Bennett, Howard Anthony (2011)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Professional golfers are frequently in the media spotlight as they compete in high profile tournaments around the world. Behind this „shop window‟ there is a vast industry in which several thousand „golf professionals‟, members of the Professional Golfers‟ Association [PGA] are engaged, delivering a wide range of services which support those who play the game of golf at every level. Golf education itself has been through many changes as the industry has been professionalised. Formal preparation of new golf professionals commenced in 1961 with the introduction of „voluntary‟ training, after which professional education became mandatory. The next four periods: „compulsory‟ 1970-1979, „consolidation‟ 1980-1986, „development‟ 1987-1995 and „academy‟ 1996-2007, each built upon the previous as the curriculum, content and delivery method evolved into its current format. This thesis is concerned with the career decisions of a purposive sample of PGA golf professionals, with two research participants from each of five different periods between 1961 and 2007. Whilst research around careers in professional sport is limited, this study draws upon career development theories (Super, 1957; 1981 and 1990), vocational development theory (Osipow and Fitzgerald, 1996; Brown, 2002; Whitson and Keller, 2004a) and the chaos theory of career (Davey et al., 2005). An exploratory inductive approach to the narrative data gathered from the retrospective views of the samples participant‟s career histories was adopted. Analysis of the data revealed four main findings, the importance of the community into which the aspiring professional is immersed, the significance of the first job and the employing professional on future career progression, the need for structured career planning and the potential effects of chance / luck. The thesis concludes that the PGA training programme must better prepare golf professionals for multiple career adjustments and encourage a flexible approach to career development.
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