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David Leadbetter defends work with Lydia Ko, slams her parents in post. Is he right?



On the heels of Kevin Van Valkenburg’s ESPN piece on Lydia Ko that features, well, not the best review of his work with his former pupil, David Leadbetter responded via his website.

Leadbetter’s rebuttal, titled, “The Grass Isn’t Always Greener,” points the finger at Ko’s parents for calling for an (in his mind) unjustified coaching switch. He also indicates fatigue in the latter portion of the 2016 season was chiefly to blame for Ko’s poor form, not his coaching.

“Her father, a non-accomplished golfer, heard rumors that she needed to change her swing and made suggestions to Lydia to change it – independently of her coaches. Sean Hogan traveled with her to the LPGA KEB HanaBank Championship during the last part of the season and observed Lydia being very confused [with her swing].

“Amazingly enough, despite all of this, she had an excellent chance of remaining No. 1 in the world with a solid finish at the last tournament of the year. She shot 62 (10 under par) in the second round and things seemed to be on track. Her last round, unfortunately, was very average and she just lost out on winning the LPGA Player of the Year.”

Non-accomplished golfer! In a purge that has been widely questioned, Ko dropped Leadbetter, changed caddies, and signed on with PXG at the end of 2016. Arguably the game’s most prodigious talent, Ko hasn’t won since.

Beyond just revelling Ko’s poor performance since the split, Leadbetter defended the decisions he made to change his star pupil’s swing.

“What many people didn’t understand, was that the A Swing, which was a commercial name for a book we published, was for the most part technique that had worked in the early years with Sir Nick Faldo and Nick Price, amongst many others. It was adapted to Lydia in order to make her swing more efficient. If you looked at the statistics, especially greens in regulation, this proved to be true. It was a very simple approach, one she understood and had minimal maintenance….We honestly felt like this was the best approach for Lydia, because not being the strongest player, it provided natural energy to her swing.”

Leadbetter also said he thinks the decision to part ways came entirely from Ko’s parents/team, not her, before concluding with

“There’s no possible way that she can play better than she played for those first three years. It just goes to show, that not always is the grass greener on the other side of the hill!”

While Leadbetter is doubtless right, the grass has not been greener on the other side of the hill thus far, there’s something a tad tasteless in that remark, isn’t there?

What do you think, GolfWRX members? Was Leadbetter right to respond. And further, was he right to change Ko’s swing?


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  1. JH

    Apr 23, 2018 at 7:23 pm


    • george

      Apr 24, 2018 at 9:47 pm

      The swing Lydia had with Guy Wilson was not remotely like the “A” swing. A swing is a Frankenstein like invention, totally contrived.

  2. Robert Parsons

    Apr 23, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    Go back with Guy Wilson and try to recapture the swing of old. Or at least get comfortable with whatever swing is left. But stop trying so hard to play that A Swing BS.

    Drop the parents as part of the golf team.

    Have FUN on the course again. Now Lydia makes it look like actual work. When she turned pro, it looked as if there was an appreciation for being part of the tour and it was fun. Giggling and smiling the whole day. What happened to those rounds?

  3. John Agel

    Apr 23, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    The A-Swing is every bit The hustle that the old Stack & Tilt is. They are both just marketing hack. While the A-Swing may not be without merit, of which The Stack & Tilt has none whatsoever, there is no technique of golf swing that every golfer can be forced fit into. When I was a golf instructor, I fell in line with the coaches who never sought to make any changes for the sake of making changes or to fit into my personal philosophy about golf mechanics. I always like to videotape the golf swing in order to study it and find what was going on in the student swing when that student hit particularly excellent shots. Even then after reviewing the tape and finding the moves which negated an excellent ball strike, I would avoid pointing out the negatives to the student but only point out the points of movement during an excellent ball strike. If there was a flaw in the swing which was difficult to repeat correctly, then a change in mechanics or fundamentals might be required. After all, what Still Remains to be the best definition of a good golf swing, is a golf swing which repeats. Especially under pressure. And the one which repeats best under pressure is the one which is most natural to the golfer. Harmon might be the best at this today. But this approach makes it hard to pitch a technique or a gimmick to give you a “tour-like” swing.

  4. Jack Nash

    Apr 23, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    Hmm DeadHeader mentioned Faldo and Price. Both great golfers and HoF’ers, but that’s many, many moons ago. Why wouldn’t he mention Chucky 3 Sticks? Also a pupil who’s done, er, ahem, well. Never heard Butch whine about golfers leaving his stable. Then again, unlike DeadHeader people still flock to Harmon.

    • george

      Apr 23, 2018 at 3:51 pm

      IMO, Harmon is as bad as DL.
      Tiger Woods won the 2000 US Open by 15 shots. Its been downhill for his swing, since with changes to his swing started by Harmon.
      Those changes not much different than A swing BS. Steepness in DS , locks up the hips and puts stress on the knee and spine.
      Another career IMO put on the skids by misinformed instruction.

  5. Ron

    Apr 23, 2018 at 10:54 am

    Lydia was ill advised to make the changes she has made. Her golf swing WAS a fundamentally correct, simple, repeatable golf swing. She needs to get back to it and the clubs she was using.
    It’s a shame Ledbetter is using her to sell his swing. I guess it’s better to slam her parents than take the blame himself.

    • george

      Apr 23, 2018 at 4:00 pm

      its not that simple. Lydia went from external focus that resulted in a free wheeling golf swing, to intense, internal focus on body parts(DL, Harmon, GG, Malaska etc etc).

      Now, “dont think about body parts”, is like telling someone whatever you do, “dont think about a pink elephant”. the more we try to suppress that thinking, the more it will predominate, especially under pressure.
      (Ironic process theory). In other words, once youve been taken down that road, your …..d

  6. Someone

    Apr 23, 2018 at 10:46 am

    He didn’t slam her parents. This article is click bait and an over exaggeration.

  7. BettiBoop

    Apr 22, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Hard to argue when you see her results since then.


    Apr 21, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    This confirms a theory that I had, in that a lot of naturally gifted Pro’s simply don’t know why they play so well.
    hey can just hit the ball very well and progress through the ranks, and if they are lucky nothing much changes and they have a great career, totally oblivious to the technical aspects of their swing.
    But in this case, some other move sneaks in and the Player is completely at a l;oss as to how they can fix it and then they go and start changing their swing and, in some cases, they lose it completely.
    I hope this doesn’t happen to Lydia, but it has happened to other great ‘natural’ golfers, such as Ian Woosnam, who started to lose form and never got back to where he once was.

    • george

      Apr 23, 2018 at 4:15 pm

      Gifted athletes simply know instinctively what to do to produce the result they intend for the ball. of course they dont know details of how they do it because ALL complex chain action movement by humans is subconscious.

      David Eaglemann “The conscious you, which is the part that flickers to life when you wake up in the morning, is the smallest bit of what’s happening in your head.

      “It’s like a broom closet in the mansion of the brain.”

  9. Gorden

    Apr 20, 2018 at 11:56 pm

    No matter what level golfer you are getting better is always a tough road. Consistency in performance is unbelievably hard be it tournament to tournament or even shot to shot. For Pros having someone they trust watch their performance and keep them doing the same moves/positions is a must to remain what ever level they are on….any change in coaching means new eyes with different views and no history to what to look for…new ideas for both player and coach sometimes it works, most of the time it ends up a step backwards.

  10. Ryan

    Apr 20, 2018 at 11:11 pm

    A-swing is a scam.

    • george

      Apr 23, 2018 at 10:28 am

      Lydia was used to sell A swing and it ruined her Natural swing
      developed since 5 years old by Guy Wilson New Zealand.

      Arguably Lydia was the hottest golfer on the planet when she became pro, under Wilson. A pure pivot driven swing, much like Hogan, Nicklaus. Joining Leadbetter has to be blamed on her parents.

      Lead was presented with a promotional marketing gift just as A Swing was about to be introduced. Lydia will never get her Original swing back, thanks to Lead and her parents. To bad, we will never see her talent blossom. C’est dommage.

      PS lesson learned:dont mess with an ingrained golf swing.

      • george

        Apr 23, 2018 at 10:30 am

        A swing is another Scam! worth repeating.

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19th Hole

Adam “Pacman” Jones talks handicap, lowest score, shows off new clubs



The trick-shot artist, golfing dynamo, and general internet phenomenon that is Matty sat down for a quick nine questions with veteran NFL cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones, who plays to a 14 handicap.

Check out their conversation below.

Matty also took a peek at the fresh set of clubs in Jones’ bag. It looks like Matty, who is affiliated with Bridgestone Golf, has made sure the veteran cornerback has the company’s latest wares, including custom Tour B X-CB irons and custom KBS Tour shafts.

Hopefully, Matty will follow up with an Adam Jones WOTW (What’s on the Wrist). Holy Rolly, Pacman!

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Tweets of the Week: Best golf posts from Twitter over the last week



Louis Oosthuizen cried tears of joy after winning the South African Open, while Patton Kizzire and Brian Harman triumphed at the QBE shootout. But those weren’t the only talking points over the last week in the golfing world. Here’s a look at some things you may have missed, and some of the quirkier moments from the world of golf dished out in the Twittersphere.

Uncanny Bubba Impression

He’s nailed impressions of Dustin Johnson and Keegan Bradley in the past, and now Jack Bartlett turned his talents to the mercurial Bubba Watson. The result is both hysterical and scarily impressive.

“Mud Ball!!”

Because the original “mud ball” moment is just as hilarious.

The Turf Chopper

A look into the future of golf on the fairways?

DeChambeau’s New Bag

Bryson showed off his slick new golf bag while in action last week. What do we think GolfWRXers?

Please Replace Divots

A squirrel at the QBE Shootout this week showing more etiquette on the course than some golfers do.

Open Championship Mania

An 11-year old’s mother showed just how much her boy enjoyed his experience at this year’s Open Championship…

…leading to The R&A and Open Championship combining to provide the kid with an experience that he will never forget.






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19th Hole

Exploring Ireland: Where to golf, drink and stay on the Emerald Isle. Pt. 2. Old Tom Morris Links, Donegal



In these series of articles, I will be taking you around the Emerald Isle providing you with great golf courses to visit in some of the loveliest spots in Ireland. I’ll also be highlighting the best and most authentic Irish bars in these spots, as well as places to stay, eat and how to get there. Whether you’re taking a golfing holiday to Ireland in 2019 or are interested in doing so sometime in the future, I’ll make sure to let you in on the best places to spend your time.

In Part One of our Exploring Ireland series, we focused on County Wicklow and showcased Woodbrook Golf Club. Now it’s time for Part Two, and we’re taking a trip to the far northwest corner of the island, and into County Donegal.

While it may not be the most accessible destination, Donegal is an absolute must for anyone traveling to Ireland. Voted number one on The National Geographic Traveler’s ‘cool list’ for 2017, Donegal is like no place you’ve ever seen. Full of breathtaking beaches, incredible walking trails, cosy pubs and of course, excellent golf courses, you’re guaranteed to have a great time here.

Old Tom Morris Links, Donegal


My pick for the top golf course to visit in the county is the Old Tom Morris Links, situated within the Rosapenna Hotel and Golf Resort.

In 1891, while a guest of Lord Leitrim, Old Tom Morris of St. Andrews decided to visit Donegal, and in typical Tom Morris fashion, he believed that it was the ideal location to build a championship course. What Morris created was a course with wide rolling fairways and magnificent greens that have stood the test of time.


The course was renovated twice before a new Strand Nine opened in 2009 which now plays as the front nine of the Old Tom Morris Links. The addition gives the course a wonderful mix of a traditional and modern links feel.

The challenging course plays over 6,900 yards from the back tees, and only offers up the relief of three par-fives. The challenge can also become even more daunting should the wind blow, and being situated along “The Wild Atlantic Way,” you should expect nothing less.


While you will no doubt enjoy the stern test and the natural feel of the golf course, visitors will have even more to look forward to should they take the trip here. The course runs along Tramore beach overlooking Sheephaven Bay and offers up sensational views no matter what hole you are on during your round.

The rates to play 18 holes at the Old Tom Morris Links begin at $40 in winter, and $60 during the summer months.

Food & Drink – The Olde Glen Bar, Carrigart


A 10-minute drive from the course will take you to The Olde Glen Bar a few minutes from Carrigart, which Ulster’s very own Hollywood star and golf fan Jamie Dornan (The Fall, 50 Shades of Grey) called the “best bar in the world.”

The bar first opened in 1768, making it one of the oldest bars in Donegal. The Olde Glen Bar has kept its very traditional feel, and when you get there, you will feel like you’ve been transported back in time. Wooden floors, big open-lit fires, low ceilings and door frames add to the charm of this little bar where there is always something going on.


There is live traditional music playing in the bar every weekend, and along with the music, The Olde Glen Bar boasts an excellent craft beer, whiskey and gin selection. The bar prides itself on its Kinnegar beer, brewed just up the road, and it’s well worth a try if Guinness isn’t your thing.

The bar also features a highly acclaimed restaurant, offering up dishes such as seatrout, venison, supreme of chicken and plenty of other delights.


Where To Stay

The obvious choice is the Rosapenna Hotel and Golf Resort itself. This luxury establishment will cater to all your needs and is the ideal place to stay when in the area if you have the money to splash out. A classic double room will set you back around $200 a night, or you can go for the stay and play option which provides you with two nights bed, and breakfast along with a round of golf at both the Old Tom Morris and the Sandy Hills Links for around $300 per person.

If you’re looking for somewhere less expensive or more traditional, then there are plenty of cottages in the area that will add even more character to your adventure. Here’s what you can expect should you wish to stay in an Irish cottage in the area, and it will give you a feel for true Irish life out on the Atlantic Ocean.


Donegal has lots to offer should you manage to pull yourself away from the course or the bar. Fishing, walking trails, surfing and scuba diving are all favorite activities to do while visiting Donegal. One must visit, however, is Glenveagh National Park, which is a nature reserve with beautiful scenery of mountains, lakes and woodlands. The highlight of the park though has to be Glenveagh Castle, built in 1870.

How To Get There

The lack of quality public transport in the area makes it a little trickier than other spots to get to, but if you’re driving, then there’s no issue at all. The Old Tom Morris Links is a 3 hrs 30mins drive from Dublin City Centre, 4hrs 10mins from Galway City Centre, and 1hr 15mins from Derry City Centre. If you happen to be flying into Donegal Airport, then it will take you around an hour to get to the area.

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