer with victory at the McGregor Trophy (English Boys’ Under-16 Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship) at Kedleston Park in Derbyshire.
Having previously won the Fairhaven Trophy earlier in the season, he birdied four of his last six holes to win the prestigious McGregor Trophy by one shot from Ben Schmidt.
The teenager’s latest success puts him in illustrious company with the likes of world number one Justin Rose and Edoardo Molinari – brother of Open champion Francesco. This is undoubtedly one of golf’s most sought-after under-16 titles.
Stoke Park club mates Taylor Paul and Tom Gregory further demonstrated the clubs strength in depth by also qualifying for the national tournament, with Paul also impressing as he finished in a tie for 14th place.
The Buckinghamshire venue has plenty to look forward to with its girls’ section as well with a number of players showing immense promise including Daisy Kennedy, who carded two rounds of 71 on her way to finishing joint 16th at this month’s English Women’s Amateur Championship at Wilmslow Golf Club in Cheshire.
The academy members are taught by the six Leadbetter-certified instructors. Many of whom have Challenge and EuroPro Tour experience and have had to pass Leadbetter’s meticulously designed 54-point training regime.
For more information about the Academy, visit https://davidleadbetter.com/academy/stoke-park/.
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