29 May 2009

David Leadbetter -

During a recent trip the USA I had the pleasure to pose some questions to the worlds most recognized and respected Golf Instructor, David Leadbetter.

Over the past 30 years David Leadbetter achievements both on the course with players and off course in business have allowed him to enjoy the tile as world number 1.

In this interview we learn who is David Leadbetter, his thoughts on technology, the best ways to improve and the state of the game.

Q1. Who is David Leadbetter?

I am originally from England and have been living in Florida for almost 30 years. My worldwide Teaching Headquarters are located in Florida at ChampionsGate near Orlando. As a player in my early years growing up in southern Africa I played briefly on the European Tour before pursuing my passion toward helping others play this great game. As a businessman, I've grown my teaching brand to include over 25 academies worldwide while having the good fortune to coach some of the game's greatest players along the way including Nick Faldo, Nick Price, Ernie Els, and Trevor Immelman. As a family man, my wife Kelly a former LPGA player and I enjoy outdoor activities and playing golf with our three children, while our eldest son Andy Leadbetter currently runs his own teaching center in China.

Q2. What do you feel is the state of the golf industry as a result of the current economy?

As leisure sport the golf industry as a whole has obviously slowed down. However, people will still play the game for enjoyment and to get away from the stress of life. In addition, with prices falling across the board (equipment, tee times etcc.), golf is now becoming more affordable to play so there are opportunities even in tough economic times.

Q3. What would be the best advice you would give a golfer starting out?

Start off right. Take lessons and practice especially the short game!

Q4. Technology of the modern day, it is everywhere these days, how has technology influenced golf instruction.

It has made the art of teaching easier for sure particularly when it comes to analyzing a players game. Younger players like Ryo Ishikawa are growing up in an era where video, 3d motion analyses, and launch monitor data are the norm when it comes to working on their game.

Q5. There is a difference between playing and practicing golf - should one keep a balance to improve? Should one take the thoughts from the range to the course, should you not think and just hit it when playing? What advice would give?

You should work and think on the practice tee so that you can play golf and trust your swing - save the technical thoughts for the practice tee and stay focused on the target when playing!

Q6. What area of the game would David Leadbetter advise to placing more practice time on?

100 yards and in the short game arena is the area of the game amateurs would benefit from practicing if they want to have more fun and shoot lower scores.

Q7. What drives you every day as the worlds number 1 ranked golf instructor?

To try and find golfs secret knowing it's probably unattainable.

Q8. Where is the state of the game? Where are these opportunities in the world of golf?

At the highest level the game is in good shape especially with the success Tiger has had. On the other hand, we need to continue to look at opportunities to grow the game with the younger generation and with the possibility of golf becoming an Olympic sport this could have a huge impact on the growth of the game globally.

Q9. What are your thoughts on Asian golf and its direction?

Obviously the game has grown tremendously over the recent past in this region of the world. You only have to look at players coming out of Japan, China, and Korea to understand that it is only a matter of time before some of these players are winning multiple major championships.

Q10. What advice would offer to a parent introducing a child to golf?
(What age, lessons, clubs etc)

Try to make it short in duration, fun, and enjoyable initially. Once they are able to focus and concentrate a little more you can introduce some instruction and competition. Keep the equipment light and flexible for the little ones and let their own desire for the game fuel their passion to become better players!

Paul Jones, 29 May 2009

About Paul
Paul Jones is based in Tokyo and is currently both the principal and managing partner of ARENA a platform committed to business development opportunities here in Japan and Asia Pacific region. Paul has held roles in all facets of hospitality and leisure industry including management, operations, acquisitions, asset management, marketing/sales, retail and development.

Contact Paul »
Previous Columns