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A young Cardiff golfer has shunned the life of a tournament professional to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a teaching pro at the Vale Resort's Golf Academy.
22-year-old Matthew Coombs, who qualified last month with a degree in Applied Golf Management from Birmingham University, joins father Clive as part of the four-strong coaching setup at the Resort, which gives individual and group lessons to members and non-members of all ages from across south Wales. His three-year degree course, which included modules on sports science, coach education and business management, was developed in partnership with the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) and involved placements at The Belfrey and the Vale Resort.
The Junior Academy at the Vale has produced a number of young golfing stars in recent years, including current European Amateur Championship Cup winner and 2013 Open qualifier Rhys Pugh. As the 142nd Open Championship gets underway at Muirfield today (18th July), the team at the Vale Resort will be following closely the fortunes of Pugh, who qualified on the back of his historic win in Ireland last year.
Playing a part in developing local talent like Rhys has been one of the key motivations for Matthew who, according to father Clive, has already developed his own distinct teaching style;
“Matthew has always had an excellent temperament on the golf course,” said the Vale Resort’s golf manager. “While this is important in competitive golf, it’s a vital attribute to bring into a coaching career and hopefully it will serve him well. It is great to see how some of our younger golfers identify with him during the coaching sessions too and I’m sure we’ll see that reflected in the progress they make in the future.”
Matthew, meanwhile, is looking forward to getting stuck into his new role as a full-time teaching pro and putting some of his studies into practice;
“The PGA degree course has been a fantasic experience for me and has really launched my career as a teaching pro,” said Matthew. “The Vale Resort already has a great reputation for coaching juniors but we are always looking to develop new programmes that are tailored to different types of golfers, from complete beginners to ladies, or even experienced players that want to improve certain areas of their game. We have also worked with some fantastic groups of disabled golfers and that is one part of the job that really excites me.”
Dad Clive, who has worked at the Vale Academy for 14 years, taking over as the Resort’s golf manager in 2007, is also excited about the prospect of having a new addition to the team;
“The training I did to become a teaching pro certainly wasn’t anything like Matthew has experienced over the last three years. His knowledge of the industry, the scientific side of things and how advances in technology have impacted on equipment and teaching methods, is just light-years ahead. He’s definitely going to be teaching his old man a few new tricks.”
As part of its commitment to supporting the golfing stars of the future, the Vale Resort offers a special Junior Golfing Package for young people aged between 8-18 years. The Resort has also just launched a new “Learn to Play” package that includes a three-month midweek membership, lessons with a teaching pro and free use of hire clubs, together with a discount annual subscription if you decide to join up.
The Vale Resort’s Junior Team is sponsored by the Principality Building Society, which is strongly committed to supporting grass roots sport in Wales.
Information on the Junior Golf Programme
Father & Son Coaching Team Press Release