Travel Guide: NCG winter academies

Courses and Travel

Get your game into shape with a week of warm-weather training at Penina


Dave Simpson attended a winter academy last year. Here is his account of the experience.

We flew at midday from Londoninto Faro. After a short coach transfer, we checked into the resort. At our welcome dinner, we were introduced to the team and talked through the rest of the week. The pre-trip information was helpful in giving me an idea of what to expect.

My hotel room really lived up to five-star standard and after a hearty breakfast, I was very excited to start our first session. The PGA pros started the morning by explaining how a good golf shot should be constructed. It was very insightful, and just by understanding the task, I realised why some of my bad golf habits had affected my game for so long. It already started to make so much sense. Our golf swings were each individually filmed to be compared with the movement later in the week. We played at the resort’s Championship course, which was in brilliant condition, helped even more by the sunshine.

We focused on the long game in the morning. Again the pros were fantastic at spotting and explaining the weaknesses in my swing. I even hit a draw for the first time in my life! The afternoon playing on the course was a great fun, as we had all got to know each other much better.

Here we started the short-game session with bunker shots followed by putting. I picked up lots of good tips. I noticed, during my play in the afternoon, that my pitching had already improved through the exercises we did with the wedges in the morning. Had a great round!
What got me thinking was that I knew I would have to play more this year following a promotion at work and I didn’t want to look like a fool in front of important clients and colleagues. WEDNESDAY
Short-game coaching in the morning focused on pitching and chipping. Now I’m understanding the techniques, the shots have become a lot easier. It’s great to have the afternoon playing time, as I can put what I learn into practice straight away. I really enjoyed the farewell dinner with my fellow golfers – they’ve been brilliant company this week!

I took the evening flight option, which gave me time to fit in another round in the sun before my transfer and flight back to London. What a fantastic week!

“I’m in my 40s and I play off 14. In all honesty my game has been in decline for a while. I hadn’t had any lessons for years and my short game, in particular, was getting progressively worse.

“I heard about these teaching holidays from a friend, who spoke very highly of the experience. I had my doubts as I’m no spring chicken and it’s not as though I’m a professional – far from it!

What got me thinking was that I knew I would have to play more this year following a promotion at work and I didn’t want to look like a fool in front of important clients and colleagues.

“The way the information is put across is clear and easy to digest. I’ve made some good friends because it turns out that all the other people on the course were in the same boat as me. Plus, doing it in the winter gets you away from the UK at the worst time of year and sets you up for the season ahead.

“My game has improved so much my friends could scarcely believe I was the same player!”

At the NCG Winter Teaching Academies the coaching is led by top PGA professionals Richard Ellis and Brian Green.

Top 100 coach Richard has gained hands-on experience from some of the game’s best-known coaches and players and has featured in several magazines including NCG, Today’s Golfer and Golf World. He has a specialist knowledge of biomechanics.

Brian has been a full-time coach for over 15 years, giving thousands of lessons to golfers ranging from complete beginners to tour players. By applying easy-to follow fundamentals he believes anyone can build a better game.

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