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PGA Pro’s Major Ambition for Solheim Cup Star

9.00am 4th October 2011 - People - This story was updated on Saturday, October 8th, 2011

Melissa Reid (courtesy of Ian Walton at Getty Images)

One of Europe’s leading coaches is targeting major success for Solheim Cup star Melissa Reid.

Dave Ridley, who has helped develop the 24-year-old’s career, watched on proudly as she played her part in Europe’s dramatic triumph against the United States at Killeen Castle, Ireland.

The widely-respected England coach, who is attached to Nottinghamshire’s Coxmoor Golf Club and is a PGA Fellow Professional in recognition of his coaching achievements, was one of a number of PGA pros on both sides of the Atlantic playing pivotal roles in the careers of European and American players contesting the famous trophy.

Now Ridley has set his sights on guiding Reid to the pinnacle of the women’s game by landing a prestigious major.

“The goal is to win the Ladies Tour Order of Merit and then I want her to win a major,” said Ridley who has worked with Reid for the past couple of years.”

Ridley describes Reid as the hardest working golfer he has ever coached and is revelling in the challenge of helping achieve her goals.

“Her desire to get better is huge and I’m enjoying the challenge of working with Melissa and trying to make her the best player I can,” he added. “She is the hardest working player I have ever worked with. She will come back from a tournament late on a Sunday night or in the early hours of Monday morning and still be on the practice range at 9am. She never moans and is very focused.”

Ridley accompanied Reid to Ireland for the Solheim Cup and was pleased with how she handled the unique and noisy atmosphere with the highlight being her 4&3 win with team-mate Laura Davies against Michelle Wie and Brittany Lang in the Saturday fourballs.

“From a coaching perspective, when you see all the noise and pressure and then your player hitting the shot well, it means the coaching has actually worked and they can do it under pressure.

“That is really gratifying,” he said. “At the Solheim Cup it was about performance and getting her to focus on the shot in hand rather than the occasion. With all the noise and cheering it was very different and she had to put herself in the bubble which she did very well. Although she only won one of three they all went up the last so the good thing was she was playing well.”

Harnessing Reid’s appetite and enthusiasm to scale the heights is the task facing Ridley but improving performance is what he is well equipped for having coached a number of fine players down the years including Lee Westwood and Greg Owen.

“As an England national coach I have plenty of experience of handling top players and you have to look at everything and structure your coaching accordingly but not get too bogged down so she feels there is too much work to do,” he said.

“The way we go about it is by recording data to see what the stats are saying and I also go to a few tournaments to see her in tournament mode. As a coach you are only as good as your results so it’s important to analyse data because you have to measure performance and as a coach have the skill to move the player forward.

“When you start doing skills challenges, if for example the high lob percentages are down, we can see where we need to improve and can work on that aspect of the game. It’s important that a player can see that.”

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