This week had the pleasure of interviewing Andrew Knott at Bangkok’s Singha Elite Training Center. Expecting a somewhat typical interview of a golf pro I allowed 20 – 30 minutes to get to know Andrew, learn about his training center and a little about his teaching philosophy.
Two hours into our conversation I was pulled away by other responsibilities only to immediately call him back when I was free, locking my office door. As a passionate golfer and someone who appreciates, from the outside, the effort it takes to coach golf well, I quickly became immersed in Andrew’s stories and approach to teaching and learning the game. From our conversation its clear he’s more interested in how you learn than trying to impress someone by how he coaches. Which in my experience is a rare quality and I’ve spent some hours with some of the world’s larger names teaching golf.
Andrew’s first charm is his accent which brings you back to the home of the game but he follows it up with a thirst for learning which applies to almost anything, it appears, and then a desire to convey his message to the student in the simplest way.
These are admirable qualities if you follow the famous quote from Albert Einstein – “If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it well enough”
Andrew does just that and he appears to do so without ego which makes it easier to adhere to his suggestions. I think readers will take three main points from our discussion and those are:
- Andrew and his Singha supporters have built a world class teaching facility, virtually in the heart of Bangkok that is so respected that tour players from every major tour in the world take time to practice there when possible.
- Andrew himself is not a technical coach yet he uses the latest technology to support his message to the student and reaffirm their technical adjustments.
- Andrew has a respect and passion for his craft which is inclusive, not shunning away other opinions, yet shielding his student from the constant bombardment of unnecessary extra information we experience in this day and age, simplifying the message.
In retrospect, I should have really recorded our conversation, but we know golfers are willing to read a bit to collect their knowledge.
Golfasian: How long have you been with Thana City?
Andrew Knott: Actually I joined Thana City 9-years ago and we started the academy about 8 years ago.
Golfasian: So we know the facility is amazing with a huge range, grass tee, shortage facilitates and all the latest learning equipment and, of course the location couldn’t be better for Bangkok golfers. So who practices here?
Andrew Knott: Well, beyond the general public we offer membership to the Singha Elite Training Center at the opposite end of the practice facility.
Golfasian: Your partner Singha, we should probably give them some attention, have been a huge sponsor of golf in Thailand. How many professionals do they support to use your facility?
Andrew Knott: Singha has about 250 professionals. 30 to 40 of those pros are regular users of our facility. Of course in normal times they are travelling the globe. We employ 6 coaches at the academy and 1 golf operations manager.
Golfasian: Tell us about your teaching philosophy.
Andrew Knott: I class myself as a Performance Coach, I am not a technical… but I use technology to support my message and help each student understand. I believe technology has been valuable that way but there are more effective ways to learn beyond video and trackman.
Golfasian: More please
Andrew Knott: I see the greatest improvement in players through effective practice and the environment they’re surrounded in.
Golfasian: Start with effective practice…
Andrew Knott: Achieving peak performance through effective practice isn’t something I or anyone in golf invented but the concept of looking at your ability versus your score and then getting the most out of your score with your current ability is something I can offer that few coaches offer.
Golfasian: After achieving that, you then switch to technique?
Andrew Knott: In some cases, yes, but the process can take so many different paths. In the best players we work on getting the most from their game, the lowest scoring ability. I like to use stats, data to show this to them and its usually clear where we can shave shots. Inevitably I need to give them some technical advice because in their perspective that’s why they’ve come to me. In reality I can help so much more than that.
Golfasian: So your reputation is that you will not coach a player without seeing them play. Why is that?
Andrew Knott: That goes to the part of getting the most out of what they have to begin with. From there we can adjust a fundamental and make even further progress.
Golfasian: What influenced your coaching style?
Andrew Knott: I have a mentor in Karl Morris, one of Europe’s leading performance coaches, and not only in golf, and I’ve read everything possible on the performance and mental side, from Timothy Galllwey to Bob Rotella and performance science outside of golf to get where I am.
Golfasian: So, although you use such a holistic approach to the game, your students must expect some trackman and video analysis from their sessions.
Andrew Knott: Absolutely. That’s the world we are in but when and how I present that information is the key. I don’t lay all the numbers out in front of them. This is an overload of information. If, for example we are working on swing path, I provide those figures and we can focus on that improvement during our session. Ignore the rest for the time being.
Golfasian: So, returning to your statement on effective practice and environment making a player better. The effective practice is clear with you simplifying information, focussing practice and using data to save shots – what about the environment part of that statement.
Andrew Knott: Throughout history people with specific talents have influenced even greater talents. Having a golf academy with the top tour players in Asia practicing alongside your talents is sure to make a significant impact. Looking back at my own youth, playing and practicing alongside talented players and those just a bit older than me absolutely influenced my development.
Golfasian: Going forward what motivates you? You have already developed probably the premier coaching facility in Thailand, what’s next?
Andrew Knott: My goal at the present is to make it self sufficient so I can continue focussing on my passion which is coaching players to get the most out of themselves and their golf. I see opportunity in helping younger players make better decisions for their future in golf, where to go to school and how to improve over the long term. I’ve seen some players make mistakes choosing the wrong schools in America and I think I can help these players make better decisions which will affect their entire life.
Golfasian: Thank you for your time, I’ve so enjoyed our discussion, and surely can only include a portion of it in our article. If its any endorsement, I’m booking a lesson immediately after the latest travel restrictions are lifted.
Soon Andrew will be providing video tips in Golfasian’s newsletters and with opportunities to win some golfing prizes so be sure to click on Golfasian’s Golf Tip Link.