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pack your clubs n golf tuition breaks

Monty’s mantras

n tlm editor Peter Ellegard under the eye of instructor Sven at Turnberry

Colin Montgomerie’s tips for improving your golf: l Keep it simple l Always think positive thoughts l Use the same swing for every club l Every club should be your favourite l Stay loose l Keep your hands soft l Putt 18 inches beyond the cup

The full

Monty

Whether you are trying to improve your game or taking golf up as a complete beginner, there is nothing like taking a dedicated tuition break with intensive lessons. Perennial hacker Peter Ellegard went straight to the top in his quest fter 15 years of hacking around fairways as an occasional weekend golfer, I had been invited to Scotland’s luxury Turnberry golf resort as part of a hosted event including a round on its hallowed Ailsa links course – where Tom Watson beat Jack Nicklaus in the famous “Duel in the Sun” Open Championship in 1977 – plus a group clinic by top golf star Colin Montgomery at his new links golf academy. Not only that, but I was on a charge while playing the Ailsa’s sibling, then called the Arran, with a string of bogies and the odd par. Not exactly Tigerish, perhaps, but still good for a 23 handicapper.

Peter Ellegard

A

Autumn 2011

I had just hit the drive of my life on the picturesque, par-4 8th hole, leaving a short chip down onto a green nestling in a cove and was about to take my shot when a Range Rover drove onto the fairway and pulled up behind me. Out stepped Monty and a photographer, ready to snap him with me and my playing partners. But he signalled for me to carry on. All of a sudden, my composure went and my hands started sweating. I jabbed at the ball, knocking it into the rough I was trying to chip over. Then fluffed the next shot, and the next, getting ever more nervous. After five attempts I picked the ball up, and as I trudged over to join the others, Monty chuckled when I told him he had just ruined my best-ever round. Indeed, over the rest of the round the wheels well and truly came off. Fast forward 10 or so years and I am back at Turnberry, once again with Monty. Only this time I am there to take part in the annual Colin Montgomerie Summer Golf School.

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pack your clubs n golf tuition breaks

pack your clubs n golf tuition breaks

golf tuition facts

“Monty’s philosophy can be summed up in three words – keep it simple”

control With just 12 of us on the weekend course, and Monty with us for the first afternoon before handing over to his instructors, there’s a chance to chat with him before a fascinating 90-minute clinic, during which he explains how he believes golf should be played. Monty’s philosophy can be summed up in three words – keep it simple. Which he then demonstrates with a range of shots, all played with effortless power and control. If only… Over lunch, I had told him about our previous Turnberry encounter and how it had left my golf in tatters. He apologised, but added I could never be a tour pro if I couldn’t handle pressure like that. I got my chance to prove that when we all teed off on Turnberry’s nine-hole course, with Monty hitting a drive on the first hole with each group. When my turn came, I took out my trusty hybrid and focused on the shot, determined not to let my nerves get the better of me. It worked. The ball flew straight down the middle, to my delight and the applause of Monty and the others. I had exorcised one demon.

n Splashing out to the 8th green on the Kintyre course at Turnberry

The academy’s instructors monitored us while we played before a farewell reception with Monty back at the clubhouse and a group dinner in the hotel that evening. Next morning we were split into four groups, each with an instructor. I drew a personable South African called Sven and we played the Kintyre course with him, before our first instruction session. My golf hasn’t improved in years and I have always struggled with distance. I have had lessons at several golf academies, but they have generally been just an hour or so with no-one watching me play. Invariably they have given me so many things to think about it scrambled my brain and my golf suffered even more.

exagerrate Sven had noticed I tend to hit the ball with my weight too far back, instead of transferring weight to my front foot. As a result, my shots lacked power, kept low and often squirted to the right.

golf science I stayed on at Turnberry after the Monty golf school weekend to undergo a two-hour session next morning at the resort’s TaylorMade Performance Lab, one of only two in the UK. There, your swing is analysed in detail by a battery of high-tech gizmos, with the aim of checking whether your clubs suit your game and, if not, to find ones that do. First, you put on a vest, belt, overshoes and wrist, arm and leg bands studded with reflective markers. Six high-speed video cameras are trained on you and as you swing, your movements are translated into an on-

62 tlm n the travel & leisure magazine

n Peter Ellegard at Turnberry’s TaylorMade Performance Lab screen avatar (the technology was developed by the same company behind the special effects for the movie, Avatar). The results showed why my shots often veer right, or go straight left. I bring my clubs down from too vertical a plane, technically an out-to-in swing, and hit the ball with an open club face.

www.tlm-magazine.co.uk

To cure it would take many months deconstructing my swing, so the TMPL fitter, Ian, tried me with different clubs and shafts to try and counter my faults. He then gave me a CD with the results and his recommendations. He suggests I keep my irons but try different woods with whippier shafts and greater loft. He also analysed my putting on the lab’s special green, giving me a new-style putter with a lofted face to try. It instantly transformed my putting to 100% success. I liked it so much I bought the club – all £120 of it! l Two-hour club fitting sessions at Turnberry’s TaylorMade Performance Lab cost £150. For details, call 01655 331235 or visit www.luxurycollection/turnberry.

Autumn 2011

He told me one thing, to exaggerate the follow through as if I was walking after the ball – like fellow South African Gary Player used to do. And it worked a treat. Within minutes I was hitting drives on the range straighter, higher and longer than I have ever done. Same with my irons. From my favourite, the lob wedge, to the five iron I rarely use for fear of duffing it (although Monty says you shouldn’t favour any club). After another group dinner, followed by the odd dram or two in the bar, it was back to the academy next morning for more tuition, this time concentrating on the short game. Having satisfied chief pro Michael with my bunker shots and chipping, Sven suggested how I could improve my putting, by narrowing my stance and putting the ball closer to me and nearer my front foot. Putting has always been my strong suit but Sven reckoned the new technique would improve it even more. We finished the weekend school with a competition on the Ailsa course, where Tom Watson came heartbreakingly close to winning the Open again in 2009. Putting new golf techniques into practice takes time, but I played much better even if the new putting style wasn’t coming naturally. I didn’t win, that honour deservedly going to a 14year-old lad in my four-ball. But I was happy with my golf and I showed Sven I was following his advice as he watched on. It may have only been a weekend, but I and my newfound friends, both fellow students and academy instructors, had formed a common bond, and everyone said how useful they had found it besides it being an enjoyable experience. Spending some time with Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup captain, Monty, was the icing on the cake – and the reason two of the participants have kept coming back, seven years running. His laid-back style, echoed by his team of pros, and his genuine approachability and friendliness helped make the experience one I will always treasure. Doing it in such glorious surroundings and at such an iconic and sumptuous resort as Turnberry made it even more

Autumn 2011

other uk golf academies

Marriott

n Turnberry academy instructors

The world’s only links golf academy features teaching programmes designed by eightn Turnberry’s driving range time European Tour Order of Merit winner Colin Montgomerie. Facilities include indoor and outdoor teaching areas, simulators and swing analysers, 16 covered bays, open-air range and short-game area. Tuition includes 60minute lessons for £80, one-hour putting lessons for £50 and one-hour family lessons for £99. The three-day Colin Montgomerie Summer Golf School takes place every year. This year it cost from £798, fully-inclusive. www.luxurycollection.com/turnberry

Peter Ellegard

Peter Ellegard

colin montgomerie links golf academy, turnberry

UK resorts and hotel groups with golf academies include 2014 Ryder Cup host Gleneagles (www.gleneagles.com), De Vere Hotels (www.devere.co.uk) with facilities including the Nike Golf Academy at Oulton Hall & Spa, and hotel chain Marriott (www.marriottgolf.co.uk), which has 11 UK golf hotels and offers a Kids Golf-4-Free programme allowing children to have a free lesson when accompanying an adult taking a paid lesson, with free club use. Among UK golf schools with tuition packages are n Kids Golf-4-Free the James Andrews School of Golf at Sedlescombe Golf Course in East Sussex (www.golfschool.co.uk) and the David Short Golf School (www.shortgolfschool.co.uk), with programmes at several courses.

overseas golf academies Most golf resorts offer tuition. Popular ones include Spain’s La Manga Club (www.lamangaclub.com) and La Cala (www.lacala.com) resort, which has Spain’s only David Leadbetter Academy, and Penina (www.lemeridienpenina.com/en/golf) on Portugal’s Algarve. Tuition is also offered by all-inclusive resort companies Club Med (www.clubmed.co.uk) and Sandals (www.sandals.com/golf) among others.

packages Tour operators with golf tuition packages include Golfbreaks.com (www.golfbreaks.com), Solo’s (www.solosholidays.co.uk/golf), Premier Iberian (www.premieriberian.com), GolfPlanet Holidays (www.golfplanetholidays.com) and Your Golf Travel (www.yourgolftravel.com).

special. And I even managed to exorcise another demon, by parring the very hole I blew up on in front of Monty a decade earlier. As I said goodbye to Sven I asked for his honest appraisal of what my handicap could get down to. Quick as a flash he replied 15-18. I just need to keep practising his advice and Monty’s tips.

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golf n news

Don’t pack your clubs W ith the cost of taking your clubs on a golfing holiday becoming ever more daunting thanks to airline excess baggage charges, a solution which makes it easier on your wallet as well as your back is fast gaining favour. ClubstoHire.com was launched a year ago by Paul McGinley, Ryder Cup star and victorious GB & Ireland team captain in the recent Vivendi Seve Trophy, to allow golfers to rent clubs in their holiday destination and avoid paying the airline fees, which can amount to £80 return for clubs. Golf club rental is currently available at seven airports – Faro, Malaga, Dublin, Edinburgh, Gran Canaria and newly-added Murcia and Alicante – and since its inception the company claims to have saved golfers over £500,000 in airline charges. A wide range of equipment is offered from top brands Wilson, TaylorMade, Callaway and MD Golf, with left and right-handed sets for both ladies and men. Rental periods can be from just one day to four weeks, and golfers who really want to cut down on their luggage can rent golf shoes. The service is easy to use; golfers simply order online ahead of travel and pick up the hire set at the destination airport. The clubs, which cost the same

GOLF CLIPS A new range of golf sweaters from Scottish-based clothing company Glenmuir uses scientific water-repellent technology to allow golfers to wear them in light rain or

n Paul McGinley

WIN a week’s club rental for four worth £200 You can WIN a week’s rental of golf clubs including TaylorMade R11s for you and three golfing buddies, worth 220 euros (around £200), from any of ClubstoHire.com’s locations. The prize is valid for 12 months, excluding September and October, 2012, and three weeks’ notice is required. For details, go to www.tlm-magazine.co.uk and click on Competitions. Terms and conditions apply. Closing date November 18, 2011.

n Derwent sweater short showers without having to resort to waterproofs. The lambswool men’s and ladies’ sweaters in the Autumn/Winter 2011 collection feature special Bionic-Finish nanotechnology and cost from £70-£80. www.glenmuir.com The second course at upmarket Greek golf resort Costa Navarino is now open for play. The Bay Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr, overlooks the historic bay of Navarino in the south-west Peloponnese and augments the resort’s Bernard Langer-designed Dunes Course and two fivestar, Starwood-managed hotels. www.costanavarino.com

n ClubtoHire.com’s Faro shop

at each location, range from 35 euros per week for a rental set of MD Golf Seve clubs up to 55

euros for TaylorMade R11s. Go to www.clubstohire.com for more information.

Pebble splash ollow in the spike marks of Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell and splash out on a new golf getaway to California’s iconic Pebble Beach resort from sports tour operator ITC Sports. The four-night package includes return British Airways flights to San Francisco, accommodation at The Lodge at Pebble Beach and three rounds of golf on The Links at Spanish Bay, Spyglass Hill and the legendary Pebble Beach Golf Links – where GMac won the US Open in 2010. Prices start from £2,995 per person and include a golf buggy and unlimited range balls for the three rounds, and membership of the Spanish Bay Club and

Autumn 2011

Peter Ellegard

F

n Pebble Beach Links

the Beach & Tennis Club with use of their facilities. Visit www.itcsports.co.uk for more information.

Golfers can book tee times at discounted rates 24 hours a day at 49 courses in Portugal’s Algarve and Lisbon areas and 44 Spanish courses including the Costa del Sol, Costa Blanca and Canary Islands via a new app from Algarve-based Just Tee Times. A free iPhone or Android download, it includes course reviews, videos and maps. www.justteetimes.com/mobile

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