David O’Donnell is one of the golf professionals based at Topgolf Watford. David has just embarked upon the PGA programme to become a professional golfer with Topgolf and we wanted to find out why he’s chosen to do the PGA and why he’s doing it with us.
David is 21 and joined Topgolf in September 2017. He has previously worked at Bushey Country Club as a Duty manager and studied Sports Therapy at the University of Hertfordshire for a year before deciding it wasn’t for him.
So why did you want to do the PGA, rather than a University degree?
DOD “I’ve always loved golf, and this is a great way to further my career in the industry. It gives you so many opportunities to travel around the world, and that was also one of the reasons I wanted to join Topgolf – they have so many venues in the USA and have even just announced a new venue opening in Dubai in 2019! I love trying to improve everyone’s game and make a real impact on them, I love the challenge of trying to get people who have no interest in the sport into golf. There is also the added bonus of getting to play lots of different golf courses all over the world for free with your PGA card…
Why did you choose to do the PGA at Topgolf?
DOD “As I’ve already mentioned, there are so many opportunities here. You get the chance to talk to so many people on a daily basis, and not only that it’s such a wide range of people that come to Topgolf. People are leaving golf clubs left, right and centre, whilst Topgolf’s numbers just go up, which can only be a good thing for me as a coach here! There is also a great environment here, it’s a really fun place to work and everyone is very supportive."
So how is working at Topgolf different to working at a golf club?
DOD “As anyone who’s ever been to Topgolf will know, we’re not like a traditional golf club, or even a traditional driving range. Working here is completely different to a golf club. Firstly there are so many more people walking through the door here compared to at a golf club, especially in the winter. At a golf club my day-to-day would be working in the pro-shop, whereas here I get involved in a lot more. From helping with events such as the recent Pro-am in Chigwell, to helping with club repairs and selling lessons on the bays.”
For someone reading who is interested in golf, but knows nothing about how it all works – what does the PGA actually involve?
DOD “I was supposed to complete my level 1 golf coaching a couple of weeks ago, but the snow messed that up! This would have allowed me to start doing some coaching. In the first year you have 5 or 6 assignments to do over the year, due over different dates. We have 3 exams at the end of the year. I also have a residential week in February where I get to stay at the Belfry for a week, which will include 5 full days of lectures and seminars. There is also a lot of shadowing to do – I’ll be shadowing my colleagues here to learn their techniques. I will start coaching my own lessons in the New Year, which will provide a great learning curve.”