Top qualification for England Golf regional coaches

Sam Johnston Steven Orr Alex Saary David Brooks

Four England Golf regional coaches are among the first group of PGA professionals in the UK to complete a new, top-level coaching qualification.

The four, who all coach U16 squads, are: Steven Orr, the South East boys’ coach; David Brooks, the West Midlands boys’ coach; Sam Johnston, the West Midlands girls’ coach; and Alex Saary, the South girls’ coach.

They’re among a dedicated group of seven PGA professionals who have achieved the Level 4 Certificate in Coaching Golf while fulfilling busy day-to-day roles.

Nigel Edwards, the England Golf Performance Director, said: “I am delighted for Alex, David, Sam and Steve. They will have put a huge amount of effort and dedication into gaining this qualification and I am sure they will benefit greatly from the whole process.

“It's always great to see coaches looking to progress and develop their skill set for the benefit of the golfers they coach.”

The PGA launched the qualification in conjunction with the University of Birmingham to develop coaching expertise and specialist knowledge and skills.

The success of the first seven reflects the ever increasing level of coaching standards among PGA pros who fulfil a range of commitments from grass roots through to European Tour and world level.

The four England coaches have all spoken about their experience on the course.

Steven Orr is England Golf’s 2015 coach of the year. He is a PGA Advanced Fellow and director of coaching at the Cranfield Golf Academy in Sussex where he is responsible for 18 coaches.

His success with the Level 4 qualification has spurred him on to take a PhD. He commented: “It’s probably the best thing I’ve done. I think the reason for that is that it caused me to step back and look at my coaching and look at it as a whole, how I make decisions and why I do what I do.”

David Brooks is a PGA Advanced Professional based at The Warren Golf Club, Essex, and the lead coach with Essex Golf Union. He has also built on his Level 4 achievement, by completing a Masters in Sports Coaching on developing mental toughness in young golfers. 

He remarked: “Coaching for me has always been about making informed decisions and the more you can make those decisions when they are informed by research and experiences, the better.”

Sam Johnston is based at Tidbury Green Golf Club in Solihull. He rated the level 4 course as tough but enjoyable.

“It’s easy to carry on in your own bubble,” said Johnson. “But the course forced you to step out of your own comfort zone. It looked outside of golf as well and learning how other sports work was invaluable.”

Alex Saary, of the West London Golf Centre in Middlesex, is a PGA Advanced Professional and head county coach for Middlesex.

He said: “One of the biggest things I’ve learned is the importance of getting to know the pupil at a deeper level, understand where they are coming from and understand their world more thoroughly and in the process give them a programme more bespoke to them.”

The other three professionals who have completed the Level 4 qualification are: Greg Brodie (Foxhills, Surrey), Ben Knight (Chartham Park, Sussex) and Rick Valentine (Loretto School, Musselburgh).

Caption: (standing from left) Sam Johnston and Steven Orr; (sitting from left) Alex Saary and David Brooks. (Image © Leaderboard Photography)