Old Course at St. Andrews is also a great practice venue
Here’s a truly lousy swing-thought to jump into your head in the middle of your backswing, if that backswing happens to occur on the first tee of The Old Course at St. Andrews:
Holy crap! This is the Old Course! My swing isn’t worthy!.
From personal experience, I can say that a swing-thought like this can lead to a chunked tee shot and deepest ignominy on that famed first hole, along with a very high score.
Ah, if only I had practiced before my round. After all, when I got warmed up, I played relatively well.
The thing is, psychologically paralyzed golfers like me don’t have an excuse for not practicing before one of the most memorable rounds of their lives. Late August of this year witnessed the ceremonial grand opening of the St. Andrews Links Golf Academy, the high-tech nature of which belies the Old-World nature of the Links and the surrounding town.
In extending the existing St. Andrews Links Golf Practice Centre (which opened in 1993) an additional 14 covered bays were added, taking the total number of bays to 51, complete with improved outdoor bays and upgraded lighting.
The golf academy contains four large coaching bays equipped with plasma screens and computer displays. The bays are set up to use the Dartfish video analysis system which enables the instructor to film a golfer’s swing, analyze it on computer and then email swing tips to the golfer wherever he or she is in the world. In addition, The Trackman system is also available. This tracks the flight of a ball completely, measuring parameters such as height, speed, direction, spin rate and smash rate.
An ultrasound scanning system developed by Science & Motion can be used to scan up to 28 different parameters of golfers’ putting strokes to help them improve their performance on the greens. A specialized custom fit service provided by Applied Golf Technology uses equipment such as Trackman and the Nakashima Htec driver and shaft-fitting system, which enables golfers to quickly test different driver shafts using a detachable clubhead.
What would Old Tom Morris say?
I bet he’d find it all pretty cool, especially if it meant that chuckleheads like me wouldn’t hack up the first hole so often.
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Then, on the easiest hole on the course (9th) I topped my drive and doubled. Awesome.
But ask me about my two-birdie, glorious back-nine 40 someday...:-)