A week of education with David Orr - and how you can benefit from it.
31 October 2019 6:23 pm
David Orr is a putting coach from the USA - and one which I'm very fortunate to know and learn from. He's been a coach for 25 years, and specifically a putting coach for 12 of these.
He's coached over 50 PGA professionals including Justin Rose and Hunter Mahan and Suzanne Petersen. The latter is his more recent protege, and he spent a week with her at the Solheim Cup. Obviously, she excelled and won the Cup for Europe - by holing a ten foot putt. A really cool moment for him, and she retired immediately after.
David has an online platform and certification, Flatstick Academy. On the website he has hundreds of videos and content for both players and coaches - something which I sign up to, and I've also taken his coaching programme and have completed Level One. I've done this course three times - why? The knowledge and depth that the man possesses can not be taken in first time. I want to continue improving my knowledge and keep getting better and he's the perfect guy to learn from.
I took his Level Two test back in March before attending his actual course in France. I passed the test - but for me it's not about the certification and the officiality but learning from and taking in all of David's knowledge - whether it's in a classroom or having a dinner with him in a restaurant. But knowledge doesn't mean complexity. Often the more knowledge you have, the more simple the task becomes. As is proven by David's coaching philosophy.
He said something which has stuck with me really, since day one of his process: 'Just because you're certified, it doesn't mean you're qualified.'
The week began by me driving to London to meet good friends Charlie and Nick - both of whom are PGA coaches. Nick is the Head Pro at Northampton Golf Club, and coaches golfers such as Charley Hull, Meg MacLaren and has coached Georgia Hall. Big names.
Charlie is one of the most knowledgeable people out there - he's done so many courses and knows so much about the game. He works at Wimbledon Common Golf Club and has just built an indoor facility there. A real top guy.
I was driving and we caught the Euro Tunnel to Versailles - driving on to a train was a bit of a weird one for a first-timer, but it all went smoothly and we arrived 'en France'. We arrived and checked in with a few of the other lads.
I did four days of training whilst we were out there. The first two days were with level one - so I did it for the fourth time - and there were a couple of guys from America, Gavin and Andrew, who are real top blokes and are now good friends of mine. One of the best parts of being on these courses are the friendships and relationships you build, and these guys were no exception.
There were coaches from France, Australia and ironically Wales, although Leon lives in Luxembourg so take from that what you will!
The first day was 12 hours long. Bang, the head was gone! Day two was eleven hours. A tough ride!
The next day we went sightseeing in Paris. I think Gavin might fancy himself as a celebrity rather than a golf coach, but what an absolutely great guy he is, a real character. Even under the Eiffel Tower, or under the Arc de Triomphe, we were still talking putting 24/7.
The next day after that was a Level Two session - so a smaller group took part, including Rolf, a good friend of mine from Germany. He's an AimPoint instructor, and currently does the most students in the world for the AimPoint process.
What was good about Level Two was that it was a little more practical - we were getting our hands dirty and doing coaching rather than David standing in front of us with a PowerPoint. Not that it's ever boring, but it was certainly good to find out that our knowledge was getting there. However, David didn't like how long we were taking to actually improve someone.
When he was at Campbell University, he ran 12 minute lessons which trained his eye to notice the problem almost immediately. It's incredible. He can take a look at a player hit one putt and immediately identify any technical problem with it, and it's almost always fixed.
And to put my knowledge to good use, I have decided to do two group clinics on David's fundamental ideas. Firstly, the grip of the putter - an obvious one, but even professionals have issues with grip and David believes mastering it could be a key to improvement.
The other, putting 'concepts'. Beliefs about putting that are set in stone but may not be true - move the putter straight back straight through, keeping the putter low to the ground, differences between arc and rotation, and my personal favourite - accelerating the putter through the ball. To put it bluntly, not right at all. Jordan Spieth, one of the world's best putters, actually decelerates!
There will be two clinics on these topics in November, with
GET A GRIP on Saturday 9th November at 2pm
BAD CONCEPTS on Thursday 14th November at 4pm
They both are available to book now for you to benefit from the brilliant knowledge and simplicity passed down to me from one of the best coaches in the world.
They will be priced at £10 per person session and provide good value for improvement and enjoyment too.