nytstudent lucasLucas Herbert, the Australian golfer, at the P.G.A. Championship in South Carolina in May. Herbert lives in Florida, but his swing coach, Dominic Azzopardi, is based in Western Australia — which means the two have had to use the golf teaching app Skillest.Credit...Stacy Revere/Getty Images


It has been well over a year since Lucas Herbert, the Australian golfer who won the Irish Open last week and is playing in this week’s Scottish Open, hit balls in front of his swing coach, Dominic Azzopardi.

With Herbert living in Orlando, Fla., and Azzopardi in Queensland Australia, traveling has not been possible, particularly with a strict quarantine for people entering Australia.

The men went virtual last summer, using the golf teaching app Skillest during the lockdown to film Herbert’s swings, send annotated feedback from coach to player and even have live sessions — albeit early morning for Herbert and late night for Azzopardi. The men, who missed working side-by-side, said the system had worked surprisingly well.

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Steve B, a Skillest Student, told me that his handicap dropped from 15 to 8 in less than 3 months! I’ve never heard of that kind of progress so I wanted to learn what he was doing to improve so quickly.

Steve said he previously took in-person lessons from a coach who played on tour. He paid for one-hour lessons and he felt like they were a waste of time. The problem was that only about 15 minutes of the lesson included meaningful instruction and the rest of the time was spent with small talk or just the coach watching Steve hit balls.

When Steve heard about Skillest, he was excited to give it a try. After researching coaches, he decided to go with Dominic Azzopardi. Steve knew he could make time to practice so he signed up for a monthly subscription. His monthy subscription gave him 24/7 swing support. That means he could take as many lessons with Dom as he wanted, ask questions anytime, and even book real-time Zoom sessions as needed.