PGAs of EuropePGA of Great Britain & Ireland – PGAs of Europe Home of the PGAE Tue, 21 Nov 2017 13:07:33 +0000 en-gb hourly 1 Former PGA in Scotland Secretary Peter Lloyd Passes Away Tue, 29 Aug 2017 10:50:55 +0000 PGA of Great Britain & Ireland Tributes have been paid to Peter Lloyd, who served the PGA of GB&I admirably for 30 years, after he passed away peacefully on Sunday at the age of 76...]]>

Tributes have been paid to Peter Lloyd, who served the Professional Golfers’ Association admirably for 30 years, notably as secretary of the Scottish Region, after he passed away peacefully on Sunday at the age of 76.

“Very sad indeed,” said 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie of Lloyd’s death. “Peter was brilliant to my wife, Marian, and myself when I first started playing Scottish Region events. A great guy who will be sorely missed.”

Born in Airdrie and brought up in Gartcosh, Lloyd started with The PGA in 1986 after the closure of the local British Steel plant, having followed his father into the steel industry after leaving school.

Appointed by his good friend Sandy Jones, Lloyd was tournament director for the Scottish Region for eight years before serving as the senior tournament director at The Belfry for two years.

He returned to Scotland in January 1997 as regional secretary, succeeding Neil Simpson, and held that post until December 2006. During that time he managed the Region’s move from Glenbervie to its current headquarters at Gleneagles.

At Tartan Tour events, Lloyd was supported by his wife, Anne, as she worked as a recorder. Her death in November 2010 left a huge void in Lloyd’s life but he continued to serve The PGA in a pastoral role.

In fact, he served as welfare and benevolent officer for 10 years, just stopping last year.

“Peter will be missed by the many who knew him but fondly remembered by us all,” said Jones, The PGA executive president. “He was a great ambassador for golf and The PGA and I have lost a lifelong friend.”

PGA in Scotland secretary Shona Malcolm added: “Peter was a true character and they are few and far between in golf in Scotland today. He was always ready with advice and willing to help but never let anyone away with actions he thought reflected badly on his beloved PGA.

“I’ll miss lifting the phone and asking, ‘Peter, can you remember the background to such and such a tournament?’ Invariably, he could.”

Lawrie was joined in paying tribute to Lloyd by former PGA in Scotland captains Andrew Crerar and David Scott.

“Peter was a true gentleman and a dedicated man in many ways,” said Panmure PGA Professional Crerar. “He was a giant for The PGA in Scotland and will be greatly missed and very fondly remembered.”

Scott, director of operations at the Old Course Hotel Golf Resort & Spa in St Andrews, added: “Peter was a huge support to so many people during his time at The PGA. He will be sadly missed.”

Lloyd, a vice president of Mount Ellen Golf Club, is survived by his three children: Alison, Lesley and Leonard and his grandchildren Daniel, James, Callum, Fraser and Megan.

Former PGA in Scotland Secretary Peter Lloyd Passes Away
Meet the PGA Pros Heading to Wentworth Wed, 24 May 2017 11:19:46 +0000 PGA of Great Britain & Ireland There will be a total of 13 PGA Professionals in action at the eagerly anticipated BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth this week...]]>

There will be a total of 13 PGA Professionals in action at the eagerly anticipated BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth this week.

The European Tour’s flagship event has attracted a stellar field which includes current Open Championship Henrik Stenson, Olympic gold medallist Justin Rose and defending champion Chris Wood.

Once again the coveted Silver Salver trophy will be awarded to the highest place pro.

Here is a brief factfile on each of the players who will be flying the flag for the PGA in Surrey this week…

Poulter Web 1

Ian Poulter, 41

Ryder Cup legend Ian Poulter will be returning to the revamped Wentworth course for the first time in three years after accepting an invite to play at the Surrey venue.

The 41-year-old has slipped down the rankings dramatically in recent months after picking up a troublesome foot injury last year.

In April, Poulter was set to lose his PGA Tour card after failing to earn the required points or prize money, but he was able to retain his place on tour after a discrepancy in the points structure used for players with major medical exemptions.

Poulter has won 12 events on the European tour and heads into this year’s championship in good form having finished runner-up at the recent Players Championship at the popular TPC Sawgrass venue.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the changes that have been made at Wentworth,” said Poulter.

“It seems the changes they have made are what the West Course deserves and it is going back to its rightful self, so respect to the club, to the European Tour and to the guys involved for making those changes and I’m sure the players will enjoy playing it.”

Rock Web 1

Robert Rock, 40

Two-time European Tour winner Robert Rock has spoken of his determination to add the BMW PGA title to his golfing CV before he retires.

The 40-year-old was an affiliate member of the European Tour back in 2003 and finished the 2009 season ranked inside the top 30 in the race for Dubai.

Rock claimed his maiden tour title at the BMW Italian Open in June 2011 and has made appearances at three of the four major championships, which includes a tied seventh place finish at the 2010 Open Championship.

After failing to finish inside the top ten on either of his last 11 attempts in Surrey, Rock is hoping to challenge the likes of Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose and Danny Willett to the title this Sunday.

He said: “Wentworth is the one I want to win. I’d be disappointed if I made it through to the end of my career and hadn’t really given it a good shot.

“I still prepare because the BMW PGA Championship is the one I want to win and I’d be very happy with my career if I could win that one.”

Rob Coles Web

Robert Coles, 44, (Maylands Golf & Country Club)

Experienced former European Tour player Robert Coles turned professional back in 1994 and the Hornchurch-born player has participated in over 300 events, winning three Challenge Tour titles.

The 44-year-old is one of three players to have already secured a spot in the Great Britain and Ireland team for the eagerly anticipated PGA Cup event at Foxhills Resort in September after finishing in the top three of a recent play-off competition at Staunton.

Coles is no stranger to the Wentworth course having finished tied 69th back in 2013 and in 12 years ago he produced his best ever performance at the event, finishing tied 39th.

Coles said: “I can’t wait to play at this year’s event. I’ve played there ten times before and I used to go and watch the tournament as a kid.

“There’s going to be some big players there and that’s what makes it such a massive event, that’s what makes it so good. There will be big crowds too.”


Hendriksen Web

Paul Hendriksen, 37, (Ivybridge Golf Club)

Paul Hendriksen is gearing up for his first ever appearance at the BMW PGA Championship.

Back in February this year, the 38-year-old won the PGAs of Europe Fourball Championship alongside James Ruth and he has also won the 36-hole Total Triumph Classic twice in succession in 2015 and 2016.

In September year Hendriksen inspired Devon to the final of the PGA England & Wales Inter-County Championship for the very first time. He recorded no fewer than eight birdies in a five under par 66 score at a region qualifier held at Tiverton Golf Club.

And his biggest success so far was winning the PGA Club Pro Championship two years ago.

Hendrikesen said: “It’s the first time I’ve played at an event on the European Tour and it’s the biggest event I’ve played at so I’m looking forward to it.

“There are a lot of big names playing at Wentworth but I’m not worrying about that. It will be great to pit myself against them and see how I get on.

“My aim is just to play as best as I can, do what I normally do at events and see how I get on.”

Matthew Cort For Web

Matthew Cort, 42, Beedles Lake Golf Club

It will be a fifth appearance for Matthew Cort when he takes to the fairways at Wentworth this week.

The 42-year-old only took up the sport at the age of 15 after previously coming close to becoming a professional footballer.

Cort heads to Surrey in good form after tasting victory at the PGA Play-offs back in October last year – an event he had finished twice runner-up at in previous years.

He was the first player to win three successive PGA Assistants’ Championship titles between 2011 and 2013 and he will be part of the 2017 Great Britain and Ireland team for the PGA Cup event in September.

“I’ve had some good rounds there – nothing spectacular,” said Cort.

“The course has changed a little bit – the greens have been redesigned. That’s the same for everyone – they will be encountering it for the first time so we’ve all got to try and get used to it.”

Graham Fox Web

Graham Fox, 39, (Clydeway Golf Club)

Scottish golfer Graham Fox will be hoping to make it third time lucky as he looks to make the cut on his third appearance at the BMW Championships at Wentworth.

Last year Fox, who took up golf at the age of 12, shot a respectable 72 in his opening round but a 77 on the Friday saw him miss the cut after finishing the tournament on five over par.

Greg For Web

Greig Hutcheon, 43, (Paul Lawrie Golf Centre/Inchmarlo Golf Resort)

Scottish teaching pro Greig Hutcheon enjoyed one of his best ever performances at the BMW Championship at Wentworth last year.

The 43-year-old, who has won the Scottish PGA Championship on two occasions, made the cut comfortably and was flirting with the leaders heading into the final two days of action.

A triple birdie finish on Saturday provided hope for a best ever finish heading into the final round, but the two-time PGA Play-off winner dropped six shots in his final six holes to end in disappointing fashion.

Hutcheon finished in the top three of a play-off at Staunton back in October which means he will represent Great Britain and Ireland at the PGA Cup at Foxhills Resort later this year.

“Wentworth is never easy but I’m expecting the scores to be a little better than perhaps in previous years. I’m looking forward to seeing the changes,” said Hutcheon.

“I’m 44 now so I’m no spring chicken but I come into the competition with a lot of experience and I’ve played at Wentworth many times before.”

Streeter For Web

Paul Streeter, 50 (Lincoln Golf Centre)

Paul Streeter turned professional late in life at the age of 31 back in 1997 and the 56-year-old has appeared at the BMW PGA Championship on three previous occasions, with his best finish coming five years ago at Wentworth where he finished tied 21st.

His other career highlights include qualifying for the 2010 Open Championship at St Andrews where he failed to make the cut after finishing with a score of 152.

More recently he won the PGA Midland Professional Championship after finishing on the same score (131) as fellow winner Andrew Willey.

“If you chip and putt well you’re in with a chance at Wentworth,” said Streeter. “Lots of players can hit the ball well but you need to be able to chip and put to be in with a chance. It’s invaluable at Wentworth.”

Irish Web 1

Neil O’Briain, 30 (Old Conna Golf Club)

After enjoying a successful amateur career which saw him win the Kerry Boys Championship and the Connacht Youth Championship twice, Neil O’Brian made the decision to move to the US in 2005 after receiving a scholarship to Wofford College in South Carolina.

He won plenty of accolades as well as college titles in the states, including being named Southern Conference Freshman of the Year, before eventually turning professional.

O’Brian competed in a number of European, Challenge and EuroPro events before earning his PGA teaching qualification and he now has aspirations to earn a European Tour card over the coming seasons.

“The goal is to put four good rounds together and see how it all pans out,” said O’Briain. “Take it as it comes.

“If the putter gets hot it could be a very good week and that’s what it really comes down to.”

Phillip Archer For Web

Phillip Archer, 45 (Birchwood Golf Club)

Sportsmad Phillip Archer took up golf at the tender age of nine through the influence of his father and turned professional back in 1991.

The 45-year-old earned his place on the European Tour in 2004 and finished a career high of 29th in the 2007 Order of Merit during a season where he came close to winning his maiden title after finishing as runner-up three times.

Archer made a habit of successfully qualifying for major championships after making it through to the US Open in both 2006, where he finished T48, and he qualified again in 2008.

He has also played in two Open Championships, the most recent coming in 2010 at St Andrews.

Past experience of playing at the BMW Championship will stand Archer in good stead, having finished T64th in 2009 and T58th two years earlier.

“I’m looking forward to playing the flagship event again and seeing where my game is against the best around again,” said Archer.

“I will go into the event with hopefully a different feeling as it not being the be all and end all.”

Irish Web 2

Damien McGrane, 46

Irishman Damien McGrane has an impressive record at Wentworth in recent years having made the cut five times over the past seven years and he finished tied for 17th back in 2010.

The 46-year-old, who turned professional in 1992, enjoyed his best spell as a player towards the back end of the 2000s when he won his maiden tour title in 2008 by lifting the Volvo China Open and one year later he collect £700,000 after finishing 41st in the Race to Dubai.

Since retiring from the tour in 2015, the County Meath player has gone on to enjoy plenty of success on the Irish PGA Regional tour and last year he was victorious at the Irish PGA Championship at Moyvalley.

“It’s a huge competition and it always attracts the top players,” said McGrane. “They always try to turn up to the flagship events so it will be nice to see what us pros can do on the big stage.

“The course has changed this year so it will be a challenge, but it’s going to be a challenge for all of us out there.”

Gane Feature Pic

Chris Gane, 43, Left-handed Golf

It will be a third appearance at the BMW PGA Championship for Chris Gane as he looks to make the cut at the UK’s second biggest tournament of the year.

Gane has mainly competed on the second tier of the Challenge Tour where he picked up two wins at the Terme Euganee International Open Padova and the Austrian Open in 2001.

Back in 2009 he finished 13th in the Challenge Tour rankings which earned him full European Tour status in 2010 and he is now a PGA Professional at Silvermere Golf Club in Surrey.

“I want to make the cut because you’ve got to set your sights as high as possible and give a good account of yourself,” said Gane.

“When I played two years ago I was a bit nervous about playing. I hadn’t been involved in a tournament that big and I was a bit worried about what might happen.”

Paul Lawrie

Open Championship winner, Paul Lawrie, received the 2015 5 Star Professional Award from the PGAs of Europe in recognition of his contribution to the profession over a wide range of areas of expertise and activity.

Lawrie was nominated by the PGA in Scotland and selected by the PGAs of Europe’s award selection committee based on his work and representation as a PGA Professional, his work in developing the Paul Lawrie Foundation, along with his playing successes across the years, and was acknowledged for his award at the Association’s Gala Awards Dinner at Gloria Hotels & Resorts in Turkey.

Born in Aberdeen, he turned pro in 1986 and played his first season on the European Tour in 1992. Has since won eight European Tour titles, most famously the 1999 Open Championship, where he came from ten shots behind to win the Claret Jug at Carnoustie.

Played in the 1999 and 2012 editions of The Ryder Cup, the latter following a renaissance that saw him win three times in two years. Awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2013. Actively involved in promoting the game at grass roots through the Paul Lawrie Foundation. Has hosted his own European Tour event each year since 2015, the Paul Lawrie Match Play.

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Meet the PGA Pros Heading to Wentworth
The PGA of GB&I – End of An Era: Sandy Jones Steps Aside Wed, 01 Mar 2017 15:45:34 +0000 PGA of Great Britain & Ireland The PGA has ensured it will benefit from the extensive experience and knowledge Sandy Jones has acquired as its chief executive...]]>

The PGA has ensured it will benefit from the extensive experience and knowledge Sandy Jones has acquired as its chief executive by offering him a role when he retires.

Jones, who will be succeeded by Robert Maxfield following The PGA’s annual general meeting at the end of March, has been appointed executive president and will still be retained by the Association, albeit on a reduced basis.

As president of the Golf Foundation, chairman of the PGAs of Europe and The Ryder Cup Trust, Jones always planned to remain involved with the sport.

This latest appointment, however, adds up to an even busier retirement and Jones said: “I see this as an ambassadorial role and I am delighted to be asked.

“I will remain a Trustee of The PGA Benevolent Fund, supporting the fund raising in particular through The PGA Annual Lunches which are a major source of revenue to the fund.

“Another responsibility will be assisting in the looking after of our Heritage Collection which has great value in the world of golf. It is our intention to create a virtual Heritage room so that the collection can be viewed around the world and I look forward to working on this project very shortly.

“I will be available to Rob as and when he feels I can be of assistance and certainly in and around Ryder Cup matters.”

The position will see Jones extending an association with The PGA which began in 1980 when he was appointed Scottish region secretary. During the decade he was there, Jones quadrupled the Tartan Tour’s prize money to just shy of £1m and developed the growth of The PGA in Scotland.

He became chief executive in December 1991 and during the subsequent 25 years The PGA has played a significant role in the development of the game, not just in Great Britain and Ireland but around the world.

That is borne out by more than 1,400 of its almost 8,000 Members working in 79 countries worldwide.

His initiative saw the creation at The Belfry of what has become The PGA National Training Academy and European Centre of Excellence for Golf.

This, in conjunction with the University of Birmingham, now offers a foundation degree in Professional Golf Studies and an honours degree in Applied Golf Management Studies.

In addition, a partnership with the University of Highlands & Islands offers an honours degree in Professional Golf and a diploma in Higher Education in Professional Golf.

More recently, a diploma in Golf Club Management in partnership with the Golf Course Managers’ Association (GCMA) and British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) was created.

The PGA National Training Academy also serves as the hub for the ongoing professional development programme offering vocational education opportunities for all PGA Professionals.

PGA golf education is widely acknowledged as the best in the world and during Jones’ time as chief executive thousands of students have graduated. This number includes students from China, India, the Middle East, Far East and most European countries as well as Great Britain and Ireland.

It’s no surprise that in 2009 Jones was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Birmingham for outstanding services to sport and golf.

The PGA is the founding partner of the Ryder Cup and, as a board member, he played a pivotal role in developing it into one of the largest sporting events in the world, introducing a charitable arm enabling revenues from the Ryder Cup to develop the game.

His initiative to form the PGA World Alliance, made up of the major PGAs is another great example of the influence he has had on the game.

Closer to home, Jones has raised the profile of The PGA and its Members during his 25 years as chief executive. He has also developed The PGA brand and the Association has become one of the most highly respected organisations in sport.

Through his vision two Ryder Cup venues, Gleneagles and The Belfry, have championship courses bearing The PGA Brand. The PGA Centenary course at Gleneagles was the venue for the 2014 Ryder Cup match.

It all adds up to a wealth of experience and PGA chairman

David Murchie said: “Sandy has dedicated most of his working life to The PGA and its Members.

“As chief executive he has taken the Association forward in every aspect of the business and has enhanced its reputation and standing across the golfing world.

“We’re delighted he has accepted the invitation to become our executive president and we will still be able to call on his expertise and experience.”

Maxfield echoed those sentiments and added: “During his time at The PGA Sandy has achieved many things.

“As the incoming chief executive I am extremely fortunate I will be taking over the leadership of an Association that is respected the world over thanks to Sandy’s vision, dedication and hard work.

“I am pleased I will still be able to draw on Sandy’s experience as he takes on his new position.”

The PGA of GB&I – End of An Era: Sandy Jones Steps Aside
Another Grip in the Wall – Golf Pride Sat, 03 Dec 2016 12:52:42 +0000 PGA of Great Britain & Ireland Craig Phillips explains how his regripping service and support from Golf Pride is benefitting his business and its bottom-line...]]>

Craig Phillips, the Director of Golf at Nuneaton Golf Club tells The PGA of Great Britain & Ireland’s Matthew Suddaby how his regripping service and support from Golf Pride is benefitting his business.

Why did you decide to offer a regripping service?

Regripplng is something we do through our PGA training and something I have been involved with for a long time. I’ve been regripping golf clubs for more than 20 years! Sometimes it’s an element of the club which is overlooked by golfers, who tend to look at the head and the shaft and forget their only contact with the club is actually the grip.

For that reason we’ll do MOT checks throughout the year. We’ll often pick a club out of the bag and say “how do you manage to hold onto this?”  You’ll find it’s one of those typical shiny grips where you can pretty much see your face in it!

It’s all just about starting the conversation and making them aware that regripping their clubs can help them to improve their golf.

What benefits will a golfer get from regripping their clubs?

On social media now you see a lot of people talking about grip pressure and that’s really important. Your only contact with the golf club is your hands and you’ll feel that pressure through the grip, so it’s important you’ve got it right.

The right size of grip is important too – if the grip is too small you’ll have more wrist action. These are just a couple of the selling points that you can take to the customer to show them how important the grip is, when right now it’s probably something that they’re overlooking.


How often should a golfer regrip their clubs?

It really depends on how much they use them. If they use them a lot they will get worn quite quickly but you would definitely say that, after a year, you would like them to come in and get an MOT done. Often we will start that conversation by asking the customer how their grips are looking and feeling and we’ll give them a quick check while they’re here.

How do you know which grips will suit a certain golfer?

Simply by talking to them and getting it in their hands – the Golf Pride display allows you to do that.

We’ll start them off with the normal, standard golf grip and then move them up to the mid-size and then pop a jumbo in their hands. We get them to feel it and then tell us which one gives them the feeling that they want. It’s their feedback that we’re after and allows us to make the right decision on what will suit them best.

Why did you choose to stock Golf Pride grips?

We stock quite a few of the major brands in our pro shop here and we feel it is a nice fit among those. Golf Pride provides us with a grip wall which instantly helps you to sell that product to the customer.

Rather than sticking to the old school ‘do you do grips?’ approach, customers can instantly see it right in front of them.

Once they’ve found the type of grip they need, we often find that the variety of the range means we can offer them loads of different colours to suit their tastes.

We’ve given the wall a prominent position in the shop where customers can touch them, feel them and put them in their hands. That then gives us a good lead into the sale of a golf grip and a starting point for us to begin to educate them on the importance of regripping.


How does regripping complement your business?

Once I had the grip wall installed I would say that sales in gripping went up at least five times, if not more.

During the course of the year we’re maybe doing three sets a week but that can go up to three or four a day at busy times during the winter.

This time of year is big for us in that respect. We do a lot of regripping in the winter because if you go out on the course and that grip is slippery, it is really going to affect your golf.

We do a lot of promotion on social media and through poster around the golf dub. At this time of year we increase that a little bit as it is an important time for regripping but, importantly, we don’t just limit ourselves to the pro shop – we promote the service right around the golf club.

It’s nice to have that additional service to offer to the customer. We’ll often ask them If they are staying around at the club for a bite to eat or a drink and if they are we ask for half-an-hour to take a look at their grips.

Once we’ve done the regripping and taken it upstairs to the customer they will usually turn around and go “wow, you’ve done that already – that’s fantastic!”

What advice would you give other pros considering offering a regripping service?

The first thing they have to do is get a nice display, which is something Golf Pride can offer.

Get that in as it immediately makes your customers aware you have this service available to them and creates a starting point for the conversation. Once they can see it and feel it, they can make a choice on the grip and then you haw that final bit where you offer the slick service.

I feel by offering Golf Pride and displaying the products on a grip wall where the customer can feel them, you are enhancing that service and ensuring the member has exactly the right grip for their clubs.

For more information on Golf Pride visit

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Another Grip in the Wall – Golf Pride
Inside The Ropes at The Ryder Cup… Fri, 30 Sep 2016 19:07:47 +0000 PGA of Great Britain & Ireland A career as a PGA Professional can lead to many places and for Mike Walker it's led inside the ropes of the Ryder Cup...]]>

The Yorkshire, UK, coach, along with mentor and PGA of Great Britain & Ireland Master Professional Pete Cowen, is at Hazeltine National Golf Club working with six players.

During two practice rounds, Walker has been a familiar figure alongside the groups of Chris Wood, Danny Willett and Matt Fitzpatrick, analysing and assessing and stepping in with input if needed.

Reflecting on his role at the 41st Ryder Cup, Walker admits much of the groundwork has been laid prior to arrival but he’s is on hand to fine-tune if required.

“It is a funny week, I saw Dan with Pete at the range last week, and that’s where you do the work really,” said Walker.

“Matt I had seen him in Italy the week before but he had come to America to practise. I saw Chris Wood as well and you kind of get it all off your chest then on what you’re doing.

“Really, when you are here, it is reiterating what you’ve worked on and dealing with anything that crops up – whether it is shots they hit on the course, how they feel or whatever it is. You might not be used that much but it’s just in case.”

They are also a sounding board – not just for the players but for European captain Darren Clarke and his vice captains too.

“I’ve been to one Ryder Cup, Pete’s been to 11 so they tap into that a bit, we speak to vice captains about how they are playing and feeling, also acting as a middleman between them. It’s quite diverse but the lion’s share is shots and how they are feeling and what’s happened if they’ve missed it in a certain direction.”

Doing your work under the eyes of thousands of spectators could potentially be pretty intimidating but Walker takes it all in his stride.

“You definitely get more accustomed to it, even just going to major championships, there is a novelty to it but like anything else you just get used to it, you’re less fazed, calmer and you have dealt with difficult situations in the past which helps you deal with them in the future. I’ve got some experience, not as much as Pete or David Leadbetter, but enough.”

Working with elite level performers brings its own set of challenges – not least because they are so good – but it’s a role that Walker relishes.

“It’s harder to see things because it is much more subtle, but a lot of principles cross over and you self-perpetuate. The more you do it, the more you get an eye for it, the more experience you have, the more you handle situations better.”

And like any person seeking to improve there is no resting on laurels. It’s very much a case of always learning and building the knowledge base.

“I don’t think you can afford not to,” added Walker. “We are lucky to be exposed to elite level players and the more you are exposed the more you learn, you almost gain a competitive advantage in a way. The day you stop learning is the day it’s time to hang up your boots and do something else.”

For any aspiring coaches, Walker has some sage advice.

“You have just go to love your topic. In my experience I’ve always been motivated when I’m interested. If you lose your interest that is dangerous, I’d say Pete (Cowen), like myself, is obsessed with golf and coaching and that’s the key.”


Visit the Ryder Cup Coach Hub at:

Inside The Ropes at The Ryder Cup…
Club Pro Enjoys Surreal Ryder Cup Moment – Paul Mitchell Fri, 30 Sep 2016 15:15:23 +0000 PGA of Great Britain & Ireland 'Pretty surreal' was Paul Mitchell's initial thought on seeing his pupil and friend, Chris Wood, stride the fairways of Hazeltine at the Ryder Cup...]]>

‘Pretty surreal’ was Paul Mitchell’s initial thought on seeing Chris Wood stride the spectator-lined fairways of Hazeltine during the first official practice of the 41st Ryder Cup.


And no wonder. The Bristol and Clifton Golf Club head PGA Professional first coached Wood as a teenager so to see him scale the heights of one of sport’s greatest events is definitely something to cherish.

But if Mitchell did give it much thought, it was only fleeting because he had serious work to do – helping the 28 year old Wood get prepared for what will arguably be one of the more nervy first tee shots of his career to date on Friday.

Wood has broadened his coaching team and it also includes fellow PGA pros Mike Walker and putting specialist Phil Kenyon who were also patrolling the fairways and greens.

But while both have experienced Ryder Cups before in a coaching capacity, Hazeltine marks Mitchell’s first involvement in the biennial clash and focus is the buzz word of the day.

“I think it goes back to your professionalism as a club pro,” he said.

“You could easily get a bit side-tracked, and start looking at the other players but you are there with a particular player and your job is to look after them. And to be honest, you are so in your own bubble. It’s like when you are playing golf – you focus while you’re out there and it’s the same when you are coaching at an event like this.

“OK, now and then, you might think ‘bloody hell I’m talking to Rory’ when you are walking down the fairway but you are focused on your player and they’ve always got to come first.

“You want to make sure your player is in tip top condition, and everything you could have done is ready by Friday morning. That’s what I’m focusing on.”

Strategy off the tee is set to be key at Hazeltine and day one gave the players the opportunity to see what challenge the Minnesota course offers. Wood was playing with Rory MclIroy,  Sergio Garcia and Andy Sullivan.

“A lot of the time it is more about getting the tee strategy right,” added Mitchell. “The par four 15th was a perfect example. It’s a dogleg left. We’ve hit driver while everyone else has hit 3-wood and actually they’ve ended up with a really difficult second shot to the green. If you hit driver, it’s actually a bigger target once you get past the trees. It’s just working things out like that – devising your own strategy. I noticed that with the players today – they were all doing their own thing which is important.

“I think there are some key holes. There is a particularly difficult hole on the front nine (the seventh) which used to be on the back nine.

“It’s where you have water on the right, you drive over water, and have to hit driver really because it is into the wind. The second shot is to a really narrow green with water all around and today it was into a 15mph cold wind!

“That is a particularly difficult hole  and the par threes are long – 250 yards. But you realise when you come out here and see them hit three and four irons, you realise that they are at a different level with long irons. iI’d probably need to use my driver to reach!”


Visit the Ryder Cup Coach Hub at:

Club Pro Enjoys Surreal Ryder Cup Moment – Paul Mitchell
Leading by Example – Working in the Asian Market Tue, 30 Aug 2016 08:47:05 +0000 PGA of Great Britain & Ireland PGA professionals have been pioneers in developing the game of golf worldwide ever since the first Association was formed in 1901. Recently, an increasing numbe]]>

PGA professionals have been pioneers in developing the game of golf worldwide ever since the first Association was formed in 1901. Recently, an increasing number have opted to work in Asia, a band that includes PGA of Great Britain & Ireland Professional at Singha Elite Golf Performance Centre, Andrew Knott.

Here he tells the PGA of Great Britain & Ireland’s International Development Manager – PGA Project China, Matthew Davies, about his experiences of working in Thailand and some of the key differences he sees between the role of a PGA professional in the UK, Europe and Asia.

MD: What key differences do you see between the golf markets in the UK and Asia?

AK: One of them is the business relationship between the golf club and the professional and my circumstances are a case in point. I am not employed by the golf club and I have to pay a monthly rental fee to use the facilities and advertise.

Golf in Thailand is run much more on a commercial basis. As a result I have set up myown businesses,, and

MD: What was your reason for moving to Asia?

AK: My move to Asia was fuelled by other passions in life: travel and an interest in different cultures and religions. I actually came to Thailand and Asia working as a tour leader for a travel company and got paid to travel all around South East Asia!

MD: What would you say are the main obstacles you face working in Asia?

AK: The two biggest obstacles we face as PGA professionals in Asia could be seen to be intertwined. Firstly, the main issue is a lack of understanding throughout all levels of the golfing community, certainly here in Thailand anyway, in what it means to be a PGA member and the training involved.

Secondly, at higher levels of golf establishments our value is not seen. Therefore there are times when you may feel under-utilised. In my opinion the main thing the PGA can do, and Is doing, is work towards raising awareness of what it means to have the words PGA Professional Member after your name.

Having said that, members have to be prepared to help themselves and drive it too. Getting this message across to my clients, and potential clients, is something I have tried to emphasise heavily on my website.

MD: What three pieces of advice would you give to PGA professionals who are thinking about working In Asia?

AK: 1 – Don’t believe everything you read or hear from people who have only scratched the surface – nothing is ever quite what it seems at face value in Asia, so you must dig deeper and experience it first-hand for yourself.

2 – Don’t think or have the attitude that you are going to arrive and make a big splash or have an instant success. Be humble and patient and you will endear yourself to the locals. They don’t work with the same attitudes as you.

3 – Be prepared to work hard for everything you will get, nothing will be handed on a plate to you.

Do these THREE things and you can expect some great golfing facilities, some wonderful culture, and a fantastic experience to cherish.

Leading by Example – Working in the Asian Market
Olympics Mission for PGA Pros Wed, 03 Aug 2016 22:08:38 +0000 PGA of Great Britain & Ireland All roads lead to Rio for a quartet of PGA Professionals heading to the 2016 Olympics]]>

All roads lead to Rio for a quartet of PGA Professionals who are set to inspire Brazilians to give golf a go during the 2016 Olympics.

While the likes of new Open champion Henrik Stenson and World No.1 Lydia Ko target a gold medal on the course Ben Stubbington, Konrad Brochocki, Andy Gealy and ex-PGA member Nick Clemens will be busy in the spectator village teeing up a series of fun activities designed to bring more newcomers into the sport.

The team from Provision Events, which was co-founded by Clemens and Brochocki, are familiar faces at golf tournaments across Europe and America where they give thousands of free coaching sessions.

But the Olympics promises to be an extra special affair, especially for 27 year old Stubbington who is the newest member of the team.

“I can’t wait, it’s a new one for all of us,” said Stubbington who was at the Open at Royal Troon in the R&A SwingZone. “Everything was shipped a few weeks ago in humungous flight bags and flight cases and we’ll meet them there.

“We fly out on August 8 and we’ll be there for the ladies and the men’s events. We are setting up a whole spectator village of activities so people can come and have a go. We believe people don’t just come to golf to watch the golf, they want to participate so we try and create a bit more of a family day out enabling everyone comes to have a go.

“We are working for the International Golf Federation to help promote the game out there and offer fans, golfers and non-golfers, to try their hand at all elements of the game of golf.

“It is the biggest stage in the world, every other sport in the world gets huge promotion off the back of the Olympics so as a golfer myself I’m looking forward to watching it and also being involved at close hand.”

Stubbington, whose dad Gary is head PGA Professional at Hockley and whose younger brother Jack is also a pro, has enjoyed a varied career to date. He trained at The Grove before joining Moor Park as shop manager and custom fitter. After that he moved to Foresight Sports in sales.

“Now I’m an events manager with Provision Events which involves sales and business development and staging events,” he adds. “We work with the governing bodies and do a lot to promote and push golf and get it into inner city areas.

“For example we do a lot of down town events pre-tournament, so for the Ryder Cup we had two inner city set ups, at the Irish Open we were there two weeks before and did a set up in Dublin, just to get out and promote the event. We get PGA pros on board to help with the coaching so it’s really positive.

“I’m away quite a lot, we do a lot of European Tour events and provide experiential activations for brands and agencies in all four corners of the world.

“Two of my colleagues did a Summer of Sport at Liverpool Station where we had a short game area and some coaching while we also work with companies like Zoopla, where we did the long putt challenge at the opening of their new headquarters. “I generally do three weeks away, a week at home and then away again. It’s loads of travelling but I’m really enjoying it and love helping people get into golf.”

For more information on Provision Events visit

Olympics Mission for PGA Pros
Golf Development Missions – Madagascar Thu, 05 May 2016 17:43:14 +0000 PGA of Great Britain & Ireland Forget the penguins - it could be the golfers of Madagascar after input from PGA of Great Britain & Ireland Master Professional, David Johnson.]]>
Location: Madagascar, Africa
PGA Professional: David Johnson (GB&I)

PGA Pro Helps Madagascar Get to Grips With Golf

By Nat Sylvester

Forget the penguins – it could be the golfers of Madagascar after input from PGA of Great Britain & Ireland Master Professional, David Johnson.

The island off the south east coast of Africa, which served as the focus for a hit Hollywood kids’ movie, has benefited from the golfing expertise and knowledge of Johnson.

The Lavender Park Golf Centre pro is one of the PGAs of Europe’s 22-man golf development team playing a key role in implementing the R&A’s Working for Golf programme.

In 2014 PGA pros have been active in Chile, India, Bulgaria and Brazil with Johnson charged with lending his expertise to Madagascar’s fledgling golfing scene.

Johnson, who previously helped Botswana develop its golf education programme, spent 10 days on the island with a wide ranging brief all with the aim of raising standards of golf.

It included coaching its junior team, training its trainers, guidance on the strategic development of the Federation of Madagascar Golf, giving advice on the quality of golf courses on the island and reviewing the handicap system.


“Madagascar is very sparse as far as golf is concerned with only about five courses,” explained Johnson.

“The clubs have a lot of talented caddies and I was helping to teach them how to coach but also being mindful that they were not becoming golf professionals.

“My brief was to assess golf on the island, to teach the caddies and juniors and players at a couple of clubs because they don’t have a single golf pro on the island.

“I was also trying to achieve some unity between the golf clubs and the Federation so it will become a body that reports to The R&A,” he added.

“While I was there I also met the British ambassador to see how golf can be brought to the island. While Madagascar has only about five courses and it’s five times the size of Britain so there is a lot of potential.”

Since his visit Johnson has regularly kept in contact with the country and hopes to go back as part of the PGAs of Europe development team.

He clearly made an impact too with a golf academy for underprivileged children renamed the David Johnson Golf Academy.

“That tickled me, it was lovely when you think those kids don’t have two halfpennies to rub together.

“Madagascar is crying out for golf development and we looked at several sites for potential golf courses.

“I think it offers a fantastic tourist opportunity and also a great opportunity for local people where the average wage is only £1 a day.”

Also helping the R&A deliver its Working for Golf programme in 2014 have been Steven Orr (Cranfield Golf Academy) and Jonathan Mannie (Swiss Golf Association) in India, Craig Thomas (The Golf Academy) in Brazil, Kevin Flynn (Tournerbury Golf Centre) in Chile and Tony Bennett in Bulgaria.

Bennett, who is the PGAs of Europe’s Director of Education and Membership, added: “These PGA Professionals have been selected to make these visits by the PGAs of Europe and are part of our Golf Development Team, which is a group of 22 professionals from ten different countries.”

Golf Development Missions – Madagascar
Trio Land PGA Accolade Tue, 05 Jan 2016 15:37:55 +0000 PGA of Great Britain & Ireland A passion for golf unites three PGA Professionals who have earned special recognition in the latest round of APAL...]]>

A passion for golf unites three PGA Professionals who have earned special recognition in the latest round of APAL (Accreditation for Professional Achievement and Learning) awards.

Rod Davis from Playgolf Bournemouth, Roger Brown at Germany’s Hamburger Golf Club and Derek McKenzie from Thailand’s Santiburu Samui Country Club have all been accorded PGA Fellow Professional status.

The accolade reflects their varied and outstanding careers in golf to date.

Dorset-based Davis, 46, who combines estate manager and coaching roles at his facility, has enjoyed a wide-ranging career which began at Parkstone, included a stint at Canford Magna (where he designed a 9-hole par three course), a foreign foray to the Middle East and Abu Dhabi and back home at Remedy Oak which he helped design and develop.

Brown, 66, gained his first assistant’s role at West Sussex Golf Club and then moved to Porters Park, Hertfordshire where he spent two years chasing a European Tour card.

Injury curtailed his playing hopes but an opportunity in Denmark sparked a new chapter and head pro roles at Gilleleje and Odense Golf Clubs followed. He was also national coach for the Danish Golf Union and helped it develop into one of the strongest in Europe in the space of 10 years.

In 1990 he moved to Hamburger Golf Club as head professional and during his time there has been shortlisted for the German PGA Teacher of the Year award.

Also carving out a successful career overseas has been McKenzie, 44. Initially an assistant to Sandy Aird at Forres Golf Club he then joined the late Doug Smart at Banchory and then Brunston Castle.

A move to Germany’s Burg Zievel sparked a globe-trotting lifestyle which has also taken him to Egypt, at the Gary Player-designed The Cascades on the banks of the Red Sea, Mallorca and now Thailand where he is the general manager of the luxurious Santiburi Samui golf resort.

Still a keen player, he has also pursued academic studies with the Open University, completed the Certified Club Manager award with the Club Managers Association of Europe and is part way through an MBA with Herriot Watt University.

David Colclough, The PGA’s head of member education, commented: “Once again the APAL awards highlight the varied nature of activity that PGA Professionals engage in.

“Each one has gone on to good success within their own chosen field, and should provide inspiration to anyone looking to make their career in golf.

“The PGA is committed to providing opportunity to all its members to grow as a PGA Professional, and rewarding their success in whatever job role they may chose once they become PGA qualified.”

Also celebrating in the APAL awards are the following members who have all been accorded PGA Advanced Professional status:  Tim Bamber (PGA HQ), Martin Beaty (Crompton & Royton), Justyn Branton (PGA West), Stephen Cox (Weybrook Park GC), Thomas Gibbs (Three Hammers Golf Complex), Neville Hallam (Alfreton GC), Steven Munro (UAE PGA) and Kelvin Vince (Rushmere GC).

Visit the PGA of GB&I’s Hub Page to Find Out More

Trio Land PGA Accolade
PGA of Great Britain & Ireland Appoints Deputy Chief Executive Wed, 16 Dec 2015 15:24:48 +0000 PGA of Great Britain & Ireland Robert Maxfield has been appointed Deputy Chief Executive of The Professional Golfers' Association of Great Britain & Ireland and will take up the post on Janua]]>

Robert Maxfield has been appointed Deputy Chief Executive of The Professional Golfers’ Association and will take up the post on January 1st, 2016.

He will work directly alongside current Chief Executive Sandy Jones to maintain the smooth day to day running of the Association.

Maxfield will become Chief Executive when Jones steps down from his current post sometime after the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine, with the precise date to be finalised.

Maxfield, 48, has an extensive knowledge of both the amateur and professional game.

As an amateur golfer, presently playing off a handicap of plus 2, he was an England schoolboy international and earned a golf scholarship at Florida State University.

He has been involved within the amateur game at both club and county level serving as Captain of Wolstanton Golf Club in its centenary year, Captain of Staffordshire Golf and Captain of the Midland Counties as well as serving on various county committees.

Prior to working for The PGA, Maxfield was Director of Golf at The Belfry and Group Golf Director for The De Vere Group.

During his time at The Belfry he was responsible for the delivery of three Ryder Cup Matches and numerous European Tour tournaments.

While at The Belfry, Maxfield recognised the unique skills possessed by PGA Professionals and developed his team to include 36 PGA Professionals working in all aspects of the business, including hotel operations, sales and golf operations. Under his leadership the golf operation became one of the most profitable and successful retail and golf operations in the world.

Maxfield joined The PGA in 2006 with an initial brief of developing international branding opportunities. He has successfully developed many brand license agreements around the world, raising the profile of The PGA brand and creating employment opportunities for PGA Members.

In his current role as The PGA’s Joint Chief Operating Officer – Property and Commercial Director he is responsible for tournament operations, sponsorship, branding and media, marketing and communications.

David Murchie, Chairman of the PGA, commented: “Both myself and the entire Board are delighted to announce this unanimous appointment.

“Rob has an unwavering passion and understanding of all aspects of the game and an extremely broad knowledge of all matters relating to the business of the Association.

“It has always been a key objective of the Board to have a managed transition to our next Chief Executive. Having Rob working alongside Sandy will ensure this smooth transition takes place.”

Maxfield added: “I am extremely honoured and proud to accept this new position and look forward to becoming the next Chief Executive of The PGA.

“Whether it is coaching the world’s best players, managing golf facilities or encouraging the next generation of golfers our members play a vital role in the management and development of the game.

“Throughout the history of the Association, PGA Members have had to adapt to many changes, challenges and opportunities.

“I look forward to working alongside Sandy and then as Chief Executive to continue to support all our members and ensure they remain, as they have done since The PGA was formed in 1901, at the heart of the game.”

Visit the PGA of GB&I’s Hub Page to Find Out More

PGA of Great Britain & Ireland Appoints Deputy Chief Executive
Lone Star Ellis Looks Ahead Thu, 28 May 2015 20:30:16 +0000 PGA of Great Britain & Ireland Ian Ellis is hooked. Having experienced all four days of the BMW PGA Championship at the seventh attempt, the PGA pro from Great Yarmouth and Caister Golf Club ]]>

Ian Ellis is hooked. Having experienced all four days of the BMW PGA Championship at the seventh attempt, the PGA pro from Great Yarmouth and Caister Golf Club was in seventh heaven despite ending the tournament on nine-over-par.

Never mind collecting a cheque for more than £5,000 for his efforts, the bottom line for the 42-year-old is that the Wentworth experience has whetted his appetite for more portions of the big time.

“It’s always disappointing to shoot over par but I’ve enjoyed the experience,” he said after negotiating the West Course for the fourth and final time in three-over.

“My goal was to come here and try and finish top 20 and make the cut. I made the cut and am really over the moon about that.

“I’m obviously disappointed I’ve shot some over par rounds but it’s something I’ve done now. I’ve ticked that box. If I ever get to play in it again, I know what to expect. It’s not such a big deal – you’ve just got to go out there and play golf.

“I loved every single moment of it and would love to get a Tour card – you’re never too old. I’ve played with a few good players this year and there’s not a lot of difference other than consistency.”

Lone Star Ellis Looks Ahead
Golf Development Missions – Brazil Sun, 12 Apr 2015 11:12:59 +0000 PGA of Great Britain & Ireland Craig Thomas introduced Footgolf to the South American country’s golf coaches during a teaching and coaching conference hosted by the Paulista Federation of Gol]]>
Location: Brazil, South America
PGA Professional: Craig Thomas (GB&I)

Brazil Goes Nuts for Footgolf

By Nat Sylvester

Craig Thomas introduced Footgolf to the South American country’s golf coaches during a teaching and coaching conference hosted by the Paulista Federation of Golf in Sao Paulo.

It went down well with delegates who will be looking to utilise the format, along with urban and street golf, to make golf more accessible as a sport.

Thomas, a Wolverhampton, UK, based PGA of Great Britain & Ireland Advanced Professional and Director of ‘The Golf Academy’ in Staffordshire, was representing The R&A at the two day conference as part of its Working For Golf project.

“My role was to look at alternative forms of golf to try and breakdown the barriers in Brazil that are stopping people getting into golf and bridge the gap,” explained Thomas.

“In Brazil they have a programme called Golfe Para Vida – Golf for Life – which develops golf in schools. Over 30,000 kids have received some golf coaching in schools and my role was to show how these kids can access golf outside of schools.


“We took urban and street golf and introduced it to the coaches so they could look at introducing golf in their communities because while a lot of kids would not be able to afford to join golf clubs, they would play nine holes of urban golf in the streets.

“We also showed the coaches Footgolf as a way of introducing golf to people who might be football fans and hadn’t previously considered golf as a sport they might try.

“It was a great experience to see how it worked and meet the coaches. There is no training programme for their coaches so they tend to be ex-caddies or players so it was a bit of a culture shock.

“It was a two day conference and the second day was showing coaches how they could get involved and set up street golf and Footgolf so they had the experience to take into the community.

“It went down really well and I’ve already had positive feedback with some of the coaches immediately looking at introducing urban and street golf into their communities.”

Golf Development Missions – Brazil