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Pete Cowen - What I Learned From One of the Top PGA and European Tour Golf Coaches

Pete Cowen has become one of the hottest golf coaches or instructors on the European (DP) Tour and PGA over the past 10 - 15 years. Pete was a player back in the day but turned to full time coaching on the European tour in 1979. Since then Pete has coached the likes of Rory McIlroy (off and on), Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood, Brooks Koepka, Thomas Pieters and many more. Not a bad roster.

I have watched many of Pete Cowen's videos over the years and really it was lost on me what the heck he was talking about. Pete is also like the mean science teacher you were all afraid of in High School. He seems a bit grumpy and watching his videos almost seems uncomfortable at times. But there is gold in them thar hills.

There is a three part video series I stumbled upon on YouTube called Pete Cowen's Pyramid of Learning. Thanks to Golf Videos for putting these on YouTube. The video series encapsulate Pete Cowen's golf and instructing philosophy. The Videos are a bit dated and the background music sounds like a bad 1980's School Safety Video but the content is solid and for me I think it is finally sinking in.

In these videos Pete talks about many of his golf principles but here is what I found most helpful and almost game changing.


The Spiral Staircase - Henrik Stenson's Secret to Success per Pete Cowen


Pete says this is what turned Henrik Stenson's career around and Henrik still does this drill almost every day. Basically it is a sequence of how the body should move from your feet all the way up to your arms and hands as if your body is spiraling up like a spiral staircase. Not turning or swaying. This is actually a massive key to the golf swing and game changing for those who shift their weight around like myself.

Go to video 2 (Part 2) at about the 0.49 mark to see this drill.

Level 2 Dynamic Body Movement - Hand, Arm and Shoulder Action

This section also is in Video 2 or Part 2 and begins at about 8:40 mark. This stuff is gold. In this section of the video Pete focuses on how the should should move in the golf swing, how the right arm should be position and how the hands move. I am a lifetime golfer and pretty well read in terms of the golf swing and I wasn't aware of any of this stuff. What really resonated was the fact that the right shoulder stays externally rotated throughout the swing to keep everything stable and the right elbow is facing in towards the body. Only the forearms rotate not the shoulder by flipping out the right elbow. Tough to explain but easier to see on the video. Check out the 8:40 minute mark and beyond. This is big stuff.

Angle of Attack, Hand Motion and Pressure

This concept of pressure puzzled me in Pete Cowen's videos for quite a while. What the heck is he talking about. Eventually it finally just equated to the force that you bring down on the ball with a direct blow. Not a glancing slice swing or flippy hood. Pete's goal is to have solid, flush contact to the back of the ball from the inside. Level 3 or Part 3 goes through all of this and the Axe Drill is a great drill to work on Plane, Angle of Attack and Pressure.

Here are all 3 videos. Watch them all and then watch them again. I have to say the Staircase Drill is a great drill to do at home and I think it is helping with timing and sequence of my swing. The Axe Drill has been more of a game changer in that it helps me get that right arm and shoulder in the correct position. I've been playing with incorrect right arm position for 20 years so it is a work in progress but I'm hitting shots lately with a much better divot, my golf shots are going much higher and straighter. This has been super helpful on the course.

Enjoy. Give me your thoughts on the videos.





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