For new Korean wave, perfect practice makes perfect

Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:04am EDT
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By Peter Rutherford

SEOUL (Reuters) - Unswerving dedication to endless hours of practice has long been touted as the key to South Korean success on the LPGA Tour, but for the current crop dominating the U.S. women's circuit the days of bashing balls until their hands bleed are long gone.

A string of early retirements, prompted by nagging injuries and mental burnout, has forced many Korean players and coaches to rethink their relentless, robotic training routines and implement a more holistic approach, says Jay Hahn.

Hahn has worked with some of the top women in the game, including six times major champion Park In-bee and former European Tour rookie of the year Kim In-kyung, and is now focusing on developing emerging talent back in South Korea.

He told Reuters in a recent interview that the new wave of players on the LPGA Tour had moved away from the traditional Korean approach to practice.

"Hitting a lot, and I mean a lot, of balls," is how Hahn, Director of Golf Specialist at his JHGI clinic, describes conventional practice sessions in Korea.

"I don't let my students hit 700 to 1,000 balls per day like Korean coaches used to do," he added. "I don't think many coaches let their players work that way any more."

While Korean players are renowned for their dedication to practice, Hahn said training systems were now geared at fitting the golf swing to a player's body-type, making them more efficient and reducing the risk of injury.

For players used to bashing balls all day, every day, the change can take a bit of getting used to.   Continued...