Birdietime Featured Pro: IAIN POWELL
May 28, 2018
Iain Powell is the one of the PGA Professional Coaches at the coaching and practice facility in Stratford at Stratford Oaks Golf Club. Iain has over twenty years of experience both in the UK and in Europe. He has helped hundreds of people learn to play golf as well as coaching elite players including the Norwegian National Champion. Iain has also played on the PGA Europro Tour in 2010 and attended the European Tour Qualifying School in 2012.
We had a chance to catch up with Iain and learn more about him, and his methods.
Hi Iain, would you tell us a bit more about your journey to PGA Professional?
Well, I’ve had an interesting journey during my career. I started in the golf industry in Warwickshire in 1988 working at a custom fitting factory just down the road from here. I did my PGA training at Copt Heath Golf Cub where I spent 5 fantastic years under the guidance of Brian Barton, a Senior Tutor at The PGA learning my trade through the PGA’s training academy.
Being a British PGA Qualified Professional is held in very high regard in the golf industry and is a license to work in some fantastic destinations. I first spent time teaching in Estoril in Portugal and then several years in Norway on two separate occasions having learned to speak the language fluently.
Living abroad and experiencing different cultures really helped me develop and gave me a lot of confidence. I spent almost 10 years in Norway working at different clubs including Oppegård Golf Klubb in Oslo and Onsøy Golf Klubb in the south of Norway, near the Swedish border.
After returning home from Norway in 2016, I’m now back in my home county of Warwickshire where it all started, and I am loving life as PGA Professional at Stratford Oaks alongside my old friend Andrew Dunbar and Director of Golf Nigel Powell (no relation).
Did you notice any big differences in different countries?
The biggest difference is in the golfing culture, which is much deeper in the UK where the traditions go back hundreds of years, and many people grow up with golf from an early age. The culture is much less developed in Portugal and Norway and people are genuinely happy to have English, Irish and Scottish golf Pros that bring a wealth of golfing knowledge and culture to the country along with them.
Tell us a bit more about your customers and the type of service you offer?
The majority of my customers are retired golfers and most are members at The Oaks. I also run popular classes for ladies, seniors and juniors. Most people come to me to lower their handicap and with many years of experience as a PGA Coach I guarantee I can help anyone improve.
Many times I see golfers ”barking up the wrong tree”. It’s actually quite common for a golfer to think they know what’s wrong when it’s often the opposite. This requires a certain amount of diplomacy and skill from a coach.
How would you describe your teaching philosophy?
I am now 46 and having taught for over 25 years, I’m at an age now where I’m a little older and wiser and my teaching philosophy has become simpler which helps my pupils see results quickly. The key is to get a message across and get people to commit to changes.
My main goal is to make golf fun and help people lower their scores, which results in much happier golfers ☺
How do you see the role of digital services going forward?
Many of the new digital tools have made teaching more effective. Handheld devices with apps with high quality video, such as V1 Golf and HUDL, are a great way to show people before and after videos of their swing, and I often send a recording with a voice over explanation of what has happened during the lesson.
Online booking is a fantastic tool as well. I would ideally like to link the two together, which would be great to be able to send links to videos of previous lessons, or share video lessons to people who have been to lessons previously. I am actively promoting my online booking service now and more and more golfers are using it which is a great time saver for me.
Tell us about your experiences with online booking so far.
I’ve really enjoyed using it, and I can safely say that I’m currently saving about 1 hour per day with online booking. I still have to manage quite a lot of bookings manually as around 30 % my bookings are done online and 70% manually, but in the longer term, I’m hoping to reverse that to 70/30 and eventually 100%.
One of my concerns initially was that my customers (majority of whom are 55+) would be reluctant to go online, but, I’ve been very pleasantly surprised that many are not at all fazed by the technology and have been pleased with the online booking service.
What are your Top 3 tips for a golfer looking to improve his/her game?
First, focus on short game! Dr. Bob Rottella once said: ”If you are not practicing 70% of your time practicing from 100 yards and in you are not trying to be the best golfer you can be.”
With regards to long game, focus on your body position on impact and use video analysis help achieve this. Leaning back is the biggest mistake so try to get the center of your body forward at impact and thirdly, focus on accelerating the club head through the ball.
What do you do on your day off?
Normally I try to get away from the course so I am looking forward to get back after a day or 2 off. That way I stay enthusiastic and passionate about golf.
Iain has recently started publishing instructional videos on Youtube. Watch his simple tips on how to get out the bunker every time:
To book lessons with Iain, visit his website at www.iainpowell.co.uk
This blog post is part of Birdietime’s Featured Pro -series. We’ve met hundreds of PGA Pros during the past couple of years, and some of them have really impressed us with their energy and professionalism. In this Birdietime Featured Pro -series, we will introduce you to some of them!