Oh deer Mr Faldo!     

Keith Wood elite Golf mentor sat relaxingThe ‘Mourinho’ of the golf world Keith Wood (albeit a rather less brash version!) Keith has had many trials and tribulations as a golf mentor to the rich and famous. He has successfully mentored legends of the game including Seve Ballesteros and Nick Faldo, not to mention footballers and movie stars. In our ‘interview’ Keith gave me a few examples of how demanding and entertaining the task could be… including the time when Nick Faldo was playing at the ‘Open’ at St Andrews and after a physio treatment Nick went to put on his shirt over his head only to get his finger speared by a deers antler from a head displayed on the wall of the lodge. As you can imagine this was not the ideal preparation for such a prestigious event when after the antler opened up a 2″ gash in his finger, Nick was struggling to hold a golf club let alone swing it. He had the wound ‘glued’ at the hospital and gamely tried carry on….as Keith relates…

“It was a difficult situation, we tried to adapt his grip to put less pressure on his finger but it was certainly a challenge and a painful process for Nick! On his first round the wound opened up again,  the conditions on an almost flooded course were poor and we thought it might be best to simply pull out but an emotionally charged plea from his son and daughter persuaded him to stay because as they pointed out, it will be the last time he gets to do the walk down the famous 18th hole at St Andrews as a champion and he should do it at all costs!

Ironically it was his manager the next day who provided an unlikely catalyst to Nick’s sudden change in fortunes…Just before Nick went on the course for his round his manager gives him a large glass of Glenmorangie! It must have done the trick because Nick scored one of the best rounds of the day a 1 under par for the 18 holes!…It just shows you it’s not all tactics and technique the spirits have to be with you!”

Keith has countless stories of mentoring some of the legends of the game but i wanted to ask him how he could translate that experience into teaching mere mortals, how was he different in 

his approach to the solid golf club pro we all know and love, what did he do differently that made him respected by such greats of the game?

“My approach is very different from the average club golf pro for example, I have the luxury my own training facilities, my own team of specialists including nutritionalists, psychologists and the latest technology to help me explore how each individual responds to new instructions, how they assimilate the changes they need to make in their game. Also unlike a club pro who is always under the pressure of time and who usually has a short term goal to achieve, I have much broader parameters , more long term goals. If necessary I may simply chat about your golf game or perhaps look at the theory of biometrics or NLP (Neuro Liinguistic Programming) whatever is required to move forward and help my clients re evaluate their golf game.

The issues are either mental, physical, technical or tactical. My approach is entirely fluid depending on the individual. There is no set approach, it is about bringing extra ordinary focus to your golf game, so I like to make practice tough for my clients. That way by the time a client becomes familiar with my practice drills, returning to the golf course seems a comparative ‘walk in the park’. Often non pro players don’t realise the lengths the pro’s go to in achieving their goals…no stone is left unturned.

A pro will arrive at practice on tour surrounded by fitness guru’s, coaches, the latest playing equipment, the latest technology. From their favourite golf balls to their favourite  nutritional snack…absolutely nothing is left to chance.

It is this level of professionalism I want to expose my business clients to. For them to understand the dedication and professionalism they apply in the business world to reach the heights of success are  no less in golf. But it can be done, if you have the hunger and passion to succeed. I remember meeting a diffident 13 year old girl brought to me by her mother to learn to play golf. She had barely played at all and her mum said that she wanted to become a professional golfer…and so the project began. 5 years later she qualified on the ladies pro tour having won numerous amateur UK and International competitions.

I have taught businessman who have never played golf and wanted to play with their fellow directors in a golf day and not look bad. Unsurprisingly these kinds of successful businesspeople have an incredible drive and given the right guidance and dedication there is no limit to what they can achieve”

Of course this level of elite tuition doesn’t come cheap. Keith offers packages of ‘sessions’ over a period of a year at a cost that would make most club golfers eyes water but the high price allows Keith to offer hisclients a unique and bespoke service allowing them the flexibility their lifestyles demand. Although most of his work takes place at his facility,  he will also go to the client for their convenience and if he needs to fly out to Europe, America or Asia then, Keith is on the next plane. Elite golf tuition is not for everyone and nor with everyone’s budget but Keith Wood is fortunate enough to pick and choose his clients. As a PGA coach, 12 years as an English National coach , Head coach to Sir Nick Faldo and his academy (Faldo series ) and an ex playing professional with experience mentoring movie stars, footballers and golf legends,  Keith Wood truly is the ‘special one’.

Keith Wood- Elite Golf Coach -Tel: 07771 510971   email;golfsmart@me.com