Harrington impressed by Learning Centre; recalls Christy Jnr "double act" with Darcy
Tadhg Harrington, Padraig Harrington and Stephen Ennis at the opening of The Learning Centre at Balcarrick Golf Club

Tadhg Harrington, Padraig Harrington and Stephen Ennis at the opening of The Learning Centre at Balcarrick Golf Club

Padraig Harrington's brilliant start to the season is a great advertisement for proper winter practice. And that will have pleased his brother Tadhg, who has just opened The Learning Centre at Balcarrick Golf Club in conjunction with local professional Stephen Ennis.

Players sign on for a six-month tuition programme that uses the latest, state of the art technology, video analysis and monitoring to help ambitious golfers achieve major improvements.

Those who are accepted into the programme have two, two-hour sessions per month with compulsory check-ups in between to ensure they are up to speed with their drills and doing them correctly.

Covering the long game, short game, physical fitness, mental skills, and competition performance the six-month commitment from pupils and teachers appeals to three-time Major winner Harrington, who attended the opening recently.

"I like this concept," Harrington told the Irish Independent. "The uniqueness is the fact of the commitment from both sides. "It has always been the bane of the PGA pros - 'I've given him a quick fix this week, will he come back to me next week?'

"The difference here is they're looking for a different sort of person. They are looking for that person who genuinely wants to change, and maybe not the easy change or the soft change.

"They're looking for that person, the good amateur who's not quite making the grade. They're looking for the young pro who's not quite there.

"They're looking for the retiree who's saying, 'Right, I'm going to get to single figures.'

"It's for somebody who already has a goal in their own life. They're not providing the goal. You come with the goal, and they'll figure out how to get you there," he said.

Harrington recorded his first top 10 for 10 months when he finished tied sixth in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii on Sunday, moving up 22 places to 120th in the world rankings ahead of this week's Sony Open.

As a result, the 44-year old Dubliner was unable to join Des Smyth, Eamonn Darcy and other Irish tour players for Christy O'Connor Jnr's funeral in Galway on Tuesday.

Despite that he too a moment to remember "Junior" and his other mentors with affection when asked about his early days on tour by AP golf writer Doug Ferguson.

"It was a big bunch of us at the time, nearly 12 of us at dinner every night," he said. "Socially, it was brilliant. A big part of having the elder guys is we weren't going to get too cocky around them. Des was 'Dad.' Christy and Eamonn were like a double act. They were fantastic."