Former European Tour chief Ken Schofield has hailed the standard of PGA coaching as pivotal to the success being enjoyed by many UK-based players on the world stage.
The Scot delivered a glowing endorsement of the PGA’s coaching programmes in the week that Northern Ireland’s protégé Rory McIlory returned to the world’s top 10 following a brilliant victory at Quail Hollow with a 10-under par 62.
McIlory, who is coached by Bangor Golf Club PGA professional Michael Bannon in County Down, is among a clutch of top players whose games have been honed and developed with the aid of expert advice from PGA coaches.
Other well-known players include Lee Westwood who has enjoyed a long association with PGA Master Professional Pete Cowen while Open championship silver medal winner Chris Wood works with Bristol & Clifton PGA pro Paul Mitchell.
Schofield paid tribute to the skills of PGA professionals during a panel discussion at the London Golf & Tennis Show which also saw a team of PGA pros deliver nearly 300 free lessons over the three days.
“My mentor was John Jacobs who many regarded as Dr Golf,” said Schofield. “In the last decade with the increased success of our players, in particular now with the English players, John Jacobs feels it is due to the wonderful level of the PGA coaching programmes and I echo that completely.
“In recent years I’ve been lucky enough to attend the PGA Graduation Day and it is inspiring to see the graduates coming through the PGA’s teaching and educational programmes.
“I think they give all golfers, whether new, young or emerging golfers, the chance to enjoy the game much more and perhaps more importantly for the elite in the game, they are equipping them with the basic technique that will stand up to the challenge of international competition.”
Schofield added: “When we heard last year that golf would be back at the Olympics my feeling is that all the Olympic golfers, whether men or women, will be coached by a PGA professional. I’m not sure any other sport will have one body responsible for getting all the athletes to that standard which is quite a tribute to the PGA.”
As part of their modern training PGA professionals undergo a comprehensive grounding in golf via a three-year foundation degree exploring all aspects of the game from coaching and equipment to sports science and golf psychology.
In addition, an ongoing lifelong learning programme keeps them abreast of all the latest developments to ensure they remain at the pinnacle of the sport.
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