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End of an Era

Today is Frank and Sheila’s last day at Deeside before Frank commences his much deserved retirement after 32 years service at the Club.

Frank gave me the opportunity to be his assistant twelve years ago this month, my first full time job, at arguably the best inland private members golf club in Scotland. During these twelve years I’ve grown professionally and personally under Franks reign.

Frank often says that all aspiring young professionals should have spent a week with Frank Rennie at Prestwick. In my opinion all aspiring young professionals should have spent a week at Deeside with Frank and I am privileged to have been the only one in the last twelve years.

We’ve had many good times in the Professional Shop. My favourite morning was always Tuesdays. Lucky for me it was a half day but for Frank it was the first day of his working week after only one day off (Monday’s). Quite often Frank would be met by several electric trolleys needing repaired; tens of emails needing his response; numerous phone calls plus Tuesday mornings are historically busy with ladies competitions & general play up until 13.00. Nevertheless we always got through it (just) and I skipped off home at 13.00 for a relaxing afternoon off whilst Frank played catch up.

Deeside is comfortably one of the busiest inland private members clubs in Scotland and this was always the case when I was on the driving range teaching. You can betcha that every man and his dog appeared at Deeside during that 30 minute lesson. Nevertheless on my return to the Professional Shop I would tell Frank to check his pockets as this would be the location he will have misplaced one of his PowaKaddy tools having spent the previous 20 minutes frantically searching the Professional Shop.

I’ll always remember speaking to David Murchie, Head Professional at Crieff Golf Club before I embarked on a career within Golf. On David’s first day as an assistant professional at Crieff, his boss John Stark took his set of golf clubs and stuck them in the cupboard… “you won’t be needing these again” he said. Right enough once you embark on a career in the Professional Shop you really don’t get to see much of the golf course despite the first tee only being a pitching distance away. I could count on two hands (in a good year) the number of rounds Frank played. His commitment and loyalty to the Club was second to none such are the number of hours he worked and lack of holidays he took. Hopefully in Franks retirement he can make up for the lack of rounds played and holidays abroad… I know he won’t miss his 5.30am alarm clock every Saturday.

Today marks the end of an era. Despite being unable to give Frank & Sheila the send off they deserve due to the pandemic, I’m sure we’ll all raise a glass (or two) for them whilst we reminisce about all the happy memories provided by the Couttsers during our visits to Deeside.

Frank & Sheila, thank you for everything you have done for me. I wish you all the very best in your retirement… you deserve it!

“Take time to smell the roses”.

Your colleague, your friend,

Zander!

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Increase My Speed

So the latest ‘phase’ in golf is speed & distance but is it all overhyped nonsense or something we should all be attempting to achieve?

Bryson ‘The Scientist’ DeChambeau figured out last winter and into lockdown that if he increased his ball speed this would ultimately lead to numerous positive outcomes. His world ranking went up 9 spaces to 5th between 2019 & 20 and he won almost $2 million more on the PGA Tour (despite a number of cancelled events).

For Bryson to increase his ball speed he’s worked on his body to increase club head speed and adjusted his equipment (longer shaft/less loft) to impart the optimal physics on the ball to maximise distance.

The average driving distance on the PGA Tour in 2020 was 296 yards (up 2 yards on 2019). The whole “drive for show, putt for doe” quote is now void due to the correlation between distance & earnings on the PGA Tour (highlighted in the picture above).

2021 is going to be an interesting year in terms of driving stats. I can see most tour players following in Dechambeau’s footsteps in an attempt to increase their speed and I believe most will be successful. I wonder what odds we’ll get on the average 2021 PGA Tour driving distance being 300+ yards.

So what about you, the weekly golfer? If you are a young, aspiring golfer I think most coaches would agree that speed is a skill that we can no longer overlook. For those past their peak (me included) whilst I think we could all make club head speed gains it’s whether you are prepared to invest in physical/speed training to reap some distance dividends.

I do believe we can all increase our ball speed (even if the above speed training doesn’t tickle your fancy). Very few of us impart optimal physics on the ball whether it’s technique, skill or equipment (including most scratch players).

If you wish to get some baseline numbers and improve your club &/or ball speed give me a shout.