The day I learned to swing my golf ‘stick’ properly

Me and Ian outside his 'workshop' at Haigh Hall
Me and Ian outside his 'workshop' at Haigh Hall

In a bid to “do more as a couple” with my partner I reluctantly agreed to attempt to play golf last summer.

An absolute beginner, I had absolutely no idea how to play, how to stand, how to hold the club or anything about golf etiquette. I was that clueless, I actually once referred to the golf club as “the stick”!

Ian examines my swing on his computer and tells me exactly where I need to be swinging the club

Ian examines my swing on his computer and tells me exactly where I need to be swinging the club

So one Sunday morning last year I tentatively joined my partner and dad at Yarrow Valley Golf Course for a game.

Hundreds of swings, many lost golf balls and several expletives later and I was hooked. OK so I didn’t know what I was doing yet, but I was keen to learn more.

Fast forward to this summer and I have just had my first golf lesson with Performance Golf Coach Ian Lee at Haigh Hall.

With a huge virtual golf screen to whack the ball at and ultra high-tech recording equipment to analyse my swing, I was eager to see how I could improve and to see if a real golfer could help me develop my own golfing style.

Start with small swings focusing on the club truly swinging, hitting the same spot and letting the body follow the club

Ian Lee

I spent an hour with Ian and in that time I went from an upright golfer swinging my “stick” any which way, missing the ball A LOT, to somebody with a more structured posture and a steadier swing that allowed me to hit the ball most of the time.

Ian’s teaching style is to be praised. I was naturally nervous and I was half expecting him to tell me I was a lost cause. But he didn’t. He started from the very beginning addressing my posture and stance. He then assessed my grip and focused on my overall swing.

When I got quite frustrated at some points with my inability to follow his advice, he didn’t. Instead he patiently kept going with his encouraging and consistent guidance.

I’ve never been interested in golf; in fact it’s always looked pretty boring to me.

The closest I’ve ever been to playing is on holiday - and that was crazy golf!

But I put my ignorance down to not really understanding the sport and not knowing just what it takes to hit that tiny white thing hundreds of yards and into an equally tiny hole in the ground.

I now completely get it and I get that buzz when you not only hit the ball, but whack it a fair distance and in the right direction.

Not only that, it is the only thing that I have ever done that stops me from thinking about work.

Don’t get me wrong, I really love my job, but I have real issues with switching off and relaxing. Playing golf focuses my mind on something else for a few hours. Frustration is part and parcel of the game, but it’s a healthy frustration.

Ian told me during my lesson: “With your address, posture is key, bent over more and hands lower. The club will swing on a more natural arc as opposed to too much around yourself. This makes it difficult to make contact with the ball. Also keep your feet closer together.

“Make lots of swings clipping tees, letting the club lightly contact the ground where an imaginary ball would be will really help.

“Start with small swings focusing on the club truly swinging, hitting the same spot and letting the body follow the club, almost letting the club drop on the ball.”

I have my second lesson booked in with Ian in a few weeks and I can’t wait. I’d recommend Ian and his excellent set up at Haigh Hall to anybody – from a complete novice like myself to a professional golfer wanting to tighten his game.

If you’re interested in golf lessons from Ian, who is based at Haigh Hall’s Kitchen Courtyard complex, click here for his website.