December 2018 Newsletter

www.martinrathbone.co.uk – martin@martinrathbone.co.uk – 07958785326

So here is how it happened …………….

Before we start please try to get to the end of this letter so that it all makes sense, thank you.

The other day I was asked by a member about my role here at Surbiton and how it started so I thought, why not write it down.

Well I remember the day I was driving down the A3 and said to myself, “I wonder how Paul Milton is doing” (I’ve known Paul for more years than I care to remember) so decided to pop in for a cup of tea. For those that don’t know me that well, I have a small passion for tea.

Fortunately for me Paul was around and after our initial hello,  we sat down and had a nice chat about lots of things, for me it was one of those days when your life is not at its best and, like everyone in every job, you feel you need a change. Well how my luck! In the conversation Paul said one of his guys was leaving the club and he was looking for a replacement. He went on to give me all the details and not only offered me the job but with all my experience he offered me the title of “Head Teaching Professional”

Surprisingly, I didn’t take the job there and then but as promised the offer duly arrived in my inbox and I gave it some thought. I then made one of the best decisions in my life and accepted the offer, even though to start with I worked at both Surbiton and my old golf club. It is a decision I have never regretted and Surbiton Golf Club is a very special place.

The members are amazing people and the course is one you never get tired of playing. Everyone is very friendly and the support they give the club is beyond belief. I’ve encouraged several golfers to become members and the Academy ladies are wonderful people that will very soon become full members.

A little more about me ……. I’ve always been one to try and learn something new every single day, no matter how small it is. I continue to improve my golfing knowledge and still attend seminars and conferences, I am also proud to say that the PGA has recently upgraded my status to “AA” in recognition of that.

I have worked with some of the very best Golf Teachers in the UK and will continue to discuss the golf swing with them. I myself still love having golf lessons and even if I just learn how to understand something a little better, then to me it’s worth the price. I try to hit practice balls every day – although I do take Christmas Day off. My claim to fame is I’ve had 10 x hole in 1’s.

Some things you may not know about me are:

I was assistant General Manager at a 9 hole golf complex and had 8 PGA Golf Professionals working for me. I also arranged the club’s Pro-Am and was in charge of the retail department. I extended the Pro-Shop which, along with my buying power, allowed me to treble the turnover and double the profits, the Pro-Am I organised was their most successful one and yes, I am blowing my own trumpet here.

I love IT and design, building and maintaining websites as my hobby; I have built websites for friends and family as well as fellow PGA Professionals. I advise them on how to optimise their sites for “search engine optimisation” (SEO) and how to use social media to market their products. Marketing is also another area I like to play around with and have lots of “off the chart” ideas.

Another of my loves is speedway. When I first started watching it as a 5yo it was the biggest sport around, even bigger than football, unfortunately all the London tracks have gone now so for the last few years I’ve not been able to see a live meeting. The British GP is held at Cardiff every year and over 60,000 people still attend. They close some roads on race day and trust me the atmosphere during the day is unbelievable.

Finally I will end with my most successful project; I had a 14yo lad start taking coaching from me and after a few lessons asked if he and his dad could have a chat. At that meeting the lad, playing off 18 handicap, said he wanted to be a Professional Golfer and his dad was sitting there looking at me. Most coaches would have very diplomatically found a way to say sorry but it’s not an option, I took the other view of you know what, that’s a challenge.

I explained how much hard work would be involved but the boy said he was fully committed, so I said great, let’s go!  3 Years later I was very proud to be caddying for him as he passed the PGA playing ability test. This enabled him to start training as a PGA Professional. It takes another 3 years of hard work to pass the PGA exams that involves every aspect of golf including business, sports science, custom fitting, rules and corporate days etc. I guided him through that as well, sometimes it felt like I was going back to school but it was worth it, after all it was my project and I had a lot of time invested in it with no financial reward.

I am pleased to say that the lad qualified with flying colours and I was there with his family on his graduation day, it brought a tear to my eye when he said “you deserve to be here, it’s as much yours as mine” I’ve watched that lad grow up and it still makes me smile when I hear him explaining things when coaching, using the same words and techniques I used when coaching him.

It wasn’t always a bed of roses, we disagreed on things, we argued and I never felt he worked hard enough but somehow we got there. He is now a fully qualified PGA member that also has a great persona and a good person to work with; I know he will do well in life. Who was that lad you ask me? ……… well you all should know him; he works at Surbiton Golf Club now in the pro-shop, his name….. Alex Williams.

Sorry for going on a bit but sometimes it’s good for people to understand you and where you are coming from.

Should anyone require any last minute presents then as usual I have Christmas Vouchers available.

Thanks for all your support, have a great Christmas, a fantastic New Year and let’s hope your golf is the best it can be in 2019

Martin Rathbone PGA

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