The impact of a growing number of PGA Professionals in China has been illustrated by the success of Matt Hough at Pine Rock in the Hebei Province.
Hough, 30, is the head professional at the IMG managed resort and 18 months since starting has already transformed the coaching side of the business as well as attracting new members.
More than 50 PGA pros are employed at resorts and clubs in China including at Mission Hills – home to a PGA Golf Academy – where Hough started his career in the Far East.
His efforts at Pine Rock reflect the skills and expertise pros can bring and Hough has earned praise from the club’s general manager Jack Hedges.
“Since the arrival of a PGA Professional, both new and experienced golfers can clearly feel the difference compared to the local coaches simply by the information given to them during their lessons and the continuous improvement they have experienced,” said Hedges.
“This has led to an increase in revenue generated for the club through golf lesson packages and custom fitting sessions which have directly resulted in additional hardware sales.
“Both IMG and myself have the belief that every golf club has a responsibility to grow the game of golf. This comes in many shapes and forms, but for us it was the introduction of a PGA Professional and the creation of our golf academy.”
Hough, who has been responsible for setting up and developing the golf academy, is relishing the challenge, adding: “Golf is new here so a lot of the work is garnered around trying to create new golfers and trying to grow the game.
“In China they appreciate that being PGA qualified means that you have a high level of expertise when it comes to golf.”
The sale of equipment is an area where the club has also financially benefitted through having Hough and his PGA accreditation on site.
“In China, many of the golfers use the most expensive equipment because they believe it must mean that it is the best. My knowledge of fitting clubs most suitable to the player and being able to back this up with objective figures on Trackman has enabled the club to increase this revenue stream for the club.”
And it is not just the members which benefit from Hough’s expertise, as Hedges explained.
“Our PGA Professional is a role model for the local CGA coaches as well as other staff in golf operations who aspire to be a golf coach or professional in the future.
“Matt is able to pass on his knowledge to both academy and golf operations staff, who often in China are very new to the game of golf, on the technical aspects of the game which in turn keeps improving the overall service levels for our members.”
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