Keighley reflects on a decade at Fixby

Keighley reflects on a decade at Fixby

14/02/2022

'My advice to any girls who are thinking about becoming a professional is to just be proud and assured that you’re just as good, if not better than everyone else.'

'My advice to any girls who are thinking about becoming a professional is to just be proud and assured that you’re just as good, if not better than everyone else.'

We speak to Alex Keighley who celebrates 10 years as the head professional at Fixby this year.

Alex Keighley first played at Fixby in a Junior Open when she was 12 (she won) before soon revisiting the club for Yorkshire coaching. This year she will celebrate a decade as the West Yorkshire club’s head professional.

In her early days she played full-time, gaining her card on the Ladies European Tour as well as playing on other tours around the world, having represented England and Great Britain and Ireland at amateur level. Her playing highlight came at the 2003 Women’s British Open at Lytham, where she led at one point on the opening day, before narrowly missing the cut.

Keighley did her PGA training alongside playing for a living and began working at Fixby as an assistant in 2003. Nine years later an opportunity came up as the head professional and she accepted.

“Being a female head professional 10 years ago was quite a big thing but the members were really supportive and backed me 100 per cent,” Keighley revealed.

“I had slowed down with my playing and I was enjoying teaching and being at home and at the club more. Hopefully I earned some people’s respect through my playing career and I won the Women’s PGA Professional Championship in 2012 which was great.

“Playing at the top level maybe shouldn’t be that important but, in some respects, it does matter. You want to peg it up with the members and be able to play but the teaching then became more of a factor as it went on.”

Keighley did her PGA training 20 years ago and she is widely respected for her teaching skills, coaching male and female golfers of all ages and abilities. Her outlook is simple: “I just like to improve people’s golf, whether they are off 36 or scratch. Hopefully I’m good at keeping things quite simple, I was coached by some really good teachers and simple is always the best way.

“I’m not overly technical and I don’t have any desire to be a coach to the next superstar, I just like coaching across the board. Coaching juniors also been a big part of things here and I teach members and non-members which breaks things up too.

“This is a generalisation but men are probably wanting more of a quicker fix, a quick tweak and that will do them. I teach a lot of women, that is helped by me being a woman but equally some guys won’t have a lesson with me as they prefer to go to a man which is fine.”

Despite attitudes changing Keighley remains very much in the minority in being a female golf professional. She will still answer the phone in the pro shop to confused callers when she confirms that she is the head pro and she believes that it will always be a talking point but things are changing and, thankfully, for the better.

Keighley added: “Attitudes are definitely better, being called Alex confuses people a bit more, but we’re getting there. My advice to any girls who are thinking about becoming a professional is to just be proud and assured that you’re just as good, if not better than everyone else. You will end up getting even more respect by facing it up and not shying away from it.

“I’m going to a conference this week and I bet there will be three women out of 160 but I won’t give it a second’s thought these days and that is just experience. I will be invited to all the men’s dinners at the club, they’re really inclusive and I’ve always gone. If they have a comedian on I’ll say don’t change it for me, you can be as out there as you like, I’ve heard it all before. They’re probably more embarrassed than I am.”

Alex Keighley first played at Fixby in a Junior Open when she was 12 (she won) before soon revisiting the club for Yorkshire coaching. This year she will celebrate a decade as the West Yorkshire club’s head professional.

In her early days she played full-time, gaining her card on the Ladies European Tour as well as playing on other tours around the world, having represented England and Great Britain and Ireland at amateur level. Her playing highlight came at the 2003 Women’s British Open at Lytham, where she led at one point on the opening day, before narrowly missing the cut.

Keighley did her PGA training alongside playing for a living and began working at Fixby as an assistant in 2003. Nine years later an opportunity came up as the head professional and she accepted.

“Being a female head professional 10 years ago was quite a big thing but the members were really supportive and backed me 100 per cent,” Keighley revealed.

“I had slowed down with my playing and I was enjoying teaching and being at home and at the club more. Hopefully I earned some people’s respect through my playing career and I won the Women’s PGA Professional Championship in 2012 which was great.

“Playing at the top level maybe shouldn’t be that important but, in some respects, it does matter. You want to peg it up with the members and be able to play but the teaching then became more of a factor as it went on.”

Keighley did her PGA training 20 years ago and she is widely respected for her teaching skills, coaching male and female golfers of all ages and abilities. Her outlook is simple: “I just like to improve people’s golf, whether they are off 36 or scratch. Hopefully I’m good at keeping things quite simple, I was coached by some really good teachers and simple is always the best way.

“I’m not overly technical and I don’t have any desire to be a coach to the next superstar, I just like coaching across the board. Coaching juniors also been a big part of things here and I teach members and non-members which breaks things up too.

“This is a generalisation but men are probably wanting more of a quicker fix, a quick tweak and that will do them. I teach a lot of women, that is helped by me being a woman but equally some guys won’t have a lesson with me as they prefer to go to a man which is fine.”

Despite attitudes changing Keighley remains very much in the minority in being a female golf professional. She will still answer the phone in the pro shop to confused callers when she confirms that she is the head pro and she believes that it will always be a talking point but things are changing and, thankfully, for the better.

Keighley added: “Attitudes are definitely better, being called Alex confuses people a bit more, but we’re getting there. My advice to any girls who are thinking about becoming a professional is to just be proud and assured that you’re just as good, if not better than everyone else. You will end up getting even more respect by facing it up and not shying away from it.

“I’m going to a conference this week and I bet there will be three women out of 160 but I won’t give it a second’s thought these days and that is just experience. I will be invited to all the men’s dinners at the club, they’re really inclusive and I’ve always gone. If they have a comedian on I’ll say don’t change it for me, you can be as out there as you like, I’ve heard it all before. They’re probably more embarrassed than I am.”

Related

Our Partners

  • Coca-Cola
  • FootJoy
  • Glenmuir
  • Golfbreaks
  • PING
  • St. James's Place
  • Therabody
  • Titleist
  • Banyan Tree
  • The Belfry
  • Gleneagles