With parents like Andrew Smith's, it is little wonder that he ended up working in the golf industry! In 1998, he decided to move to China because he could see the opportunity to grow the game as well as learn about a very interesting nation.
Q. How did your journey to become a PGA Pro start?
A. My family has a strong association with golf. My Father is a PGA Professional, my Great Uncle won The Open Championship and my mother was a good amateur golfer, representing North Wales.
Q. When did you qualify and what route did you take?
A. I qualified in 1995. I worked in a golf driving range before starting my PGA training, which I could have done under the guidance of my father but opted to work for another Professional, as I thought this would be more formal than working for my Dad. Of course, my father is & was my guide and mentor into the game of golf.
Q. When did you move to China and why?
A. I moved to China in 1998, I thought it would be an interesting place to visit. Knowing that there was very little golf being played by mainland Chinese I knew that there was an opportunity to grow the game and learn about a very interesting nation.
Q. What part of your job do you enjoy the most?
A. The most enjoyable part of the job, is working in a developing country where the growth of the economy means there are far more new golfers coming into the game than in the UK. It’s also nice to be working in a warmer climate.
Q. Do you have any female specific programs?
A. It is not really necessary to hold woman specific programs in a China. There is a healthy, balanced mix of men and women taking up the sport.
Q. Do you teach men and women together and if so how is the dynamic?
A. Yes I teach a lot of men and woman together, as China is very family oriented. It makes sense for a couple to learn together and have a common interest.
Q. What structure do your programs / sessions take?
A. All lesson programs are designed to share knowledge in a friendly relaxed atmosphere, drinking tea and making friends.
Q. What does the Club do to help attract a more diverse customer?
A. Well I’m smiling as I answer this question because anyone who’s ever visited China will tell you that it’s hard to find a more diverse place on earth.
Q. Do you believe that there is any difference between the people you coach where you are based and beginners in the UK?
A. There are many differences between coaching in China as opposed to the UK; language, culture, reasons for learning. Golf is far more expensive in China, so it is only the wealthy who play golf.
Q. What are the reasons people take up golf in China?
A. As elsewhere in the world there are many reasons for taking up golf. In China it is often used as a tool to build business relationships and network, other reasons are for health and enjoyment.
A. What is the best advice you’ve had, or can give, about being a great coach?
Q. To be a great coach you need a wealth of knowledge, experience and ability to communicate your message in the simplest and most effective way, it’s about getting results! Keep it simple!
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