Former world record holder Kings inspiring the next generation of golfers

Former world record holder Kings inspiring the next generation of golfers

17/01/2024

A PGA Professional, a Director of Golf and once a world record holder Bobby King is driven to bring through the next generation of young golfers in the Roscrea and Birr area and he has developed a glowing reputation at Ireland’s Roscrea Golf Club and in the nearby Cistercian College.

Originally from Roscrea in County Tipperary, King spent 12 years living in Birr, Co. Offaly and he lives ten minutes from Roscrea while the house he grew up in is just seven minutes away, meaning his DNA is cemented in the area.

Indeed, King spent nine years working in Birr Golf Shop before the job as Head PGA Professional at Roscrea Golf came along. By that stage however, he was already balancing his time as the Director of Golf at Cistercian College where he has his own golf programme for juniors.

King now has his own golf studio which includes state of the art technology and an outdoor practice area the size of four hurling pitches.

“The programme in the school started about six years ago. I used to do that in blocks, one before Christmas and one after,” explained King. “The school used to have a six-hole pitch and putt setup which isn’t in use anymore, but the same space is still available.

“Two years ago, I had a conversation with the Director of Sport at the school and they wanted to spend some money and they were always open to doing other sports away from the mainstream sports. We had a couple of decent golfers in the school so the conversation didn’t take much persuasion on my part.

“We put in an indoor putting green, golf studio, indoor bunker, indoor chipping and trackman which was a joint investment from myself and the school. The studio has worked very well and for me to take on the Director of Golf role in the school made it easier because anything golf related goes through me.

“It’s been brilliant for the school and brilliant for me so I am more than happy with how it is going so far,” added King who turned professional at the age of 20.

King also coaches juniors at Roscrea Golf Club with children from as young as give coming to him for lessons while he also holds summer camps at Cistercian College where the children benefit from the acres upon acres of space outdoors.

Coaching juniors is clearly a passion for King who took up golf at the relatively late age of 14.

“Children have a lot more fun learning golf. I have a three-year-old and a one-year-old. The fun they would have just hitting a golf ball and a club around the place and a tyre, they could spend hours hitting the ball into the tyre, just once. Children aren’t afraid to make mistakes or look silly and that’s very rewarding.

“It makes my job more fun, having the games. My coaching would be more games orientated.”

King was recently awarded the status of PGA Advanced Coach as part of the PGA Excel programme, which enables him to specialise in golf coaching.

“I coach only, I don’t run a shop or anything so I thought it made sense for me to be recognised only as a PGA Coach and then I went about the process of getting the Advanced status.

“It’s hugely beneficial for me because it makes you stand out from other coaches and from what I've been told that I'm one of three PGA pros who have the advanced PGA coach status.

“It was difficult to understand at the start, but I was grateful that the PGA gave feedback as to where my application might have fallen down a small bit. It was definitely much improved to when I did my training back in 2009.”

King has set his sights on becoming the only PGA Master Coach in Ireland as he looks to progress through the ranks of the PGA Excel programme.

“The way it is currently I would have been a PGA Professional and I changed to a coach so now I am a PGA Advanced Coach which then hopefully will see me move into Fellow, Advanced Fellow and then Master. All of those are based on your time spent in the industry. I am 12 years qualified this year and once you reach 14-15 years of service you can apply for Master status so that’s what I'm going for.

“I’m going to do lots of additional pieces like public speaking, business management and other things to push on my business side of coaching. The more I do publicly the better it is for my coaching and my status. I want to become the first PGA Master coach in the country, but if I don’t get that I will be looking for the next level up which is Fellow and then Advanced Fellow.”

King is not only a well renowned coach but he is also a whizz on the course, but not how you might assume. As a child the Roscrea native wrote a list of goals that he wanted to achieve before turning 30. One of those was to break a world record. With time running out at the ripe age of 28, King smashed the record for playing the most holes of golf on foot.

King tipped it round for 13 rounds in 12 hours, racking up 234 holes. His record has since been beaten by 18 holes, but the achievement means a lot to him having been a former support worker in the past. King raised just under €11,000 for Birr Mental Health Association and Roscrea Stands Up charities.

“I can’t even fathom that new record, I could have done two holes more, but no way would I do another 16. I’m also not a runner by any means I trained for that and that’s the only running I did in my whole life. I’m far too big and far too heavy. I'm 6’8 and 110kg I'm not made for long distance running!

“I had list of goals and one of them was to break a world record before I was 30, so that’s on the wall in my parent’s shed. Every time I went into the shed, I was thinking oh no I haven’t done that. I wanted to do something impressive, and golf related because I was working in golf at the time.

“It was marathon training. 50 miles was the total distance I did, for someone who had never ran a marathon before it was extreme. I needed a real reason to do it, so I was working as a support worker at the time so the funds we raised went towards mental health services, two local charities in Birr and Roscrea.

“Just under €11,000 was raised, which wasn’t bad for someone playing golf!”

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