David Leadbetter (golf instructor)

David Leadbetter (born 27 June 1952) is a leading golf instructor, originally from Worthing in Sussex, England.

David Leadbetter
Born (1952-06-27) June 27, 1952 (age 72)
OccupationGolf instructor
Kelly Leadbetter
(m. 1983)



Leadbetter began his career on the European and Southern African tours, but had little success as a player. Having an interest in the techniques, mechanics and psychology of the sport, he soon moved into instruction and came to wide notice in the 1980s when he rebuilt the swing of Nick Faldo, who then went on to win six major championships.

Leadbetter now runs an international chain of golf academies headquartered at the ChampionsGate Golf Club in Davenport, Florida, U.S. which has 36 holes designed by Greg Norman. There are also branches elsewhere in North America and in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Since launching the first Leadbetter Golf Academy over 30 years ago, David has coached players to 26 Major Championship titles and over 150 individual worldwide tournament victories. Seven of those players have even held first place in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Leadbetter himself concentrates on teaching tour professionals and on instructing other coaches in his methods, who then teach his ideas at his academies. Apart from Faldo his students include Nick Price, Charles Howell III, Michelle Wie, Lydia Ko and Byeong Hun An. Pros who formerly worked with Leadbetter included: Nick Faldo (1984–1998), Greg Norman (1997), and Ernie Els (1990–2008). He was ranked second to Butch Harmon on the 2005-2006 edition of Golf Digest's list of the "50 Greatest Teachers" in the United States.[1]

Throughout his career, Leadbetter has also written eight books about golf swings. He has also overseen the development of various golf training media, products and services, including the SwingSetter, SwingSetter Pro and a number of A Swing approved training aids released with the book. His books have sold two million copies making him one of the best-selling golf instruction authors in the world.[citation needed]

Trained champions


The following golfers whom Leadbetter coached went on to win the following tournaments:

  • Kathy Baker - 1985 U.S. Women’s Open
  • Ian Baker-Finch - 1991 Open Championship
  • Ernie Els - 1994, 1997 U.S. Open, 2002, 2012 Open Championship
  • Nick Faldo - 1989, 1990, 1996 Masters, 1987, 1990, 1992 Open Championship
  • Trevor Immelman - 2008 Masters
  • Danielle Kang - 2017 Women’s PGA Championship
  • Lydia Ko - 2015 Evian Championship, 2016 ANA Inspiration Championship, 2015, 2016 Best Female Golfer, 2014 LPGA Rookie of the Year, 2015 LPGA Player of the Year
  • Se Ri Pak - 1998 U.S. Women’s Open, 1998 LPGA Rookie of the Year, 2007 World Golf Hall of Fame
  • Suzann Pettersen - 2006 Women's PGA Championship, 2013 Evian Championship
  • Nick Price - 1992, 1994 PGA Championships, 1994 Open Championship, 1993, 1994 PGA Tour Player of the Year, 2003 World Golf Hall of Fame
  • Michelle Wie - 2014 U.S. Women’s Open
  • Josh Dockum - General Manager/Director of Golf/Head Golf Professional/Whole Staff - Pin Oak Links - Manchester, IA

Criticism of Tiger Woods


In February 1997, it was reported that Leadbetter criticized famous American golfer Tiger Woods, saying "Right now, Tiger is a one-dimensional player who swings full on practically every shot.....Another thing that will prevent Tiger from winning a major is pressure. There’s a big difference between winning at Las Vegas and winning at Augusta… He has to pay his dues."[1] - - Tiger went on to win the Masters 2 months later by twelve strokes. More than two decades later, in December 2017, he questioned the hunger of the top male pros due to the money involved in golf now and also the media frenzy that follows Tiger Woods everywhere.[2]

Video games


Leadbetter appeared in the 1992 video game David Leadbetter's Greens, a MS-DOS port of MicroProse Golf.[3] He also appeared in the Wii-exclusive My Personal Golf Trainer, released in the fall of 2010. Trainer is distinguished from other golf games on the platform by requiring the use of the Wii MotionPlus, while also supporting the Wii Balance Board, taking complete advantage of the Wii's motion controls and accessories to provide authentic golf training.[4]

Personal life


Leadbetter and his wife, Kelly (an LPGA Tour professional), their sons Andy and James and their daughter Hally, live in Sarasota, Florida. He is also an endorser/spokesman for SAP, Callaway, Rolex, and Golf Pride grips.


  1. ^ Rudy, Matthew. "America's 50 Greatest Teachers". Golf Digest. Archived from the original on 23 June 2011.
  2. ^ Inglis, Martin (11 December 2017). "David Leadbetter questions hunger of top male pros". bunkered.
  3. ^ Decoster, Jeane; Crook, David (19 December 1992). "Golf Game Trails the Leader". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  4. ^ "Leadbetter's 'My Personal Golf Trainer' Is World-First For Wii". Golf Business News. 19 February 2010. Retrieved 28 July 2021.