English Golf Courses

‘We don’t want our players to turn pro soft’

The Performance Director of England Golf has revealed how a tough approach is helping to prepare the country’s leading amateurs for successful professional careers.

Exclusive: With over 40 wins since June 2013, Performance Director Edwards shares some of the secrets of England Golf’s success

The Performance Director of England Golf has revealed how a tough approach is helping to prepare the country’s leading amateurs for successful professional careers.

Nigel Edwards has given  UK Club Golfer the inside track on the organisation’s development programme as the country continues to enjoy success at the top level of  the game.

At the time of writing, there were 11 English players inside the top 100 on the men’s world rankings, a tally bettered only by the USA. Eddie Pepperell’s win in the Qatar Masters was also the 41st victory by an Englishman on the European Tour since Justin Rose won the US Open  in 2013.

Those wins, amassed by 24 different players, account for approximately one in five of all European Tour events played in that span.

Rightly, much of the credit for that success has been attributed to England Golf, with the likes of Pepperell, Tommy Fleetwood, Chris Paisley and 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett having come through the Woodhall Spa ranks.

Former Walker Cup captain Edwards, who has been in the post for the last seven years, told us that, rather than coddle their players, they instead try to instil a culture of responsibility.

“Whilst it would be lovely to go to Dubai or Arizona for long training camps, that sort of thing can make you a bit soft,” he said. “You risk the players turning up expecting perfect greens and perfect weather everywhere they go and we all know that’s never going to happen.

“That’s why we only do one week of warm-weather coaching each year, and often we don’t even travel with them to tournaments and so on. If they’re going to become tour pros, they’re going to have to travel on their own and look after themselves, so that’s the kind of environment we try to create for them.

“Sometimes, going through the pain barrier, if you like, can make you tougher and be more to your benefit.”

England Golf’s approach is in marked contrast to that of Scottish Golf, which, over the last few years, has taken its players away on warm-weather coaching sessions for several weeks at a time to the likes of the UAE and South Africa.  

Scottish Golf – which recently named Andrew McKinlay as its third chief executive since it was formed in October 2015 – is also now seeking its third Performance Director in two years following the departure of Stewart Clayton.

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