Why The PGA is no ‘Gamble’ for Elle

Why The PGA is no ‘Gamble’ for Elle


It's that time of the year when the academic wheels click back into motion – not least with all of the students that are enrolled on the PGA courses. For Elle Gamble, 19, early October will see her starting the second year of her Foundation Degree in Golf Studies.

The Cambridgeshire resident was originally studying art at college before – in her words – she “did a complete 180”. Following her long-term passion for golf, she looked to the PGA to provide her with a very different sort of career path to the one she’d initially anticipated.

Elle became an assistant professional working for experienced PGA professional Ben Kerr at Royal Worlington and Newmarket Golf Club – and then began her degree course.

Not only has she gone on to pass her first-year studies, Elle’s golf has also taken steps forward this summer.
If that sounds like a success story, it’s all the more creditable given that she has lived with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME since she was 12.

Elle has refused to be held back by her health challenges and now can’t wait to return to education as a second-year undergraduate.

How did you hear about the PGA Foundation Degree?

I’d spoken a lot to my coach Ben Kerr and other local coaches about how they got into it. Also, I’d always seen it come up on social media when scrolling through. I just decided to click it on one day, saw everything that would be involved and wanted to go towards that path. I then looked more in-depth at the website.

What was it that made you want to apply?

I always wanted to teach, ever since I can remember. Something just clicked one day. Various people were saying ‘you wouldn’t be any good at that’. I was like, ‘No, I tell you what – I’m going to be awesome at that’.

How easy was the application process?

It was really straightforward. Reading through what’s involved on the PGA website, if you think you’re interested you just press ‘enquire now’ and send an email. The PGA send you through more information and they really do help you and guide you through every step of the process. There was an opportunity to do an in-person Open Day but I was competing and couldn’t make it, but the option was there.

Tell us a bit about the course…

The course is broken into four modules: golf coaching, key industry skills – including rules, manufacturing – sports science, business. It’s online, really easily laid out and tells you each month what work you should be doing, the assignment you should be doing. If you have any questions, you reach out to the head lecturer of each subject and they get back to you pretty quickly.

How much did you enjoy your PGA residential week?

It was great. Mine was in November, quite early. I kind of saw it as a week of networking, find some people that if I have questions I can reach out to, which I did. There were around 60 or 70 the week I went. We were split into groups and had a timetable, went to our lectures and of an evening we all congregated. We went to the range, went to the gym, hung out. It was an awesome week and a lot of fun.

What sort of help have you had from your head PGA professional at Royal Worlington?

Ben has been amazing. He’s been really supportive through everything. Any questions or if I’m struggling with an assignment, he’ll sit down with me and we’ll talk through it. He’s always willing to bounce ideas. He has been fantastic – I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor.

Have you been able to find the time to follow your playing aspirations?

I love the playing side. I didn’t think I would want to pursue it as much as I have been. With the recent success I feel like I’ve had, it’s definitely given me a bit of a spark to really get out there. I started off doing the county events and then got into the regional stuff. I even played in some WPGA events over the year. I really want to see how far I can push it. 

I couldn’t play nine holes at one point. So the fact that I can go out and call myself a professional one day and play in competitions is just amazing to me.

- Elle Gamble - PGA Trainee

What are your thoughts ahead of Year 2?

I can’t wait for the study to begin. I feel like I know exactly how I’m going to do it this year. I’m just looking forward to getting stuck in – but making sure I don’t forget to play golf. Last year, I was so focused on study, I let my golf slide a lot. So that would be a thing I’d highlight. Yes, study is important, but don’t forget about the golf!

Elle and her CFS/ME battle

“I’ve been struggling with it since I was about 12. I originally had glandular fever and there was a point where I was nearly bed-bound for six months.

I couldn’t play nine holes at one point. So the fact that I can go out and call myself a professional and play in competitions is just amazing to me.

I have to turn up in a buggy. I hate using a buggy because it’s very anti-social but it’s the only way I can pursue my career.

When I was first diagnosed they said you can grow out of it. We’re beginning to get to the stage where we think we’re past the point of where I can grow out of it and where I just have to manage.

Stress is a big factor in it but being where I’m at and having the job I have, the stress isn’t very much. So I don’t have as many relapses as I used to have, which is great. If you love the job, you’re not going to stress over it.”

CLICK HERE to find out more about a career in golf with The PGA.


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