A former finance worker has found the numbers stacking up after changing careers to become an award-winning PGA Professional.
Oxfordshire-based Richard Talboys has found a new lease of life since switching but even the 38-year-old wasn’t expecting to make such an impact having come top of his second year peers on the PGA Foundation Degree.
Talboys, an assistant based at Burford Golf Club, was recognised for his achievements at the annual PGA Graduation ceremony at the University of Birmingham where he collected the Lord Derby trophy and a cheque for £1,000 from Titleist brand director Matthew Johnson and Beverlyy Lewis, the first female captain of the PGA, who was the guest of honour.
Having quit golf – at least twice, Talboys reflected on his rise to the top and the key support he has received from his wife Helen and his boss, PGA Professional Mike Ridge.
“I was shocked when I found out as I did not expect to come top of the year – it was a real bolt out the blue,” he said. “I have been playing golf since I was 13 but I gave up two or three times, the last time I gave up it was for eight years.
“I got back playing again and having worked in finance for 15 years, which I didn’t really enjoy, I finally decided to do something I wanted to do. Initially I started at hotel course and rose to golf manager after 18 months, at which point they offered to put me through the PGA course.
“After a year I moved to Burford to work with MichaelRidge and he’s been fantastically supportive. I don’t think I could have a better boss. My wife Helen has also been right behind me from day one. Her encouragement has been second to none.
“I thinking coming onto the course having worked outside of golf for a number of years has certainly helped. I have been able to transfer my skills, particularly in business, and also push myself and focus more having chosen to come into a profession I wanted to do.”
The PGA training programme, which was founded more than 50 years ago, concentrates on all aspects of golf including business, equipment technology and repairs, rules and tournament organisation, sports science, sports psychology and competing in tournaments.
Training and education remains an integral part of the PGA with the foundation degree, while the PGA also runs an honours degree in association with the University of Birmingham.
Once qualified, PGA members also undergo a process of continual professional development to keep them up to speed with all the latest developments in the sport.
Sandy Jones, chief executive of the PGA, said: “PGA graduation day is certainly one of the highlights of our golfing calendar. I congratulate each and every one of our new graduates and those who have been successful on the degree programme in year one and two.”
Matthew Johnson, Titleist brand director, said: “We are pleased to continue our support of the Titleist PGA Assistant of the Year award, recognising this as a starting point of the PGA’s commitment to provide its members with a framework for lifelong learning.
“PGA professionals play a key role in the development and growth of the game across all levels, and we are delighted to support the next generation of qualified professionals and to wish them well with their future careers.”
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