In what’s seen as a golfing education first, The Sports Academy in Maldon, Essex has appointed a custom clubmaker to consult with its students as a regular part of the teaching curriculum – and not just any custom clubmaker either…, writes Dominic O’Byrne.
GCA Clubmaker of the Year Lee Porter is enjoying sustained interest in his methods, as a growing list of club golfers, Tour players and now full-time golf students benefit from his insightful approach to customizing clubs for their owners. Academy-owner Barry Lakin doesn’t know of any comparable further education (FE) establishment that firstly recognizes the importance of this particular mechanic, and secondly has identified the means to address it effectively. The benefits to the students are readily apparent and can be quantified too…
Part of the Sports Academy’s curriculum is to work with leading golf statistics analysis and support system StrokeAverage.com, to keep a close track on how students are progressing with their game. On a club-by-club analysis, it was possible to identify if a student was losing ground in hitting the ball where it was supposed to go. More crucially, due to the fact the Academy coaches were now getting more used to thinking of club-adjustment as a readily addressable component of coaching, it was possible to correct a faulty lie on, say, an 8-iron rather than a more troublesome investigation into something like a student’s biomechanical failure.
Barry Lakin believes it essential to give young players the best chance to develop their game in a swift and sure-footed manner, and that one of the best ways to achieve this is to help ensure their clubs keep pace with their development; as they grow, clubs will lengthen and get heavier, weights will change and swing characteristics will alter.
Parents who can only see an almighty stack of bills can take some comfort though. Lee Porter is well-known for making an impact on a wide range of playing-ability customers, and that means a wide budget choice too.
“I do have clients who gleefully pay as much as £1,200 for a set of custom-made irons,” says Porter. “But that’s where their game is at that time. They’re comfortable with premium Japanese forged steel heads and the best shaft technology money can buy. The majority of my customers, though, are people who need club-adjustment or maybe just a new custom-built driver.
“With young players their mental focus is so acute and their physiology so adaptable, that it often takes only good club maintenance, keeping an eye on club loft & lie, or just noting how improved swing characteristics can benefit from a Tour flex shaft to optimize their game.”
Lee Porter Golf Solutions www.leeporter.co.uk