Richard Wood­house ood­house not only coaches hes Daniel Nis­bet, 2018 NZ Open pen win­ner, but is also mak­ing king a name for him­self in Aus­tralia.

New Zealand Golf Magazine - - CONTENT - Words by An­drew Whi­ley

Richard Wood­house has been Daniel Nis­bet's coach for five years so it was pretty spe­cial for player and coach to be cel­e­brat­ing the lift­ing of the Brodie Breeze tro­phy. Richard is orig­i­nally from Nel­son, hav­ing started play­ing golf at the age of thirteen at the lo­cal Nel­son Golf Club. He was coached by the lo­cal golf pro­fes­sional, Ken Al­lan, and he rep­re­sented Tas­man in many ju­nior pro­vin­cial events. Af­ter leav­ing Nel­son Col­lege, he took up a PGA Trainee­ship with Ken and spent the next three years learn­ing ev­ery­thing he could about the golf in­dus­try and how to help golfers all over the dis­trict im­prove their golf. In 2005, he was named NZPGA Trainee of the Year and the prize of an in­vite to at­tend the Aus­tralasian PGA Golf Teach­ing Sum­mit would be a cat­a­lyst in chang­ing his life.

Lis­ten­ing and meet­ing some of the fa­mous names in the golf in­dus­try gave Richard the con­fi­dence to see that this was his fu­ture. He had the op­por­tu­nity to chat with Hank Haney and en­gage with some of the other key pre­sen­ters. It was this ex­po­sure that so­lid­i­fied his goal of be­com­ing a full­time golf coach. Re­al­is­ing that there were lim­ited op­por­tu­ni­ties in New Zealand to ful­fil his dream, he took off to the Gold Coast and he was soon coach­ing at Royal Pines, work­ing un­der the Aussie le­gend teach­ing pro Mark “Gibbo” Gib­son.

A key part of work­ing at Royal Pines was that it was home to the PGA In­ter­na­tional Golf In­sti­tute (IGI) pro­gramme that is part of the Aus­tralian PGA ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme as­so­ci­ated with Grif­fiths Uni­ver­sity. So a lot of his time was spent coach­ing and de­vel­op­ing golfers that were look­ing to make a ca­reer out of the game. This led to com­bin­ing two of Richard's pas­sions – work­ing with elite play­ers and lever­ag­ing golf tech­nol­ogy to en­hance player per­for­mance.

As Richard's rep­u­ta­tion grew and the qual­ity of his play­ers de­vel­oped, he was soon part of the Queens­land Golf high per­for­mance coach­ing panel which led to roles as a Queens­land State Coach and to lead­ing the suc­cess­ful Queens­land women's golf team. Dur­ing this pe­riod, he was re­cruited be the Di­rec­tor of Coach­ing at KDV Sport Golf Academy, right in the heart of the Gold Coast. This $25-mil­lion fa­cil­ity is a world lead­ing, golf in­struc­tion en­vi­ron­ment where golfers of all lev­els are now com­ing to de­velop their games. The fa­cil­ity has a fo­cus on golf and ten­nis and in­cludes a ‘state of the art' fit­ness cen­tre, swim­ming pool and re­cov­ery cen­tre pro­vid­ing a holis­tic and to­tal-body ap­proach to sport. The goal is re­ally around player de­vel­op­ment and cre­at­ing a path­way model which al­lows for an 8 or 9 year old to grow and de­velop into a world class player. Richard al­ways had a fo­cus around fit­ness, train­ing and body de­vel­op­ment and the pro­grammes at KDV are very much based on the Titleist Per­for­mance In­sti­tute (TPI) pro­grammes.

Richard and his three se­nior in­struc­tors along with two strength and con­di­tion­ing coaches en­joy the state of the art fa­cil­ity equipped with 40 bay range, short game train­ing fa­cil­ity, track­man, 3D, bal­ance labs and fully equipped gym. They are ex­perts in biome­chan­ics and with the 3d anal­y­sis they com­bine the player's phys­i­cal at­tributes and golf skills that are en­hanced with spe­cific strength and con­di­tion­ing pro­grammes. Golfers like Daniel Nis­bet have re­ally em­braced the game de­vel­op­ment ap­proach espe­cially around tech­ni­cal swing mea­sure­ments but at the same time with the em­pha­sis in scor­ing and coach­ing plans to as­sist the play­ers to un­der­stand their own “golf­ing model”

But Richard's suc­cess is not just based around Daniel. He has es­tab­lished one of the strong­est sta­bles of Aus­tralian golf tal­ent with top play­ers now seek­ing him out or stop­ping by to be a part of the en­vi­ron­ment at KDV. The cur­rent top Aus­tralian PGA Tour play­ers work­ing with Richard in­clude Dimi Pa­padatos (2014 NZ Open win­ner), Brett Rankin, Tim Hart, Lin­coln Tighe and Ray Beau­fils, along with former NZ am­a­teur player, ShinAe Ahn, who has played for the last 10 years on the KLPGA and Japanese Ladies' tours win­ing the pres­ti­gious KLPGA Cham­pi­onship. Just re­cently, one of his other star am­a­teur stu­dents, Rebecca Kay, won one of Aus­tralia's elite am­a­teur tro­phies – the Rivers­dale Cup. In 2016, Richard was recog­nised as the Aus­tralian Teach­ing Pro­fes­sional of the Year, with his stu­dents win­ning on six Pro Tours world-wide.

Richard mar­ried his wife three years ago, but when Richard was first in­tro­duced to Al­li­son, he knew her first as a den­tist and a good golfer. How­ever, he quickly dis­cov­ered she had played golf for Aus­tralia and at­tended the Uni­ver­sity of Ne­vada, Las Ve­gas, on a golf schol­ar­ship. To­day, she plays off scratch at the Sanc­tu­ary Cove Golf Club. Her un­der­stand­ing of his role in golf has been vi­tal as he now spends many weeks a year on the road fol­low­ing golfers, lead­ing golf teams or speak­ing at coach­ing sum­mits around the world.

Ac­cord­ing to Richard, Daniel's suc­cess has re­ally come about af­ter a great pe­riod of de­vel­op­ment and also ma­tu­rity on and off the course. Daniel's wife Ash­ley, who plays golf pro­fes­sion­ally, is also a fit­ness trainer. She has been im­por­tant in keep­ing Daniel de­vel­op­ing as a player. Richard and Daniel re­ally worked hard on im­prov­ing his 3-D mea­sure­ment data and im­prov­ing his ball flight. “Daniel is a per­fec­tion­ist and al­ways wants to un­der­stand the num­bers; once we got him mov­ing in an ef­fec­tive se­quence, it wasn't about teach­ing but more about coach­ing and mon­i­tor­ing. One great at­tribute Daniel has is that he could al­ways back him­self to go low” and that was very much the case at the NZ Open.

In 2016, Daniel's first big win came at the PGA Tour of China event at Clear­wa­ter Bay. Then, through the second half of 2017, Daniel's game showed some pos­i­tive signs at the Aus­tralian Open and the Aus­tralian PGA Cham­pi­onship that was played at nearby Royal Pines. Un­for­tu­nately, an el­bow in­jury flared-up so Daniel rested for most of De­cem­ber and Jan­uary be­fore pick­ing up the mo­men­tum lead­ing into the 2018 NZ Open.

On the Tues­day af­ter­noon, from the driv­ing range, Daniel shared some swings and feel­ings with Richard who was trav­el­ling back from Ger­many. Richard had been one of the mar­quee speak­ers at the Ger­man PGA Coach­ing Sum­mit. The pat­tern that Daniel slips into is an early pulling down on the grip in tran­si­tion lead­ing to the swing get­ting steep on the down­swing, hit­ting block­ing shots out to the right. So the “swing feel/aware­ness” for the week was to make left arm - one arm prac­tice swings that helped to get the club shal­lower through the bot­tom of the swing.

Richard and Daniel con­tin­ued to stay con­nected through­out the week and they talked about “switch­ing on and off” be­tween shots. They also knew it was im­por­tant for Daniel to keep his mind en­gaged and lock in the pos­i­tive thoughts. Af­ter the Satur­day prac­tice ses­sion fol­low­ing the third round, Richard could sense that Daniel was fired-up and ready to attack the course on Sun­day.

Richard was dis­ap­pointed he couldn't be at Mill­brook for the tour­na­ment but it was great to see Daniel win the New Zealand Open. “As a Kiwi, it was thrilling for me to play a part and see him lift the tro­phy that I grew up idol­is­ing!”

Richard Wood­house work­ing with Daniel Nis­bet.

Richard Wood­house coach­ing.

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