David Leadbetter is known for his innovative and creative teaching techniques. Over the past 30 years his players have amassed over a dozen Major championship titles and over 100 individual worldwide tournament victories. His coaching has spanned three decades.
A Professional Golfers Association Master Professional, Golf Channel Instruction Editor and Golf Digest Teaching Professional, Leadbetter’s clientele includes four players who have held first place in the Official World Golf Ranking. He is also the author of seven golf instruction books, making him the world’s top author of golf instruction books with well over two million copies sold. He has written and produced a number of instructional DVD’s, as well as written and co-produced over forty television programs.
Currently, there are 28 full-time David Leadbetter academies located in 13 countries, from Orlando, Fl. to China. He has developed a complete line of innovative instructional teaching products and teaching aids helping tens of thousands of golfers throughout the world play better, shoot lowers scores, and have more fun playing golf.
Crystal Springs Resort in Hardyston, N.J., has become the newest home of the David Leadbetter Golf Academy. The Crystal Springs location will become Leadbetter’s primary base of operation in the northeastern United States.
I had a chance to chat with Leadbetter recently about the Crystal Springs Academy and other issues.
How did your arrangement with Crystal Springs come about?
DL: We were looking for a long time for a place in the Northeast because a large percentage of our clients come from the Washington, D.C./Boston corridor. There aren’t that many resorts where you have a captive audience and Crystal Springs is a beautiful location right on the metro area doorstep. I have to admit, I didn’t really know much about Crystal Springs until I got there and I discovered it is a hidden gem. The resort’s management and others got right behind us and are looking forward to having the Academy located there. The Lodge is fantastic, there are several great golf courses, a large practice facility and we are really pleased to be there.
Will you be spending much time at Crystal Springs?
DL: Definitely. I plan on spending a few days there every six weeks or so. It will be on a somewhat regular basis because I have to have a presence there.
Where will you draw your clientele from?
DL: Well, there are 100 million people located within a 100-mile radius and we know how keen New Yorkers and people in New Jersey are about their golf games. The nice thing is that we are not out in the boonies somewhere and are within easy driving distance of millions of people. We’re looking forward to helping people in the area improve their games.
What kinds of programs will you be running at Crystal Springs.
DL: All sorts. We’ll do some stay and play packages where people come for a couple of days of lessons and enjoy the resort, and we will be doing individual playing lessons and everything in between.
What will be the teaching approach at the Crystal Springs Academy?
DL: Like at all our facilities, the goal of instruction is to keep it simple. You have to approach things differently with the average golfer than you would a professional. You don’t want to get too high tech with some people. We assess the ability of each student and find out what they are after. We base our approach on their needs and wants.
I know you are really into a holistic approach to golf. Can you tell me about that?
DL: I’m very into health and fitness. I had a guy from New York who was a four handicap and I told him if he wanted to get better he had to incorporate a stretching program into his golf. He did and now he’s down to a zero. We are looking at a new program that is geared toward Baby Boomers, people in the 45-year-old age group and up whose skills may have diminished somewhat and don’t have a lot of time to practice. That’s a growing market as is the women’s market. We have a high quality group of instructors at each site to develop programs and then work with individual students.
How has golf instruction changed over the last 20 or so years.
DL: It has changed dramatically. Where once it was rare that a Tour professional would have a coach that is the norm now rather than the exception. A lot of what I do with Tour pros is long distance, on the phone or through video. Kids are getting quality instruction at a much younger age. We have some 150 kids in our school in Bradenton, Florida from all over the world. They want to be coached on everything from the short game to the mental approach.
How about you personally, you must be on the road constantly.
DL: I’m as busy as ever. I’m not traveling the Tour as much as I did, although I still work with quite a few Tour players, maybe 12 to 15 off and on. Most coaches travel with the players every week and I can’t do that now. I’m writing, I have my schools and I do some corporate stuff. I love it
You are excited about partnering with Crystal Springs Resort?
DL: Absolutely. We are thrilled to be up in this area. We had the official opening in early May and we are up and running. There will be Callaway fitting center involved and it is an awesome opportunity for the golfers in the Northeast to come and take part in the Academy and experience Crystal Springs Resort.