Dorset County Golf Union

County Team - Arcos Gardens 17th to 21st February 2012  


The Dorset First Team Squad went to Spain for some warm weather training. The EGU recommended we went to Arcos Gardens near Cadiz as they have used the course for their training camps in the past.
After flying into Gibraltar we drove to Arcos Gardens by the scenic route (not on purpose) and arrived at a beautiful, purpose built golf village near the remote town of Arcos de la Frontera.
The facilities were first class. The course is a very demanding 7400 yards with quick, undulating greens. The practice facilities are some of the best I have seen, a 400 yard double-ended driving range with elite short game area at the far end.
Dorset were given the private far-end elite practice area where we had the use of a double tier grass range and a massive four-leaf clover shaped chipping and putting green with bunkers and several types of grass to play from. Check out the facilities on the Arcos Gardens website
We took our own Professional, Dan Frost, with us to ensure an intensive program throughout the three and a half days. Dan is an up and coming young Professional with ambitions to teach at the highest level. He is obsessive about teaching methods and brings an encyclopaedic knowledge of the game to every session. He currently provides instruction articles for several golf magazines and has graced the cover of Today’s Golfer several times. You can discover more about Dan on his website

Day 1

After 30 minutes warm up on the range where Dan explained the importance of stretching and showed us several exercises with ‘Theraband’ (basically a large elastic band) we eased the players into the trip with an 18 hole ‘Birdies Only’ exercise in three 3 Balls and one 2 Ball. This was to promote ‘freeness’ in their games allowing them to be expressive with no inhibiting constraints. However, birdies were quite elusive due to the unfamiliarity of large, quick and slopey greens. During the round Dan quizzed all the players on their perceived strengths and weaknesses along with their goals for the season. The team results are given at the bottom of this report.
After lunch we went to the range for a three hour session. All the players were given Dan’s ‘Player Journal’ where they can record lessons, drills, practice challenge results, club yardages and memorable shots to name a few. After setting up some putting drills and a ‘Par 2’ Chipping competition Dan started taking players away to talk and work with them one-on-one, whilst the others concentrated on the short game skills.
At 4.30 we played another 6 holes, this time trying out some foursome pairings. We concentrated on the principle of getting off to a fast start, very important in foursomes. Again, results are at the bottom.

Day 2

Again we played the course in the morning, but this time we played singles for the front 9 and foursomes for the back 9 concentrating once more on the concept of a ‘fast start’. During the round Dan once again spoke to each player, this time asking them to fill out a team sheet for a foursomes match. This was not to see who they wanted to play with, it was to judge their perception of what combinations they thought could work together.
After lunch we again went to the far end of the range to work on our games. Par 2’s were again completed. It was stressed that this discipline is very easy to set up at their home club and is a very good way to document your short game development over the season. Dan worked with the players who wanted help with their long game and towards the end of the session we gathered together and individually had to recreate a shot we wished to replay from the previous season. This was generally a bad shot during a County Match. This time the pressure was from their peers and the players had to execute the shot in front of the team. We had mixed results but the exercise was very good for team bonding with a lot of banter being had.
We did the ‘Sprint Foursomes’ for 6 holes again in the early evening with some very good golf being played right from the first hole, just what we wanted.
All the days’ results are at the bottom of this report.

Day 3 

On day three we practiced in the morning. After the obligatory Par 2’s players were free for an hour to concentrate on what they had learnt over the last couple of days and Dan finished off his one-on-one sessions. We then concentrated on putting with Dan explaining technique and inviting the players to try new methods such as belly putters, 2 Thumb fat grips and new model putters from Callaway. This was more for them to understand the principles of putting rather than getting them to change their current putters. Several instructional aids were also used along with some classical drills.
After lunch we played the course for the last time. Again we played the front 9 as foursomes with some pairings now starting to get established. The back 9 was our finale with all the players doing a Scratch Stableford. Although there were some very good scores, the majority of the squad showed signs of fatigue and their golf suffered as a result. This was mainly due to a very large hill leading up to the 15th Tee.
All the results are at the bottom of this report.

Day 4      

This was the day we left, but we had time for 2 hours work on the range before we went. This was just enough time for Dan to have a last chat to all the players and make sure they were happy with everything discussed over the course of the trip. We also fitted in yet another Par 2 challenge.

This was an excellent few days training which I hope will best prepare us for the coming season. We have developed a few foursomes pairings which we will be testing over the coming weeks in our friendly matches and hopefully instilled a new practice regime amongst the players. Here’s looking forward to a more successful season.
The feedback from the players about the trip was very encouraging, here are a couple of quotes;
“Thank you again for your time and effort over last weekend. I was really impressed with the variety of techniques and your overall knowledge of the many areas of the game, there are a lot of Professionals who only specialize in 1 or 2 areas of the game so you really are the complete package.”
“I thought the introduction of Dan Frost was a real breath of fresh air with some fantastic ideas and made the few days really structured.”
“Even though I have only been back a day or two I have been working really hard on the tips and drills you gave me with the plan to create a much more consistent and effective golf swing. With these tips and drills and the ball flight starting to come back again I am now looking forward to a positive upcoming season.”

Giles Legg, Captain   


Winning individuals are in Bold

Day 1:     Birdies Only Competition

Bishop & Peacock: 4 birdies (adjusted to 6)
Legg, Mitchell & Leech: 8 birdies
Robson, Welch & Cook: 8 birdies
Robinson, Mabb & Wilkinson: 2 birdies

Sprint Foursomes

Bishop & Leech v Welch & Mabb (2&1)
Mitchell & Cook v Peacock & Robson (half)
Legg (3&2) v Wilkinson & Robinson

Day 2:

9-holes singles

Bishop v Mabb (half)
Robinson v Mitchell (3&2)
Welch v Leech (1 up over 18 holes)
Wilkinson v Robson (3&2)
Peacock v Legg (3&2)

9-hole foursomes

Bishop & Mabb v Peacock & Legg (half)
Robson & Wilkinson (3&2) v Mitchell & Robinson

Sprint foursomes

Bishop & Leech (2&1) v Welch & Mabb
Legg & Mitchell v Robson & Wilkinson (half)
Robinson v Peacock (half)

Day 3:    9-holes Foursomes

Bishop & Leech v Legg & Mitchell (2&1)
Welch & Mabb (3&1) v Wilkinson & Robson
Cook (1 up) v Robinson

9-holes Stableford

Robson (18 points)
Mabb (17 points)
Cook (16 points)

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