Tell us a bit about your journey to becoming an elite golf coach
A bit like a lot of the coaches, I’d never envisioned being a coach, I was always going to be the best player in the world. I played interstate golf for Golf Victoria for about 5 years and at that stage I decided to go pro over in Europe but that didn’t work out for me. When I came home the head coach, who was my coach in the State Team, Richard Cooney put me on as an apprentice trainee and still at that point I had no real passion to coach but as it turned out I ended up finding out that I was actually helping out a lot of the guys on tour and that was something that I really enjoyed doing. I played professional golf for about 5-6 years and at that period I got into the Victorian institute of sport as a trainee pro and worked under Dennis McDade and Sandy Jamieson and really enjoyed what they were doing and how they were going about it. The opportunity came up a couple of years later to apply for my position and at the same time I was a Colts coach so I guess I was thrown into the deep end of high performance coaching at the beginning but I loved every moment of it.
Describe your role at the VIS
As the head coach, I work with all the athletes. I’ve also got an assistant coach Darren Cole who I work with as well so Darren and I sort of split the technical part of it but I oversee pretty much every athletes program and that obviously includes the work that they do at the sports psych, their strength and conditioning coach, dietician, biomechanics and all the different service providers that we have along the way.
Obviously I do my technical input but I want to make sure all the athletes are moving in the right direction.
On top of the VIS, this year you have coached the winning men's State team and the Australian team at the Asia Pacific. How does it feel to be part of such a successful period of Australian golf?
It can only be good! As coaches, it’s great when its going well but you generally spend a lot of time when its not going so well. So I think that always makes the harder days feel a lot better when the team does a really good job.
How important is strength and conditioning in elite golf these days?
It’s a good question and a common discussion happening around the world. I think a lot of people get a little bit confused about it, thinking that getting guys bigger and stronger that is the important part. I disagree with that, I think function and strength are very important. I think with the way golf is now, to be able to play the amount of the events that they play around the world, both as amateurs and professionals, on and off planes, I think it’s a massive part of an athlete’s week, making sure they get their body right so they can perform at their best. I think it has a massive role.
How has golf technology evolved over the years?
I was one of the early adopters using a launch monitor, putt lab and also 3D biomechanics. Its funny, if you go back 5-7 years ago, you were nearly the odd one out if you even talked about that kind of stuff and now its pretty much common knowledge in most programs in the country and a lot of the programs I visit around the world.
Where do you think the future of the sport is headed?
I think it’s in a good place. It’s exciting times with guys like Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Jason Day at the top.
With some of the mergers and some of the tours around the world, I think we could have some great opportunities for our Australian guys to use as a pathway to get onto some of the bigger stages quicker.
How much golf do you manage to play?
Very little. I keep telling myself I’m going to do more. I see a lot of golf shots but im not playing too much myself. Not something I have planned but its just something that’s happened and I’ve definitely got to work on trying to play a little bit more in the future.
Favourite Australian course?
How many hole-in-ones have you shot?
Four. The 1st hole at Yarra Yarra with a 3-wood when I was 16. I have also holed the 4th and I’ve had two on the 15th at Yarra Yarra as well.