Leadbetter entertains and offers instruction

David Leadbetter entertained the crowd and gave the audience some sound advice in a recent clinic at the Ritz-Carlton Members Club.

Unfortunately, I was the subject of some of his comedic banter, telling me and a crowd of about 50 Ritz members that I have been using the wrong grip for the past 20 years.

 Who am I to argue with a guy who has 29 golf academies around the world, including his junior academy in Bradenton and has tutored pros who have won a combined 50 major championships.

So, I am in the middle of changing my grip. markdlb2.jpg

Especially after watching his star pupil, Domenico Geminiani, grip it and rip it over 300 yards during the clinic.

Geminiani is a 15-year-old pro from Italy. During the clinic, Leadbetter used him to demonstrate his gospel.  If Leadbetter wanted Dom to hit a draw, he immediately obliged. Same with the fade.

It was an impressive show from a junior golfer who came to this country on a tennis scholarship from Nick Bollettieri.

Nick’s loss is Leadbetter’s gain.

Geminiani is gearing up to play the Euro Challenge in May. That tour is equivalent to the Nationwide Tour in the United States.

What is hard to fathom is that Dom is only 15, and also is a classical pianist.

But let’s rewind to Leadbetter and his three major messages or tips for the Ritz members and guests.

The grip was his No. 1 lesson.
 “If you don’t get anything else out of this session, make sure you understand the grip,” he said.

Leadbetter: Hold the club with light grip tension and very little pressure. He demonstrated this by yanking the club out of Dom’s massive paws. Leadbetter demonstrated the grip by wrapping around his fingers around the club, keeping it away from his palms. 

This, he said, allows you to cock your wrist and hit your irons with a descending blow and your driver with an ascending blow.

Tip No. 2: Bend from your hips on your set up.

Tip No. 3: The backswing sets up your downswing and make sure you hold the finish on your follow through.

He also had Dom demonstrate pitch and bump-and-run shots. Leadbetter urged the crowd to experiment with a hybrid on short bump-and-run shots. His message: follow through with the club the same distance as you take it back.

By the way, Leadbetter is an honorary member of the Ritz and lives with his family in Bradenton.

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