On March 15 this year, Padraig Harrington posted a nine-second video to his official Twitter account, which showed him practising with a wedge in his garden.
Ireland had introduced social distancing measures earlier that week due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Harrington accompanied his brief clip with the text: "Really struggling to be motivated in these difficult times. Preparing for the worst, hoping for the best."
Like so many people around the world, he knew he was set to spend much more time at home than usual over the coming weeks and months. However, he soon found a way to use up some of that time in a productive way.
The following evening, Harrington shared a longer video on Twitter that offered advice and a training drill for amateur golfers struggling with their chipping. The response was overwhelmingly positive, with numerous replies asking for further guidance.
Harrington has continued to post regular tutorials – on Twitter and Instagram – ever since and ‘Paddy’s Golf Tips’ have swiftly gained huge popularity due to the two-time Open Champion’s ability to provide clear, easy-to-understand instructions for golfers of varying ability.
In the latest episode of The Open Conversation podcast, the European Ryder Cup Captain discussed his coaching videos and the motivation behind them.
“I like coaching and sometimes I think the game is quite misunderstood by the weekend warrior, who's playing golf once a week maybe, the sort of mid-teen-handicap to high-handicap golfer,” explained Harrington.
“I see these guys every week in pro-ams and I'm looking at them and I enjoy trying to figure out in the 18 holes why they are at the level they are and what I can do about it. So a lot of these videos are basically built up from me doing corporate clinics when I'm out with my sponsors and things like that, and these pro-ams.”
While Harrington, who won The Open in consecutive years in 2007 and 2008, acknowledges few amateur players will be capable of reaching the very highest level, he is adamant any golfer can cut their handicap to below 10.
“I think every golfer should be able to get to single figures, I don't think that's a difficult thing,” he added.
“I think it's incredibly difficult to become an elite player. Certainly to become elite and a pro is difficult, but to get to single figures is pretty much a little bit of experience and don't get too many contradictions in your head with how to hit a golf ball.”
Harrington’s advice is certainly likely to have improved the games of many players in recent months. Anyone who has benefited from his wisdom will be pleased to hear he has no intention of stopping his videos any time soon, even as lockdown measures are eased in his home country.
“I intend to keep going,” he added. “I don’t want to get technical - I’m not here to teach elite players. I’m here to teach the amateur golfer who is playing a bit of golf and trying to get the most enjoyment out of the minimum amount of time and effort.
“I will continue, I'm asking my friends what to go for next, what to do, but I'm trying to keep it casual, simple. Usually I do them in one take, which is reasonably stress-free for me. I don't want to make them really professional or anything like that. I'm not going for that sort of thing, I'm just trying to be casual enough, here's what I think, if I was coaching you on the golf course this is what I'd say to you, and not necessarily worrying about the production so much.
“I've got to say I'm not great on social media, so early on it was taking me sometimes an hour to get them uploaded, but now I'm getting quicker and quicker at that, I'm improving!”
“I'm here to teach the amateur golfer who is playing a bit of golf and trying to get the most enjoyment out of the minimum amount of time and effort.” PADRAIG HARRINGTON
To listen to the full Open Conversation podcast with Padraig Harrington, as well as additional episodes with the likes of Henrik Stenson, Francesco Molinari, Mark Calcavecchia and reigning Open Champion Shane Lowry, visit theopen.com/podcasts.