A fresh-faced university graduate has gone from teenage rookie to top of the class after becoming the first woman to achieve first class honours on the PGA-accredited Applied Golf Management Studies degree.
Victoria Hassett, who hails from Lower Kingswood near Reigate in Surrey, was just 16 when she was encouraged by her father John to take up the sport having shown plenty of promise at tennis and fencing.
Five years on and the 21-year-old has the world at her feet, even if her degree course started in inauspicious circumstances as she concussed one of her fellow students after accidently hitting them on the head on their first day at the PGA Academy range.
But she has subsequently struck a much mightier blow for women in golf with her success on the University of Birmingham course, which she hopes will open doors across the world as she looks to embark on a richly-rewarding career as a golf coach.
And Hassett, currently on placement at The Belfry, attributes the opportunity to make her mark to the wide-ranging remit of the degree course.
The AGMS course arms graduates with a comprehensive knowledge of golf including business and event management, equipment technology, coaching theory and sport science. In addition, each student undergoes three work placements at the end of each year of study.
“I really did enjoy the course and it is so varied. With modules as wide-ranging as psychology, equipment technology and business it is very different to other degrees,” she said. “I was always interested in this degree because of the variation and I’m so, so proud of myself to have achieved a first. I did work hard and so I am delighted with it.
“I was also fortunate enough to have great experiences on my placements. I went to Banstead Downs and Surrey Downs in my first year, La Cala in Spain in my second year working with the David Leadbetter Academy and now I’m at The Belfry. There is a great opportunity for women and people are aware there is an enormous scope for women to be involved in the golf industry.
“This summer I aim to pass my playing ability test and then turn professional and coach full time. I’d like to work abroad. I’m interested in Spain as I’m learning the language but I also like the appeal of Dubai as they’re trying to get more women to participate.
“I’d love to coach. I’m very interested in marketing and advertising too but my marketing would be to get people involved in golf but teaching is a passion of mine.”
And Hassett, who was an accomplished tennis player having played for Surrey and an eye-catching fencer, admitted it was always golf for her after being tempted by her father to take up the game.
“I’ve got my dad to thank for getting me into golf,” she said. “I was 16 when I started so it’s not that long ago. He taught me and now I teach him!
“I played a lot of other sports at that age and I think that helped. I think starting at 16 was a good age as I was able to concentrate a lot on it. I gave up other sports to play golf.”
Proud father John, who plays off 23, added: “I have never seen so much elation as she was just taken aback. We were sent a photo of the results to a mobile phone and it was blurred and so dark and in code that you couldn’t really make it out that Victoria just kept saying ‘that can’t be me’.”
Gary Jackson, AGMS programme manager for the PGA said: “The AGMS course is among the most vigorous degree courses at the University of Birmingham and offers all students a solid grounding for a wide range of careers in the golf industry.
“The AGMS degree, which was launched in 2002, has seen many graduates secure excellent roles within the game and I am confident that the most recent graduates will be equally successful.”
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