It is many years since I last stayed at Penina and following the unseasonal weather of the previous two weeks we saw it at its best for the Golf and Coaching. Light winds, blue skies and mid twenties throughout, provided perfect conditions for the 9 participants.
Our accommodation was on a half board basis in the upgraded pool view rooms and a combination of an excellent breakfast spread, evening buffets in the Sagres restaurant and A la Carte dining at the pool side Italian restaurant, including the house wines, looked after the inner man (and woman) throughout our stay very well.
The practice facility is one of the largest in Europe and as the only group using it this week we were perhaps a little spoilt. We commenced the first morning with an introduction to putting and a natural follow on to that is of course chipping. Having set the scene with a little short game I captured everyone on my iPad to get their swings “as they were” on arrival, before a brief swing clinic. Over an extended lunch I was able to give each person an individual viewing and a starting point for range work in the afternoon. For most some revision or adjustment to grip and stance was necessary to enable swing changes to occur.
I think most golfers forget how important the fundamental set up is to consistency. Alignment often being the most difficult on the course. This can take much practice but well worth it. When practicing swing mechanics you should ALWAYS have clubs or practice sticks on the ground so that you know you are practicing with correct alignment. However, getting it right on the course is another matter and needs to be worked at as a separate issue. By far the most common error is aiming too far right (left for lefties.) I think the main problem here is that we look over the left shoulder instead of parallel to it. Put two clubs on the ground, one on line to the target (your ball to target line) and one parallel to it (your body line) and from the correct posture look at the target. Most of you will feel you are aiming too far left. This fault is just as prevalent with chipping and putting so check that too.
Through the week we tackled various aspects of the game, but tried to keep each individual focused on a couple of the key points to them. It does take a few days for changes to begin to bed in and I feel it is more important that the pupil leaves with an understanding and feel for the change so they can keep working on it. The truth is, it takes quite some time of constant attention for it to become repetitive.
Penina is a Championship course and therefore takes a bit of getting to know. One or two lakes and many ditches along the side or crossing fairways are the main feature, along with large raised greens that require good pitching to keep a score together. Congratulations to Nicky, Catherine and Tony who won our end of week team competition. I would like to make a special mention of Karen, relatively new to the game, who very understandably found the ditches and lakes rather challenging, negotiated them with great aplomb on the final day and contributed considerably to the second placed teams score!
See you soon
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