Tuesday, August 23, 2011

PGA NEWS - Chinese mission for former Ayrshire Boys Champion

Mark Henderson
Former Ayrshire Boys Champion Mark Henderson has secured an important coaching position in the far east.

Henderson, who played his junior golf at Loudoun Gowf Club and won the Ayrshire Boys Championship in 1998, has taken up a post at the famous Mission Hills complex.

A report on his progress, from the PGA website at, is reproduced below.

An ambitious young PGA professional is taking his coaching talents to a new level under the wing of influential American instructor Cindy Reid.

Mark Henderson has literally got China in his hands after landing a prestigious coaching position at Reid's academy at the world-renowned Mission Hills complex.

Reid was formerly the director of instruction at TPC Sawgrass and the Scot is looking to improve his teaching abilities to add to his management skills.

The 29-year-old Scot is one of a growing number of PGA professionals seizing on burgeoning opportunities in the Far East where the PGA already also has two branded academies in the Chinese cities of Beijing and Shanghai.

Henderson has already gained management and consultancy experience in Indonesia and Poland where he was head pro at Sierra Golf and also finished runner up in the Polish PGA Order of Merit. Previously he was at Kuredu Island Resort in the Maldives where he ran golfing operations.

"I love the management side and previously combined that with teaching but now want to specialise in the coaching side," he said.

"Cindy is very good at what she does and I've learned lots about being really hands on with students. She actually gets her hands on them and takes them through the motion as she demonstrates the swing.

"It's not something we are used to doing in the UK and it is something I'm working on.

"She's also very good at getting her point across and I've learned more ways of doing that."

It's not always easy, you have to get used to the culture and the way of doing things. You have to have the right attitude to make it out here.

Henderson was brought up at Loudoun Golf Club, near Troon, where his parents were club managers. A talented amateur he won a golf scholarship to Paris Junior College, Texas, before embarking on the PGA three-year foundation degree while based at Royal St David's.

But while enjoying four years at Royal St David's his mind was always set on working abroad.

"I always had travel in mind and in the last three or four years I've gained some really good experience in positions that I might have struggled to get in the UK," he said.

"There are a lot of openings in the Far East but they are not all advertised. Without connections and networking you will not find out about them.

"Golf in China is on the rise and it is only going to get bigger. They say the golf market is booming now but wait three to five years and it will really take off.

"It's not always easy here, you have to get used to the culture and the way of doing things. You have to have the right attitude to make it out here."

Henderson also revealed how his PGA training has stood him in good stead.

"In terms of what the PGA training programme does and the knowledge it gives you, it's pretty damn good considering what I have seen since I left the UK," he added.

"I'm fortunate that I grew up around golf and was pretty hands on and gained great experience of putting it all together but I've also tapped into everything we did with the PGA qualification."

Now, in the latest chapter of his career, he is looking forward to developing his coaching reputation in the equally safe hands of Reid.

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