Dennis G. Kloeth, WEEKENDER | Tue, 02/28/2012 2:06 PM |
One of the world’s most prestigious golf academies is coming to Jakarta.
Although teaching pros have been around just about as long as the game itself, it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that the golfing skill enhancement facility – or “golf academy” for short – started to play an important role in developing golfing talent. Today, amateur or pro, most (serious) golfers never cease in their efforts to improve and reach the next level of a game where success depends more on talent and skill than sheer determination.
Until Tiger Woods came to dominate the modern-day game of golf, golf academies were no more than driving range setups run by teaching pros who made a (sometimes decent) living from teaching golfers to execute better shots with a certain level of consistency. England’s David Leadbetter, who in 1983 was the first to establish a golf training facility under his own name, is considered to be the father of the modern-day golf academy.
However, the first teaching pro to make a name for himself and to emerge from the driving-range-teaching environment was Butch Harmon. By taking the young Woods under his wing (he coached Woods from 1993 to 2004), bringing him to the forefront and helping him to win his first major in 1997 (The Masters), Harmon truly solidified the position of the modern-day teaching pro. In a way, he heralded the introduction of the modern-day golf academy.
Others followed in Harmon’s footsteps, successfully establishing themselves as teaching pros and creating their own brands of teaching and golf academies. Today – predominantly in the United States – golf academies are run professionally as schools. They play an increasingly important role in developing young, up-and-coming golf talents who travel from all corners of the world to the United States with the dream of finding success on the PGA Tour. During a training period of two years, teachers use high-tech aides such as video analysis software, the Dynamic Balance System (DBS), which promotes consistency in specific body motion parameters, and other instruction tools, to hone the skills of budding golfers, who start playing the game at an increasingly younger age.
Leadbetter, a native of Worthing in Sussex, England, has kept his teaching institution at the forefront in global golf for more than 25 years. As well as having coached such players as Ernie Els, Trevor Immelman, Michele Wie and Susanne Petterson, Leadbetter is known for developing a complete line of innovative instructional products and teaching aides, helping tens of thousands of golfers worldwide play golf better and have more fun doing so.
There are no fewer than 28 David Leadbetter Golf Academies (DLGA) around the world – and the next one to come will be in Jakarta.[IBP1] The newest DLGA, to open on April 16, will be located at the Cengkareng Golf Club; word has it that David Leadbetter himself will attend the official opening. Heading up the Jakarta DLGA is Belgian Philippe de Busschere, who is responsible for business development and instructor training for the whole of Asia.
At age 20, de Busschere enrolled at the prestigious San Diego Golf Academy in Orlando, Florida. He started his career at the DLGA in 2004, as a trainee instructor in Bad Tatzmannsdorf, Austria. Via Spain, where he trained the Czech national team, and the Bradenton Sports Academy (Florida), where he trained the postgraduate golf group (aged 16 to 21), he ended up in Asia – Shanghai, China, and later Busan, South Korea. After a short detour to Munich, Germany, in 2009, where he was the director and senior instructor at the Golf Valley DLGA, he returned to Asia last September as senior director of DLGA Asia.
De Busschere has two main goals for the Indonesia DLGA: to establish a world-class golf training facility for golfers in Indonesia and to develop at least two Indonesian junior golfers into players that can compete successfully on any given tour.
“There is a lot of potential in this country, but the guidance lifting them to the next level is missing,” he says. “We want to bring to Indonesia a structure for young talented golfers to improve their game and to reach their goals. To be a good golfer, you first need to be a consistent golfer and therefore, you need consistent training. Only with time and patience can we develop and groom quality players and that’s what we aim to do at our Jakarta facility.”
Several junior golf training programs have been started in Indonesia in the past with great enthusiasm – only to fall apart from lack of commitment and consistency. Great initiatives yielded few results in junior golf, where Indonesia has not performed well, and not much has been happening in terms of golf talent development here. Where neighbors such as Thailand, Singapore and Korea consistently introduce young talented players to the Asian tour, Indonesian players are notable only for their absence.
But although Indonesia is not generally associated with golf, as either competitor or destination, the presence of the David Leadbetter Golf Academy in Indonesia could herald the beginning of a new era for the sport in this country.
For more information on the new David Leadbetter Golf Academy: call +62 21 5364469 / 536 0298; email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.indogolf.com.
[IBP1] I’ve deleted a bit saying “that is second in Asia only to the DLGA in Japan”, because I don’t know what he meant by second in Asia, since in the original he also said there was a DLGA in China. Unless second in size or quality or …