David Leadbetter, the World’s No 1 golf coach, was paying his yearly visit to the remarkable teaching facility at Terre Blanche, the five-star golf resort near Fayence.
It is here that Leadbetter has based one of his famed teaching academies – there are now 28 spread across 13 countries – and where a privileged few were getting the undoubted benefit of a hands-on instruction session from the great man.
Leadbetter has coached a courseful of champion golfers, including Nick Faldo, Greg Norman and Ernie Els, more recently the likes of Ian Poulter, Michelle Wie and Trevor Immelman. His experience and instinct have lead him to avoid sticking to a rigid method; flexibility and the right approach are his watchwords.
The Terre Blanche pupils had breakfasted with Leadbetter before heading for the five-star practice facility. After a warm-up the tuition team got to work. Alain Alberti, Director of the Leadbetter Academy and coach to Raphael Jacquelin, and Jean-Jacques Rivet, head of the science of “biomechanics” on the European Tour, were assisting Leadbetter. Swings were videoed, technical exercises worked through.
After lunch, more work on the swing plus instruction on chipping and putting, then a debriefing session. Personalised technical advice plus a workout programme would be sent though later.
Once lessons were over Leadbetter talked about the latest target for his teaching – the Common (not very good) Golfer.
“My philosophy has evolved since writing my first book, The Golf Swing, 30 years ago. I wanted to try and find an easier way to teach the game.
“In most countries golf is stagnating at best, in the US more courses are closing than opening. Many people are put off taking up the game because they think it takes a long time to learn how to become a competent golfer.
“That’s why I’ve written my first instruction book in 10 years – it’s called the A-Swing. In it, I aim at simplicity, overall an easier way to teach and to learn.
“It’s obvious that the better you play the more you enjoy the game. With my new approach I am confident I can get new golfers to a better standard in less time.”