I was in Orlando a few weeks ago working on an instruction piece for Golf Vacations magazine about the Leadbetter Golf Academy at ChampionsGate as part of my Golf Resort Academy series.
My timing was impeccable. A new Leadbetter instruction book called 'The A Swing - An Alternative Approach' was about to be launched and I was the first to get a full briefing on the publication, the swing and its application. I spent a few days with the Leadbetter Instruction team and even got an advance ready copy complete with typos and no numbers on the Contents Page which I'm sure it will be worth a bob or two in a year or so. Since then I've written my feature, did a book review and kicked off an entire series on the book to be published in the next four issues of Golf Vacations. Not bad for a few days work in a lovely Orlando resort.
But what about 'The A Swing' itself? What's it all about? The great swing guru Mr Leadbetter proposes that 'The A Swing' will cure the vagaries and foibles of many amateurs golf swing and therefore relieve them of years of frustration and lost wagers at the end of the Saturday Medal. Being a sucker for anything re: game improvement it's started me off on yet another quest to establish the perfect golf swing.
Since returning to Scottish shores from Florida, I've gradually integrated some of Leadbetter’s suggestions into my daily routine. I can't say it's been an immediate success! Except once! Two days ago, in the midst of a hail of average hits, a mighty Megalodon of a golf strike arose, an earth-trembling 7-iron that sent the ball further and far more majestically than any before it simultaneously sending a momentary shiver of deep satisfaction through me.
What did I do differently? I rummaged through my most recent swing thoughts to try and grab any repeatable detail. All I could come up with was both my arms were more consciously connected to my upper body - an element Leadbetter promotes so much so he's even invented a Training Aid called the Boomerang, a curved piece of foam with a magnetic backing so you can pick it up more easily for the princely sum of £24.95. But hey, why not make a buck even though any old golf towel, hat or glove would do?
Anyhow, back to this momentous golf strike. It was certainly one of those fleeting moments that left me thinking, "There is Golf after all". Twenty five years of standing here in this practice field in the rain, snow, sleet and more rain, I felt there was indeed a better way of striking the golf ball.
Since then I've been trying to emulate the strange, Furyk-like flip that is 'The A Swing', 'out' on the backswing like a baseball batter then flattening the downswing. To be honest it hasn't really worked! After several migrations through my usual arsenal of various swings, Stack & Tilt, Rotational and Mo Norman's Natural Golf swing, I’ve come back to my 'Swashbuckle' swish as delineated by my good friend and golf guru, Roberto Borgatti.
Then I played golf at Carnoustie Burnside yesterday. The game did not go well. With the distraction of an actual round of golf to contend with I reverted to my now standard 'Swashbuckle' which for some reason decided not to come out to play today. It was a nightmare! Then around the 17th I decided to try 'The A Swing' again. It's a long hole by the snaking Barrie Burn. I'd fuzzled the drive leaving the ball off to the right in the rough and perched on one of the many folds that grace this magnificent hole. I consciously kept my arms connected took the backswing out like a baseball player, felt the V flip inside and pulled the trigger. Bang! What a shot! The ball took off like a rocket and sailed right into the heart of the green parking 4-feet from the flag. It had the hallmarks of that other all-time great swing I experienced back on the practice field. Mr Leadbetter, there just might be something to your A Swing after all.