English Golf Courses

Former driving instructor is first woman to gain PGA qualification

Kington head pro Walton makes mark as she runs through director of golf (DoG) programme

A PGA professional - who, in a former career, was a driving instructor - is accelerating through the gears in golf after becoming the first woman to gain the PGA’s director of golf (DoG) qualification.


Sarah Walton is the head pro at Kington, where she has a busy role, including the brief of raising the Herefordshire club’s profile.

Her commitment to making a success of her first head pro post was behind her decision to enrol in the DoG programme, which covers seven core management units.

“I didn’t know too much about the qualification but I spoke to the course leader John Mulgrew and he said, ‘Come to the induction day, you’ll enjoy it’, which I did.

“Kington was my first role, so it was a logical step to fill in any gaps in knowledge and experience that I had.

“Being a smaller club, I’m very hands on and work closely with the club committee to help move the club forward.

“One of the main parts of the DoG course which helped me a lot was to look at my strengths and weaknesses to help with career planning moving forward and to learn about areas where I need more experience or can improve my knowledge.”

Walton, who regularly competes in WPGA events, is revelling in her role and is determined to make an impact at the club.


“I really enjoy the job and the different aspects to it,” she added. “One day you are coaching, the next day it might be club repairs, and the day after that you could be in a meeting on how to market the club, so that keeps me interested.

“Another part of my remit is to raise the profile of the club and we’re doing that slowly.

“It’s lovely to have a club I can work at where there is a lot of mutual respect - it is a good match.”

Walton sees the role of the PGA pro as pivotal to the success of any club.

“We are the first point of contact for club members and visitors. How we interact is absolutely key to our success, especially here because we don’t have a full time manager or club secretary.

“As pros, we have to earn respect and it’s up to us to prove our worth and, if we do the job well, we can show our value and worth to the club.”


To date, 51 pros have gone through the DoG programme which assesses individuals ‘knowledge and understanding’ and ‘competence’ across seven core management units: Personal, Strategic, Operational, People, Financial, Marketing and Customer Service, and specific areas of expertise.

Walton is no stranger to academic success having graduated as the Titleist PGA Assistant of the Year award in 2013 which helped her land the job at Kington.

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