Rachel Connor at the David Leadbetter Golf Academy Championsgate, Florida
Posted 7th December 2009
I've just returned from America for a well earned Christmas break with my family in the UK. It was so nice to be back at Manchester Golf Club and to see all of the members and House of Golf customers at the weekend - it really made me appreciate being back - despite the cold weather!
Since my last post I have been continuing my work schedule at the IMG Academy and I was delighted to find that IMG Academies would like me to remain connected to the Academy for the foreseeable future. This is a huge accolade for me as the Academy is probably THE best training facility in the world - knowing that I have the backup of the coaches and staff at IMG is enormous for me.
I have just applied for my P1 Visa which will allow me to play on the tour in the States for the next few years. Part of the application process was to ask Professionals from the LPGA and PGA to support my application and I was a little concerned about this because as a Rookie you tend to feel a bit like a little fish in a big pond! I needn't have worried though because after a few telephone calls and emails I was able to secure support from an array of coaches and players including David Leadbetter, David Whelan (Second in command David Leadbetter Golf Academies), Joanne Morley (LPGA, LET Player and European Solheim Cup Vice Captain) Paula Creamer (LPGA World No 2) Mika Miyazato (LPGA) Carolina Llano (LPGA).
Getting my visa in place is a huge part of my future in golf so I would like to say 'Thank You' to them all for their support it means a great deal!
My last week in the States was spent at the David Leabetter Academy at Championsgate in Florida - before I returned home I had a chance to catch up with David. He knew that I was returning home for Christmas and that it was going to be difficult for me to get out on the course with the weather being as bad as it is. 'Lots of indoor work' was his advice - so I'll be spending most of my time at the Esporta Lancashire Health and Racquets Club working on my fitness and in the Golf Performance Centre at Manchester Golf Club.
I will also be working out with my fitness coach Kim Roberts from DR Physiotherapy and no doubt we will be found running up and down the hills of Rivington with our dogs Toby and Arnie!
And finally .. last week I had some really exciting news. I received an email from the Duramed Futures Tour asking me to represent them at the Annual PGA Trade Show in Orlando at the end of January 2010. This is the biggest golf show in the world with almost 10 miles of stands showing off the latest products and innovations in the golf industry. The Futures Tour has asked me to be on the LPGA stand with an LPGA player, a veteran of the Tour and me as the Rookie . this is such an honour and I am sooooo excited about this!
I hope that
you all will have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS with your families. Hopefully
I will see you before I return to the States in the New Year.
Duramed Futures Tour 2010 here I come!
Today is very special - Happy Birthday to my little god-daughter Phoebe Lily who is back in the UK. I'm looking forward to lots of cuddles when I get home in December!
Rachel and her god-daughter Phoebe Lily
Posted 17th November 2009
Can I just say a big Thank You to everyone for the messages that I have received following Tour School via my website www.chillgolf.co.uk they mean a lot!
After a busy week at Tour School the last week has been filled with the practicalities of arranging my affairs for life on tour in America in 2010. I will be continuing my training at the David Leadbetter IMG Academy in 2010 and Bradenton will be my base for the distant future this is a prospect that I am relishing.
Rachel at the David Leadbetter IMG Academy
Following a weekend of apartment hunting, furniture sourcing and general traipsing around department stores, I was more than ready to get back to the Academy today. A typical day at the Academy starts at 8.00am with a combination of long and short game work, mental conditioning, swing analysis and usually IPI.
The IMG Performance Institute (IPI) is really something special, my sessions include speed/agility conditioning and in-season weight training that is relative to golf. Sessions are taken by Coach TA or Trevor Anderson who really is an inspirational guy the type of person that wants you to push yourself to the limit with a smile on your face!
There are ten golf courses that are affiliated to IMG in this area and on a daily basis we are timetabled to play at one of these courses. My favourite course and one to visit, if you are ever in this area, is Sarabay Country Club. Bobby Jones once said of Sarabay It is one of the finest I have ever seen. It is what I call a true championship layout. So that is recommendation indeed. CLICK HERE to visit the Sarabay Country Club website. A typical day at the Academy will finish at 5pm.
So, Im pleased to be back at the Academy. Our group of Post Graduates now totals 13 and seems to growing each day. We are from a mixture of cultures and diverse background, male and female and we have different interests outside golf but we all arrived in Bradenton with one common goal to be the best that we can be.
Hello to everyone back in the UK!
This past week I have had more than my share of the ups and downs in tournament golf. My week began well at Huntington Hills Golf Club where I played some steady golf and posted one over par 73.
Then I headed to the Lakeland area of Florida for my first attempt at securing my card on the Duramed Futures Tour. Here's how it unfolded...
Day 1: I had an early start, so I got an alarm call at 5.30am, breakfast at 6.15, a 40 minute drive to the golf club, warm up and stretches and prep for the next hour and on the tee at 8.00am, just as the Florida sun was rising! On completion of my round I met a lady from Bolton who lives at Huntington Hills - she was very kind and offered me 'soup and a shower' but I decided to head off back to my hotel to get ready for a players meeting that evening.
Rachel at Lake Region Golf Club during the Duramed Tour School
Day 2: I had another early start 8.10 start today but this time at Lake Region. I was pleased with my game today - all of the girls that I played with were in their final year at College and they all have really solid games. The standard at Tour School is amazing - all of these girls can play golf. I posted another steady score at level par on the tricky and windy Lake Region so at the close of play I felt that this was a job well done.
Day 3: Yet another early start today at Ridgewood Golf Club 8.20am. This course was playing so today, with temperatures in the mid eighties I have to tell you that I was starting to feel the heat. My round started miserably and by the time I came off the 7th green I was two over par. However, I made birdies at holes eight and nine to get back to level. Whilst I was out on the course we were looking for a ball when I recognised a familiar accent. "Are you Rachel the english girl?" a lady asked. It turned out that she was from Stockport which is near my home town of Manchester. This lady and her husband watched me play the final few holes and I have to say that they were my lucky mascots as I played the next few holes to level par and then completed my last few holes birdie, birdie, birdie for a final total that day of 3 under. Following the round I was interviewed by the Duramed Futures Tour for their Blog on You Tube. Click on the Video Picture below to watch the video
Day 4: I always knew that the marathon five rounds wasn't going to be easy but day four was a shocker! I was pleased to be starting the day a little later at 9.20am but when I got out on the golf course I started to realise that the early times were much, much better! During Tour Qualifier it was compulsory for players to ride on buggies - largely to help keep up the pace of play on the course. However, this didn't quite go to plan Round 4 took our group six hours to play the round - hard enough when you are walking the course but on a buggy it seemed like an eternity and I have to say that this really affected my rhythm and I posted a very disappointing eight over par and I left the course absoultely exhausted. Nevertheless, I was absolutely delighted to find that I had easily made the cut for the top 90 players and that in 2010 I would be playing on the Duramed Futures Tour. Yippee!
Day 5: I had
another early start and completed my round in just over 4 hours. To be
honest, I was relieved to see the back of the final round when I posted
a poor nine over par. I was exhausted. What have I learned from Tour School.
It's tough - very tough, watching player's dreams being built and shattered
over a five day period wasn't easy but this is the School that I want
to be in. It isn't called 'The Road to the LPGA' for nothing! I was one
of the youngest competitors in the field and at times I showed my inexperience
but I was buoyed by the standard of golf that I played. I know that I
can compete out here and now I have four months to complete my preparation
at the David Leadbetter IMG Academy in Bradenton.
Posted 20th October 2009
Well, the good news is I played really well in my first two events on the OGA Tour! At Huntington Hills I shot +2 par 74 which doesn't sound too fantastic but it bagged me 3rd position. The course was playing difficult due to strong winds and there has been a dip in temperature over here by about 20-30 degrees over the last few days so it's jumper and trouser weather. I played with a young Chinese prodigy called Cindy Feng who did very well in the Ladies US Open in 2009.
Today, I played at The Golf Club at Bridgewater and I won with a -1 par 71! The field is made up of a mixture of scratch golfers and professionals so I've not quite hit the big time yet, but considering that these are two of the qualifying courses for the Duramed Futures Tour I'm pretty pleased with my result. In all honesty my score should have been ten less but my putting definitely wasn't on song!
And finally, guess who one of my playing partners was today? Only ex world Number One Tennis star Ivan Lendl! Ivan has opened his own Tennis and Golf Academy in Florida - he's a scratch golfer who plays on the OGA Tour to keep his game in shape - he shot 81 today so like the competitor that he is he wasn't too pleased but it was a great experience to play with him.
Posted 16th October 2009
First of all, I would like to welcome everyone on the www.golf.co.uk website to my blog! Today, I'm making my final preparations before heading up to Orlando for my first two events on the Open Golf Association schedule. My game is in good shape so it's time to put it to the test under competition conditions. I'll be playing at Huntington Hills on 18th October and The Golf Club at Bridgewater on 20th October these are two of the courses that I wll be playing at Q School so this will be great practise! Wish me luck!
Posted 11th October 2009
As you can see, today has been another glorious day in Central Florida! Here I am at 7.30am at Ridgewood Lakes Golf & Country Club which is in Davenport (about six or seven miles from Disney). This has been my first practise round on one of the courses that I will be playing in qualifying school for the Duramed Futures Tour. I have played with a very good friend of mine 'Coach' Ernie Chandler.
Playing this course today I realised that I'm not going to need my driver on every hole - positional play is going to be the key to getting around this course! It is ranked in the Top 30 golf courses in Florida and has water or wetlands on every hole - I'm glad that I have another practise round here before I play it in Q School!
Posted 3rd October 2009
It's been another busy week at the Academy and the highlight was spending the afternoon with Number One coach David Leadbetter! He is such an inspiration to the Academy!
We decided to concentrate on my putting technique and as a result I have decided to adjust it slightly. For the past couple of seasons I've been working on the 'Bop' technique which is basically when you hit the ball on a putt rather than stroking it. Sometimes my putting has been good, other times a little inconsistent so I've reverted back to a smoother putting stroke - this can take a little getting used to but I'm finding good results on the golf course when 'feel' is essential.
My entries have been received and accepted for the Duramed Futures Tour so you will be able to follow my progress during qualifying at www.duramedfuturestour.com
I'm also going to be playing a few events in the Open Golf Association range of tournaments as they are considered to be quality fields and are played at two of the qualifying courses for the Futures Tour.
I'll be playing at Huntington Hills on 18th October and The Golf Club at Bridgewater on 20th October. I'll keep you posted with my results.
Posted September 26th 2009
Its been a tough week at the Academy - getting up at 5.30am and finishing at 7pm can be hard on anyone but in 90 degree heat, just that little bit harder. But guess what - I'm loving it! I feel as though I'm adjusting well to the heat, which is important when you consider that Q School isn't that far off now.
There have been a few changes in my group of Post Graduates with players coming and going as they work around their playing schedules but there is a real camaraderie there now. We're all working towards similar goals and supporting each other to improve.
Posted September 19th 2009
I've had a great week here at the IMG Academy. My group has been joined by Julietta Granada who I played with in the British Open Qualifier this year. Julietta was the first woman to win a million dollars in one event on the LPGA so I'm keeping good company!
We've been working really hard this week on fitness and just to prove it, if you click on this link you will be able to see some of the fitness work that we have been doing with coach Trevor Anderson using a medicine ball.
You can pick up a few hints from this video too!
I've been playing at Sara Bay Country Club for my course practise - this is a stunning golf course where Tommy Armour was once professional. His playing partner during this time was none other than the great Bobby Jones - it is such a privilege to be playing on such courses.
Posted September 10th 2009
Played just 13 holes this morning and then practised. In the afternoon we did 'GAME ON' which is psychology but fun! It's amazing the guy that worked with us is an actor (he was in American Pie) I had to explore a side of me that I don't normally show so I was Mrs Serious for the day - it was fun - I love it here.
One of the coaches that I dont know well came over today and asked me to hit some balls for him. Then he called another coach over and said 'check this out' - all the coaches have been so complimentary about my swing - it feels good.
Posted 9th September 2009
Hi everyone back at home from a very sunny Bradenton, Florida.
I'm now into my third day at the IMG Academy and all I can say is 'IT'S AWESOME'! There are upwards of 800 pupils at the Academy and the facilities and structure of the Academy is unbelievable.
I'm working with 7 players who are classed as 'Post Graduates' . Two of the guys are from Hale and another is from Alderley Edge so no problems with the accent! There is just one girl on the same programme as me and she is from Morocco. The other guys are professionals.
Every day we have an itinerary to work to - this includes, sports psychology, gym, lessons and of course playing golf. They are full days starting at 7am and finishing at 5pm but I'm loving it!
Mum and Dad tell me that everyone is asking for me back at home - that's so nice to hear. Over the next few weeks my plan is to play some of the courses that act as pre-qualifying courses for the Duramed Futures Tour. I will keep you posted of anything exciting that happens.
Take care everyone!