Former Ryder Cup player John Garner has been awarded the PGA’s highest accolade of PGA Master Professional as applications for APAL status rose by more than 50 per cent in the past 12 months.
Garner, a member of the 1971 and 1973 Ryder Cup teams and a winner on both the European Tour and European Senior Tour, is one of 16 PGA professionals to have been recognised in the latest recommendations from the Accreditation for Professional Achievement and Learning (APAL) Council.
The award sees the 65-year-old Manchester-born professional, who now resides and coaches in New Zealand, join an elite band of PGA Master Professionals across the world including the likes of leading coaches John Jacobs, Pete Cowen and David Leadbetter.
“I am absolutely thrilled and delighted to get the honour,” said Garner, who has also had a distinguished career as an international coach, author, course designer, administrator and speaker.
“I am very proud to be a PGA professional golfer, wearing many hats along the way on a world tour of golf courses meeting many different people. I hope that in some small way I have made a difference to many lives, particularly youngsters, in playing just one shot better.”
Garner is one of a number of PGA professionals applying to the APAL Council, which follows increased awareness of the value of APAL recognition across the golf industry, and in a year in which the PGA launched its Raising Your Game initiative and produced comprehensive PGA role descriptors and industry guides.
PGA professional Mike Braidwood, operations director at Braemar Golf, who has been awarded Advanced Fellow status in this latest tranche, revealed his motivation to apply.
“The reason I applied for APAL was that I realised it was getting noticed in the industry and people were looking for it,” he said. “Coincidentally I was speaking to our client in Russia and he was talking about their director of golf Stephen Dundas and he said ‘do you know he is the highest qualified professional in Russia as a PGA Fellow Professional’.
“I thought that was great and decided to do it. I found the whole process rewarding just looking back on my career and it also helped brush up my CV at the same time because it was quite a reflective process. I think it is great that The PGA has come up with a system to recognise members who have gained experience and worked hard on their own to get more training and education and I would encourage other PGA members to do it.”
PGA Advanced Fellow Professional David Colclough, the PGA’s head of member education, was pleased to see the APAL applications increasing and the growing recognition within the golf industry.
“One of the key principles of the PGA is to promote the abilities and skills of the PGA golf professional to the wider industry and the public,” he said. “Role descriptors and industry guides on membership and education have played a part along with informing influential managers and employers via conferences and seminars, about the attributes required for PGA professionals to fit positions within the industry.
“APAL recognition fits within this as it identifies the qualities and levels of expertise of PGA professionals and alongside the role descriptors it helps committees, owners and others who employ golf professionals to identify those abilities and skills beyond the norm.
“It is because of this we are seeing an increase in APAL applications and they are assisting PGA professionals to identify their skills and put them at the forefront of the profession. I anticipate this will encourage more PGA professionals to apply for an APAL status due to the fact they are becoming a key indicator within the industry.”
Also recognised by the APAL Council are Sarah Claridge (Kendleshire Golf Club), David Haines (Brean Golf Club ), Richard Harrison (Roehampton Club), Lee Scarbrow (John O’Gaunt Golf Club) and Mark Tibbles (Mark Tibbles Golf Academy), who have been made PGA Fellow Professionals.
Claridge undertakes coaching in developing golf nations on behalf of the R&A and PGAs of Europe, and is also behind a successful coaching toolkit used by PGA professionals in 18 countries.
West Country-based Haines is the current chairman of the PGA West Region and a prolific competitor in regional and national PGA tournaments.
South Region professional Harrison is a renowned coach, contributor to national magazines and press and an accredited European Tour Rules referee.
Scarbrow, is known for his coaching and is one of Golf Monthly’s top 25 coaches. He was Ian Poulter’s coach and then boss, when the Ryder Cup star turned professional.
Tibbles, who is based in Perth, Australia, played on the European Tour before setting up a highly-successful coaching academy ‘Down Under’. He has received numerous accolades from the PGA of Australia including 2010 Teaching Professional of the Year in Western Australian/Northern Territories.
The APAL Council also awarded PGA Advanced Professional status to Kevin Caplehorn (Paultons GC), Jamie Cundy (Wast Hills Golf Centre), Jon Jones (LGiFairways Driving Range), Matthew Masters (Porters Park Golf Club), Nick Solski (Superior Golf), Ian Stafford (Innishannon Golf), Craig Thomas (The Golf Academy). Advanced Diploma recipients were Neil Moore (Rudding Park Golf Academy) and Carla White (Sycamores Golf Centre).
The APAL Council was founded in 2004 and to date 492 awards have been made. For more information on the APAL process and to view the APAL Criteria, download the ‘Industry Guide to PGA Membership which is available at http://www.pga.info/AboutThePGAPro/40884833.htm
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