Game im­prove­ment gold mine

Golf Digest Middle East - - Editor's Letter - KENT GRAY [email protected]­ti­vate.ae Twit­ter: @Ken­tGrayGolf / @GolfDigestME

At a 30th Omega Dubai Desert Clas­sic plan­ning meet­ing re­cently, a golfer out the win­dow of Fal­con Golf’s of­fice caught my eye. The pitch shots he re­peat­edly nes­tled next to the se­ries of dif­fer­ent flags on the prac­tice green through the of­fice’s semi­trans­par­ent blinds be­came a se­ri­ous dis­trac­tion - who was this wedge wizard?

The give­away was the tip-to-toe black en­sem­ble Peter Cowen has made his wardrobe trade­mark. Le­gend has it the coach to the stars plonks align­ment train­ing rods in the ground back at his U.K. base and then pro­ceeds to wow on­look­ers by hit­ting the mi­nus­cule sticks al­most at will. The way he had his wedge/wand di­alled in on the Ma­jlis prac­tice green gives me lit­tle rea­son to doubt the myth­i­cal tale.

We’re se­ri­ously for­tu­nate to have the ilk of Cowen bring­ing their meth­ods to the ranges of the Mid­dle East. We religiously fea­ture a tip from the pros at the Dubai Creek branch of the Peter Cowen Acad­emy Dubai within these pages and this month’s is clever in its sim­plic­ity as head pro Mike Kinloch shows how a sim­ple sleeve of balls can help you flush it off the tee. If you saw Cowen on that Mon­day lunchtime, you’d be rush­ing to Dubai Golf sis­ter-prop­erty Emi­rates Golf Club for a short game les­son too, hop­ing some of the magic passed on from the English­man to Stephen Deane’s team of teach­ing pros might rub off.

Tu­ition is the DNA of Golf Di­gest and a par­tic­u­lar favourite are the tips from David Lead­bet­ter, gems all which de­servedly war­rant prime real es­tate in our monthly of­fer­ing. You’ll find the coach of seven for­mer world No.1s and a man who has coached play­ers to 22 ma­jor ti­tles in his usual slot this month on p19 in ad­di­tion to our spe­cial cover fea­ture.

It was a gen­uine thrill to spend a morn­ing with the 66-year-old ahead of the of­fi­cial open­ing of the Mid­dle East’s first Lead­bet­ter Golf Acad­emy at JA The Re­sort last month. I’ve fol­lowed Lead­bet­ter’s teach­ings ever since he re­mod­elled the swing of my boy­hood hero Nick Faldo, a risky move that net­ted the English­man six ma­jors and a knight­hood but one Lead­bet­ter ad­mits would never be at­tempted to­day.

Lead­bet­ter touches on the re­la­tion­ship with Faldo that brought him world­wide ac­claim in the 1980s in a fas­ci­nat­ing in­ter­view start­ing on p42.

As an aside, ku­dos to JA The Re­sort for their own re­cent re­mod­elling job. Peter Har­ra­dine’s re-de­sign of the nine-holer’s three open­ing holes, from a par 5-3-4 lay­out to a par 4-4-3, is se­ri­ously im­pres­sive and adds real strate­gic and aes­thetic in­ter­est to an al­ready chal­leng­ing and pretty course.

If you need help ne­go­ti­at­ing the re­vi­talised course, Jebel Ali’s long-serv­ing head pro Stu­art Fee has just com­pleted his Lead­bet­ter Acad­emy ac­cred­i­ta­tion and for­mer Euro­pean and Asian Tour pro Yasin Ali is part way through his. I can per­son­ally vouch for Lead­bet­ter’s meth­ods; my grip didn’t past the mas­ter’s war­rant of fit­ness and a sim­ple tweak, which pre­dictably felt awk­ward at first, had me strik­ing iron shots as sweet as I have in years a cou­ple of days later at Jumeirah Golf Es­tates.

Yes, we sure are lucky when it comes to golf in­struc­tion in the UAE. U.S.-bound Justin Par­sons will be sorely missed but his soon-to-be an­nounced re­place­ment at the Butch Har­mon School of Golf at The Els Club is an­other glob­ally recog­nised name. There re­ally never has been a bet­ter time in the Mid­dle East to get your game in shape.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.