I found deciding on a season’s success story very difficult as there are so many players who have created personal milestones for themselves, whether that be breaking 100 90, or 80 for the first time. However, I would say when a player works hard all year and his season, indeed his whole career comes down to a pitch and putt. On his final tournament of the season, under the most intense pressure as it did for Dan Brown. Dan must be deemed as this season’s success story. I started working with Dan July 2019, I was aware of Dan as a player a past English Amateur champion and England international latterly. I had watched Dan’s career stall slightly, he came in for his first session on the back of three or four missed cuts on the PGA Europro tour and by his own admission he was in a dark place. Firstly I’m reluctant to claim all the glory, let’s say Dan is technically very good he had just lost his way slightly. Dan’s success I feel could be highlighted by four main decisions we took! Our first couple of sessions were literally me watching phenomenal ball striking and questioning him building a rapport. We did lots of Trackman testing, Dan regularly scored over 90 and the amount of focus and effort he puts into those tests should have forewarned me of the success that was to follow. Dan hates to see the ball going left preferring a fade, so my first observation and our first change was his swing direction. It was too straight for my liking add in an occasional steep angle of attack he effectively had a two way miss which was eroding his confidence. I freed him up mentally allowing him to see it was okay to have a slightly farther left swing direction than he had been recently playing. (This was something he had done previously, he played his best golf with, but had tried to straighten up and moved away from). We managed his angle of attack and simply eradicated his left miss. he ended 2019 with an upturn in form making his last four of five cuts without ever threatening, but definitely the first green shoots of revival! From recollection 14 out of 15 rounds were under par. Second change came during last year’s lockdown. We got the course to ourselves at Romanby just prior to the reopening and spent time out on the course looking at Dan's short game, primarily his pitching and chipping. one area I decided he needed to work on was he occasionally got his club face a little closed on the takeaway, making it difficult to manage dynamic loft, launch and spin. So he continues to work on the very subtle feel of opening the face while making sure the club stays on or slightly above plane this gave him much greater control of the aforementioned.
Third change had an immediate effect. we looked at Dan's putting, as he felt he started the season well but wasn’t converting to many chances. I had observed a slightly left path bias in his stroke at a 2020 tour event I attended and wanted to explore more. I set up some speed work at Romanby on putts 10’ 20’ &30’. Dan’s stroke for his 10’ putts was too long, and his path and face were for an elite player were awful. They were launching left ranging from -1.5° to -1.75°, I checked him at 20’ and 30’ and his stroke lengths and timings were world class, as were his face and path constantly 0.1 to 0.3. I asked Dan to feel a slight change at address and to feel his trail arm with his lead hand DJ style and to attempt to make a shorter slightly faster stroke. We initially used a gate, but Dan nailed this straight away, acoustically it sounded different he stood up and exclaimed ‘wow that’s different’. I knew Dan had found something, he went on somewhat of a heater shooting 61 two days later to win on 2020 tour and going on an unbelievable run on the PGAEuropro tour championship at Slaley Hall.
Dan arrived their 9th on the OOM simply because prize money at the events, are loaded top heavy. The winners well rewarded whilst consistent play isn’t Dan at one point in the season was 103 under par for 22 rounds, phenomenal play! Dan’s scoring average ended I think at 68.4 again phenomenal! So, to the final hole the final tournament Dan was playing in the final group lying second at the start of play he battled round to the turn in level par. Dan slowly fought his way into contention with three birdies on the back nine but flared his tee shot right and was forced to lay up to 93 yards. Dan knew the situation up and down for 2nd in the tournament and 4th on the OOM securing his spot on European challenge tour or fail for another year of purgatory on Europro. Another year older with another bunch of young guns coming through, Dan hit a beautifully flighted controlled wedge to 5’ and rolled it in for par to claim his card, a really proud moment! Fourth change was mainly upon Dan himself enjoying the challenges we set and enjoying himself on the course. Playing with a smile on his face, it would seem an easy change to make but I don’t think it is. Money worries, off course events all create havoc and sometimes making sure a golfer is a happy golfer is a great start point! Looking forward to a great 2022.
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