Scott Cranfield, one of golf’s best-known and respected coaches, has notched another career milestone after being awarded PGA Master Professional status.
The 44-year-old joins an exclusive club that includes one of his early mentors, Denis Pugh, and world-renowned leading coaches Pete Cowen and David Leadbetter.
The accolade, awarded by the PGA’s Accreditation of Professional Achievement and Learning (APAL) panel is another highlight for Cranfield, who revealed that his frustrations in his desire to be the best in the world as an aspiring young pro player helped shape his coaching philosophy.
From an early age Essex-based Cranfield was always interested in technique but a thirst for knowledge and his own struggles to realise his potential saw him develop a holistic approach to coaching with particular emphasis on the mental side of the game.
During a wide-ranging career, he has established several golf academies in the UK, Spain and Poland and has become a familiar face on TV through his work with Sky Sports on the World of Golf and Golf Night.
Highlights of his career include coaching Per-Ulrik Johansson at the 1997 Ryder Cup at Valderrama.
He is also a speaker on the national and international conference circuit and has published more than 50 magazine articles and published two books.
“I have always been driven by learning, trying to find out how human beings learn particularly in relation to golf,” said Cranfield. “It was a very enjoyable experience compiling the information in support of my APAL application and it also gave me an opportunity to reflect on what I had done.
“To then get the bonus of the APAL panel recognising and appreciating that was really touching. I feel it is recognition for all those hours that I have put in over the years.”
Cranfield first caddied for his father and his love of the game was nurtured as a teenager at Orsett and Chigwell Golf Clubs. It was there he set his sights on becoming the best player in the world and his dedication was impressive, even borrowing his mum’s car to light up the driving range as he hit endless balls. But with the benefit of hindsight, Cranfield admits his quest for perfection proved bad for his game, although ultimately good for his coaching.
“I wanted to play on tour and thought that the route to achieving that was to practise as hard as I could to get technical perfection,” he said. “I could hit the ball extremely well a lot of the time but I had unrealistic expectations of how I should play the game.
“I had the belief that if I was the best player I should not be making mistakes. I had a low tolerance of myself. It was too much, it became obsessive which was damaging from a playing perspective, although later it became beneficial from a coaching perspective. My own demise as a player was more psychological than technical so my interest in that grew fairly quickly.”
Cranfield’s professional career began at Chigwell in 1987 and four years later he became head professional at Stapleford Abbotts before setting out on a full time coaching career. He remains passionate about coaching and is always exploring new ways of improving his knowledge.
“I think in coaching the shift has gone from searching for the perfect golf swing and achieving the perfect technique to playing the perfect game,” he said. “There is much more emphasis on individual styles and looking at individuals to see what we can draw from the individual person to help them improve.
“The golf coaching industry is becoming much more holistic, exploring different areas of psychology and bio-mechanics. What is important is understanding how people learn, that is what has been missing.”
The PGA Master Professional award is the highest accolade members can achieve and is given to PGA members who have made a significant contribution to the development of golf.
It is the highest of four additional membership categories awarded to PGA members demonstrating an on-going commitment to be the best in the golf industry. The awards begin with PGA Advanced Professional, PGA Fellow Professional and PGA Advanced Fellow Professional culminating in PGA Master Professional status.
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