My journey to becoming an Assistant P.G.A. Golf Professional
at Dainton Park
by Brad Sercombe
It all began when my dad was driving past Dainton to work. He saw a road banner promoting junior lessons – a top academy purposely set up for juniors looking to get into the sport. It was run by P.G.A golf professionals, who had years of experience in the golf industry, and a huge range of knowledge.
Walking into a golf club can be intimidating; especially as a junior, but after the warm welcome I received and the fun nature of the lessons I was immediately hooked. I knew from the start golf was my sport, and I wanted to make it my career. All the staff remembered my name, the coaches were understanding and supportive, and I looked up to the older kids in the Academy. Too often kids are labelled as trouble makers, or they should be seen but not heard, but looking back that just wasn’t the case at Dainton. We were respected by adult members, especially when we out-drove them off the first tee!
After attending junior lessons on Saturday mornings, and progressing through the stages of the academy, I began playing in junior competitions. My handicap tumbled and I was selected for the team at inter-club comps. I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but the responsibility of representing Dainton at other golf clubs gave me a huge sense of self-worth.
But equally there was always a safety net. At the time the junior section was run by long time club member, Philip Wiltshire (aka Wobbly!), who would always attend the events with us. Wobbly had a lot of experience coaching youth football teams, and we all had a huge amount of respect for him, especially as he was only ever there as a volunteer. He reminded us the junior section was the future of the golf club, and that we were role models for the younger kids following us. I would spend my whole summer holidays up at the club practising. I even had a couple of bets against some of the members on the putting green for a pound, which was a nice little earner!
Watching golf on TV made me want to practice more, and on the driving range I would picture myself teeing off for Europe in the Ryder Cup, or on the putting green to win The Masters.
I finished my schooling career and had one plan in mind: playing golf. I studied Sports Science at college, and I practised every day for two years. I wanted it more then everyone there. I wasn’t gifted with the most natural swing but I would work harder than the others to become the best, which is something I am very proud of. I am where I am because I never settled for second place on the scoreboard.
At the beginning of my final year at college I was asked if I would like a job in the professional shop at Dainton Park. This was a chance I was not going to turn down! It was one step closer to my goal of becoming a Golf Professional at the club. I was working alongside the role models I looked up to when I first started, and it was the best job in the world!
This year I took another step towards my dream: the chance to turn Professional. I passed my PGA playing test last month, and I start my course in January. The course lasts 3yrs, and covers every aspect of professional golf: playing, coaching and retail business.
It is an honour to say I am a Golf Professional, and to be working at the club where I learnt the game, but the best bit is being able to run the junior lessons I attended 5 years ago! Not only am I proud to be telling this story, but at 18 years old it is the coolest feeling ever! This is my journey, hopefully it will inspire you or your children to get into golf at a young age. I intend to continue this blog throughout my training, and by all means say hi when you next visit the club!