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PGA Director of Golf qualification - ten years on

31 Oct 17

More than 50 PGA Professionals have qualified as directors of golf since the course was launched 10 years ago and used it as a springboard to progress their careers. Steven Carpenter finds out more about the course and speaks to a handful of the many pros who have put the qualification to good use.


Ten years ago the Director of Golf qualification was born in response to high demand from PGA Members.

It was designed to provide a means of recognition for those who are already working in a DoG role and provide a framework for those who aspired to work in such a role.

Open to PGA of Great Britain and Ireland members, completion of the course involves three key stages; an Induction Day, the PGA Certificate of Golf Management Theory and the PGA Director of Golf Qualification itself.

There are seven units candidates will be assessed on, ranging from finance and marketing to personal management and customer service.

Members who successfully demonstrate they meet all of the criteria laid down in the qualification and provide evidence of this in the workplace will become a qualified PGA Director of Golf.

A driving force behind launching the course was PGA Master Professional, John Mulgrew (below). “I approached the PGA to try and convince them that there was a need for this qualification,” recalled Mulgrew, a tutor and course mentor.

IMG 1127

“The PGA Professional is normally the first point of contact at any golf club, and it always annoyed me they were never asked for their opinion on any golf club related business.

“Some clubs have had to streamline their workforce and many pros have either lost their positions or have been asked to take greater responsibilities within the club.

“For the professional, this has been either a chore or an opportunity. Now this opportunity has arisen, the director of golf qualification gives them the chance to become more active in the actual running of the club. It has also provided opportunities to find positions throughout the world, especially in the Middle East.

“One of the highlights of the year is attending the Graduation ceremony and seeing pros graduate. There’s so many good examples now and more importantly it shows that the director of golf course works.”

Sarah Walton (Belton Park Golf Club)

Walton DOG

Sarah, pictured above with former PGA Captain Nicky Lumb after receiving her DoG qualification in 2016, was of the first women to graduate from the course and insists the qualification helped her land a job at Belton Park Golf Club during the summer.

“The environment in which PGA Professionals work in is changing and clubs are looking to us to help them move forward in challenging times and often expect more than just the traditional club professional role offerings.

"This qualification helps to highlight our skills and importance to the golf club, which can only be a good thing.

“The course has definitely enhanced my career and opened up new opportunities. It highlighted the importance of time management within my own business and gave me greater confidence in my own skills.

"The best thing about the course was making me question how I ran my own business and the areas to improve on.  This has definitely helped me in taking on my new role as Head Professional at Belton Park Golf Club, which has new challenges with it being a 27-hole venue."

David Marsh (Fenti Golf Club)

David Marsh is one of the latest PGA Members to complete the course and getting a recognised qualification with The PGA’s name attached to it was of significant importance to him.

"Back in 1985 when I qualified through PGA school at Lilleshall, I never benefitted from or had the opportunity to get a university degree. Having the opportunity of getting a recognised qualification with the PGA’s name attached to it was of significant importance to me.  

“I’m extremely proud to have these qualifications on my CV and they will undoubtedly stand me in good stead for future career opportunities.

David Marsh

“Having the course created, managed and endorsed by the PGA certainly adds weight to
my CV and hopefully will be well received and recognised by potential future employers.

“The structure of the course is exceptionally well laid out and easy to follow. I had a
great assessor in John Mulgrew who was always contactable to review and offer positive feedback on the documentation which was submitted for assessment.

“I strongly believe PGA Professionals will have a major role to play in managing golf
clubs and holding senior management positions. With this qualification the PGA
Professional would be well placed to take on the traditional roles of secretary or club
manager in the future.

"The golf market in the UK seems to be slowly evolving in this direction so it would be great to see more PGA Professionals in senior management positions in the future.”

Stuart Leech (Formby Golf Club)

Stuart Leech

Stuart Leech was the first person to gain the Director of Golf qualification and is currently based at Formby Golf Club.

“I imagined having this sort of role when I was training. Everyone was saying what they wanted to be in five years time – player, coach, whatever.

“I was the first one who stuck their hand up and said I want to be a director of golf and run a hotel and golf resort. It carried on from there. I did that a young age of 26 and have carried on for the next decade or so. 

“It wasn’t inspired by me - John Mulgrew was the driving force behind getting it off the ground as a qualification. But there was a definite shift of more and more PGA Professionals wanting to do it as a career path. To be fair, I’d like to think I helped a little bit on the way and inspired a few more to do it.

“At the time there wasn’t anything that even came remotely close. It was an essential must-have for me. Plus the fact when I knew it was there and available, I wanted to be one of the first ones to do it. Hopefully, it’s recognised in the industry as one of the key qualifications to have.

“The great thing about it as a qualification is that it goes into your management style, leadership – it’s very encompassing."

David Ashington 

David Ashington

David was the first PGA Member in Continental Europe to graduate from the director of golf course.

“It was important the qualification was via The PGA which offers solid credibility throughout the world of golf, resorts and the hospitality industry, along with my own needs to ensure I developed all the necessary skillsets to perform the role to the best of my ability and naturally progress.

"I did my work experience from school at a golf club and then got a part-time job there in school holidays, my golf improved to the point that I followed my idols, the clubs assistant Pro’s, into joining the PGA. I literally loved all the elements involved in the academic weeks at The Belfry learning about teaching, club repairs, commercial studies and the rules of golf although exam time was always nerve wracking but luckily all went well.

“The benefits from a career perspective have been clearly enhanced. Firstly the learning aspect in the initial stages of the qualification were invaluable.

“In addition, holding a credible qualification via The PGA for this specific and very
important role at a golf venue adds considerable support to your curriculum vitae. I am very fortunate to have continually developed my career and represented some of the best Portuguese resorts to date.

"I have no doubts whatsoever to recommend the Director of Golf qualification via the PGA, in fact I would go as far as to say it is fundamental if your chosen career path is to be, or enhance yourself as a Director of Golf, it will really be the difference in terms of your performance in your current role and of course career progression."

For more information about the PGA's Director of Golf qualification or to register your interest in the next Induction Day on December 5, 2017 please contact the PGA's Member Education Department on or 01675 470333.

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