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Ease the mind, relax the body, improve the golf

A holistic approach fits the game, teaches George Beardsley.


© St. Petersburg Times, published February 4, 2001

LUTZ -- Sometimes, the best golf shot is the one not made. Sometimes a player can make a tricky 2-foot putt through sheer force of will. Sometimes it takes gentle breathing to produce a booming drive.

Those are some of the lessons golf teacher George Beardsley hopes to impart to students in his new golf school at Cheval Golf and Country Club.

Unlike many golf schools, where students pound thousands of balls under the watchful eyes of PGA golf pros, Beardsley's program is a holistic approach involving not only the golf swing, but also sports psychology and physical therapy.

"We'll touch on five basic things," said Beardsley, the teaching professional at Cheval. "The long game, short game, course management, mental approach and physical conditioning. The general theme of the school will be relaxation and trying to take the pressure off your golf swing; to be in a very balanced state."

Working with Beardsley will be Richard Gershon, a Clearwater psychologist who specializes in working with athletes, and Craig Gordon, a Tampa physical therapist.

"What I was looking for was simplicity," Beardsley said. The school will focus on the fundamentals of good fitness, good thoughts, good decisions and a good swing.

The exercise component will include three 30-minute workouts a week, combined with a stretching program to limber up golf muscles. The mental aspect will include developing routines around each shot, visualization and breathing.

"They're just simple things that can get people in the most relaxed state," Beardsley said. "I think the approach we're taking is sort of unique. We'll build a personalized performance plan for them to reach their top performance level."

One golfer may want to build consistency in his drives. Another may want to find confidence in her putting. All students will learn the basics of making sound decisions on the golf course.

Part of the program will include actual play on several Cheval holes, with the class studying options from tee to green.

The first three-day school is Feb. 13-15, with about four hours of instruction each day. Another school is scheduled for March 13-15. Class size is limited to 15 golfers and the cost is $199. For information, call 610-3505 or 949-4231.

- Logan D. Mabe can be reached at 813-226-3464 or at

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