Foster relishes Open season


1507Irish Johnny Foster 

PGA Professional Johnny Foster will be making his ‘major’ debut as a coach at Muirfield this week as he oversees the preparations of Open hopeful Gareth Maybin.

The Northern Ireland-based PGA coach has been working with Maybin since last year but this is his first taste of one of golf’s four biggest tournaments while working with a player.

“It’s my first major as a coach and the first time inside the ropes so I’m looking forward to savouring the atmosphere and learning from international players to enhance my repertoire on how to prepare for a major,” said Foster.

“The rough is up and driving will be a premium.  You can see why the likes of Els, Faldo and Watson have all won here in the past. It’s a course that brings the cream to the top and I expect a guy who has won or been in contention to be successful.”

And it could yet be a profitable one for Foster’s compatriot Maybin who, having worked tirelessly on his game over the past 12 months, has bagged successive top 10 finishes including a share of fifth in the Scottish Open.

Maybin’s (pictured below) third round eight-under-par 64 at Castle Stuart was the low round of the week and his performances are richly deserved according to Foster who runs Green Acres Golf Centre in Country Antrim.

1507Irish Gareth Maybin

“While the results have been good of late I’m more satisfied with the processes underlying his performances,” said Foster who also saw another of his protégés, Chris Selfridge, win the North of Ireland Amateur Championship at the weekend.

“If you apply yourself as Gareth does then results will follow. Part of the process is not being fixated with results, the value is in the day to day work that you do as a player, the application and doing what you as a coach and a player agree. You don’t always have to look at the results to see that the benefits are coming from the day to day work.”

Maybin approached Foster following last year’s Open at Royal St George’s with a plea to the 36-year-old to help establish more consistency in his game.

“Gareth approached me after the Open last year and felt he had lost his golf swing a bit, he couldn’t quite see what he wanted to do and was clutching at straws a little bit and wanted to get more consistency and to keep things simple.

“We introduced more structure and more purpose in what he was doing and it’s good to see that paying off. We had a few ideas, and I just tried to make sense of what he was doing from a coaching perspective in terms of this is where we want to go and this is how we get there.

“The better players generally have the answers themselves but sometimes don’t know how to get there and need a nudge.”

As Maybin pits his skills against the world’s leading players, Foster is optimistic he can sustain his recent form especially against what promises to be another testing links challenge.

“He’s playing well and Muirfield puts a premium on accuracy off the tee which will suit him, it is not a bomber’s course.”

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