PGA in Ireland captain, Nigel Shaw, launched his year in office by warmly congratulating Members of the Association for their innovation and adaptability, writes Paul Kelly.
The long-time Warrenpoint Golf Club professional (he was appointed in 1984) hailed the resilience of the members in the face of a difficult working environment.
“About a decade or so ago there was a headline in one of the golf magazines that read, ‘Is the future of the golf pro in doubt?” said Nigel.
“Around the same time, our Association launched seminars, distance learning courses, and the Director of Golf qualification to ensure that members continued to learn and develop.
“The headline should have read ‘Is the future of the secretary/manager in doubt?’ because we are still here and we are still here because we are fitter, stronger and wiser.”
The 57-year-old who is married to Nikki with one daughter, Liana, has been a fixture at the Co Down club since he walked through the gates in 1974 and received his first lessons from the legendary Don Patterson.
Nigel quickly fell in love with the game, an infatuation that was fired by a certain Seve Ballesteros.
He qualified in 1983 and spent a short period in England working for club fitting firm Diamond Golf under Chris Treacy before returning home.
Nigel believes that the core values of the PGA – personal service, expertise, instruction, integrity, and reliability have never and will never go out of fashion. To those five tenents, he cites a willingness to adapt as key to keeping the PGA professional relevant.
He added; “Members have invested in launch monitors, created swing studios, bought in to custom fitting, taken the game into primary and secondary schools, launched new membership beginners classes and latched on to social media as a way to promote their business and the work they do around the world.”