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Shandon Leading the way

By Peter Hutcheon

Ulster golfers can learn to play the David Leadbetter way now that one of his renowned academies has opened at Shandon Park in Belfast.

Professional golf instructor Peter Morgan set up the Leadbetter Academy — the first anywhere in Ireland — at the start of the year.

David Leadbetter rose to worldwide prominence as the man who remodelled Nick Faldo’s swing in the early 80s — and the Englishman went on to subsequently win six Major titles.

“The Leadbetter approach to the game is simple — there’s no one size fits all solution,” explains Morgan.

“If you look at Nick Faldo’s swing, it’s different from Tiger Woods, because he is a much taller man and has a completely different physique.

“So we assess a players’ abilities, their physicality and work to create a swing that makes the most of their capabilities.”

Morgan, from Crossgar in Co Down, worked for years at Bangor Golf Club with Michael Bannon — Rory McIlroy’s coach — before moving to the east Belfast club.

“Shandon Park were open to the idea of the academy because this is a club with a great tradition in club competitions and in international representation.

“Now we are trying to get our young players back up to that standard.”

Not that the academy is limited to members at Shandon Park.

“We’re setting up an arrangement with TaylorMade to have state-of-the-art equipment ready to use here,” explains Morgan.

“The idea is that anyone can hop on a bus from the city centre for a lesson with no need to drag their clubs all the way out here.”

Although Leadbetter is known as one of the world’s leading swing experts his academy approach extends to every aspect of the game.

One aspect of the Academy which marks it out from lessons from a standard club professional, is that Morgan can dedicate his time completely to golf instruction with no other distractions.

“We have great facilities here at Shandon, a great short game practice area, great indoor facilities and video equipment and after every lesson you take away a DVD so you can continue working at home at your own pace.

“And we can take the camera outdoors as well and video you out on the course.

“I’m a great believer in seeing people out on the course because then you can see how they react in certain situations.

“Golf’s not just about building a swing — it’s a much more mental game than that and so our approach is about every aspect of golf, the long game, short game, putting and attitude.”

Belfast Telegraph

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