PGA invites Tim Rouse to become the ‘face of the Association’ as its Captain
The PGA has invited Tim Rouse, a Member with a wealth of varied experience and an arsenal of skills befitting the modern-day professional, to become its Captain in 2023.
The 62-year-old has been the head professional at Northants County Golf Club for three decades, designed courses, captained the Association’s Midland region, served on a variety of committees as well as The PGA’s main board, and his coaching has been instrumental in former Ryder Cup star Paul Broadhurst winning two Senior majors. He will succeed Sarah Bennett as the Association’s 82nd Captain in April 2023.
Commenting on the appointment, The PGA’s chairman, Alan White, said: “The Captain is the face of the Association for the time he or she is in post, so it is a very important appointment.
“It’s not just a case of it being someone’s turn – we have to be careful we pick the right person. And if someone the quality of Tim Rouse is available to do the job then we are lucky to have him.
“Tim has a wealth of golfing experience, is a safe pair of hands, and has done so much for the Association. It’s our privilege to give him the opportunity to be our Captain.
“I know how honoured and excited Tim is. The list of Captains includes former Ryder Cup players and captains and to have your name on it is very special.”
The roster of PGA Captains includes the present incumbent, Bernard Gallacher, Peter Alliss, Dave Thomas, Bernard Hunt, Dai Rees, Henry Cotton and Tommy Horton, the first member of the elite band Rouse encountered.
“We’d finished our training course at Lilleshall and he came to see us and wish us all well,” Rouse recalled. “He was a top player at the time as well as being PGA Captain.”
That meeting took place in 1979 and since then Rouse, a member of the Professional Golfers Architects’ Association, has designed courses in Tarporley, Cheshire, and East Sussex. He was also a PGA swing instructor and examiner from 1983 until 2019, has captained both the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire PGAs, and been the Midlands Professional and Coach of the Year in 2001 and 2016 respectively.
The bulk of his career, however, has been spent at Northants County where, in addition to coaching and running the pro shop, he has overseen the construction of an indoor academy and organises an annual pro-am that, to date, has raised sufficient funds to train 11 guide dogs for the blind.
“It’s been quite a career and this tops the whole thing,” he added. “I’m very, very proud, very honoured and didn’t expect it at all. It’s been a bit of a shock, but I’m thrilled and delighted.”
Rouse will have 18 months to prepare for the role before he takes over from Bennett but will become Captain-elect in April 2022 when she succeeds Gallacher. In the meantime, he plans to find out as much about the job as possible.
“I’ll be seeing Bernard and Sarah next week, so I’ll have a chat with them,” he said. “And Peter Hanna, Bernard’s predecessor, has been a big pal of mine for many years.
“I’ll ask him if he has any advice regarding the role. I’ll have to tell him I wasn’t expecting this to happen so haven’t made any notes over the years!”
PGA launches Find a Golf Lesson Platform
The PGA has launched a digital platform to connect golfers in search of lessons with PGA Professionals.
The Find a Golf Lesson platform is embedded into the homepage of www.pga.info and will shortly also appear on selected external sites.
Entirely free to use, it will enable all existing golfers, as well as non-golfers who are looking to take up the game, to search for and contact PGA Professionals.
“By connecting golfers with their local PGA Professionals, we hope that Find a Golf Lesson will help to further grow the game, get more people taking up golf and help existing players to improve and enjoy playing even more,” said Robert Maxfield, PGA chief executive.
“PGA Professionals have always been the first port of call for anybody looking to take up golf, as well as for players looking to get better – now there’s an easy way to find a coach whether you’re a member of a golf club or not.”
Hundreds of PGA Professionals across Great Britain and Ireland are ready to receive booking enquiries now. Each has a dedicated profile that outlines their areas of expertise, services offered, training qualifications and availability of latest technology, along with location and contact details.
Golfers will be able to search for PGA Professionals by specifying several parameters including:
• For specific Members
• By location
• By club
• By coaching requirements
They can then contact their chosen PGA Member directly through a dedicated contact form.
“It’s exciting to be launching Find a Golf Lesson at a time when golf is enjoying a real boom in popularity,” said Richard Barker, PGA executive director of business development.
“We’re investing heavily in digital infrastructure and media amplification to really drive this initiative and ensure it reaches as many golfers – and potential players – as possible.
“As well as supporting PGA Members and helping them to take more bookings, we want to have a more direct relationship with the golfing public – Find a Golf Lesson is just the beginning of that ambition to create the go-to digital platform for golf instruction,” he said.
Find A Golf Lesson is part of The PGA’s commitment to promote Members and their coaching expertise to the wider golfing public. The platform will be supported by a national marketing campaign through golf media and beyond to raise awareness of Find a Golf Lesson and drive traffic to the website.
Pestell in the ‘Swing’ at new Essex base
Picture the scene: you’re on the practice ground, trying to find a swing that will combat a left to right wind. It’s important that you can pull off the shot to order as you’re about to step onto the 1st tee at Royal Troon.
Only you’re not actually playing on the west coast of Scotland; in fact, you’re in a fully air-conditioned warehouse unit in Essex. To be precise, you’re in The Swing Warehouse – the new home of PGA professional Andrew Pestell.
Several years ago, he and a business partner came up with the idea of establishing an indoor development area, initially aimed at supporting the ambitions of talented, young golfers in the East and beyond. Their bold vision has grown and led to the creation and 2021 launch of a high-tech facility that caters for golfers of all levels and aspirations.
At the heart of it, Pestell is offering the expertise and craft associated with a PGA professional. Insightful tuition, club fitting and a high standard of customer care are all provided alongside cutting-edge software in the spacious indoor facility located in a picturesque village, just a 15-minute drive from Chelmsford.
It looks and feels impressive from the moment you walk in. But it took more than a click of the fingers to make it happen. Pestell put in months of graft, channelling his inner D.I.Y talents – and calling on the support of friends and associates along the way.
Pestell, 42, previously worked for many years at his boyhood golf club, Chelmsford. In recent times he’d been serving as the club’s food/beverage and events/golf day manager. That came to a close in 2020 and Pestell chose to pursue the idea of an indoor golf centre that he’d been mulling over for some time.
With the help of a longstanding pal, Pestell identified a place in East Hanningfield to develop his plan. And with the investment of a businessman, whom he’d met through golf, The Swing Warehouse began to take shape from last December.
Through last winter, Pestell and his pal did much of the hard yards in terms of the refurb of the unit. An element that looks particularly smart is the jet oak slat walling that gives the place a cool, contemporary feel. Then there are the super-smart and roomy multimedia bays, set up and padded by Pestell’s landlords Ace Contracts (London).
Pestell said: “By March we were pretty much there. It was just about the finishing touches, basically. The end of April, we had the first client in the door.
“There’s a lot of these places being built now and you need to be ahead of the game a little. For us to do it, it had to be done properly to the highest level we could achieve financially to create this environment, this facility.
“We’ve got the 2 full bays – they’re 4 metres wide by 3 three metres high. Plenty of space, which was the main thing. Both bays are powered by Foresight Sports and GCQuad. There’s also a 4 by 2 metre putting mat and I’m going to do more with that.
“We’re providing to anyone who’s interested in playing golf or learning at any level: elite players through to total beginners.
“If you want to come and play 9 or 18, you can hire the space as a 2-ball, a 3-ball or a 4. And play any of the courses on the system. There’s about 20 on there – Wentworth, Valderrama, Emirates, Congressional, Troon.
“Or you can come in and practise – you can set up a range of things to hone your different distances. Skills challenges, competition games. You can change all your parameters on the range. So if someone is struggling to hit the ball into the wind, or a right to left wind, a left to right wind, they can come in here and practise with different directions, different altitudes, different temperatures.
“Then there’s ‘know your numbers’ which explains itself. A guy just phoned me this morning…he has just bought a new set of clubs and wants to know how far they go. So you hit a minimum of three shots with each club through the bag and work out exactly how far everything goes.”
One of the early beneficiaries of the facility has been Pestell himself. By his own admission, in the past he has not always been the most ardent when it comes to putting in the hours on the practice ground. However, it has been a different story this summer, fine-tuning his game at The Swing Warehouse when time has permitted. He feels it’s no coincidence that he has finished fifth on the Order of Merit – the first time he has been in the top-10 since 2013.
He said: “Since I’ve had this, I’ve been using it and understanding my numbers better. Distance control, I’m pretty much bang on with a lot of my stuff. I’ve got quite an analytical brain and have got right into some of the numbers side of things.”
With his playing season drawing to a close, Pestell – determined to really maximise the potential of the business – is planning to spread the word about The Swing Warehouse. He and his business partner are just finalising the different membership packages that are going to be available. Plus, another pro is in the pipeline to assist with coaching and the delivery of top-end junior programmes.
He expects the upcoming cold and wet evenings to be busy. After all, unlike the British winter, adverse conditions will never affect play at Pesty’s place – not unless you choose to set them up on the system before heading to the tee!