Graduation of PGA of GB&I’s New Class

Birmingham, England: More than 100 graduates from 2022 and 2023 have celebrated their success and achievements at the University of Birmingham by being officially welcomed into PGA of Great Britain & Ireland (PGA of GB&I) membership.

The historic Great Hall at the heart of the university campus once again proved to be a fitting setting as graduates were joined by family, friends and staff in what remains one of the most important dates in the PGA of GB&I’s calendar.

“Every year we get to this point and I talk to the team at The Belfry and PING House and stress that this is the biggest day in our calendar year,” said Paul Wiseman, Executive Director – Education at the PGA of GB&I, an Executive Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.

He added: “It’s not just the biggest day for the PGA Trainees, but it’s the biggest day for the education team, who work so hard for the Trainees.

“These graduates might not understand the significance of how important this day is. Many of these trainees will be celebrating the end of the PGA Training Programme, but this is actually the start of something. This is the start of a membership and a relationship with the PGA that we hope will last 30-40 years.

“As Director of the PGA Training Programme I get massive pride that this graduation ceremony comes together so well. This isn’t just a celebration of the PGA Foundation Degree or the Diploma for Higher Education, there’s so many different elements of the programme that come together.”

Among the graduates was 2022 PGA Trainee of the Year Lee Cardy, who is based at Woodhall Spa Golf Club. He said: “I’m really proud to be the 2022 PGA Trainee of the Year. I’ve been fairly academic since college. I work hard at what I do but it’s definitely unexpected to pick up the 2022 award.

“I was lucky in that I had already studied subjects like business. I was interested in that subject, but not to the same level that I am at golf, which is my passion. I was learning about getting better at golf and helping other people get better, too. I thoroughly enjoyed putting into practice the learnings and tried to make myself and others get better at golf coaching.”

Georgia Williams, who is attached to Radyr Golf Club, won the award for 2022 PGA Female Trainee of the Year.

She said: “I’m from a golfing family. My dad plays to a good standard and my sister came through the PGA Training Programme and is already a qualified PGA Member. She did the programme a few years before I started so luckily I knew someone who had been through the process and she was able to guide me.

“I’m delighted to be awarded the PGA Female Trainee of the Year Award for 2022. I put quite a lot of work into the assignments and exams, so it’s good to see that it’s all come together.”

Stella McClure (Falkirk Golf Club) was presented with the 2023 PGA Trainee of the Year Award. Previously a doctor, McClure joined the PGA Training Programme at the age of 51 to follow her passion for golf.

She said: “In achieving the 2023 PGA Trainee of the Year Award, it’s probably been my toughest challenge I’ve taken on in my life. Maybe that’s partly because I’m 54 now, but the modules we undertook were really demanding and the assessment standards were really high, so I feel I really deserve this award.

“I enjoyed all of the modules and I didn’t expect that, especially the business part of the course. But I appreciated the business aspect of the course because I need to know about this in order to develop my coaching business.

“I also appreciate how important a knowledge of equipment technology is to a golf coach, to provide the right kind of coaching for each client. Overall, I enjoyed the coaching module the most but it was the toughest. The coaching exams really put us through our paces but we’re all ready now to go on and become PGA Members.”

The PGA Training Programme, encompassing the three-year Foundation Degree, was founded more than 50 years ago and covers all aspects of golf, from business and equipment technology, to sports science and sports psychology.

A total of 97 per cent of people who graduate go on to work in the golf industry where they will undertake more than 70 career options.

Wiseman added: “These graduates need to be proud of days like this. For someone who has worked in education for a long time, well over 30 years, this is a training programme like no other and it’s certainly the most challenging.”

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