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Book Review: The Leadbetter Golf Academy Handbook

October 18, 2014

The Leadbetter Golf Academy Handbook: Techniques and Strategies from the World's Greatest Coaches, by Sean Hogan, Kevin Smeltz and Allen Richardson Triumph Books, $22.95, paperback, 224 pages


David Leadbetter, currently No. 5 on Golf Digest's list of America's 50 Best Teachers, has been highly visible on a worldwide level for more than 30 years as a teacher of Hall of Fame players such as Nick Faldo and Nick Price. His brand is also worldwide, with 26 golf academies all over the globe. The final third of the worldwide trifecta is the Leadbetter methodology and strategies, which he has promoted and taught extensively in Golf Digest since becoming a Golf Digest Teaching Professional in January 1990.

Leadbetter hasn't spread his brand alone, however, and two of his academy proteges have produced Leadbetter's techniques in a well-written, smartly illustrated manual. Hogan is a Master Instructor at the Leadbetter academy at ChampionsGate Golf Resort in Orlando, and Smeltz served as Director of Golf Instruction at the Leadbetter academy at Ishizaka Golf Club in Japan. They've joined to produce a comprehensive full-game instruction book that helps the golfer feel reinforced about his technique through the use of simple-to-use drills. There are also sections on fitness, nutrition, and equipment advice, including selecting the right golf ball to suit your game.

I particularly enjoyed: The short-game instruction. The authors rightfully call a good short game "the great equalizer in golf," and they systematically break down the putting and short-game skills everyone can improve upon. What will be most effective for readers is a host of drills to ingrain technique along with good visuals on the strokes for putting, chipping and pitching.