If you are familiar with our YDH blog, then there is a good chance you have seen our article featuring Mayfield Golf Club in Caledon East. We spoke with Christopher de Laat, director of golf and food services, to find out how Mayfield has adapted its operations to incorporate health and safety recommendations for COVID-19. Now that golf has opened up to the public again, golfers of all ages and skill levels are taking to the green to enjoy this well-loved pastime. As a golf professional and instructor, Christopher spends his time teaching people all aspects of the game of golf. We at York Durham Headwaters have teamed up with Mayfield Golf Club to create three short videos in which Christopher give you just a glimpse of the kinds of things you need to know to be a better all-round golfer.
About Mayfield Golf Club
Mayfield Golf Club has been a fixture of Caledon East for 43 years. It is a public course which is maintained at an exceptional level—any more luxurious, and you are getting into private club territory (at multiple times the cost and exclusivity, we might add). The land on which Mayfield now sits was purchased in 1955 by Christopher’s father, Gordon de Laat. As a private club golf professional, it was his lifelong dream to build his own course that would truly be for everyone. It was these inclusive values which he instilled in his children, who run the course today as a true family business. “That is the sort of community base that [my father] instilled in me as a young professional coming in,” Christopher explains. “Now my brothers and sisters and I have continued to work on that exact same model: where the regular person in the community is always welcome and we transcend that whole idea of exclusiveness. That has been a really great hallmark to live by.”
Christopher de Laat is a Class A professional in golf course management with the Canadian Professional Golfers’ Association. It is a career which began at the tender age of 19. Chris proudly identifies that, in the world of golf, he was wired to be a club pro, rather than a touring pro, and made the choice early on in his career about which path he wanted to follow. “I found that I really enjoyed working with people, and I found that I enjoyed the organizational development,” he says. Today, Christopher continues on that path, working principally with junior programs, programs for seniors and programs for new golfers and focusing on unique of the game including functional fitness as it relates to golf.
Mayfield Golf Club offers two streams of instructional programs to its members. For adults, lessons are where fun, frustration and learning meet to commiserate (as the website admits with tongue-in-cheek humour). Small-group sessions of up to four golfers are available, as are one-hour and drop-in classes. New students may audit a session free of charge to see if it is right for them, and classes are taught directly by Chris de Laat. For the kids, there is the 13-week-long junior program consisting of eight full-swing sessions, 2 putting sessions, 2 chipping sessions, and on-course practice if time permits.
Instructional Videos with Christopher de Laat, CPGA
Contrary to what the movie Happy Gilmore has taught us, there is far more to the game of golf than getting out onto the tee and power-whacking the ball any old way you like. As with any sport, technique is as essential to preventing injury as finesse is to improving your skill. There are sport-specific exercises to help you improve, and there are etiquette rules to learn. Here, we have created three videos with Christopher de Laat and Mayfield Golf Club that explore some of the things you need to know to become an avid golfer and a good golf citizen.
The “Rumba de Golf”
In this video, Chris breaks down the biomechanics of the golf swing. Unfortunately, golf sees a high rate of back injury due to golfers using incorrect technique to swing the club. Chris’s goal in this video is to teach you a simple, repeatable motion that stands up under pressure and, most importantly, does not hurt you. Learn to feel the movement of your body during a swing with the “Rumba de Golf,” which Chris demonstrates step-by-step. Once you are comfortable with this sequence of motion, it will likely become your warmup exercise for your golf game.
Calibrating your short game
This video teaches you how to play with your short game. You cannot expect to win a game of baseball with a single home run, just like you cannot have a fantastic golf game based on your tee-off swing alone. Understanding your swing is all about understanding how time and space relate—or, how big or small your swing needs to be to yield a certain distance. Chris shows you proper posture for putting and chipping, and encourages you to work on consistency in your short-game swing.
Golf club etiquette
A major part of being a good golfer is being a good golf citizen. In this video, Chris identifies what rules of etiquette you kneed to know for on the course, and why you need to know them. Whether it is doing your part to maintain the flow of guests, helping the club care for the green, or respecting your fellow golfers, being a good golf citizen will ultimately increase your own enjoyment of the sport.
Story by Katherine Ryalen
For more information on how to stay safe and play safe please visit Ontario Golf Association