As part of Women & Girls’ Golf Week, Sarah Smith, PGA Professional and Women & Golf instructor, tells us about how she got into golf and what she loves most about the sport.
The inaugural Women & Girls’ Golf Week launched on Monday, a week-long campaign that aims to celebrate the successes of women and girls in different roles in golf and to challenge the misconceptions and stigmas that surround the sport. The week has the support of England Golf, Scottish Golf, Wales Golf, the Irish Ladies Golf Union and The R&A, and is designed to unite the golf industry behind the aim of growing the women and girls’ game.
Every day of Women & Girls’ Golf Week has a different theme; yesterday focused on the women who have made a career out of the golf industry, so we told you about Mei Tierney, Marketing Manager at PowaKaddy, and today’s focus is all about the hidden heroes behind the game- the volunteers.
Which leads us on to our next story. In this article, Sarah Smith, PGA Professional and Women & Golf instructor, tells us about how she got into golf and what she loves most about the sport, and how she has been working with organisations such as the Golf Foundation to get more people into the sport.
Don’t forget, you can join in the conversation by sharing your story using #WhyIGolf
Here’s Sarah’s story…
I remember starting to play golf when I was around 8-10 years old, but I guess I technically had a go when I was about 2 looking back at these pictures now! My dad has always been a keen golfer and from a young age, I started with plastic clubs in the back garden, then moved onto joining Newmarket Golf Club at the age of 6.
I was the youngest junior to join the club, but I attended all the Saturday morning lessons with PGA Professional, John Sharkey. Looking back now, I think the best part of the morning lessons was winning the chocolate bar at the end! Two of my proudest moments at Newmarket were becoming Junior Captain and Ladies Scratch Team Captain. The club has always supported me, and I only officially left a few years ago at the age of 22.
I’ve played at county-level, this was for Cambs & Hunts- both the girls & ladies teams. During this period, I definitely enjoyed County Week the most. County Week was about getting all the ladies together from the East Region and we played a week of matches against each other, at a host club. It was a great week away (usually time off school too!) and really made me feel like I could go somewhere with my golf as well as learning more about the rules and etiquette of the game.
I turned professional in 2013 and completed my degree with the PGA in 2016. Since then, I have been lucky enough to win the Cambridge Golfing Ambassador Award and have had a number of jobs within the golf industry. I have been working at Saffron Walden Golf Club for three years as a teaching professional, coaching individual lessons and group lessons for men, ladies, and juniors of all abilities. I’ve also been closely working with local primary schools and community groups to deliver Tri-Golf programmes, and it’s great to see children having a go at a sport they may not have tried before. My favourite example of this is a young girl who always ‘forgot her trainers’ when it came to PE at school, but just four weeks after having a go at Tri-Golf, she is now coming to junior lessons every weekend at the club.
In addition to my role at SWGC, over the past few years I’ve also worked with the Golf Foundation at events such as the BMW Championships to deliver golf lessons to young children. I am also a coach for Women & Golf magazine, providing instructional videos for them- it’s great when visitors pop in the shop and have seen my videos on their website!
I also play in as many WPGA events as I can- with a very supportive, non-golfer mum on the bag! I finished 2nd in the LETAS Order of Merit in 2017, and am currently 2nd with one event to go this year.
There are so many reasons why I love golf, but what I love the most is coaching- it’s great to see children and adults develop and progress in the game, from first taking up the sport to becoming regular golfers through our structured programmes. For me, watching golfers improve is my biggest love, it’s #WhyIGolf. Through golf I have also met so many different people and made so many new friends- one of my best friends is also a PGA Golf Professional!
Celebrating Success with Women & Girls’ Golf Week READ MORE