A Sheffield golf coach, whose teaching skills will be on display at this year’s Open Championship, has landed a career highlight by attaining PGA Advanced Fellow status.
Peter Ball received the honour in the latest round of APAL (Accreditation for Professional Achievement and Learning) awards from The PGA.
Other recipients include new PGA chairman David Murchie from Crieff Golf Club who is one of five to be accorded PGA Fellow Professional status along with Martin Heys (Wexham Park), Nick Solski (Skolkovo), Paul Thompson (Powerscourt) and Jonathan Wright (PGA National Training Academy).
Ball, who coaches at Barlborough Golf Club and Loxley Driving Range and unearthed European Tour star Danny Willett as a youngster, admitted the accolade had made him ‘very proud’ and has given him the incentive to strive for the highest APAL honour of PGA Master Professional.
“I think it shows that if you only coach kids at grass roots level you can still be recognised as an expert by The PGA. That makes me very proud,” he said. “It is a career high and also a spur to do more education and learning to try and attain PGA Master Professional level.”
Ball estimates that he coaches 2-3,000 kids a year, many from all sections of the community or with physical and learning disabilities but whoever he coaches his philosophy remains the same.
“If you encourage kids to play games, have fun and enjoy golf they will always keep coming back to the game,” he said. “Along the way you unearth the odd gem like Danny (Willett) but the most important thing is making golf accessible and fun to ensure new generations come into the game.”
Despite having just turned 57, his quest to become a better coach hasn’t dimmed and his next big assignment is being part of a 20-plus strong team of PGA coaches who will be giving 3,000 plus free 15 minute lessons at Royal Liverpool during Open week.
“I love it, I did my first Open in 1996 and have only missed one when it clashed with my 25th wedding anniversary which I thought was wise not to miss!
“The R&A Swing Zone is just fantastic because not only can spectators come and watch the world’s best golfers but many also get their first experience of having a golf lesson.
“For me personally, coaching at the Open is also a great learning experience because you are working with other coaches, finding out how they work and we also have a great opportunity to see tour coaches close up.
“A highlight from last year was sitting and having a natter with Sean Foley, who is a PGA Professional and coach to Tiger Woods and Justin Rose. He was telling us about the work he was doing with them and it was a fascinating insight.
“One of the things I have learned, and what I consider one of the most important things in coaching, is self reflection. I reflect on every lesson I do, how I behave, what I’ve said and how well I’ve communicated so that I can analyse what worked and what didn’t and try and improve for the next coaching session.”
Also honoured in the latest APAL awards are the following pros who have all attained PGA Advanced Professional status: Graeme Bell (Eaglescliffe), Howard Carson (ICAP), Russell Evans (Cranfield Golf Academy), Rupert Hunter (Tonbridge Golf Centre), Galvin Luznyj (Sigmaringen), Mark Moore (Flaxby), Ryan Scott (Loretto GA), David Shepherd (Monte Rei), James Tuck (Tracy Park) and Richard Valentine (Loretto School).
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