Evie Carter is a professional golf teacher / coach from the UK who works with a variety of ages and abilities. ?Having played Golf since the age of 12, Evie went on to have some success as a junior and studied Golf at University on the?Applied Golf Management Studies in association with the PGA, at the University of Birmingham in 2012.
As our first interview with a Golf coach, we wanted to ask Evie about the current ‘gender’ landscape of golf, what her experience of being a female golfer and golf teacher has been and how she thinks the game of golf needs to improve gender equality…as well as a couple of tips on how to improve that all important swing!
Can you tell us a little bit about your role as a PGA Teaching Professional and how you have progressed from playing golf at a young age to where you are now?
I started playing golf at the age of 12, by chance actually. My mum went to get my dad a golf voucher for a lesson from the local pro, they got talking and the pro then suggested to my mum to bring me along to a junior class and it all started from there. I then progressed with my lessons and I started to fall in love with the game. I went through the club, county pathway and then took the step to study golf at the University of Birmingham after my A-Level studies. I enrolled and was accepted to study Applied Golf Management Studies in association with the PGA in 2012. Of the 25 students in my year, I was the only girl. This really motivated me to do the best I could in a sport, which was and still is male dominated. After graduating with a 2:1 in July 2015, I became a fully qualified PGA Golf Professional in November 2015.
As a PGA Teaching Professional my main role is very varied. I work with many different ages and abilities; it?s great working with a range of golfers, as you are always looking for new ways to be the best coach you can be. I work with young people to encourage them to give the game a go or even provide the opportunity for young people who may not have had the privilege of trying the game before to do so. I have my own junior academy, ladies programmes and individual students who come to me to improve their game, these all range in ability and ages. My role as a coach also includes planning and delivering a Junior County and Get into Golf programme throughout my region, which is a great honor to teach such talented young golfers as well as reaching out to community golf projects.
From your own personal experience and knowledge, what is the current landscape for female PGA teachers? Are there a lack of women, is it equal to the number of male teachers etc?
I believe we are seeing more female Golf Professional emerging in the industry, which is great to see. From my experience, there are a less young female golfers, which could be a reason for the short number of female pros. However, this is on the rise, which is a positive move forward for the game. As a female golf pro I have overcome many obstacles throughout my time as a golfer and as a professional. I have played in PGA tournaments where I am the only female pro, and it is intimidating walking into a room with hundreds of male PGA Golf Pros, but I now think that this is a time where I can differentiate myself in many ways and look at it as an opportunity rather than a threat!
Golf coaching is similar to tennis coaching in the fact that it is difficult to become a coach or trainer if you haven’t played the sport at a decent level previously, unlike other sports in which it is possible that perhaps coaches have never played the sport at all. With this being the case, it seems essential that we encourage female golfers to become teachers, would you agree?
Yes, I believe prior golf knowledge and playing is essential to becoming a Golf coach. In a coaching setting, personal knowledge, experience and working on your own game is key as trial and error with your own game is a great way to pass on knowledge to students. I also feel that a love of the game is essential to give the most to students who I am teaching, especially when I take them to the golf course for a playing lesson: etiquette, rules, technique and general knowledge is needed to deliver the most effective lessons and to encourage students to be the best they can be.
What tips or advice would you give to women who play golf recreationally and may be interested in taking it a step further in becoming a teacher / coach etc?
Go for it! My best advice would be to find a mentor to guide you through the stages and ask as many questions as you can. I?ve recently sat down with a female golfer thinking of going to the same University as I went to and I talked her through the whole process, guidelines and gave an insight into how the course, PGA training and university life was. Having someone to talk to is key and using your mentor to find the information is imperative.
When a new player comes along for their first lesson with you and has never picked up a club before, what it the very first thing you teach them and is there a common misconception, mistake, habit that newbies have when first starting to play?
Firstly, I want to make them feel as comfortable as I can. We will have a chat about their previous experience or thoughts towards golf. I usually hand them a golf club and I let them have a go. You would be surprised at how many beginner golfers have a natural flair for the game without any coaching. After they have had a few practice swings I will guide and help them to make them feel confident in the way they are swinging the club. Then we progress from there, have a chat about how it feels and then build up the golf technique in bite size chunks.
As with some other sports, golf has a history of gender inequality, which thankfully over the years is slowly being eradicated; unfortunately however there are still a few situations in which women are penalised for their gender. One of the latest being the story of the next Olympic Games tournament being held in Tokyo in 2020 in which the club hosting the tournament normally don’t allow female members. What are your thoughts on this?
Male only clubs, in my opinion are a thing of the past. There has been recent press coverage surrounding the views of male members at Muirfield Golf Club in Scotland, and it has sparked strong debates surrounding the stubborn and out of date opinions that these ?gentlemen? have. Many of my male friends, colleagues and students are also against the views of this club and it shows that now, there are just a few groups that are enforcing out of date and discriminatory views. As for the Golf Club hosting the Olympic Golf Tournament, it could be an interesting environment to be in; in my opinion I think it may be more of an opportunity. The fact that it will provide a showcase of female talent should only have a positive impact. I?m sure there will be members there very against the idea, but there may be a few that could change their opinion, which could only help women?s golf on the whole