Every amateur golfer wants insider tips from the Pros on how they hit the ball further, sink more 6 footers, stop a slice, the best clubs etc etc. With this in mind we thought we might be able to help our clients in their quest for the perfect 18 holes! And so the Greencard Pro Golf Tips Panel was born!
The concept of the Panel is to bring free expert golf advice to our clients on all aspects of the game, from increasing distance off the tee, short game drills that will improve your scrambling skills and how simple changes to your mental approach can have a dramatic impact on your scorecard.
Launching our Pro Golf Tips Panel
To launch the Pro Golf Tips Panel we’re delighted to announce two experienced PGA Professionals who some of you may already know. Paul McLean PGA Head Professional at Bowood Golf Club in Wiltshire and David Blackaddder currently PGA Golf Operations Supervisor at Jumeriah Golf Estates in Dubai where his courses include Greg Norman’s Championship Earth & Fire layouts.
To help get to know them both a little better we got together and asked them a few questions which will hopefully give you some insight into their experience and more general views on golf.
We believe these two guys are perfect for our clients, understand the Greencard Golf Tour concept and we look forward to working closely with them both in the future.
We hope you enjoy reading the transcript from our conversations. There are some interesting views on the game and a couple of top golf tips to help your next round. Plus the story of a meeting with the man who many mistakenly believe to have really played golf from another planet!
GGH: How many years have you been a pro?
PM: I turned pro in 1997 so nearly 18 years
DB: I joined the PGA in 2006 so 9 years and counting.
GGH: How did you start playing golf and at what age?
DB: I started fairly early at the age of 5 just hitting the odd shot with my dad. Once I made contact with the ball on a regular basis I was then ready for the course. I joined my first club at the age of 12, they wouldn’t allow me to join any earlier.
PM: My introduction to golf was on the desert courses of Bahrain at the age of 15. My Dad also had a big influence, he has played for years and I tagged along to Awali Golf Club to try it out, the rest is history
GGH: Where have you worked as a golf pro?
DB: I started my PGA training at Kingsbarns Golf Links and remained there a few years after fully qualifying. Whilst at Kingsbarns a few opportunities arose where I worked abroad in the USA and also on a World Cruise ship. Dubai is my current location where I am currently the Golf Operations Supervisor at Jumeirah Golf Estates host venue of the Race to Dubai, Tour Championship.
PM: I have spent most of my time at Bowood in Wiltshire where I am now PGA Head Professional responsible for the entire golf department of the 4 star resort. I have also worked at Bristol Golf Centre and I was Director of Golf at PGL in Hong Kong
GGH: What are the best parts and biggest challenges of your job as a Professional Golfer?
PM: The best part has to be the chance to play some of the finest courses in the world – in that way it’s my dream job. The biggest challenge without doubt is trying to meet all of my clients needs no matter how big or small.
DB: I agree the opportunity to play the top courses is a huge perk! But also meeting new people who I feel I would never have come across if taken a different route of career. Traveling the world whilst in an employment role was also important to me as learning to live within different cultures/environments has broadened my views.
Again I agree with Paul in that my biggest challenge and something I work hard to achieve is to meet the expectations of all the our clients, some enjoy the game come rain or shine whilst others are fair weather. All in all I would like to think that when that golfer comes off the course he or she has enjoyed their round and experience.
GGH: Favourite type of course Links or Park?
PM: Definitely a manicured parkland course!
DB: Oh having grown up in Scotland I’m going to have to go with Links! The terrain and views are sometimes more memorable than the golf.
GGH: What is the most frequently requested lesson area you get from your clients e.g short game, swing fix etc
PM: Easy, more distance!!!!
DB: Absolutely! No doubt – it’s “How can I get more distance!” I do think that some golfers forget the importance of carry distance rather than overall. Once you know your carry distance off the tee the game would become easier.
GGH: Do you have a top golf tip for any player trying to break 80.
DB: Putting, if you can spend a little time on your stroke, getting the ball started on the correct/intended line shorter putts will become fun. Practice your putting and you will save 3 or more shots in a round without going near the gym or sweating on the range.
PM: Totally agree with David – my top golf tip for any amateur golfer has to be short game, short game, short game. 100 yards and in, it is so important but gets practiced the least. Learn to scramble and you can break 80 no problem.
GGH: What is the biggest thing about golf you’d like to change?
PM: The old fashioned image that many clubs still have. We need to introduce new people to golf and especially more youngsters both boys and girls, who are the future of the sport. As a game we have to relax our rules a little and be more welcoming at our own clubs to everyone – it is something we try hard to achieve at Bowood and are hopefully successful!
DB: I think it’s important to grow the game as in any sport by being more family, junior and ladies
friendly. However, this should not be to the detriment of our history in the sport.
Old clubs that have been around for centuries have history and character. I’m not sure there is too much need to change this. These clubs are important to the game and should not be intimidated by the modern era.
One area where clubs can help can grow the game is to reintroduce the 20 – 35 year olds back into the game. Often these guys played when they were juniors but maybe left the game as “real-life!” got in the way and time priorities moved towards careers and family. Clubs can maintain the growth of their business and community by encouraging this age group back by being flexible in memberships, course layouts and facilities. Get this right and a club can set a precedent and blueprint for other clubs to follow.
GGH: Have you played or coached any celebrity golfers?
PM: I recently had a great match against Ryder Cup winning captain Bernard Gallacher
DB: I’ve been very fortunate to have met quite a few celebs over the years including, Michael Douglas, Samuel Jackson, Kelly Slater (World Surfing Champion).
But without doubt the best was the first man on the Moon – Neil Armstrong – although it wasn’t him who hit the golf balls that was actually Alan Shepard! I never played or taught them, but again something the game has made possible for me to meet these amazing people.
GGH: What is the most common mistake amateur golfers make and what is your quick fix?
DB: I would say commitment and understanding. Watching golf on TV many amateur golfers will see the best players holing 20ft putts, hitting fairway after fairway. Remember the TV never shows the guy shooting 7 or 8 over par.
Hence accepting that not all 20ft putts will drop and the odd fairway might be missed. Commit to every shot whether good or bad and learn from the outcome. Understanding the game is the biggest obstacle.
PM: The biggest mistake I see is definitely in club selection. Here’s a tip I like to share with my clients. Very few courses have bunkers at the back of the green. Course designers put trouble in front of greens as we so often come up short. Don’t be afraid to take one extra club and swing with control.
Send Your Questions to the Greencard Pro Panel
Paul and David are amongst the most approachable Professional Golf Coaches we know. They have some great tips to pass on to us amateur golfers, so we’re really delighted to have them here as part of the Greencard Golf Pro Panel to pass on their experience.
If you have any questions about your game or have views on the future of the sport you’d like to discuss, please send them to me directly here. I will pass them on to Paul and David. We will then post their responses on our blog/news section of this website.
Look out for more help and guidance from Paul and David, soon and we hope you’ll benefit from this new service as part of Greencard Golf Holidays.
As mentioned above Paul is Head Pro at Bowood Golf Club in Wiltshire. The course is consistently rated amongst the top courses in the UK, and has recently had a multi-million pound re-development including the addition of a luxury hotel and spa. We based one of our 2013 Greencard Tour events at Bowood and would recommend the course to anyone looking for a challenging parkland course along the M4 corridor. For more info please call 01249 823881 and mention Greencard Golf.