James Orchin enjoys all aspects of his job as a PGA Professional, he particularly enjoys the daily interaction with a wide range of people. He ran a successful 'Ladies into Golf' session at Carrickfergus Golf Club which saw 30 ladies become members of the golf club.
Q. How did your journey to become a PGA Professional start?
A. I fell in love with the game when I was 10 years old. My Dad was in the music industry and I always thought that would be the path that I would go down. I always wanted to be a golf professional so when the opportunity came up I jumped at the chance.
Q. What part of your job do you enjoy the most?
A. The best part of being a PGA Professional is that the job can be so different from one day to the next. On a Monday I could be merchandising the latest product from a major supplier and the next day I could be coaching a scratch golfer in my first lesson, a total beginner after that and then dealing with a corporate day in the afternoon. I particularly enjoy the daily interaction with people and assisting everyone that I meet making sure that they leave me with happy and satisfied whether that be after a lesson, club fitting or just a general chat.
Q. Do you have any female specific programmes?
A. I ran a “Ladies into Golf” programme last year and could not believe the positive response. We had 34 ladies involved! Of the 34 ladies who started the course 30 signed up as members of Carrickfergus Golf Club.
Q. What structure does the programme / sessions take?
A. It was an 8 week programme in conjunction with CGI (Confederation Golf Ireland) consisting of 4 weeks coaching with myself followed by a 3 week buddy system with our current lady members on the course. We finished up with a fun night consisting of games, challenges and team participation on the final week.
My goal going forward is to encourage more girls and women to take up our great game. I am currently working on several ideas regarding this.
Q. What does the club do to help attract a more diverse customer?
A. This is an area that we have been concentrating on to try to attract more people to Carrickfergus Golf Club.
Word of mouth recommendation is the best form of advertisement for us.
If one person comes to our club to play golf we ensure that they find a friendly welcome, enjoy the course, facilities, bar and restaurant. They will then tell many friends and colleagues who may not be aware of what we have to offer.
I have also been going in to local school on a regular basis with an indoor golf programme that encourages younger boys and girls to give golf a try. This, in turn, may lead to their parents, grandparents and other friends and family to have a go as well.
Q. Do you believe that there is any difference between the people you coach where you are based and beginners in the UK?
A. Not at all. Golf still has a stigma of being a very “closed shop”. When a beginner comes for a lesson with any PGA Professional they must always be made to feel welcome and encouraged to return.
It is our job as PGA Professionals to make the game more accessible with the help or our golf clubs and governing bodies.
Q. What is the best advice you’ve had, or can give, about being a great coach?
A. If any grade of golfer comes to me for a lesson and leaves me with a smile on their face, tells me that they have enjoyed it and learned something then we are both happy. Booking their next lesson is good too!!!
My advice to any budding coach at any sport is simply this “Never under sell or under value the ability that you have to change someone’s day and outlook.”
David Kearney was one of my PGA tutors during my training and he always told me “Coach the person, then the player.” Always use this every day.