How do I become a PGA Professional?
How do I become a PGA Professional? is a question that I have been asked a lot over my 25+ year professional career.
You should start by contacting the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA).
The PGA has been around since 1901 and it was founded by JH Taylor, James Braid and Harry Vardon to enhance the status of men that earned a living from playing the game.
I have always liked to think of the PGA as being the equivalent of the “Jedi Council”. Guiding their Trainees through the years of education and training until they become Jedi Knights for themselves. They may even go on to train their very own Padawan or Apprentice.
The PGA of today has over 8000 members in over 80 different countries.
A qualified Professional leaves the association with an honours degree. They even leave with a high-level, set of skills and expertise that are required in all areas of Golf.
These skills include teaching, coaching, club management, running a business. They will also need to have proven their ability to play golf at a professional standard.
What do I need to do or prove to start my training with the PGA?
- Before you start you must be able to prove that you are capable of playing to a handicap of 4.4 or better (men) or 6.4 or better (women).
- Also, you must have, at least C Grades in GCSE English Language, Mathematics and Science.
There are a couple of different ways of completing your training and these are:
- Complete a 3-year PGA training course.
This is mainly distance learning whilst working at least 30 hours per week in a Golf environment, employed by a PGA Professional.
This course also includes a Foundation Degree in Professional Golf from the University of Birmingham.
Distance learning includes completing a number of various modules each year.
Attendance a 1-week residential course each year at the National Training Academy located at The Belfry is also required.
You must complete a 2-day Admissions Review Programme, which includes a playing ability test.
If you have a handicap of Scratch or better you will be exempt from the playing ability test.
After you pass the ARP you will be able to sign contracts with a PGA Professional.
These courses begin each year in October.
- Complete a 3-year degree course at Birmingham University.
This course is the more academic route studying Applied Golf Management Studies.
Application is via the UCAS procedure which is the usual route for any degree applicants.
The course is aimed at future club professionals, club managers and other high profile jobs in Golf.
On completion, you may gain PGA Status as long as other criteria for PGA membership has been met.
The course includes 3 placements working for PGA Professionals in a golf environment.
Psychology of Golf, Swing Theory, Equipment Technology, Sports Science, Business Studies and Event Organisation are also studied.
Certificate of Completion from the PGA Training Academy
My working experience with The PGA
My training, with the PGA, started in 1994. I was working for Brian Janes, at Oulton Hall, at the time.
I had a handicap of 2.2 at the time and during my training, I managed to play in a few PGA Assistant tournaments.
Playing in such tournaments was a little nerve-racking to start but I soon found a way of settling my nerves.
Brian and I both moved to Lofthouse Hill GC, in 1996, where I continued my training.
After a couple of years, I moved to Rawdon Golf & Lawn Tennis Club where I finished my training and passed my final exams.
The years of my PGA Training will remain in my memory for years as being some of the happiest of my life.
One of the highlights during my training period was having a Hole in One at the Harold Lees Trophy, in Sheffield.
Another highlight was having my final essay recognised by The PGA as one that really stood out from the rest.
The Austrian years…
Once I had been elected as a member of the PGA the next part of my plan was to move to Austria to gain experience in teaching and coaching.
I began work at Vienna – Süssenbrunn GC where I soon developed my skills as a teacher and slowly began to learn the German language.
After a few years of Continued Professional Development (CPD) I became a PGA (AT) member which enabled me to train my own PGA Trainee.
My title changed again, after accumulating enough points through continued studying, to PGA (AA) which increased my status as a Professional.
During my time in Austria, I became the PGA (AA) Head Professional at Vienna – Süssenbrunn GC.
The Golf School was split between 2 clubs and at one point we had 8 Teaching Professionals.
After 11 successful years at the Club, I decided that I would leave to have a go at something different.
My career turned to the retail side of Golf and I began work at Golfstar Shop which was located just outside the city of Vienna.
I was given a free rein of the shop and we quickly developed the shop front and shop floor into something a little more professional.
We managed to introduce different systems into the business and in doing so we increased sales by 20%.
There was even enough space to create an indoor golf centre that included 2 simulators (1 with trackman & 1 with Flightscope) and 6 indoor driving bays with ES12 launch monitors.
It turned the storage warehouse into a space that created a further turnover.
What now? and What is to come?
I now live in Scotland and run, together with my wife, our very own B&B that helps promote Golf in Perthshire and Scotland.
In May 2020, the PGA awarded me with the title of “PGA Advanced Professional” for my ongoing dedication for further learning and personal development.
The next goal is in sight and I am determined to climb the PGA ladder as far as I can go.
As you can see, there are several ways in which you can work as a PGA Golf Professional.
If you have any questions regarding the PGA training, then click here.
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