Simon Wordsworth reflects on new PGA Master Manager status

Simon Wordsworth reflects on new PGA Master Manager status


“Extremely humble and proud are probably the best ways of describing how I feel about this award.” 59club’s Simon Wordsworth talks about his recent PGA Master Manager award as part of the Association’s new PGA Excel framework.

When Simon Wordsworth left school he was heading to university with the likelihood of studying accountancy or estate management. He was the junior captain at Hickleton Golf Club in South Yorkshire and the club had just employed a new professional in Paul Shepherd from Lancashire. The teenager was offered some part-time work to help Shepherd settle in and, before too long, Wordsworth quickly decided that working in golf was for him.

He would go on to work at Dore & Totley and Bondhay Golf Clubs before heading south to Birmingham. There would be 13 years spent at The Belfry from 1992-2005, a period that would span two Ryder Cups and various tour events, and where he also helped set up an assistant professional training programme.

“At one stage we had 32 assistants on site. They have all gone on to do really well which is very satisfying. For example, Chris Trott now heads up TaylorMade on the tour in the States, Tom Rourke is the General Manager at The Els Club and Richard Barker is at The PGA. We had some great times and learnt some valuable lessons in that period,” explains Wordsworth.

In 2009 Wordsworth founded 59club, based on 59 being the ultimate score in golf. The company has since become the industry-leading customer service analysts and training providers. What began as Wordsworth and his computer, a CD recorder and cases, a printer and a label stamper, has expanded in recent years to operations all over the world. Their headquarters are in the UK with several regional divisions established in the USA, Canada, Europe, Nordic, Middle East, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

Through ground-breaking customer satisfaction surveys, mystery shopper audits, financial comparison tools and employee training programmes, 59club provide performance-management solutions and global data to the golf, leisure, spa, F&B and hotel industries, to boost sales performance and the overall customer experience.

They are endorsed and supported by governing bodies and partners such as The PGA, Club Car, Toro, Golf Genius, the Asian and French Golf Federations, and provide a phenomenal amount of data-driven insight into the golf business and more on how golf can develop to rival some of the greatest customer experiences in the hospitality industry.

All of which contributed greatly to why Wordsworth was recently awarded PGA Master Manager status, becoming only the 61st person to receive the ‘Master’ accolade as the first batch of PGA Excel awardees was announced.

PGA Excel was launched in November 2022, replacing the Association’s previous APAL system, as the new assessment framework that enables PGA Members to demonstrate their impact and achievement to employers, golfers, and the wider golf industry.

PGA Excel gives PGA Members a tangible means of articulating and displaying how their accumulated skills and knowledge have delivered impact and achievement. Awards will now be handed out on a quarterly basis to encourage a pathway of progression through the different designations of Advanced, Fellow, Advanced Fellow and Master.


“Extremely humble and proud are probably the best ways of describing how I feel about this award. I enjoyed my trip down memory lane, as I completed the process of documenting what I have done in my life, you forget half of it to be honest. There was the assistants’ programme, PGA tutoring, refereeing and running courses but PGA Excel isn’t just about what I did 20 years ago. The majority of my submission was what I’m now doing with 59club and demonstrating the tangible impact my endeavours have had,” adds Wordsworth.

He is very quick to point out that a major strength of the operation lies within the 59club collective – PGA Professionals Mark Reed, Matt Roberts and Andy Etherington have been with him since the early days – as well as the expertise that is shared with all manner of clubs. It is the level of data that is particularly impressive as 59club help provide the tools to measure, improve and maintain service standards across the global golf and hospitality landscape.

“Last year the teams analysed over two million pieces of non-subjective performance data into the membership sales process, the golf visitor experience, corporate golf, tournaments, golf lessons, retail, the F&B experience, hotels stays and spa days. The data measures people's behaviour, sales aptitude, product knowledge, facility presentation and, naturally, the customer service received.

"Maybe that level of detail is part of why I received the PGA Master award. I am more used to presenting awards, having delivered 13 59club service excellence awards ceremonies and, more recently, in recognition of our elite performers within the industry signified by our Eminent Collection. So it’s an honour and privilege to receive recognition of this kind from The PGA.

“My passion lies in the absolute nitty gritty of golf as a business. By the time we get to 2027 that two million pieces of data will be near on 10 million a year which is a huge amount of data to be responsible for. That data gives us the universal insight into how the golf, leisure and hospitality industry is treating its customers, be they club members or visitors. As I’m now running a business, 59club is more than that, it’s genuinely helping to change the customer experience, the enjoyment factor and the profitability of the golf and hospitality industry.”

PGA Members are encouraged to start their PGA Excel journey today.

This new framework enables you to demonstrate your impact and achievement to employers, golfers and the wider industry and move up through the designations.

Check your eligibility more easily, review your progression against a scoring criteria using a brand new assessment form, and complete your application digitally, whenever and wherever suits.

CLICK HERE to begin your PGA Excel journey.  


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