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It’s mix and match for Tom


Tom Barker changed course after spending more than a decade at St Helens club Houghwood where he worked in the shop before qualifying as a PGA professional two years ago, writes David Birtill.

“I recently embarked on a coaching role and was offered a job at the Chilli Dip golf club and driving range at Douglas Valley near Bolton,” he explained.

“I’m doing group sessions for beginners, juniors and ladies but I also get the chance to play in competitions.”

Barker, 28, is among the growing breed of professionals whose all-round abilities enable them to figure in all aspects of the game.

“It’s a finger in every pie situation and I’ve quickly go used to it,” he said.

“I’m concentrating on coaching but I enjoy playing as well. It’s the best of both worlds because someone who wants a lesson knows what I can offer.

“I play in two or three competitions a month including PGA North and South East Lancs golf alliance events. It’s a good mixture which helps me to stay sharp.”

Barker added: “The game is certainly changing. Once I build up a client base I can make a bright future for myself.”

Meanwhile, there are six coaches in the Chilli Dip team which includes Craig Corrigan, who recently won the PGA North Seniors’ Championship by four shots.