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Published on : Tuesday, August 9, 2016
When I started work at Stoke Park a few months ago, I made a bucket list of things I want to do whilst working at a 5* Country Club, Hotel and Spa. At the top of the list; I wanted to take the opportunity to play golf. Despite being a keen sportswoman, apart from a few games of ‘crazy golf’, I have never played the sport before.
At 1pm, on Monday 25th July, feeling a combination of excitement and apprehension (what if I couldn’t even hit the ball?), I turned up to the golf office where Senior Teaching Professional, James Jewell, was waiting for me. On arrival, he questioned my knowledge about the sport… naming a bunker, club and par was about the extent of my expertise.
I soon learnt there was more to pars and clubs than just a name. There are 3 types of pars, – varying in distance and number of stokes.
There are also 3 types of clubs:
Each type of club varies by the length of the shaft and the angle of the head – it’s important to select the correct club for each stroke to maximise your chance of success. No wonder you need a golf buggy when you have 14 different clubs to take around the course!
Before I began, I asked what it takes to be a good golfer. James’ response; “Achieving good consistency with your shots – it takes skill to vary your direction and distance”.
The lesson started in the Swing Studio where James gave me a few tips for hitting the ball. The most important thing I gathered was to avoid scooping up the ball with the head. Instead, the aim is to brush the grass and hit through the ball. To hold the club, James’ tip was to position your hand as if you were going to shake someone’s hand.
With the basics covered, and after a few attempts of getting used to brushing the grass, I started to hit some balls. To my surprise, the ball actually flew through the air – some more successfully than others!
For the second half of the lesson, we headed over to the putting green in front of the Mansion. With my experience of ‘crazy golf’, I felt a little more practiced for this area of the game. After a few instructions such as checking the slopes around the hole to work out where to aim, James and I had a little putting competition. Unsurprisingly, James was better than me, however, I exceeded my expectations by only taking one or two more shots to get the ball into the hole than him.
Having enjoyed my first experience so much, I was interested to find out more about the golf department and what they have to offer.
The facilities available
The Golf Academy is equipped with world class technology to improve your game. The Swing Catalyst software can record your swing and compare your technique to a professional. At the end a summary of the lesson can be sent via email so that you can play it back at your own convenience. Trackman is a portable launch monitor which is used to analyse the functionality of your shots. It is a fantastic tool to really understand what happens at impact between the club and the ball.
In addition, club custom fitting is available. For any golf enthusiast, you would be like a kid in a sweet shop looking at the extensive wall of shafts and heads. You are encouraged to try different combinations until the correct customisation is made to fit your body size and build.
There are also a comprehensive variety of lessons on offer, taken by a one of our highly qualified professional coaches. From group programmes to ladies clinic or 1-to-1 sessions, there’s plenty to get involved with.