Interview with David Leadbetter

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Teacher Extraordinaire, Orlando, Florida
Posted on
April 28, 2020
M. James Ward in
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Backgrounder --

Originally from Worthing in Sussex, England, David Leadbetter began his career in golf on the European and South African Tours. Soon realizing his interest was in the technique, mechanics, and intricacies of the game led him to spend more time teaching than playing. The 67-year-old's career took off in the mid-1980s through his documented work with Sir Nick Faldo -- producing six majors for the gifted Englishman who was ranked world number one for 97 weeks.

Interview with David Leadbetter, Teacher Extraordinaire

Soon after Leadbetter's retirement from playing, he began to incorporate his methods and philosophies into a stringent, holistic training program for qualified instructors that remains unmatched even today. Many of the world’s top teachers have come through the Leadbetter Academy system.

Since launching the first Leadbetter Golf Academy over 30 years ago, he has coached players to 26 Major Championship titles and over 150 individual worldwide tournament victories. Seven have even held first place in the Official World Golf Ranking.

With a desire to bring that same world-class instruction to players of all ages and abilities, and in addition to the numerous articles written for publications like Golf Digest and Golf International over the past three decades, Leadbetter has authored eight books on the topic. His books have sold two million copies making him one of the best-selling golf instruction authors in the world. His latest book, The A Swing, was released in May 2015 and is set to transform the golf swing once again.

Additionally, David has produced a number of instructional videos, DVDs, an interactive video game, and other mixed media, and developed training aids—including the SwingSetter, SwingSetter Pro and a number of A Swing approved training aids released with the book -- all dedicated to helping people play better golf.

Leadbetter continues to coach several top PGA, LPGA and European Tour players, hosts his own satellite radio show, authors new publications, develops new training aids and continues to bring innovative and elite level instruction to players everywhere.

A few of his current players include: Maria Fassi, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Ben An, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Michelle Wie, and Charls Schwartzel...


You wake up in the morning - what's the driving passion?

The key is to have a daily routine and make sure you plan your day out in advance and complete the tasks or activities that you planned. Whether it be to answer emails, online lessons, reading or exercising. They all have to be planned to fill your day in a productive manner.

How much of an impact has the Covid-19 situation impacted your teaching efforts?

Obviously, in order to maintain safety for all parties, my instruction has been fairly limited. Apart from the odd lesson with tour players and full time juniors who are working on games on a limited basis, I have cut back to a large extent.

Interview with David Leadbetter, Teacher Extraordinaire

How do you see the broader golf industry going forward given the "new normal" that will undoubtedly emerge?

Hopefully the golf industry will return in the not too distant future. As a result of the amount of online instruction now many golfers will continue to use it.

What's the single most important ingredient a quality teacher needs to possess?

The passion to help people.

A golfer is interested in working with a teacher -- what kind of road map should be followed in doing so?

Reputation and results are the key elements in working with a teacher. In the initial sessions a blueprint needs to be established for future improvements.

How should a student assess if a relationship with a teacher is working well?

Seeing improvement is one element, enjoying their company is another.

Given the impact of isolation caused by Covid-19 -- what role and impact does teaching virally provide?

Keep ones interest in improving and provide motivation for the future.

You've been teaching for quite some time -- what's different with today's teaching versus when you first started?

Obviously technology is one thing, a more systematic approach to teaching but in some ways instruction has become far too complex for the average golfer and geared more toward a good player or a potentially good player.

What's harder to do -- teaching a world class tour player or your average golfer and why?

Teaching a world class player is harder to do as you are involved in the way a player makes a living as opposed to improving the enjoyment of the average golfers leisure time.

Best advice you ever received -- what was it and who from?

KISS- keep it simple stupid – worldly advice.

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About M. James Ward

A GWAA and MGWA member, the 66-year-old from the USA has covered golf in all facets since 1980, notably the major championships and other high level events. He has played over 2,000 courses globally and has competed in USGA Championships.

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