Pietermaritzburg has its very own swing doctor

2009-08-21 00:00

HOW often have you thought you were on top of your golf game, poised for a best-ever score, only for a collapse on the back nine?

Or what about the nerves that take over on the first tee box, with several members watching and waiting for the dreaded shank?

Well, for the slicers and the hookers, help is at hand in the form of Jon Warburton’s Golf Academy at the Golden Horse Driving Range.

“Warbs”, as he is known locally, is a qualified South African PGA teaching professional and takes great pleasure in seeing his proteges, young and old, improving.

“I have always taken greater joy in passing on knowledge as opposed to playing,” he says.

Not that he has given up playing for good.

“I still play in some tournaments, and will look to make it as a tour player in a few years. But for now I am very happy to help others enjoy the game and take it as far as they can.”

Warburton’s clients range from beginners to players on the verge of the big time and he has specific programmes to help get the best out each individual.

“For example, I work with Christiaan van der Merwe, an up-and-coming amateur. With him it would be fine-tuning and maybe sorting out his fitness programmes. For a weekend golfer, though, we would work on things like getting the basics right, such as grip and alignment or stance.”

Warburton says he has loved the game ever since he took it up at Carter High 15 years ago. He has been a member at Victoria for a long time.

He also teaches at Maritzburg Golf Club. “I have a good understanding with the pro there, Tommy O’ Neill, and it is also accessible for when I want to play a round of golf with someone I am coaching.”

Warburton says the practical phase is vital, as most problems unravel on the course itself.

“Obviously that’s where you want to see the most improvement, so I think it is important to spend that time making sure people are on the right track.”

Warburton’s latest plans centre on junior and ladies’ golf.

“I have a programme from England that I will be introducing to ladies and junior players,” he says. “It is called Young Masters and Ladies Masters, and is a comprehensive process that takes in all aspects of the game, even down to the rules.”

Warburton can be found at Golden Horse driving range on most days, where they have recently installed a “halfway house” for patrons.

“Some guys spend hours on the range, so we thought it would be nice to have light refershments on hand.”

Warburton charges R160 a lesson, which includes video analysis. He also offers a five-lesson and a 10-lesson programme designed for long-term improvement.

For details, call 072 104 1941.

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