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Open week bonanza sees pros give 1000s of lessons

PGA professional Tom Gibbs was like a kid in a sweet shop at Royal Troon during Open Championship week.

The 3 Hammers Golf Centre pro from Wolverhampton was part of the 23-strong team of PGA coaches who gave close to 3,000 free lessons during The Open at the R&A SwingZone.

Gibbs personally teed up 150 lessons to a cohort of golfers of all ages and abilities including an ex-British Boys champion from the 1980s while along the way he indulged his passion for coaching by getting a close up of some of the finest exponents of the art such as Butch Harmon and Sean Foley – Tiger Woods’ ex-coach and now coach to Justin Rose.

“It was great to see the tour players, get on the practice range and have a look at them close up, see how the guys go about it on the course, their game management, warming up and the different things you don’t normally see on TV,” he said.

“I got the chance to pick Sean Foley’s brain and ask about a couple of drills we’ve seen on the range, so I picked up lots of things.”

But like all the coaches, it was the 15 minutes inspiring and encouraging golfers that flocked to the R&A SwingZone that really struck a chord with Gibbs.

“You want to give them a little nugget that they can go away with to improve their game but also get them enthuses and wanting to play more golf,” he added.

“A highlight for me was teaching a guy called Max from the US. He was over here playing golf all over the place. He’d shot 94 on one course and took great delight in coming back to me telling me he’d shot 76 after a 15 minute lesson.

“And all week we kept getting people coming back, doffing their cap and saying how the lesson has made a difference so it’s amazing what you can do in 15 minutes.”

Other PGA pros from our region at Royal Troon included: Alan Bradshaw (Bootle), Mark Taylor (Alvaston Golf Centre) and Oliver Barnes (Mere).

The R&A SwingZone. Photo courtesy of Adrian Milledge/The PGA.