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Coach of the Month: Michael Sweenie

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Michael Sweenie
Coaching at:
European Tour Performance Institute, Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai UAE

TrackMan User since:

When and why did you start playing golf?
I started golf quite late at the age of 13 years old. Before then my sporting life as a kid was pretty much dominated by football, playing at a good level as an amateur. My life as a kid was all about competing in sports but I really got hooked on golf from the age of 14, and then there was no looking back! I became obsessed with the sport. It was probably the drive to play an individual sport where I could constantly practise and improve my own ability without relying on others that led me to golf. As much as I prefer playing alongside and with others, it is certainly one of the benefits of golf.

What was your HCP when you turned Pro?
Lowest handicap I achieved was +1. When I turned Professional at the age of 19 I knew coaching was going to be my path.

Which is your favorite golf course?
That’s a tough one! I would say Ocean Forest GC, Sea Island Georgia is one of the most stunning courses I have ever played. If had to choose a links course (being Scottish) then Turnberry has to be one of the most spectacular courses in the world. Being a professional there for nearly 10 years and playing it every week was incredible.

Do you have a favorite coach you follow and why?
I have been fortunate to spend time around some of the world’s leading coaches and have used their knowledge and experience to help me get where I am today and continue to further develop me as a coach.

To work alongside the legendary Scottish coach Bob Torrance (father of Sam) was a real inspiration to me as a young professional and aspiring coach and I owe so much of what I learned to Bob. More than anything the work ethic and attitude he taught and instilled in his players was second to none and crucial to succeed in anything you want to do. Bob was a legend of the game and is sadly missed.

Ian Rae, Scottish National Coach, has always been a great supporter of my career and development and I don’t think there are many with a better knowledge and understanding of the golf swing around than Ian, who is also coach to many top Scottish and European Tour players. There are so many others that I look up to and respect their passion and dedication to coaching the game and constantly learning.

Who is your favorite player and why?
No question about it Tiger Woods! For me, he is a complete inspiration and one of the reasons I chose to take up the game. Tiger could make any shot look exciting and his will / desire to win and improve may never be matched for a long time. I am not sure the game will ever see a greater competitor than Tiger was at his prime.

Modern day player, I would have to say Alex Noren due to his incredible work ethic and athleticism. I have followed Alex closely for years and delighted to see him now, unquestionably, one of the best players in the world.

Ben Hogan from the old school days was a real game changer. The mystique of Mr Hogan and how he worked so hard to overcome doubts and fears (the hook …) as a player to gain the respect of most golfers as the greatest ball striker of all time.

What is your best golf related achievement?
Winning my first real golf competition as a junior which was the club championship at my first attempt. I managed to achieve a scratch handicap in 2 years of playing the sport. It felt so easy at the time … I would later learn the game is not always so easy haha!

As a golf coach, what is the most common mistake among players you see?
Couple of areas here where so many players go wrong…

Players overlook the one most important thing in a good golf swing – to produce a consistent ball flight! Everything you should strive towards is achieving this rather than a “perfect looking” golf swing… it does not exist. Very rarely will even the best players in the world produce the same swing in a round. Golf is a game of problem solving and you have to understand your misses… and develop an awareness of how you can play the course with these.

Also the importance of posture and gaining a good solid address position to suit the individual’s physical requirements is so overlooked! Get good solid fundamentals and you can really start to build a functional golf swing. With the ball being static in this game posture is a key component of being able to position the ball in specific ways for certain shots.

The main fault in amateur golf has to be short game and how much this is undervalued. With less physical requirements in comparison to hitting a 300 yard drive I don’t see any reason why any golfer cannot look to improve from 50 yards and in.

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What are your greatest professional strengths?
I would say my obsession for the game and continual desire to learn every day. I am 100% a “golf geek” who sees myself as more of a Performance Coach rather than a swing instructor, looking into all aspects that can effect a players on course performance. I believe my passion for the game and desire to improve can help others to want to play the game better and understand more about their individual requirements. I would always encourage a player, whether beginner or Professional to get out and play the course as much as possible. Don’t play “golf swing”… get out and play golf!

My grounding as a young Professional at Turnberry helped teach me to always look to provide the highest Professional standards you can… in anything you do. And that is always something I would try and advocate.

What’s in your bag?
Titleist 917 D3 9.5deg Tour AD Di-7x
Titleist 917 F2 15deg Tour AD Di-7x
Titleist 818H2 19deg Tensei 100-X
Titleist AP 2 #3-9 Dynamic Gold X100
SM7 Vokey 46, 50, 54 and 60 deg wedges
Scotty Cameron Newport 2 33”
Pro V1x

How often do you play golf yourself?
I try and play at least a couple of times per week. I still love to play the game and continually want to try and get better. I am a big believer in practice what you preach! I don’t get the chance to play much competitive golf these days but I can still get it round in a good number… sometimes! Even if it is a relaxed game with friends I hate to lose which comes from my competitive sport background.

What has changed since you started working with a TrackMan?
Regular use of TrackMan has helped me massively develop as golf coach through better understand of key impact factors and being able to explain this clearly to students of all levels. As a coach I always talk about ball flight and TrackMan is the ultimate measuring device which leaves us coaches with no guessing when it comes to what is happening at impact with a student’s particular shot or tendency. I would also say that with the increasing level of information TrackMan provides it has challenged me, as a coach, to better understand these numbers and the influence they could have on a particular shot.

Carry distance is so often lost on amateur golfers. So I would always encourage a player to pay attention to the carry distance with all the clubs to help best manage their game on the golf course.

Which is your favourite TrackMan feature, and why?
TrackMan University is an excellent learning tool for coaches and players with so much useful information presented in a clean educational format and very easy to understand.

The new impact location has been an excellent addition to TrackMan 4, providing the student and coach which a great visual on one of golf’s key impact factors. There have been many great additions over the last couple years but I would also have to say TrackMan combine. This is such a great tool to make practice competitive for a student and understand carry distance and dispersion. We regularly see some of the best players in the world at our facility using TrackMan Combine to help measure their practice. I would encourage students to do these tests on a regular basis.

So much of coaching is about “feel” VS “Real” so I love how TrackMan takes out the guess work and give student instant feedback on REALITY.

How and where can golfers get in touch with you?
E-mail or facebook I am pretty new to social media so still getting the hang of it to be honest but my Insta is msweenie_golf and twitter Msweenie_7.

I am fortunate to teach at a world class facility at The European Tour Performance Institute based at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai – home to the Race to Dubai Finale – so if anyone is out in Dubai and would like to come visit then please feel free to get in touch.

Do you have any suggestions, how TrackMan can do better or differently?
I coach a lot of short game so I would like to see more consistent club data on shots around the green. This is certainly improving each year and the TrackMan putting has been a welcome addition. Keep up the great work and the games No.1 measuring device!


Coach of the month:
Would you like to be the next TrackMan coach of the month?
All you have to do is sign up on TrackMan University and complete Level 1,
we will randomly pick a new coach every month.

Disclaimer: The answers in this interview have not been modified or changed, nor do they necessarily represent the views of TrackMan A/S.


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Originally posted 2018-07-15 20:11:20.

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