It wasn’t just Phil Mickelson who was a winner at Muirfield with thousands of spectators also receiving a free lesson with a PGA Professional.
A 23-strong group of talented coaches worked tirelessly under the blazing Scottish sun to deliver more than 1,000 lessons at the R&A Swing Zone.
Among those taking advantage was ex-Olympic skier turned tour pro who let PGA Advanced Professional Steve Scott-Bowen from Bristol Golf Club give his game the once over. And he was so impressed he solicited Scott-Bowen’s contact details to follow up his lesson.
“We’ve had such a broad range of abilities from beginners to intermediates to tour players,” said Scott-Bowen. “It was a real pleasure to teach someone of that standard and having them come into the R&A Swing Zone for a free lesson.
“You could see he had a great swing, but we just made a couple of tweaks and it made all the difference. You never know, we might retain him for the future.
“He was really impressed and actually asked me to send him his details and send him the video of his lesson straight away.”
Among Scott-Bowen’s fellow pros were first timers Jamie Cundy, a PGA Advanced Professional from the John Letters Academy in Solihull and Kirsty McDonald from Leen Valley Golf Centre.
Both revelled in what Cundy dubbed the experience of a lifetime. “It’s the most amazing thing I have experienced, it’s almost life changing,” he said. “I didn’t know quite what to expect, I had not chatted to people who had done it before so it was all completely new and it has been fantastic.
“I’ve had all kinds of abilities and players but it’s surprising how many of them don’t have regular lessons, so we have been encouraging them to follow up their free lesson by getting coaching with their local PGA Professional.”
Reflecting on why people do not take lessons, Cundy added: “I think a lot of golfers think they can figure it out for themselves by looking at YouTube videos or instruction tips in magazines.
“And I think that’s why many golfers are struggling, they are getting very confused working on things they’ve read in a magazine and which might be totally inapplicable to them.
“But it’s amazing what you can do with someone in 15 minutes. You can almost transform someone’s game in a very short amount of time.”
Like all the pros, Kirsty McDonald, who is chairman of the WPGA, was using technology to film the swings and reinforce the lesson.
“We’re using the iPad to demonstrate and show, and then as a reminder so they can take it to their PGA Pro when they get back home,” she said. “The feedback we’ve had has been really positive, in just a relatively few minutes we’re able to change a few things and help them hit the ball better.”
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