Putting a coach on the map at Raflewski Golf Europe at PGA National Slieve Russell

Putting a coach on the map at Raflewski Golf Europe at PGA National Slieve Russell


Gordon Smyth, Head PGA professional at PGA National Slieve Russell, heads the European base of Raflewski Golf’s state-of-the-art performance studio.

Gareth Raflewski the Canada-based Irish native has become a world-renowned short game coach. A coach to some of the World’s best players he has set up his only state-of-the-art performance academy in Europe in Ireland at PGA National Slieve Russell where PGA Professional Gordon Smyth heads the facility.

An engineer by trade, Raflewski’s stock rose when he gave a LPGA Tour player a lesson and dramatically changed her putting stats. Suddenly there was an appetite for whatever magic potion he had and now he has taught five of the last seven number one golfers in the women’s game! Raflewski also has a very strong presence on the PGA Tour with notable success this year with tour winner Nick Taylor among others.

At the new performance academy in Ireland, continually developing Gordon’s coaching skills is something that Gareth works tirelessly on, mentoring him and passing on his invaluable knowledge. Since opening the academy has built up an impressive stable of Professionals and top Amateurs in a short space which shows his credentials are growing rapidly in the game.

“The better players seem to be coming to us, a host of Touring Professionals to Amateur Internationals or the low handicapper who are generally working on their game in order to reach their potential,” said Smyth.

“I am in touch with Gareth daily trying to pick his brains. It’s great. Putting is a game within a game. It’s great to have someone like Gareth to lean on and soundboard ideas off. I have learned a huge amount to date and to see what he’s doing with some of the best players in the world has helped my coaching approach greatly.

“Knowledge is key of course, both for me as a coach and for the pupil. Even after 20+ years as a PGA Professional. By continually learning I will only improve and that’s what progress is for me, trying to get better every day.”

The European base of Raflewski Performance Academy walls are brimming with technology, from the Foresight Sports’ GC Quad which will help players dial-in their game like never before, to cutting edge systems like the Sam Putt Lab, Capto 3D Putting, Swing Catalyst and a bespoke ‘Well Putt’ indoor green.

From the state-of-the-art studio, players can take their newfound information to the multiple practice areas on-site, honing their skills with drills and repetitions before putting the practice into play on the golf course.

“Our coaching philosophy is simple, it’s not a ‘this is how you have to do it’ kind of system. It is fact-based and we use technology to back it up. 

To work with the world’s best players and see how Gareth worked on a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in the lead-up to a big tournament is also invaluable for Smyth. “It helps me significantly with my players, it wasn’t always technical work which was interesting but a mix of performance & skill based work. Getting the player under pressure doing certain tasks that ultimately leads into the tournament.

‘’The short game is definitely a neglected area of the game by most and any improvement in it can lead to significantly lower scores for people. No matter what level, if you want to shave shots off your rounds cleaning up your short game is the easiest way to do it’’

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