David Leadbetter - October 19, 2012


When asked about what his teaching methodology is, Leadbetter said that he does not necessarily have a standard method when it comes to teaching. Communication is incredibly important when you are teaching and every student receives information in different ways. You do not want to change a player’s style. Instead, you want to add a new technique to their style which will then make them better players.

Athleticism has become such a big part of success in the game of golf and you can look all the way back to Nick Faldo as he was one of the first big name players to adopt the modern methods of staying in shape. Suzann Pettersen, another one of his students, is arguably the most athletic player on the entire LPGA Tour. As the game of golf becomes more global and players travel all over the world, it is so important to be physically fit if you are going to be able to compete at the highest level and endure the travel.

The best players in golf all have a high sense of self-confidence in common and you have to have that confidence if you are going to be successful. It is not arrogance but instead a sense of confidence that you are not only capable of being successful on the golf course, but that you will be successful.

Michelle Wie has been a bit of a mystery over the last couple of years. She seems to just now be coming to terms with the fact that she has graduated from college and is now playing golf as a professional full-time. Whether it is related to her swing or to her confidence, Michelle has not played well over the last year and a half. Any future success that she will have in her career depends on  her ability to believe in her herself and her desire to succeed at the highest levels of the game of golf.

Ty Tryon is a great example of a young prodigy who turned pro too early. Tryon was an unbelievably talented player who accomplished a great deal at a young age but he needed life experience and a support system around him at that age. Everyone in professional golf goes through growing pains and when you are a teenager, you cannot go through such changes without a strong support system and he may not have had the support that he needed at that stage in his life.

The advent of video as a teaching tool for pros and amateurs in the game of golf has helped every player and every level. Video has not only helped players by showing them what their swing really looks like, it has also helped teachers because video provides them a powerful method of illustrating the strengths and weaknesses of someone’s swing.

When he worked with Nick Faldo, Leadbetter said that Faldo’s confidence level grew a great deal when he was able to change his swing and become a better player. Once Faldo believed that he could control his swing and control the flight of the golf ball under any circumstances, he had the confidence that he needed to go from a good player to literally the best player in the world. Faldo enjoyed having Leadbetter around and Leadbetter would give Faldo little tips to help his game on a day-to-day or week-to-week level in the way that Butch Harmon helps Phil Mickelson with his game.

Years ago, most players – even the best in the world – did not employ coaches in part because there was not a lot of money in professional golf and the professionals could not afford to have a coach and certainly could not afford to have a team of people. When you would see a player with a coach decades ago, it was an unusual sight. As times have changed and there is more money in the game of golf, it has now become unusual when a professional golfer does not have a coach.