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Golfing Machine comes to Northern Ireland

By Peter Hutcheon

They are the words that every player wants to hear: How would you like to hit it longer and straighter?

And according to Australian golf guru Paul Smith, pretty much everyone could.

He's an advocate of an alternative method of teaching the game called The Golfing Machine which this week he introduced to Northern Ireland with a series of seminars at Balmoral Golf club in Belfast.

"The theory isn't new at all really," he explains.

"It's based on the work on an American called Homer Kelly who came from an engineering background and who developed an interest in the golf swing.

"He broke it down to 24 individual components and eventually worked out a neutral starting point."

The key to the whole thing is the set-up or address as a quick demonstration by Paul underlined.

He aligns the clubface behind the ball and then gets the player to position himself accordingly.

The net effect is the ball suddenly feels far more forward in the stance even with a pitching wedge in hand and the angle of the shaft in much more pronounced.

"This is a foolproof method of getting into position," Smith says.

"People try to have the same set-up for every shot but in reality it will vary wildly all the time."

The correct set-up should in turn lead to a much greater quality of strike on the ball.

"Since I changed to this method it's transformed my game," says Andrew Norby, the Balmoral member who set up this week's visit.

"This is going to take off in a really big way over the next few years.

"I feel like I'm hitting it so much better now but people I play with have noticed the difference as well."

Andrew came across the Golfing Machine via the iseekgolf website (, a leading Australian golf site.

Full details of Smith's method can be found there under the section about golf school.

"People play golf with the perception of what they think they are supposed to be doing," says Paul.

"This gives them the basis of what they should be doing.

"And it's the same concept for someone at 80 years of age as it is for top level professional players."

The correct swing should make contact with the ball first then the ground.

"Many players do not understand why they take a divot or don't even take a divot at all because in their swing they are trying to scoop the ball up into the air," adds Smith.

"If you look at someone like South African Ernie Els, who takes a big divot, it’s because he is making contact with the ball first and then the ground.

"That's because this system will immediately help get players into the right position in that crucial impact zone.

"The lowest part of the swing is actually in front of the ball ... and that's why a divot is produced."

Smith flew into Belfast directly from Hong Kong and flew on to America.

Norby plans to invite him back to Balmoral again, perhaps next year.

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