On the tee from England, Gary Owens

I would really like to avoid the usual boring CV/resume and write something which is not just stating facts like; I was born in 1954 in London to an Irish father and English mother, that I was brought up in Crewe in the north of England where I went to Crewe Grammar School. Facts like my finishing the 6th form or that I can’t remember when I started to play golf because I can’t remember not playing, or that I was the Captain of the school golf team and Junior Captain of Crewe Golf Club, or that my father was the President of Crewe Golf Club don’t seem to have much significance today. And what should I say about my Irish family who are nearly all golfers, or the fact that I was taught the game by father and his brother Jacky?

Anyway between one thing and another after a wonderful experience as a junior in England I hardly touched a club from the ages of 19 to 29 years old, in the meantime I had moved to Ticino in southern Switzerland where in 1983 I became a member of Ascona Golf Club. Maybe someone still remembers a small art gallery in the old town of Locarno? Or the Galleria Owens in Lugano? Anybody go to any concerts organised by OGGImusica? Well that was me. Besides these initiatives I’m sure there are those who remember me playing as a member of Ascona, I had for many years a 2 handicap and won many events including the Swiss Club Championship in 1984. I had 10 marvellous years where not only did I fall in love with golf again but I also fell in love with the golf course in Ascona. I can of nothing better than to sit on the terrace at Ascona Golf after playing 18 holes on a summer evening.

Even though my life had many satisfactions, working with art and music to then go and play golf on the weekends is not such a terrible life, but something inside me told me that I had the potential to be a really good golf teacher. I was not just attracted to the lifestyle of a professional golfer but I felt that I had something to give back to this game and that I had the necessary background and culture to do so. Thanks to the committee of Ascona and in particular to the then President, Avv. Aldo Allidi, at the age of 39 I started on a new adventure.

And I was right. They were indeed incredible years that I spent teaching golf in Ascona. I had immediate success  becoming the junior coach for southern Switzerland, the junior coach in Ascona, my lesson book was full and many students not only became friends but almost family. Playing golf as a professional was amazing, I got to make so many new friends, I played in Challenge Tour events with the likes of Thomas Bjorn, I travelled extensively, once more golf had given me indescribable experiences and emotions.

But like all things, good and bad, one day they come to an end and the conditions in Ascona changed in a way that I felt it was time to move on and I left Ascona at the end of 2003, and although I was guest Pro there through 2006, 2008 and 2009 my relationship with Ascona is practically over .

So in 2004 I set myself up as an independent professional golfer, but my life took a 360° turn when I met my wife the artist Marinella and with her we had a small family, a son and a daughter. So my ambitions to go and play on the European Seniors Tour faded as I saw my real future in this family. Irini, our 15 year old daughter, has caddied for me on several occasions is now learning the game, the less I talk about Nico the better because I am a very proud father, and what should I say about the woman who gave me all this?

In these years I remained in Ticino and worked as a teacher at the Public School of golf in Locarno and the Swiss Centre for Youth Sports in Tenero, besides working in Ascona.

I have never stopped trying to improve my golf, working out in a gym with a personal trainer,  having an Alexander technique teacher, did Feldenkrais programmes, and even if I’ve had golfer’s elbow, broke my left hand and I’m getting old, So my greatest achievement in golf came in 2011 winning the qualifier for the British Seniors Open in Burhill in England. I played in a Major! The Seniors Open at Walton Heath surrounded by the living legends of golf, playing the practise round with Ian Woosnam and a few holes with Barry Lane. During the competition Tom Watson was a few flights behind and playing a shot with him watching was quite an emotion,  didn’t pass the cut but I’m doing everything in my power to get back there.

In 2009 we moved to the capital of Ticino, Bellinzona, and continued to train on the driving range of another local golf course called Losone which like Ascona is about a 30 minute car drive. So I thought “how come there is nothing for golfers in Bellinzona?” It is with this thought in mind that in 2012 we opened an indoor golf centre with two golf simulators in the centre of town.

This not only gives me the chance to train but I’ve also started the Gary Owens Golf Academy so that I can also give lessons. Building on the success of the indoor we are now in contact with golf clubs so we can organise golf days, Golf Clinics, and give lessons outdoors. At the moment we have special arrangements with Golf Club Toscana, Circolo di Golf Villa D’Este and are in the process of contacting a golf resort on a beautiful Caribbean island.

Gary Owens PGA

 

 

 

 

 

The Gary Owens Golf Academy, Switzerland, Italy and ?

The Gary Owens Golf Academy was opened in 2012 and has as it centre an indoor golf with golf simulators in Bellinzona in Switzerland. This is where over the last few winter months I have been giving golf lessons.

Thanks to the new technology of the golf simulator the kind of golf lesson I give has changed dramatically. Like everybody else before I used, obviously, my eyes and a video camera with the Pro V1 software for my computer, however, the golf simulator is able to collect the precise angles of the club head and the flight of the ball, so for the first time we can really see the relationship between the two.

Thanks to Fredrik Tuxen and his Trackman we now have a new set of ball flight laws to replace and correct the old ball flight laws and the golf simulator confirms his finding. So a lesson where we can judge 9 parameters of the club head and ball flight combined with a video camera gives a complete picture of what each student is really doing. The computer does not tell us how to play golf, however, with the correct information the interpretation of these facts becomes clear, and as a teacher I am now able to demonstrate efficiently what needs to be done to achieve a straight ball flight.

The machine has its limits, one being that the ball needs to be hit off the middle of the club to get the correct ball flight on the projected screen. However, even this fact has made me realise that not so many people are able to hit the club neither square or in the middle of the club face and this has lead me to pay even more attention to the material they are playing with. So I have learnt how to do club fitting with a golf simulator and have now a small workshop where I can measure and repair golf clubs, especially grips.

The Gary Owens Golf Academy is not just limited to giving indoor lessons but with the coming new season has already special arrangements with golf clubs in Italy to give group lessons or golf clinics. It is also my intention to organise special golf trips, for example, during the summer to Ireland or Scotland and during the winter to the Caribbean isles.

There will more information and full programmes published on this web site as soon as we have confirmation.

Gary Owens PGA

Golf Clinics

A golf clinic is actually a group lesson where you get to spend a whole day or two with the golf pro. The way I organise them is that after a warm up session on the driving range we play on the golf course and after a light lunch to continue in the afternoon with more lessons and practising.

The great advantage in group lessons is that for about the same price as an hour’s golf lesson you get an entire day with a professional golfer.

My ideal group is between 6 to 9 people where I get to play 6 or 9 holes with each group. The afternoon sessions depend a little on what I saw while playing but for sure will include short game and putting and not just hitting balls on a range.

At the moment the clinics and golf trips are to be held in Italy. I have a special agreement with the Golf Club Toscana, a beautiful course in amazing Tuscany, a land full of history, culture, olive oil, wine and good food. In northern Italy there are many fine golf courses but maybe none better than Villa D’Este at Como where during the year I shall for sure be doing some clinics.

Full programmes for the year will be published here shortly.

As I am writing I am in contact with a golf resort on a beautiful Caribbean island where I hope we can organise golf trips and clinics.

Golf Lessons

There are different ways to take golf lessons with me, indoor or outdoor, on a driving range or on a golf course, in Switzerland or in Italy and finally playing in Pro-Ams or participating in golf clinics.

I think the best way to decide what kind of lesson you need is to determine at what level have you reached in golf.

The complete beginner should normally start on a driving range learning the basics; I would suggest that indoor lessons on a golf simulator at the Golf Academy in Bellinzona are just as valuable, independent of the weather and maybe even more fun.

For those of you whose next goal is to pass your ability test, or permission to play on a golf course, which in Switzerland is called Platzreife, then a combination of driving range or Golf Academy lessons with on course playing and rules tests is required. The final exam can then be taken with me since I am a member of the Swiss PGA.

When we are preparing you for your first handicap, a very exciting moment, and your first steps towards competitive golf then your abilities in the short game are of the upmost importance. Unfortunately, most new golfers still believe that it is the swing and hitting the ball a long way that will get them a handicap but anyone with any experience will tell you that it’s the chipping and putting which determines your score. These points can be successfully worked on both in the Golf Academy and on the golf course.

Correcting mistakes, changing your swing, simply improving or getting better will require some form of driving lessons and since I now have the latest technology available in the Golf Academy that is the place I suggest we start. Then later would be the taking it to the course phase.

To get the handicap down I have seen in the past that all that was needed was for me to simply play together with students on a golf course. This gives me to chance not just to talk about golf but to show how to do various golf shots, the “Teach by Doing” philosophy. Playing on the course involves golf management, what are you actually trying to do, the mental aspect, developing a good pre-shot routine and last but not least, reading greens.

The standard price for an individual one hour less with me is fr. 100.-. Now in the Golf Academy in Bellinzona there are no more charges, the fr. 100.- is all inclusive, on other driving ranges there will be a green fee to pay. On the golf course the standard price for 18 holes is fr. 360.- to be divided by how many play, 1, 2 or 3 players, plus the green fee. A standard entire day costs fr. 600.- plus expenses, for example, if there were green fees or hotel or restaurant bills I would expect you to pay them on top of the fr. 600.-. The cost of a one day Pro-Am is normally about fr. 250.- and I will charge fr. 120.- per person for the day. For any other requirements like clinics and/or groups lessons, or Platzreife exams simply ask and we’ll work out a price accordingly.


Contacts

The address given below is not that of the Gary Owens Golf Academy.but my private home address in case you wish to send something by post.

In reality the most effient way to contact me is by either sending an email or sms as my phone is often turned off, remember most golf courses don’t allow phones on the course  (unless you’re a doctor).

My Address

Via Lugano 8
6500 Bellinzona

Switzerland

T: 0041 (0)79 2399661
T: 0041 (0)79 8961495

W: http://www.progolfergaryowens.com 
E:  gary@progolfergaryowens.com

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Let’s Build
A Swing for a Lifetime Together

When I talk about building a swing for a lifetime together I’m not just refering to my work as a golf instructor/coach with my students but I’m also talking about the work I do myself as a player in my attempt to be the best possible player I can be.

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What’s New?

YouTube channel

Check out my YouTube channel at progolfergaryowens. Under favourites you’ll find some great videos of older swings like Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones, Harry Vardon and more……..

Gary Owens Golf Academy

Over the last few months my wife, the artist Marinella, have been working very hard on our new project the Gary Owens Golf Academy in Bellinzona, Switzerland.

The New Ball Flights

Subject of much discussion, and confusion, are the new ball flight laws and a thing called the D-Factor.

My Mission

I see my main mission as a golf professional as  encouraging and motivating all my students to achieve their goals in golf through a thorough understanding of the golf swing and their behavior on the golf course. To that end I continue to study all aspects of the game in great detail, from swing mechanics to the latest trackman findings. Before experimenting any new information on my students I firstly apply all this knowledge to myself, my own golf swing and game, and it is from these experiences that I able to transmit the instruction in a clear and uncomplicated manner.

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My Clients Say:

We have been taking lessons with Gary for over 15 years now and we consider him the best teacher of all. He has a way of explaining your swing, and what you can do with it, that is so clear and easy to understand that you can really begin to correct yourself. But it is playing on the course with Gary that you really learn so many different shots and short game tips.