Matt’s the new PGA kid on the block

HAVE you wondered what it takes to become a PGA-qualified golf professional?

HAVE you wondered what it takes to become a PGA-qualified golf professional?

No, me neither.

I always thought ‘PGA-qualified’ were words stuck under a golf professional’s name outside his pro shop.

What he had to do to achieve the honour, I hadn’t a clue.

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However, I know more now, and clearly becoming PGA-qualified is no cake-walk.

Meet Matthew Ransome.

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He’s one of Suffolk’s newest PGA-qualified professional golfers and he’s full of vibrant ideas.

Yes, he’s proud to be a pro, but he doesn’t shout about it.

“Of course I’m a golf pro, but when people ask what I do, I say I’m a golf coach. It doesn’t sound so arrogant,” he tells me.

One of the PGA’s young guns, 24-year-old Matthew, plays out of Seckford Golf Club, and will be presented with his Foundation Degree in professional golf at Birmingham in April.

It will be a proud moment for him, having thrown himself into the sport after family sadness.

“I didn’t start playing golf until I was 15,” he said.

“I lived near Bramford Golf Centre and Sarah Wilson, the professional there, gave me my first-ever lesson.

“My mum, Diana, passed away when I was 15 and quite honestly, golf was a getaway.

“I had a lot of lessons – and I mean a lot – hit a lot of balls, and improved quickly.

“Being out on the golf range became an obsession for me.

“I helped out at Bramford and used to drive one of those little buggies, picking up balls on the range. It was quite cool, people always trying to hit you!

“I didn’t get paid, but got to use the range and hit balls as often as I wanted.”

After moving to Hintlesham, Matthew got an assistant pro’s job at Seckford, under the guise of head professional, Simon Jay, where he has worked on his PGA qualification since.

“It’s taken me three years to become PGA-qualified,” he adds.

“You have a play-ability test to start off with, which I found very nerve-wracking.

“The academic side of things is a distance learning course.

“You get sent materials and there’s work from web sites to do.

“There are about four to six assignments per term, per year and you go to the Belfry for a five-day residential course each of the three years.”

And there was me thinking it is just a case of whacking a few balls and getting out of bunkers to within four feet, nine times out of ten.

“Certainly not,” Matthew adds.

“We are taught about coaching, diet and fitness and lots of other things, although the PGA express to us we are golf coaches, not psychologists or dieticians.”

Matthew is one of a new breed of PGA-qualified coaches, with fresh ideas and new ways of teaching.

Just ask him about his alignment sticks, V-sticks or putting mirrors – all aids to assist during his teaching.

Looking ahead, Matthew admits he would like to become a higher level PGA professional, and eventually a head pro at a club.

It’s been a tough, but enjoyable few years on his way to his PGA qualification.

So give the young man a try, book a lesson, and find out how he can improve your short game with his V-sticks!

READ Mike Bacon’s Love Golf column, every week in the EADT and Ipswich Star

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