When I decided to stop playing tour golf I was very unsure of what I wanted to do with my career, I came up with lots of different ideas but nothing seemed right. I was very lucky that I was part of The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust and they really helped me to figure out in which direction I wanted to go. I spent a lot of time going into schools giving ‘talks’ and trying to inspire children to take up sport, not only for health reasons but also for all benefits it can have for their studies and career. It was after this that I realised that golf and coaching golf is my passion!
I started my PGA Qualification last year and recently attended my first PGA Residential Course at The Belfry in Sutton Coldfield. It seemed a long time since University and it was daunting to go back to studying again!
The PGA qualification includes Custom Fitting, Coaching, Retailing, Customer Service and Sports Science and Junior Development. It was certainly an intense week with a huge amount of information to take on board.
There were 60 Assistants on this particular course split up into 4 groups, each group working on different sections each day. It was good to stay in the same group throughout the course so we could get to know each other to discuss and compare our first few months being a PGA Assistant.
This was a very interesting day starting off with an introduction to the course and then a session with Jamie Edwards, a leading ‘mind coach’ who works with many elite athletes (including Gareth Bale). ‘Brain Training’ is not new to top sports people, I too have studied this when playing, but I do believe that this can hugely help the amateur golfer and I will eventually be using this to help my teaching methods. The simplest techniques can make all the difference in someone’s game and it can often have more of an impact than practising your swing.
Custom fitting day. I am not sure why I was nervous about this section, probably because I don’t know much about Custom Fitting. It’s much easier being a golfer as someone else does all of this for you, before I simply had to hit golf balls and look at the stats on the computer! However I really enjoyed this day and went away having learnt so much about building clubs and how to alter the loft and lies as well as doing a custom fitting session with someone.
Our tutor was great and very patient, especially when I put too much grip solution on and it ended up all over him - it took me a while to get the hang of it, but I eventually built my first club which now has pride of place in my room!
Business seminar. This involved understanding how to run a successful golf business and all the skills that are required. This session was very interactive and we were split up into small groups to complete various activities. No matter what section of golf you end up in, business will always be a part of it so this session was particularly useful.
Sports Science and Junior Development. I studied this at school so it was good to jog my memory! We gave a presentation in front of the class and tutor which should not have been daunting but for some reason I was quite nervous. My roommate and I had been practising our presentations all week so hopefully it paid off! During this session we also learnt about junior development and the importance of making golf fun to keep juniors engaged and interested.
Coaching. This was the day that I was looking forward to the most and it certainly didn’t disappoint. I think that it is really important to learn and understand about new coaching techniques and I tried to absorb as much information as possible to help make my lessons the best they can be and as enjoyable as they can be for everyone.
We watched our tutor give a lesson to a beginner and I will definitely use some of his techniques in my future lessons. It was interesting to see how he engaged with the pupil and didn’t actually get them to hit balls until they had a basic understanding of what they were trying to achieve.
The week was hugely enjoyable and a great learning experience - it was great to meet other PGA pros who are starting out on this same journey and get their insights on the game and how the tutors see the game of golf progressing.
The Belfry was a great place and I shall certainly return but this time to play the course, it was very tempting looking at those gorgeous fairways every day!
Lauren is a PGA Professional at Foxhills Club and Resort and is available for lessons. You can contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on social media. Insatgram: @laurenblease89 Twitter: @laurenblease.