WHEN Pete Cowen looks you hard in the eye you can feel it in your boots.
That steely green glare searches deep.
So deep it can pick out a real golfer from a thousand wannabes without a ball being struck.
“You have to look in their eyes,” said Sheffielder Pete who coaches Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood and some of the world’s top players.
“You look and you see if there is something there or nothing. I can look in their eyes and tell.
“When I have talked to a boy or girl for a couple of hours I can tell whether they have what it takes to continue to develop as a golfer.”
He wouldn’t call himself a genius but others do.
‘The Swing Whisperer’ has fans right at the top of the game.
He has challenged accepted ways of playing golf and changed the game’s unchangeables. Cowen looks up to innovators, cranks as he says some call them, men like Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger, Harry Redknapp and daddy of them all Sir Alex Ferguson.
To be as good as he is Pete Cowen has to know every detail of everything that is happening every time one of his golfers hits a ball.
And he does.
His record speaks for itself and on a quiet day at his golf range between Kimberworth and the M1 the pictures on the wall tell his story.
Alejandro Canizares, Thomas Bjorn, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen, Sergio Garcia and Colin Montgomerie have all felt and responded to the power of those eyes.
All have become better players for coming under that Sheffield gaze.
“We have been here for seven years but people in Sheffield don’t know we exist,” said lifelong Wednesdayite Pete. “The people who need to know, know all about us.”
“I don’t do self promotion but the players have always come to me. They come from all over the world and no-one bothers them.”
So why do they travel thousands of miles to see Pete Cowen?
“We teach the player, not the method,” said the man who has coached three major winners as well as this year’s former world number one Lee Westwood.
“It’s not just about technique. You have to know the players inside out, you have to know what makes them tick.
“Sometimes it’s what you don’t say as much as what you do say that counts.”
Pete Cowen travelled all over the world as a player in the 1970s but golf wasn’t the moneybags sport then that it is today. “I finished 54th on the Order of Merit in 1979. It didn’t make me any money then but now it would make me £700,000.”
He became pro at Lindrick Golf Club near Worksop and has worked at Hallamshire Golf Club and Dore and Totley.
Now he travels 250,000 miles a year on the European and US tours coaching, motivating and ironing out wrinkles in players’ games.
“You can go in any pub and see players who want to be great players but there are only a handful that need to be great players,” said 60-year-old Pete.
“A player has to believe he is going to be good and want to improve. They will go the extra mile and as a coach you have to work long and hard over many hours to bring the best out of them.
“I have got results from so many different types of players. It’s about analysing the person. You can improve the technique but it’s whether the player has the desire to go on.
“Elite sport is about pushing yourself to the limit in extreme conditions. People who are successful at their jobs don’t work eight hours a day – it’s a 24-hour thing.
“Once a player thinks he has made it he is actually going backwards. The road to success is always under construction.”
But the road is coming to an end soon for Pete Cowan.
He won’t be taking on any new players after Tom Lewis, Britain’s top amateur, whom he now coaches.
“I care about every player. When he has a bad round I feel as badly as they do. Tom Lewis is probably the last player I will coach.
“I don’t want to be charging around as an 80-year old – you have to take some time for yourself.
“There comes a time to bow out gracefully and let the youngsters have a go.
“I’ll know when that is.”
‘A Major will come for Lee’
IT’S only a matter of time before Lee Westwood wins one of golf’s ‘majors’.
So says his coach Pete Cowen, who lives in Dronfield.
Having been world number one this year the 38-year-old Worksop golfer - who has been working with Pete Cowen on and off for around 20 years - has still not won one of the world’s top competitions.
But, says Pete, he will.
“Everything conspires in a major tournament. You need a bit of luck and to be completely on your game and hole your putts.
“Lee could have been masters champion but Phil Mickelson holed all his putts. Lee should have won at Turnberry but he three-putted and missed the play-off. There is only one better major record than Lee Westwood, it’s only a matter of time before he wins one.
“We could be having another conversation in a few weeks time and Lee might be PGA champion.”
“There is no doubt that he will win a major. No doubt”
‘Something’s not right in football world’
BRITAIN is going to the dogs.
So is English football - especially Sheffield Wednesday.
So says lifelong Wednesdayite and last year’s coach of the year Pete Cowen, who also runs a golf academy in Dubai.
“I hate Britain for what it stands for these days” said Pete.
“People want something for nothing – it’s a very sad place. Asia with its culture is becoming a powerhouse in the world. They don’t expect something for nothing.
“ Britain is scruffy and when you travel a lot you always notice that. It doesn’t compare well with other countries.”
“And his beloved Sheffield Wednesday don’t compare too well with other clubs of the same traditional stature.
“I first went to see them in the 1960s when they were a decent team. I got to know Peter Eustace and Johnny Fantham through golf.
“I have supported them through thick and thin but I can’t go any more. It’s just dire.
“There are thousands in Sheffield who feel like me about the state of the city’s two football clubs.
“We can produce three Open champions and the world number one in golf here but they can’t produce decent footballers from all the natural talent we have.
“I don’t know why we have to go abroad looking for footballers.
I watch my grandson Freddie play in junior football and there are some terrific talents out there.
“But what happens to them?
“Something’s not right.”