10 Jul 17
A total of 22 PGA pros have been selected to deliver coaching sessions across seven days at Royal Birkdale during the 146th Open Championship.
They will once again be providing free lessons and tips to thousands of spectators from 16-23 July inside the popular R&A Swingzone facility.
This year’s facility will include two new ‘virtual bays’ which will provide ball and club data using special monitors to capture 10,000 frames per second as the golfer hits the ball. A large projected screen will simulate where the ball has travelled and can be set up to appear like a specific hole on the course or a virtual driving range.
Another new development in the Swingzone is the addition of a chipping area, which will enable PGA pros to teach a range of short game techniques. It can be used by one or two players to improve their short game or by a PGA pro to demonstrate techniques.
At full capacity across 11 bays (previously ten) there will be 3,000 individual sessions being delivered.
One PGA Professional who is relishing his first appearance in the Swingzone at an Open Championship is Matt Tucknott from West Cornwall Golf Club, near St Ives.
“Most golf enthusiasts would love to attend an Open Championship,” he said. “And I have the opportunity to combine my vocation/career helping golfers enjoy better golf, whilst joining other golf lovers in the whole Open Championship experience.
“With each day my excitement grows and grows. I have attended Open Championships before but never worked at one and this opportunity was always on my golfing ‘bucket list’.
“I’m really looking forward to working alongside a team of fellow professionals who share the same passion and enthusiasm for coaching as I do.”
Royal Birkdale was the venue for a first ever Open Championship visit for fellow PGA Professional Denise Hastings (right). She will be returning this time to provide lessons in the Swingzone. “This is home turf for me,” said Hastings, an Honorary PGA Member.
“This was the first Open I went to as a very young girl. I love the game and I love helping others. Seeing people go from beginner to winner. Helping people understand how to improve, this makes me happy.”
The opportunity to embrace new experiences and learn new skills was the reason behind Ian Bailey’s decision to apply.
“I’m incredibly proud to be representing The PGA as a PGA Member of the biggest coaching stage,” said Bailey, who has been coaching for more than 33 years.
“The Swingzone gives a stage for The PGA and its coaches to highlight what a PGA coach can do for all types of golfer.
“I have a saying – ‘you can’t build a house from the roof down’, these rules apply to all golfers whatever their age and ability.”
Keep up to date with activities in the R&A Swingzone area at the Open Championship this month through pga.info and the Association’s social media channels.
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