Bruce Davidson, who cites legendary US golf coaches Claude and Dick Harmon among his biggest influences, has stamped his own mark on golf by earning PGA Master Professional status.
The Texas-based Scot, coach to two-time Major champion Mark O’Meara, has notched the PGA’s highest accolade after a long and successful career as a PGA pro which began in the mid-1980s after returning from a golf scholarship in Houston.
“It doesn’t seem like yesterday when I ran into Sandy Jones (PGA chief executive) at the Carnoustie Challenge in1985,” said Davidson. “I had just turned pro, and like a lot of boys was not sure whether to go down the PGA route or not. Sandy convinced me to join the PGA and it was the best thing I ever did. I don’t think I would have a living as a Tour player so the PGA route was the correct decision for me.
“When I look at around at other pros that have been awarded PGA Master Professional status, guys like David Leadbetter and Pete Cowen, both of whom I know, it is an honour to be considered in their league.”
Davidson’s golfing journey started as a 12-year-old when he first laid his hands on an old set of hickory clubs and would spend hours in his back garden at Banchory in Aberdeenshire perfecting his swing.
His playing prowess as a junior earned him selection for the North-east District boys’ team and a trip to Texas where he managed to win a tournament. US Ryder Cup player Jackie Burke saw him play and suggested he gave college a go and helped Davidson get a scholarship in Houston.
Davidson worked his way through college helping out at River Oaks Country Club under the late Dick Harmon – one of four golfing brothers of the legendary Masters champion, and PGA pro Claude.
He later returned spending 14 years working at director of golf River Oaks and acknowledged the influence of the Harmon family.
“Dick and the Harmon family are always very close to my heart and I learned how to teach because of Dick and his dad Claude,” added the 53 year old.
Davidson, who also launched King’s Links in Aberdeen prior to his return to the US, remains an advocate of the golf scholarship route.
“I would say to any young person looking to further their career to may be not turn pro before they get a college education and to go on a scholarship to the US is one way and at least if you don’t make it as a pro you have a university qualification.”
As he enters his fourth decade in the golf industry, Davidson, who paid tribute to his wife Laura for her support during his career, is now embarking on a new adventure. He is working for Houston company Friedkin Golf and is based at Diamond Creek in North Carolina.
In addition, with business partner, best friend and fellow PGA pro John McNeely, he is using all his knowledge and experience to build a golf club from scratch in South Carolina for Dan Friedkin and Bob McNair, owner of the Houston Texans football team.
Davidson was honoured in the latest APAL (Accreditation for Professional Achievement and Learning) awards which recognise outstanding PGA Members.
Also celebrating awards were Stuart Brewer (Elsham), Anthony Caira (Kirkcaldy), Lee Chapman (Redflaggolf), Martin Heggie (Moortown), Neil Marr (Meldrum House), Tim Neil (Al Badia), Ashley Northridge and Mark Taylor (Alvaston Hall) who all become PGA Fellow Professionals.
Mark Boscott (Golf Foundation) and James Kane-Nash (Charlesland) earned Advanced PGA Professional status.
For more information on the APAL process and to view the APAL Criteria, download the ‘Industry Guide to PGA Membership available at http://www.pga.info/pga-professional/industry-guide-to-pga-membership.aspx
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