Friday, 3 October 2014

PGA Pro's smash through the 1000 lesson barrier

The Ryder Cup wasn’t just a roaring success for Paul McGinley and Europe with a team of PGA pros smashing through the one thousand free lessons barrier at Gleneagles.
Indeed such was the demand for coaching that hundreds had to be turned away daily from the PGA Swing Zone as spectators eagerly sought the chance to get swing and putting advice.
And while the majority of the 40,000 plus spectators swarming over the PGA Centenary Course were Scottish, there was a melting pot of nationalities visiting the PGA Swing Zone including Americans, Canadians, Mexicans and Europeans.
Among the PGA pros dispensing lessons was Dalmahoy-based teaching pro John Murray – a Scotland-based Dubliner.
“It’s a great week, and you get all sorts coming in for lessons,” he said.
“I had an eight year old from Blairgowrie with an unbelievable swing who hit the ball fantastically and was just very naturally talented. One of the best I’ve ever seen.
“At the other of the spectrum I had a rugby player who’d never picked up a club in his life but his rugby days are coming to an end and after trying golf decided this was going to be his new sport.”
Heather Gaunt, coach education and development manager for Scotland, branded the exercise a huge hit and is already looking forward to next year’s Open Championship at St Andrews were PGA pros will again be on hand to give free lessons.
“It’s been a really positive experience, we’ve had everything from absolute beginners through to golfers who play off scratch and just wanted to work on a few things such as posture and alignment,” she said.
“The quality of the coaching has been fantastic and bar the odd break to go and watch a bit of the golf they’ve been working from eight to seven. Their enthusiasm and energy has been incredible and I just want to thank the PGA pros for giving up their time and making it such a success.
“The feedback from the public has been tremendous, we even had people coming back day after day for a lesson.
“We also a dad and his son came to see one of the pros, George Boswell, who a few years ago had told this dad his son really need to get some proper coaching, which he’d done, and had just finished in the top 10 in a European junior event and they just wanted to come and say thank you to George which was nice.”
The 12 PGA pros helping the Ryder Cup go with a swing were Andrew Munro (Elie Sports Centre), Lesley Mackay (Lesley Mackay Complete Golf), Gavin Cook (Elie Sports Centre), John Mulgrew (Airdrie Golf Club), Ian Muir (Ian Muir Golf Ltd), Bob Collinson (Bearsden Golf Range), Gordon McLeod (Monifieth Golf Links), Ryan Scott (Loretto School Golf Academy), George Boswell (Mearns Castle), Nicola Melville (Nicola Melville Golf), John Murray (Dalmahoy) and Allan Martin (Buchanan Castle).

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Q&A for Ryder Cup Swing Zone

(Taken from website)

Brookline was a wake-up call to Nicola Melville at the competitive rivalry between Europe and the United States.
The St Andrews based PGA pro will be able to savour the experience first hand at Gleneagles in 2014 where she is one of 11 coaches helping to give hundreds of free lessons during Ryder Cup week. caught up with Nicola to talk Ryder Cup in its latest swing zone Q&A.
What does it mean to you to be coaching at the Swing Zone at the Ryder Cup?
It's very exciting! The Ryder Cup is one of the biggest sporting events in the world and I'm very much looking forward to being a part of it and experiencing the atmosphere.
You only have 15 minutes for the free lessons but what do you hope to achieve in that time and what do you hope the spectators will get out of it?
With only 15 minutes it's important to get to the point fast. To do that you need to ask the correct questions to establish each player’s goals and wishes which is one of the things taught on the PGA level 3 coaching qualification.
What spurred you to become a PGA professional and why did you choose it as a career?
Since I took up golf I’ve always wanted to turn it into a full time career. Being a PGA pro opens doors into many areas of the golf industry, for example coaching or business.
What’s the best thing about coaching golf?
It is very rewarding teaching someone who hasn't played golf before and seeing them get the same enjoyment that I got from it when I first took up the game.
Growing up, what was your first Ryder Cup memory?
The 1999 Ryder Cup at Brookline. I had only taken up golf a year or so earlier and I didn't realise just how much rivalry there was between the Europeans and Americans! (Sergio Garcia, below left, and Jesper Parnevik celebrate a putt at Brookline)
What was the first Ryder Cup you attended (if any) and any special memories?
This is actually my first Ryder Cup, so I really looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere. It's not every day such a big event comes to the area.
Why do you think the Ryder Cup is so special and what do you like about it?
It's difficult to describe. The passion and rivalry between the two teams isn't something you normally see at a golf tournament. It's almost like a football match but a bit friendlier!
Who has been your favourite Ryder Cup player over the years and why?
I enjoyed watching Colin Montgomerie (below with Payne Stewart) play in the Ryder Cup. He has never been the most popular player with the Americans but he was able to use that to his favour!
Who has been the most influential Ryder Cup player of all time?
Seve Ballesteros. He had so much passion for the Ryder Cup and was able to inspire his team-mates. Even after his death you could still see it at the last Ryder Cup at Medinah when the whole European team were trying to win it for Seve and his close friend Jose Maria.
What do you make of Paul McGinley’s three captain’s picks (Stephen Gallacher, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood) and is there anyone else you would like to have seen selected?
I wouldn't have picked anyone different, in fact they were my exact predictions! Even though Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood haven't been in the best form recently they are experienced Ryder Cup players and are capable of raising their games for the big occasion. Stephen Gallagher came so close to securing an automatic place and they really need a Scot in the team!
If it comes down to a crunch putt to win the Ryder Cup for Europe on the Sunday, which of Europe’s 12 players would you trust the most to sink the putt and why?
Ian Poulter, he thrives on the pressure of the Ryder Cup plus he is one of the best putters on the team
Finally, score prediction please?  
Europe 15.5- USA 12.5

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Royal and Awesome

A few pictures of myself wearing my new trousers. Many thanks to Royal and Awesome

Very nice and colourful clothing. Looking forward to wearing them this summer.

Well worth a look if you like something that's a bit different.

Friday, 14 March 2014

SGU PGA Professional Interview

Taken from the SGU website

New: The PGA Professional Interview

Welcome back to our latest feature on our new-look website, giving you the chance to learn how PGA Professionals help and support the game up and down the country.
The PGA is responsible for identifying and fulfilling the needs of over 7,500 members working in more than 60 countries worldwide.
PGA Professionals are key to the continued global success of golf, operating in over 50 different roles – from club professionals and course architects to retailers and high performing coaches.
Focusing on Scotland’s professionals, many of whom work with the Scottish Golf Union and our national squad players, our second feature is on Nicola Melville.
Nicola is a freelance teaching professional working at St Andrews, who last year helped set up the Scottish Ladies Open Tour (now the Ladies Tartan Tour). Exciting times ahead for Nicola, pictured above with Paul Lawrie and Brian Mair, Secretary of the PGA in Scotland, so let’s find out more…
What is your golfing background?
NM: “I started playing golf at the age of 12 and won the Ladies Club Championship’s at both Bridge of Allan and Stirling Golf Club’s while in my teens. I represented Stirling and Clackmannanshire County Ladies before turning professional and joining the PGA’s training programme in 2005. To continue my development, last year I undertook the PGA Level 3 Coaching qualification and I’m now in the final stage of the assessments.”
What have been your career highlights, employment and /or playing?
NM: “I started the PGA training programme at a time when the PGA were increasing the emphasis of the programme into more academic areas, with the backing of the University of Birmingham, making it extremely challenging. Therefore completing the Foundation Degree programme was probably the hardest but most worthwhile development for my career. Additionally, being involved in starting the Ladies Tartan Tour is something I’m particularly proud of.”
Where are you currently based?
Nicola Melville
Melville enjoys her various roles in golf
NM: “I am a freelance professional based at St Andrews. I started my training as an assistant at Blairgowrie Golf Club before moving to the Old Course Hotel, St Andrews in 2006. In order to develop my career further I decided to become freelance in 2010, which gave me time to focus on other areas of interest. I’m a PGA qualified rules official and member of the PGA Rules Panel and work as a referee mainly on the PGA EuroPro Tour, which takes me up and down the country.”
You have been involved in starting the Ladies Tartan Tour (previously the Scottish Ladies Open Tour). How exciting is this for you and how significant is it for Scottish golf?
NM: “Last year, the freelance golf writer Colin Farquharson and I started the Scottish Ladies Open Tour (now the Ladies Tartan Tour). We both felt that there needed to be more opportunities for female players to play in their home country, and that there needed to be a “stepping stone” for aspiring players to make the move on the main tours.
“We were fortunate to get sponsorship from the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre which helped get the idea off the ground and encourage other sponsors. Over the course of our first season we had over 80 different players, including those from England and the Continent, which we found very encouraging.”
You are fully endorsed by the PGA in Scotland and have the backing of former Open champion Paul Lawrie. How important is this support?
NM: “Having the backing of the PGA in Scotland and Paul Lawrie is fantastic for the tour. It helps to raise the profile of ladies golf up and down the country and it gives WPGA players and trainees more events to play in and fulfil their playing requirements.”
How strong a supporter of Scottish golf is Paul Lawrie?
NM: “Paul is doing a lot for Scottish golf. Between the work he is doing with his Foundation and the money he is putting into both men’s and ladies’ Tartan Tours I’m sure it’s only matter of time before we start to see the results across Scottish golf as a whole. I’m surprised he finds time to fit everything in!”
The aim of the tour is to provide Scottish female professionals and leading amateurs a chance to test their skills with the hope of moving onto the big stage. You must be pleased to be playing a key part?
NM: “I’m very pleased to play any part I can in helping to raise the profile of ladies golf, particularly in Scotland. I’ve always felt the men’s game has received more coverage but that is starting to change.”
You mentioned your rules background?
NM: “It’s challenging work as there are so many different scenarios that you can encounter during the course of a tournament, but that also makes it very enjoyable. I hope to be able to gain more experience in this area with a view to it as a future career.”
If you would like to contact Nicola, she can be reached on email at:
If you want to work with the best coaches in the country, contact the PGA or your club professional.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

New Ladies Tartan Tour with the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre and the PGA

The PGA in Scotland will be a trail-blazer in 2014 when it takes the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre Ladies Tartan Tour under its umbrella.
It will be the first of the PGA's seven regions to run both men's and women's professional circuits from its headquarters at Gleneagles.
It is a feather in the cap of Brian Mair, appointed PGA in Scotland secretary last year, to lead the way forward. He said:
"The PGA in Scotland is committed to providing all our Members with professional, competitive playing opportunities throughout the country and we very much look forward to supporting Ladies golf during 2014 and beyond.
"This represents an important step in our quest to promote the game to all sectors of the community and to reach as wide an audience as possible".
The PLGC Ladies Tartan Tour Director is PGA teaching professional and qualified Rules Referee Nicola Melville. She cut her teeth on the inaugural Paul Lawrie domestic circuit last year when she also worked as a referee on the PGA EuroPro Tour.
Said Nicola:
"We are delighted to have the sponsorship from the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre again and look forward to working with the PGA in Scotland to support ladies golf in Scotland"
Said Paul Lawrie:
“We’re very happy to continue our support from 2013 of what was formerly the Scottish Ladies Open Tour.  The new schedule and improved structure will mean some strong venues and the chance for the ladies to play for very healthy prizefunds. 
"By supporting the Ladies Tartan Tour we are effectively mirroring the support we offer to their male counterparts.  Hopefully it can provide an effective training ground where the girls can get used to the rigour of competition and help prepare them for the next step.”
The tour is open to all female professionals and amateurs with single-figure handicaps. It is not restricted to Scottish-based players.
There will be five 36-hole stroke-play tournaments, each over two days, at high profile Scottish venues - Fairmont St Andrews, Murcar Links, Dundonald Links, Macdonald Cardrona and Marriott Dalmahoy.
Each will have a prizefund of £6,000.
The first event will be held at Fairmont St Andrews in April and the last - the Tour Championship - at Marriott Dalmahoy in September when Heather MacRae, a Gleneagles Hotel staff pro, will be defending the handsome trophy, donated by Aberdeen hotel owner Stewart Spence.
Paul Lawrie has been instrumental in the Ladies Tartan Tour switching its emphasis from one-round to 36-hole events.
"We want to provide a platform for the lady pros and amateurs to prepare for the day when they tackle the Q School and beyond by getting them used to playing two-round tournaments," said Paul.
"Nothing wrong with 18-hole events but a different mindset is required by a player for competitions over two rounds or more. That is one of the reasons why I started the Paul Lawrie Invitational at Deeside on the men's Tartan Tour which is dominated by one-day pro-ams."
A total of 82 competitors, including some from the Continent and England, played on the only Scotland-based lady pro and leading amateur circuit in its first season. The hope is that more lady pros and low-handicap amateurs, keen to gain experience of competing at this level, from outwith Scotland will be attracted North of the Border by the 2014 schedule.


TITLE: Paul Lawrie Golf Centre Ladies' Tartan Tour.
          In association with the PGA in Scotland

FORMAT: Five x 36-hole stroke-play tournaments, each over two days.
Open to all female professionals and amateurs with a single-figure handicaps

Tournament entry fee: £75 per event.

PGA members will be able to enter directly through the PGA in Scotland website but not

for the time being until the procedure is set up
and in place, ready to function.
Other players will need to phone the PGA in Scotland office at Gleneagles on
01764 661840 (ENTRIES OPEN SOON).

Membership of the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre Ladies Tartan Tour
PGA Professionals: No fee
Non-PGA Professionals: £70
Amateurs: £40

Schedule (all 36-hole events)

Prizefunds: £6,000 per tournament

14-15: Fairmont St Andrews
8-9: Murcar Links
18-19: Dundonald Links
25-26: Macdonald Cardrona
10-11: Marriot Dalmahoy (Tour Championship)