Thomas enhances coaching opportunities at Olton Golf Club

Thomas enhances coaching opportunities at Olton Golf Club

14/02/2022

Connor Thomas, PGA Assistant Professional at Olton Golf Club, discusses how he is adding to the coaching opportunities to provide more choice for the members and visitors at Olton.

Having started his career at Hollywood Golf Club in Birmingham, Thomas recently made the short move to Olton in nearby Solihull. It is a step he considers important in his career, but one that he explains came around completely by chance.

“I was quite lucky really, because originally there wasn’t a space for me at Olton," Thomas revealed. "My boss and mentor, PGA Professional Lee Brotherhood, got the Head Professional job there last spring and he asked me to join him.”

Whilst at Hollywood, Thomas started setting up a junior coaching programme. At the time the golf club had no junior section of note, so he had to build up interest from scratch. His hard work paid off and eventually there were 30/40 juniors regularly attending group lessons.

Relocating approximately a 15-minute drive away, Thomas was unsure how many juniors would continue to attend. It is a testament to his coaching and excellent communication with the parents that the majority of the juniors followed to the new location.

“We kept in constant communication about changing locations and it was great to see that they enjoyed it enough to continue coming.

"The first group started in October 2018 and they are still with us now. After over three years it has been amazing to see them grow into little golfers and mature as children too.”

It’s clear to see how much Thomas enjoys coaching golf, however, it wasn’t his biggest interest when he first started his PGA training. Equipment technology was his first passion and something he retains a keen interest in.

It was only when he completed the more technical Level 2 Coaching that he began to understand the fascination with the golf swing and helping golfers improve.

He continued: “The PGA is sometimes a bit like opening a selection box. Everything is just there for you to try. You can go in with a clear idea of what you think you want to do, but it is so easy to come out with a completely new interest. That is what happened to me with golf coaching.”

During the first lockdown Thomas spent plenty of time engrossed in books about the golf swing and different coaching methods.

He now tries to pick the brains of other PGA Professionals whenever he has the chance, determined to learn more about becoming a better coach. 

“There are so many coaches that live and breathe golf. It is more than just a job to them. Having the opportunity to speak face-to-face with these like-minded people is what you want.”

It is group coaching where Thomas has currently found most excitement. This led to him recently reaching out to a new demographic at Olto: the senior section. With more than 100 senior golfers, similarly to lots of UK golf clubs, the seniors are a large and active section.

Thomas proposed setting up midweek tuition specifically targeting senior golfers. The first couple of group sessions were a success, with around 20 golfers turning up each time. Thomas has been delighted with the start and is already running multiple sessions for upcoming weeks.

After finding his own enthusiasm for golf coaching, Thomas believes that more young people should consider the PGA career path when they leave school.

“Becoming a Club Professional is not the only option you have by joining the PGA. It allows you to explore different opportunities all over the world.”

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