Pitch and putt like a pro
Interview with Michael Coventon, Golf Pro at GC Lech’s golf school
As a teenager Michael Coventon moved rugby balls towards the opponents’ goal. Later he exchanged jersey and cleats for golf bag and driver and from then on, he only teed off on the green. And successfully so: at only 18 years old Coventon could already call himself a professional golf player and polish his skills at the world’s most renowned golf academies. Today, aged 47, the passionate player passes on his wealth of experience as a pro at the GC Lech’s golf school. The right technique, physical fitness, and plenty of passion – both, rabbits and old hands, have plenty to learn from Michael Coventon.
“As soon as I get on the course, the technical aspect and mental part of the game have to become second nature, so here my "Bauchmensch" (i.e. “gut person”) personality takes over.”
L.L./ “Kopfmensch” or “Bauchmensch” – do you listen more to your head or to your gut as a golfer?
M.C./ Actually a bit of both, before a tournament or playing a round of golf the preparation needs to be done on the range "Kopfmensch" (i.e. “head person”) and it requires mental preparation at home. As soon as I get on the course, the technical aspect and mental part of the game have to become second nature, so here my "Bauchmensch" (i.e. “gut person”) personality takes over. I try to visualise my shots on the course as opposed to working on my swing during the round. I focus on staying in a relaxed state of mind
L.L./ You founded Iconic Golf Performance Center and were also awarded the title “Fellow of the PGA” by the British Golfer Association. Tell us about your career? Where does your passion come from?
M.C./ Yes, I am the owner of Iconic Golf Performance Center and this year is its 10-year anniversary, actually. I've been around the region here for 20 years though, from Brand to Bodensee Weissensberg. The Title "Fellow of the PGA" comes from the PGA of Europe for international recognition for the work I have done for golf including writing for golf magazines in 4 countries. The passion for golf comes from a young age, however it was not my first sport, I played rugby first at a good level. Golf I learnt from my father and grandfather.
“Golf I learnt from my father and grandfather.”
L.L./ Today you’re the pro on Lech’s golf course. What makes the course on the Arlberg special and surprising for golfers?
M.C./ The views are spectacular, really some of the best worldwide. I've played in many countries and on many courses, but to have such an environment to work and teach on your doorstep is a privilege. The course is not long but quite narrow at times, so it will suit the straight hitting golfer. It's a great test of strategy, especially for the accomplished golfer because keeping the ball in play requires a good strategy and mental game.
"Compared to many other places, Lech is surprisingly flat."
L.L./ The course is located in Zug valley, which is extremely varied and lies at 1,500 altitude metres. What challenges and advantages does Golfplatz Lech offer?
M.C./ At 1,500 m the balls fly further due to the course’s high altitude which golfers love. I remember my first game on the course I would hit most shots into the greens and be long – so be careful in planning.
“The passion for golf comes from a young age, however it was not my first sport, I played rugby first at a good level.”
L.L./ You’re originally from Great Britain. Would you say golf is played differently in Austria? And if so, what characteristics have you adopted?
M.C./ ne regional characteristic certainly is the situation the ball is played in; uphill, downhill, slopes, are all more extreme than what we had in England. Lech is surprisingly flat to play compared to many courses.
L.L./ Every ambitious golfer trains on a driving range, but the mental aspect is often underestimated. What role does one’s mental strength play? Do you have any tips for us?
M.C./ Of course, it’s not always easy to decide on your flight partners in a round of golf, however who you play with can have a big influence on your game. If you have an easy going and relaxed group they tend to play better than a group under stress. In our Academies we also work on the mental aspect of the game, especially preparation before and after the game, not just on the course.
“The views are spectacular, really some of the best worldwide.”
L.L./ You look back on 28 years of golf experience. Have you ever considered ending your career and doing something completely different?
M.C./ Never... at 47 years of age friends and colleagues start talking of retirement. I've never considered how much longer I'll be coaching for, I'm sure it'll be as long as my legs can carry me; it's a passion for me, not just a job.
Born in Great Britain Michael Coventon was awarded the title Fellow of the PGA by the British Professional Golfers Association in 2005. In 2009 the 47-year-old founded Iconic Golf Academy in Diepoldsau in Switzerland and since then he has been passing on his comprehensive gold know-how with great passion. Since 2016 the golf pro has also been teaching the right swing to golfers young and old at the new 9-hole golf course in Lech.
Pro-Tipps von Michael Coventon
My tip for new golfers:
I would absolutely suggest starting to learn the game of golf with a fully trained golf professional. Golf like no other sport has its technical difficulties, it's said to be the second most difficult sport to learn behind pole vaulting, but once you have worked to a yourself up to a professional level in the sport it will bring many years of fun.
This is the most common mistake made during golfing and how to avoid it:
In my experience too many golfers try to play shots which are outside their capability or if they hit a bad shot, they tend to play the next few holes badly because of poor frame of mind. The better player can forget his or her poor shots much quicker, and this helps them for a consistent round of golf.