David Leadbetter is keeping one eye on the future as he rolls back the years with the launch of his ‘homecoming academy’ in Zimbabwe.
The world-renowned coach, originally from Worthing in Sussex, grew up and played his junior golf in Zimbabwe and then became the apprentice professional at Royal Harare Golf Club as he took his fledgling steps in golf instruction.
Since then, his coaching expertise has seen him play a pivotal role in 26 Major victories and supported seven players to become the world number one – including his Zimbabwean friend, Nick Price – who claimed three Major titles, including The Open Championship, during the 1990s.
So it’s fitting that the latest Leadbetter Academy will be opened in early 2020 at his old stomping ground at Royal Harare Golf Club, returning to where it all started.
Leadbetter said: “It is really exciting for me to open an Academy at a location that I know very well from my junior days.
“We know how many great players have come out of Zimbabwe in the past and I’m looking forward to helping produce great players in the future. It is a real thrill for me to return to my roots and I can’t wait to visit what is going to be my second Academy on the African continent.”
The new Harare Academy joins fellow African venue – in Agadir, Morocco – and will offer the same holistic approach to golf instruction: from complete beginners to corporate masterclasses, interactive demo days and through to training the next generation of rising Tour professionals through a US-College golf scholarship programme.
Ryan Cairns – a Zimbabwean Sunshine Tour winner, with more than 300 tournaments under his belt in a 15-year playing career – has taken the role of Leadbetter Academy director and on-course performance instructor of LGA Zimbabwe.
Aside from playing a pivotal role in launching Leadbeter’s coaching career, Royal Harare Golf Club offers an 18-hole Championship course, which has hosted the Zimbabwe Open on several occasions. The venue also includes extensive practice facilities and will launch a six-hole par-three Links course, which can be played under floodlights, in April 2020.