24 | NZ Golf Magazine | July 2019 ↑ David Feeney, 5th from R, with the 2018 NZPGA graduates. FEATURE H e had very extensive roles during the three years of his traineeship, and it was an amazing effort for him to top his graduating class in December last year! As David puts it “the demands of the traineeship are really quite intense, as you are working full-time; there is lots of study, assignments to complete, two trainee schools to attend each year plus 30 competitive rounds of golf to play that count towards your scoring average for the year! David, who is 25-years old, has been active in golf retail for quite some time and jumped at the opportunity to begin his traineeship for Scott Pickett, at the North Shore Golf Club, before moving with him down to the Te Puke Golf Club and the Omanu Driving Range. "Scott took up the opportunity to move down to the Bay of Plenty and I was happy to join him as it meant returning to my second home. Then, when the opportunity opened-up to be part of the start-up of The Clubroom at Newton Road, it was great to return to the Auckland golf retail scene". David started his golf when the family was living in Gisborne. As a little 'ginger' boy playing halfback in Poverty Bay, he got nailed quite a few times and decided rugby wasn’t going to be “his” sport. Loving the challenge of golf, he began progressing pretty quickly as he went around and around the Poverty Bay Golf Club. Some good coaching from the local professional, David Keown, led to him making some of the provincial junior teams. This was when David’s game really started to develop. The family then moved to Tauranga, where his father had a role with Bay of Plenty rugby. His golf took a huge step forward as he worked with NZ Golf coach, Jay Carter; this was also where the competition was much tougher. There he was soon in the U19 team and then made some starts for the senior team. Another move to Auckland for his father’s transition as coach of the Auckland rugby team, saw David moving to the Muriwai Golf Club in 2012. He ended-up playing Number 1 on the pennant team and representing North Harbour at many events, including playing in several Toro Inter-Provincial Championships. Competing against players such as Nick Voke, Sam An, Tae Koh, Cam Jones, Luke Toomey and Luke Brown, in addition to making some NZ golf squads, showed that he could play at a top level. However, instead of heading for a full playing route, he chose to take up a NZPGA Traineeship and become a fully qualified NZPGA Golf Professional. Every July, the New Zealand PGA provides the opportunity for golfers that would like to make a career in the game, to apply to become a NZPGA Professional. The PGA Trainee Programme is ideal for both male and female golfers Feeneygraduatestopoftheclass who have a passion for a career in golf. PGA trainees work alongside fully qualified PGA members and receive practical work experience and on-the-job training at approved golf facilities around the country. In addition to developing real skills for the workplace, PGA trainees also receive nationally accredited qualifications in a variety of vocational disciplines. Graduates from NZPGA Trainee Programme are internationally recognised by the major PGA’s around the world. The trainee programme covers a wide range of skills including coaching, game development, business and management. Coaching, one of those streams, includes knowledge and skills specific to golf coaching, leading to the highest level of coaching accreditation in the sport. Game development skills include strategies and skills to actively grow participation in and enjoyment of the sport. Small business skills are also covered and focus on strategic and operational skills for successfully operating businesses in the golf industry. The management skills focus on strategies related to planning, organising and leading a golf club or golf organisation. NZPGA Professionals are well-respected and working in golf operations in Australia, South Pacific, South East Asia, China, USA, Canada and across Europe and throughout the UK. Graduating from the NZPGA programme sets up a career pathway for the following roles: Head Professional, Director of Golf, Assistant Professional, Golf Operations Manager/Assistant, Teaching Professional, Tournament Professional. Golf Development Officer, Company Sales/ Technical Representative and Golf Club Management. As David Feeney recounts of his traineeship experiences “My fellow trainees really pushed me hard and it does become like a “brotherhood” in that we are competing against each other. However, we are also supporting each other to get through the programme. I would highly recommend the programme to anyone who is looking for a career in the golf industry". FOR MORE INFORMATION Or if you are thinking about becoming a NZPGA trainee contact Josh Longney: josh.longney@pga.org.nz DAVID FEENEY, FROM THE CLUBROOM IN AUCKLAND, TOPPED THE 2018 NZPGA TRAINEE GRADUATING CLASS. WORDSANDREWWHILEY