A record 600 professionals and several distinguished speakers attended the PGA of Europe’s 1999 Conference at Torremolinos on Spain’s Costa del Sol.
Among the speakers were Dick Coop, a sports psychologist who worked closely with the late Payne Stewart, and American club professional Randy Smith who has taught Justin Leonard since he was 12-years-old.
Smith stressed the importance of ensuring that children are encouraged to play the game for enjoyment and stressed the need for exceptional young players to be discouraged from over-practising. “It is important that children are allowed to develop their skills in their own time,” he said. “If they are interested in something other than golf they should be allowed to follow that interest.”
Coop and John Jacobs, the PGA of Europe’s president, both spoke about the necessity of keeping things simple while remaining open to new ideas and methods while Solheim Cup captain Pia Nilson discussed the Swedish coaching philosophy.
“It is important to remain non-ego driven,” she said. “If you are a coach you are only successful if your players are successful – people need different levels of attention and players will only get better if you work with and not against them.”
Other contributors to the four-day conference were top coaches Jim McLean, Denis Pugh, Chuck Cook, Bill Ferguson and Keith Williams, European senior tour No 1 Tommy Horton, and putting guru Harold Swash.