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David Matthews MBE

This edition we are profiling EGTF Professional David Matthews MBE and below you will find an update on what David has achieved so far in his golfing career.

I was born in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire in 1959 and following a checked education and failed football apprenticeship, joined the Army in 1976. As an all round sportsman, I played all the usual sports before taking up golf at the age of 28, knowing I could not run around forever. I could never really see the attraction of hitting a little ball into a small hole, until I tried it. Then like most golfers became absolutely hooked. After getting to 9 very quickly, I struggled to get much lower due to my military commitments but eventually got to my current playing handicap of 6 in 2003.

At the beginning of 2006, I left the Army to purchase a golfing complex called Stonehenge Golf Centre, which is just north of Salisbury about 1½ miles from Stonehenge. The centre has: a 16 bay floodlit and heated range, a quality 9 hole Par 3 golf course and great practice facilities. We have since built a Mini (crazy) golf course designed to attract families, especially children with the view of getting more people into golf.  More details can be found on our website www.stonehengegolfcentre.co.uk

When did you qualify for the EGTF?

I attended the EGTF Diploma Course at Forthview Golf Academy, Scotland in September 2007.

Where do you work?

I work at Stonehenge Golf Centre (SGC), where my lessons are done at the centre using the 16 bay range, practice facilities and occasionally on the Par 3 golf course.

Where do you play golf?

Following my qualification I stopped playing on a regular basis for about 2 years, but soon realised this was a mistake and joined High Post Golf Club early this year.  Although fairly short, this high quality golf course is very tricky, has fantastic greens and is one of Peter Alliss’ favourites.

What is the best thing about being a Teaching Professional?

Everything – from working hard, helping someone who will never be any good, but appreciates you making them better however small, having a laugh with my ladies group as we do chipping for the 8th time, to the satisfaction of a student who brings in a score card having shot under 100 for the first time.  I love the challenge of teaching the full spectrum of golfers from age 5 to 83 whatever their ability.

What is the worst thing about being a Teaching Professional?

Having to repeat the same drills because the student fails to practise sufficiently between lessons.

How many lessons do you give in the Summer and the Winter?

During the heart of winter (November to February) I do between 25-35 lessons per month.  In spring and summer around 50-60 and in the autumn something in between.  In addition I teach a special needs school for one hour every week during term time, year 11 students for an hour during their final term and conduct childrens’ sessions in the school holidays.

What do you consider is the most important lesson you could give someone and why?

If I could make it compulsory I would insist that every golfer took a chipping and putting lesson. The aim of the game is to get the ball into the hole and in 45-60 minutes the basic drills and techniques can be taught that will have a dramatic effect on someone’s score.

What is your favourite drill and why?

For beginners, my favourite drill is “Show me your Studs”, it is by far the most effective because the majority of new golfers think the ball is hit with the upper part of the body.  I find a lot of improving golfers need to widen their swing and so use the “2 ball drill” quite often.

Who is your favourite player and why?

Sir Nick Faldo has always been my favourite golfer.  He was at the top of his game just as I was getting into golf and he has tremendous determination to train hard and the will to win.  Sadly, he was a poor selection as the Ryder Cup captain because he was never a team player!

Who would be your ideal fourball and why?

My ideal fourball would be Peter Alliss, who else could keep you verbally entertained, the late Payne Stewart, a flamboyant and well dressed golfer, and Seve, the greatest natural golfer ever.

Which is the best course you have ever played and why?

The best course I have ever played was Royal County Down in Northern Ireland purely because every hole was different, the greens tricky but views fantastic.

What’s the best and worst experience you have had in golf?

My best experience in golf was managing a team that played in the Army Matchplay event at Royal Lytham and St Anne Golf Club.  My worst experience – nerves! that can effect my game at anytime and have ruined too many rounds.

Why did you become a teaching professional?

In the first 18 months of owning SGC, we employed a number of PGA Professionals through a Head Pro.  Unfortunately, none of them could be at the centre sufficiently to fulfil the requirements of our customers.  I enjoyed helping people who were struggling on the range by giving them bits of advice on how to hit the ball (I now know this was not always the best way of achieving results) and decided to learn how to teach correctly.  In hindsight, I should have done this much earlier because I thoroughly enjoy the satisfaction of assisting golfers to improve their game.

Do you still strive to improve standards?

Absolutely, since qualifying I have attended a number of CPD courses and probably intend to do the Masters course next year.  I read and use as references books “The 7 Laws of the Golf Swing” and “Dave Pelt’s Short Game Bible”.

What’s the best tip you could give a junior golfer?

Enjoy the game, avoid getting frustrated and practise as much as you play.

What’s in the bag?

When playing I carry:

Taylor Made R7 driver 11.5 deg with a REAX Stiff shaft
Taylor Made R7 3 wood 15 deg same shaft
W/S FYbrid 19.5 deg
Mizuno MP60 irons 4-PW, with S300 Rifle shafts
W/S FW 6 Wedges 52, 56 and 60 degs
Yes Carolyne (centre shafted) putter
W/S Performance carry bag
Leeds United ball marker

While teaching I use some of my own clubs and also:

Cleveland GC10 52 deg wedge
Mizuno T zoid 7 iron
Left handed W/S deep red 7 iron

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