Continuing insight into our Director of Instruction, Ricardo Jimenez Eliaeson secrets about his life in golf and coaching:
Ricardo: I was a Tour player for 25 years, playing mainly on the Spanish Tour and European Challenge Tour, but also playing some events on the main European Tour. I was fortunate enough to play with all the best players who were around then. That was an amazing part of my life and I was very grateful to all the pros who I learned so much from.
My only goal was to earn enough money so that I could play the next tournament but I also thought about raising a family and when that moment came, I, of course, realised that I had to find a more stable job. I opened a golf academy in Marbella that quickly took off and became a success and I was lucky at this time that the academy allowed me to both teach and continue to play competitions.
At the beginning of 2006, I received a call from Javier Reviriego, director of golf of a new project called Finca Cortesin. I came and played the course and was then offered a job that I simply couldn’t turn down. The project was just awesome and the rest, as they say, is history! I have been working at Finca Cortesin for 14 years and I only have thankful words for the trust they have placed in me for all of these years. In some ways, I prepared all my life to get this job. I am 100 per cent convinced that education is a key factor in becoming a good teacher and when I was playing competitively, I spent all my time researching, assisting at seminars, watching the best instructors and training myself in different areas to become a golf coach.
Best tip you ever got from a Tour pro?
The best tip I ever had was from my lovely Scottish teacher Don Ross. I was a very technical player and I was in the middle of a big slump. It was so bad that I was thinking about quitting competitive golf. He was my teacher in the last part of my amateur career and I never hit the ball and scored as well as this part of my life. He returned to Spain after six years working abroad and he gave me a call and told me to come and see him in Montecastillo. When he saw my swing and the way I was hitting the ball and performing on the course, he could not believe it. I had lost my inner essence; resilience in the search of the perfect swing. He looked deep into my eyes and told me to stop thinking and to just start hitting the bloody ball. I spent the next month with that sole thought on the golf course and it really worked. I was the perfect example of a player that had got lost trying to reach perfection.
What kind of exercises do you do to warm up?
The main exercise I focus on is stretching. I’m a true believer that the more flexible you are, the longer you can play in time, especially when you get older. I also do functional exercises and strength exercises.
Describe your golf game in four words.
What player on tour does your game most resemble?
All the players that miss a lot of greens!
What is your favourite memory of beating your fellow golf professionals?
in 2003, I won a big tournament on the Spanish circuit where I beat Pablo Larrazabal the last day. We were playing together in the last group on the Sunday and I never in my life felt so tight in my forearms than when I had a one-metre putt to win the tournament. I moved back from the ball, took a deep breath and put the ball in the hole. The job was done. I remember driving home and I was so proud because I had finished first out of 144 players playing that week. And that will never change. That was a cool feeling.
You have been a vital member of the Finca Cortesin team for 14 years. Tell us something the average golfer doesn’t know about Finca Cortesin’s golf course?
Finca Cortesin is an amazing golf course and I’m still trying to learn how to score here. I love courses which require you to play all the clubs in your bag and Finca Cortesin is one of them. You have to be long but accurate from the tee and you have to learn to attack the holes, with that I mean that sometimes you have to play away from flags if you do not want to mess a hole. When you get to the green, you have to put yourself in the right spot if you don’t want to three-putt, and if you miss the green, your short game has to be precise and creative. If you learn to play the course the way the designer wanted us to play then scoring is possible, but if you want to really enjoy your round, forget about being aggressive and think about how I can put the ball in play and play to the widest part of the green. In order to do so, you need to know the strengths of each hole and what your weaknesses are. Never try to play one of your weak shots against the strengths of the hole.
Visit Jack Nicklaus Academy at Finca Cortesin for more details.