Hello Fiona, you have been a professional golf player for more than 5 years and you are offering golf lessons in French on My Tutor Speaks French. Could you share your career path with us? How did you become a professional player?
I started playing golf when I was 14 years old, while going on the green with my Dad. I quickly enjoyed the game, the nature walks, hitting the ball and I realised that it was not that easy to put it in the hole! I became really attracted by this sport when I started to compete and play in tournaments. It reminded me of what I had felt when I was practicing other sports like swimming or basketball. Still playing while I was in High School and in University, I then achieved the required level to pass my carts and became a professional player, in January 2012. Since, I have been playing tournaments in Europe and everywhere in the USA.
What age do you think is appropriate for a child to start learning how to play golf?
Indeed some professional golf players started playing much earlier than I did, sometimes as soon as they could walk, because their parents were playing golf and took them along on the green. You can find little clubs for kids so children aged 3 or 4 years old can practice their swing! However I think it’s wiser to wait for the child to demonstrate an interest for the sport, around 7 or 8 years, to start taking lessons.
Would you have any advice for a beginner who would like to improve his/her game quickly?
When you start playing golf, you need to acquire strong bases. You need at least one lesson to get the fundamentals: the grip, which is how to grab the club, your position and the aim of the game. Nothing very complicated but there are some technical skills that have to be mastered.
Fiona, where can we play golf in New York? How long should I plan for the lesson and the transportation?
New York actually offers multiple options to play golf, there are several golf courses but unfortunately none in Manhattan: there used to be one in Central Park but it is closed now. Chelsea Piers is a very good place to practice and hit as many balls as you want, and Golf Manhattan is also an interesting option to play indoors. You can find golf courses in New Jersey or Brooklyn. Plan around 1 hour to commute an add roughly 4 hours for game.
How many lessons do I need to feel confident on the golf course?
As early as you manage to hit the ball in the right direction, your are ready to play on the course!
Here in the US, golf players are much more relaxed, and even if it’s really important to know the rules, they will be fine if you don’t know all of them. Therefore it’s often easier to play here than in France. I would say a beginner could have fun after 10 lessons and 10 hours of practice, and of course after reviewing the rules and etiquette besides one’s swing.
We have this common belief that we need a lot of material to play golf. What would you recommend to get from the beginning?
Chelsea Piers offers the opportunity to rent golf clubs and I think it is a very good idea at the beginning, before you are sure that you love the sport and want to invest more. After the first few lessons, I would recommend to buy a half series for the children of smaller and lighter golf clubs.
You will find a lot of affordable and good quality material online.
What is the lesson plan? Any difference depending if the student is a child or an adult?
A lesson with a beginner, child or adult, is always about the same bases: the grip of the club, the position of the body, and how to develop a proper movement to hit the ball where you would like it to go.
Then, with kids, I make my best so they have fun while learning and acquiring the technical skills and gestures.
Obviously we also have fun when the student is an adult, but with children, it always leads to much better results!
How can I practice at home? What would you recommend?
As a professional player, I do some exercises at home to practice my technique and stay at the top. For example, it is possible to practice putting without much damage to your apartment. But I definitely recommend not to practice your swing at home because you will for sure break something one day, I experienced it! However, stretching and staying fit are also good ways to improve your swing.
Thank you Fiona!