While there are thousands of Cork people who have just completed exams, it was a different time for Davey Barry as he got word that he had passed his final PGA exams, meaning he has now a qualified teaching professional. The Douglas based Pro had been working hard for the past three years, combining work in the pro shop with his studies, but Davey is delighted that he now joins the PGA as a full member. “It’s fantastic to have finished the course. It’s a lot of work and long hours but it’s a great feeling to have gotten here” said Davey. “It was a long journey for me, I had to do some extra exams before I started the course, it was well worth it though. This is something that I’ve always wanted to do since I was young, and it’s a career that can be as long as I want so the four years it took me is nothing in the scheme of things. While it’s been a long time I’ve been able work and learn loads in those years.” Although still considered by many to be an apprenticeship in traditional way, the PGA qualification is now a degree level course that is delivered by the University Birmingham, and while much of the work was done at home or on the golf course, there were several times where Davey had to go to Birmingham for certain modules and courses.
Now with his formal training behind him, Davey’s next challenge will be to develop a name for himself in a business that focuses on one to one relationships. Davey will also be developing his own teaching style at a time when tuition and knowledge seem to be widely available. “The amount of information available now to everybody is sometimes so damaging, people come to lessons so confused and in knots from an overload of information that doesn’t apply to them” explained Davey. “It’s very easy to slip into trying to show off how much you know and using buzz words, when 95% of lessons are basics and fundamentals. Trying to build up my own personal brand is a challenge and something that’s taking a back seat at the moment. It’s
really important for me to keep learning and giving good lessons.”
Davey has trained with Stephen Hayes in Douglas for the past three years, and he’s full of praise for his boss and mentor. “I work for a fantastic Head Professional in Stephen Hayes and he’s given me everything I’ve needed and more to grow into an accomplished teaching professional. The club have also been great with to us and have supported us in anything we’ve wanted to try.” Davey is also quick to mention the club, and the committees that are driving the club forward. “Douglas is a fantastic club to be associated with. They are always looking to improve and it feels like every year the club as a whole is been run better than the year before. In the last three years there has been a large increase in membership which has kept the club very fresh. The new members have been great and getting to know all the new faces has been a lot of fun. We have a large number of juniors coming to classes ever week and we know that we have to keep up the hard work we are doing there and keep our juvenile section growing with boys and girls coming in and learning the game of golf at Douglas.” As well as the existing range and putting greens, and the new practice facilities that are currently under construction, Stephen and Davey also have an indoor performance studio in Douglas. It features an indoor golf simulator which allow golfers to assess, train and practice in controlled conditions and in addition to long and short game coaching, the performance centre also offers putting analysis and coaching thanks to their SAM puttlab technology.
This summer marks a bit of a change for Davey with the balance between playing and teaching shifting considerably. Over the last few summer seasons, Davey was a regular on the PGA Irish Region events, playing in Pro-Ams all over the country. This year demand for lessons and coaching has increased meaning a different focus for the new Professional as he builds on his recent qualification. “Summer is just foot to the floor busy, but there will be some golf played” said Davey. “I’ll be trying to qualify for both The Open and the Irish Open at the end of this month, so I’ll be squeezing in as much practice as possible for them. Other than that it will just be a lot of lessons and hopefully helping people play some good golf.”
With up to 40% of golfers reducing or stopping their golf in the Winter, the workload for a PGA Professional is very seasonal. The new practice facilities in Douglas, coupled with the indoor performance studio should be a real asset for both Davey and Stephen. Already Davey is planning to maximise his time as the seasons change: “October and November will be busy months for planning and that’s when I’ll be making the plans to improve my lessons and add some more golf knowledge, which I will always be trying to improve. I’ll also be looking at trying to do some online lessons and grow my online presence.”