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Annika Academy lets you practice with a purpose

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Golfers are always looking to improve.

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I'm pretty safe in saying that, but how they go about that process of lowering one's handicap or making a player feel more comfortable, no matter which club is in his/her hand, is open to review.

I'm also pretty safe in saying that the Annika Academy welcomes anyone who wants to improve their golf game.

Charlotta Sorenstam, Annika's sister told me that, as she took me on a guided tour of the Annika Academy, located right on the property of the Reunion Resort in Orlando.

The Annika Academy has it all, along with a welcoming and non-threatening environment that will suit your game.

Along with a driving range, putting green, and chipping area, you get a fitness room with free weights, cardio machines and two large indoor hitting bays that are loaded with Callaway Golf club fitting tools and video analysis equipment.

"It's about using the right muscle, at the right time, at the right intensity, and the golfers learn that in here.," said Charlotta while standing in the fitness room.

The room is loaded with unique training tools including mirrors and the famous "tornado ball."

"There is a benefit for us as instructors, when we see something in the swing or a movement, we can come in here and look in the mirrors. Dancers and ballet (performers) work with mirrors- golfers can too"

And about that famous ball on a rope that Annika used in training?

"That's the tornado ball," smiled Charlotta, herself a former top-20 professional. "We talk so much about the golf swing; the ball helps a player create speed and energy."

Sorenstam says they like to tell anyone who sets foot in the Annika Academy to "practice with a purpose," but what type of player can the academy help?

"I think we get a little bit everything," offered up Sorenstam. "We get those close to retirement, who want to start practicing- both male or female.

On the day of my visit, a group of ladies were there for three days of instruction. Charlotta said they will not only get golf instruction and play, but also the principles of how to train and why, along with information on nutrition and wellness.

Sorenstam says at the Annika Academy working in groups, and in small groups can help speed up the learning process.

"Some people work well in groups and they learn from watching others. Our groups are never bigger than eight, and if there are eight, we divide into two groups."

That personal instruction, along with the experience of Annika, Charlotta, and Annika's personal coach, Henri Reis, it what makes the Annika Academy a special place.

The Annika Academy also boasts a "Elite" program where good golfers, particularly juniors, can come and raise their game to the next level.

The Annika Academy has also entered into a partnership with the LPGA/Symetra Tours to help mentor young female golfers.

"I am thrilled to have my Academy partner with the LPGA T&CP and the world’s best young professional women’s golfers on the Symetra Tour,” said Annika. “We look forward to sharing our ‘Winning Approach,’ which I utilized throughout my career, with their elite athletes as they prepare for successful careers on the LPGA Tour. It’s my goal to help grow the game of golf and I believe this partnership will do just that.”

Growing the game of golf, and honing your skills is the theme that radiates from this academy tucked into a corner of the sprawling Reunion Resort.

The Annika Academy is located at 7450 Sparkling Court, right at the Reunion Resort in Orlando. You can find out all the specifics on packages and rates at www.theannikaacademy.com.

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