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Near to the Green: career decisions in professional golf

Bennett, Howard Anthony (2011)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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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.

Type of Work:M.Phil. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Toms, Martin
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:School of Education
Subjects:GV Recreation Leisure
LB Theory and practice of education
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1596
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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