What will you experience at McLemore Golf Club when you schedule a McLemore Golf School? The following is a real story about a client who participated in a 3-day golf school at McLemore, June of 2023. Out of respect for privacy, the client’s name is not used. But the experiences shared are actual, real, and genuine. From both the client’s perspective. As well as from John Hughes, who coaches the McLemore Golf Schools.
Day One Start
I met my client at The Creag for breakfast around 8am. My client was genuinely excited to meet me. And had a lot of questions about the next 3 days of his golf school. The first thing he asked was not about his golf school, but about the clubhouse. And the meaning of the name of the restaurant. It was a great question to start the day!
In Gallic, “Creag” means “rock.” The clubhouse and restaurant building at McLemore’s Highlands Course is just that, a big but beautiful rock facade. The exterior of the building is somewhat rugged, resembling the landscape just over the 18th hole.
The full breakfast was my client’s choice, knowing we had a full day ahead of us. After answering all his questions about the facility and what he was about to experience, we walked over to McLemore’s well-conditioned and appointed practice facility.
The Morning Session
Using the private tee box adjacent to one of the golf cottages, we began the instructional day with a warm-up. All 1-to-1 private and 2-to-1 private McLemore Golf School programs are coached at this tee. If coming with a bigger group, a small part of the expansive practice area is used.
After the warm-up, an objective measuring of my client’s performance, using FlightScope and BodiTrak, ensued. Both used together paint a great image of what any golfer is doing from the ground up. And how a golfer’s use of ground forces affects your ability to make the club swing as efficiently as possible.
We sat down under the tent to examine those numbers and match the numbers to video analysis. Within a few minutes, we both agreed on an improvement plan that over 3 days would address his set up positions. And how he set up causes most of his swing faults.
We immediately went to work getting his alignment, balance, and grip improved. Alignment is simple. If you are not putting yourself for your eyes and brain to accurately depict where you want the ball to fly, you’ll have to make compensations, mid-swing, to accomplish the goal. We all balance ourselves with every move you make, throughout the course of a normal day. Why should golf be any different? If you can’t balance throughout your swing, how can you swing with enough force to make the ball travel far, and accurate. And the grip is the steering wheel and delivery piece to your speed. Have your hands in the wrong position on the handle, and more compensations must be made mid-swing.
About mid-way through the morning, we were able to improve my client’s set up positions enough to identify a consistent movement pattern in his swing we could improve. All too often, I am asked about being consistent by clients. And explained to them that without a consistent set up, there is not a consistent swing movement.
Based upon my client’s swing, we were able to start 2 drills. One to achieve better impact. The other to have my client move through the golf ball vs. at the golf ball. Impact is priority #1 for any golfer. And there are numerous ways to get there, as evident in some of the golf swings you see on the professional tours. For my client, impact meant that his hands needed to be slightly ahead of the ball and club head, feeling a “lever” as he hit the ball. If he could feel the lever at impact, it was not enough. He had to rotate through his shot, to create a swing that allowed him to get to his front side and stay there. Versus “recoil” backwards.
My client put in about 100 ball reps. But 3 times that amount of practice swings to allow his brain and body to feel the difference between what he normally does in his swing. And what the drills feel like. He was ready for a break around 12pm. So, we headed back to the Creag for lunch.
A Well-Deserved Break
We both needed to re-energize. And hydrate. My client opted for the Cobb Salad. A mountainous display topped with shrimp, at his choosing. I seem to order the BLT&E quite a bit. A “Californication” of the traditional Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato sandwich. With a little bit of avocado strategically placed in between.
Hydration of choice for my client was one of the local craft beers on tap. But just one. I wanted to make sure his energy was not going to get zapped mid-way through his on-course coaching experience.
Off We Go!
We headed back to the practice area to get a quick warm-up before heading to the first tee for 18-holes of on-course coaching. Because you never return to the clubhouse after the 9th hole of the Highlands Course, I found it beneficial to stick with my clients throughout the entire round. Versus hitchhike my way back.
The 1st tee box provides an elevated and scenic view of holes 1 through 4. As well as a breathtaking view of Cloudland, the Curio Collection by Hilton boutique hotel. And McLemore Cove. The dogleg left Par 5 is a fair yet testing start to what will be the more difficult “9” of the course. My client made par on the hole. Only to go to the #2 tee box to see a challenging par 4 with one of only 2 water features on the entire course.
On-Course Coaching is just that. Coaching you to play better with current skills. While assisting with better decision making. The drills my client successfully executed that morning will not be ready for “prime time” playing for a while. Until then, it’s best he learns what his current skills are capable of. And make great decisions based upon those skills. We certainly made some attempts throughout the round to instill his improved set up positions. And we certainly showed him how “holding his finish” afforded him some extra yardage he did not think he could achieve.
On-Course Coaching also provides me the opportunity to see what a golfer’s “real” short game is all about. At the practice area, there is no immediate circumstance to judge if a shot was good enough. And if you deem it not to be, you have multiple attempts to get it right. The golf course does not provide a 2nd chance. That is why I get a lot of video recording done of putting, chipping, pitching, bunker shots, as well as other unique shots the golfer is presented with through the course of play.
My client showed he had some chops when it came to chipping. But his pitching and putting skills needed some work. We both agreed those 2 short game items would become part of the improvement plan days 2 and 3 of his golf school. And during the remainder of his on-course coaching experience, I provided him with some tried and true nuggets of set up advice that allowed him to conquer these shots as the round progressed.
Making the Turn
One of the more typical questions I receive from clientele is why the round falls apart. Particularly after making the turn. My client and I started that conversation at the Turn House, which features its own uniquely different menu. If hungry, I recommend the buffalo pimento cheese BLT. The traditional dog in a bun is available too. Along with an array of drink options.
As we ventured to the 10th hole, I reminded my client to stay focused on his set up positions. And not think too far ahead of himself. This is good advice for any golfer at the turn. Especially if you made the turn with a better than average score.
The Back 9
Holes 10 and 11 at the Highlands Course offer you somewhat of a visual reprieve from the ups and downs you experience on the front side. But don’t let the visual calmness fool you. By #12, Rees Jones and Bill Bergin jump back into your golfing crawl. Forcing you to make good decisions as you scale back up the property.
The back 9 of McLemore provides a golfer with a more parkland feel. While presenting scenic views of sunsets off #14. And the 9th tee box of the Outpost from the 15th tee box. By #16, you’ll need to regain your composure to finish strong. Throughout the back 9, my client showed some fatigue. Something all golfers experience at this stage of the round. It was on #16 that I reminded my client to set up strong and finish strong. No matter where he was on the course.
With very little energy left, my client and I switched back our way from the #17th green to the 18th tee box. A drop of almost 300 feet, the cart path provided a tease of McLemore Cover as seen from a long and deep rock-slide formation.
And as we made it to the tee box, the majesty of the 18th hole presented itself. Just the sight of the hole provided my client all the energy he needed to make a par on #18. And it will do the same for you.
A Complete Day
As you complete your round at The Highlands Course and drive your cart up the hill from the 18th green, back to the Creag, you pass The Cairn. The Cairn is a 6-hole short game course, designed and built on the grounds of the old 18th hole. Cairn in Gallic means mound of rocks built as a memorial or landmark. And in the middle of the 6-holes is the rock memorial to those who played the Highlands Course before you. As we passed through the 1st hole of The Cairn, I informed my client we’d be utilizing it, and the massive practice green behind us for the next 2 days.
But no day is complete at McLemore, with enjoying your favorite beverage on the patio of the Creag. Overlooking McLemore Cover. And remembering the day and the course. As my client conjured up his memories, it became apparent his brain was over-saturated with a lot of positives. Positives about his game and the potential he did not know he possessed. Our conversation of his thoughts led me to provide him with paper and pen to write down what he really needed to remember. And to document the experiences he conquered that day.
When Will You Experience McLemore?
If you’ve enjoyed this day in the life story of a real golf school experience, it’s time for you to schedule a McLemore Golf School. Limited availability for private golf schools makes it important you schedule sooner than later. Particularly in the fall as the leaves make McLemore that much more magical.