Want to know the secret of teenage sensation Rory McIlroy’s success?
It can be summed up in three words – good, basic fundamentals.
This may not be something ordinary golfers expect to hear, given that the instruction market is deluged with many complicated theories and notions, and ’magic moves’ and ’secrets of the game’.
Michael Bannon, who has coached the 19-year-old Dubai Desert Classic winner since he was an eight-year-old, taught McIlroy the essential elements of grip, stance, posture and alignment from the beginning.
He said: "Whether it’s Rory or any of the best players, you are always working on some part of the basic structure of a good swing.
"He was up with me a few days before he went out to Abu Dhabi, and we had a couple of sessions.
"We worked on making sure his rotation was good and that he wasn’t swaying off the ball, and making sure he could shape his shots both ways, left to right and right to left, because you had to be able to do that on the courses he was going to play.
"His swing was in very good shape in Dubai but even though he won, he’s still not on his total ‘A’ game.
"Rory can be even better than he showed, so there’s plenty more to come from him."
Bannon was the pro at Holywood golf club when Rory’s dad Gerry, the club steward, began bringing the then-three-year-old to hit balls with a plastic set of clubs.
Once he began taking formal lessons with Bannon, who is now the professional at Bangor, McIlroy showed a thirst for knowledge and a dedication to improvement that has made the most of his innate talent.
Bannon preaches the virtue of the proper swing fundamentals, and is now endorsing a revolutionary new teaching product.
It was devised by Warrenpoint’s Pat Trainor, father of South County’s Barrie Trainor, who won the Irish Assistants’ Championship in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
Aimed at beginners, but also a very good aid for any player keen to re-visit the basics, it’s called ‘The 6 Week Golf Lesson’ and it is available for download at www.6weekgolflesson.com.
The theory behind the simple system is based on two ideas: (a) that for most beginners and early learners, the ball is a total distraction and source of tension, and (b) that if you learn to set yourself up properly and make the right moves, the swing becomes more efficient, leading to greater enjoyment of the game.
This is how it works.
First, you enter the internet site mentioned above, and purchase the product. It costs only £29.
Once you are registered, your lessons will download once a week for the six weeks.
You practice each segment as described and illustrated by excellent computer graphics for between five and 10 minutes a day.
By the end of six weeks you have a grasp of the swing, you have programmed the muscle memory and by the time you head out on the fairway to hit balls, you have a really good idea of what you should be doing. The product then stays on your computer for reference whenever you wish.
Bannon said: "If people are patient they will get a lot from this product. I like the concept.
“It’s about making the right movements and reaching the proper positions in the golf swing."
Pat Trainor, who has owned a driving range at Warrenpoint for over 20 years, said: "I noticed over the years at the driving range that many people didn’t change things that were wrong because they were so obsessed with hitting golf balls.
"I thought there must be a way to take away the tension caused by trying to hit a golf ball and to put their attention on doing what’s right, so that the ball just gets swept away by the club as the golfer swings smoothly and properly.”