Case study

Elite golf coach Dan Whittaker on why he uses Clippd

Words by
Dan Davies
Elite golf coach Dan Whittaker on why he uses Clippd

Dan Whittaker is an elite coach who teaches from his high-tech studio at High Legh Golf Club in Cheshire, England. Dan works with over 200 players, including more than 100 golfers with handicaps of scratch or better. Most of his clients work with him for a minimum of six months. Dan, who uses a range of technologies, has been using Clippd for a few months and now has 30 players on the platform.

Clippd: How has your experience of Clippd been? 

Dan Whittaker: Good. I really like it. I like the dashboard and the ease of use. I like all the information that I can drill down into with players. 

Clippd: And how are your players finding it, Dan? 

Dan Whittaker: They really like it. They find it very simple to use. The Clippd Capture app, which gives them the ability to enter rounds, is really good. The ease and speed of it is just great. The players just engaged immediately. Around 25 per cent are adding activities and using Clippd as a journal, another 25 per cent use it to monitor practice rounds and tournament rounds, and then there's probably a split in the last group who are doing a bit of everything. I'd like to get a lot more people using it as a journal, putting things in that they can go back and see what was going well and what they were working on at certain times.

Clippd: You can add activities in Clippd, such as practice sessions, gym and fitness work, drills, lessons, club fittings etc. And you can add notes, photos and video. This allows players to see the things that create the right conditions for their best play.

Dan Whittaker: Absolutely right. I always use the adage that “success leaves clues”. When you are playing well, knowing why you're playing well and what you've been working on is great from a reflection standpoint. 

Dan Whittaker (right) has over 100 clients who play at scratch or better

Clippd: How would you describe your coaching philosophy? 

Dan Whittaker: Leaving no stone unturned in the pursuit of excellence. I like to understand the swing in its complexity in order to teach it in its simplicity. I want to understand as much as I can about a player – the swing, the body and everything else to maximise their movement. 

Clippd: Your teaching is evidence-based. How important is accountability to how you work?

Dan Whittaker: I use a player-centred model. It's all around what the player wants to achieve. After that, coaching is the cornerstone. Data is vital because it’s not subjective. There's no prejudice in it. If I can get a player moving in a particular way and we can shift the data, that's how we're going to improve performance. For me, using the data is paramount.

I've got everything from wrist data and 3D to force plates and Trackman, as well as video, Capto for putting and Clippd, of course. I believe this gives me the best overview of a player, and therefore there’s total accountability from everybody. 

The Team dashboard in Clippd gives at-a-glance insights into all a teacher's players

Clippd: You can open Clippd, look at your Feed and see what your players are logging in terms of their practice and play. 

Dan Whittaker: Very soon, 80 percent of the players I've got on Clippd will be logging all their practice. I want to know whether what we’re doing is shifting the needle. They'll have to put it in there so I can see if what we're doing is working or not. 

Clippd: How does Clippd help you see what's moving the needle? 

Dan Whittaker: One of my lads competes on the EuroPro Tour. He's been playing really nicely this year. What we found from the Clippd data is that all the things that we wanted to improve at the start of the year – short game and distance off the tee – have been off the charts. But his short irons from 100-140 yards had been absolutely shocking. Clippd showed that there had been a downward trend. Was it that his wedges were a bit old and the grooves had gone and he needed to change them? Or is it the way we're playing them? We found that he wasn't delivering the club in the most efficient manner. It was affecting his distance control and making him have a short right miss, which again showed up in Clippd. We checked it, we did the work and did a couple of Trackman tests. Then we went out on the course to validate it. We did three holes, hitting shots only from the yardage we've ascertained that needed work. We saw a huge difference. 

Clippd: Did you see that deficiency in his game from his What To Work On feedback in Clippd? 

Dan Whittaker: Yes. One hundred per cent. We would not have worked on that without the Clippd data. Categorically, we would not have done it. 

Work on the correct areas, as identified in Clippd’s What To Work On, and players start seeing massive gains in performance

Clippd: You’ve become an expert on how people learn. At Clippd, we're focused on accelerating learning through the interaction with the coach, but also through the interaction with Clippd’s insights.

Dan Whittaker: The first thing that's going to help with learning is people actually understanding what they need to work on in their game. Clippd is going to open a lot of players' eyes because there will be cold, hard facts there that will determine whether they want to get better or not. There is always going to be a stand out area that will show up. Clippd objectifies what they need to work on and that makes people very accountable to what they're practising.

Clippd also gives people choices. We all know there are players who like to go out there and just hit driver but is that making them any better at golf? If it's not, then they have a choice. One choice will be to work on the correct areas, as identified in Clippd’s What To Work On, and they should start seeing massive gains in performance. That's going to be huge.

I think that Clippd will start to dictate what the practice should begin to look like. I really like the trend lines because you can see if you're working at something that is showing up as a weakness, then you can actually start to see if it's getting any better. Is it shifting the needle in performance? If it is, it means that your practice time is super productive. 

The studio Dan (right) has created is equipped with multiple technologies

Clippd: Most golfers have a set internal narrative about who they are as a golfer and how they play, but Clippd will often overturn that narrative. 

Dan Whittaker: I have a player who won six times on the European Tour. He's only logged three rounds in Clippd so far and we've already highlighted for him that he's not good enough with his 4-iron. We actually think that he just needs to go to one with a wider sole so he can get a little bit more height out of it, which will then change the land angle I believe that will massively improve his proximity. 

It's tangible and quantifiable in Clippd. It's proven, there's no opinion whatsoever

Clippd: We have gamified practice drills in Clippd now, all of which generate data that feeds into the insights. We’ll soon be increasing the number of drills that train different parts of the game. Will you be adding your drills to Clippd? 

Dan Whittaker: I would love to pull all my drills and games into Clippd. My players could record the results and I could then see whether they are getting better at that drill and how it is impacting their performance. That would be next-level. 

Clippd: Because there’s nothing more important for a coach than being able to demonstrate progress? 

Dan Whittaker: Absolutely. It's tangible and quantifiable in Clippd. It's proven, there's no opinion whatsoever. 

Find out more about Dan Whittaker at his website and on Instagram