BY GEOFF GARNETT
FORMER Romiley junior captain and assistant professional at Hazel Grove Ben Thompson has become one of the UK’s youngest managers following his January appointment at Sale Golf Club.
The 26-year-old said: “I have received a really warm welcome by everyone I’ve met so far. It’s very similar to Hazel Grove in the fact that the membership is very social and extremely friendly.
“It makes a huge difference to starting a new job as I have a lot to learn. It helps to have such a friendly membership and to have help being offered from all corners of the club is brilliant and very encouraging.
“My plans in the short term is to start up fitness boot camps for members and non-members of all ages, shapes, sizes and ability around Sale to help promote healthy lifestyles, as I believe golf and fitness can help towards improving not only physical health but also mental health.
“I also plan to run Sale’s first ever Pro-Am this August that will be limited to 24 teams, with a healthy professional prize fund and lots of amateur prizes.
“Plans for a swing room are also at the top of my to do list in the near future.
“Now that I am a qualified PGA Professional and qualified personal trainer I hope to add a diploma in golf club management to my list of qualifications and I am also working towards PGA AA status, and also in the near future complete my level 4 personal training that will allow me to aid people in cardiac rehabilitation. The cardiac rehab is something I am passionate about as my dad passed away from a heart attack due to having a weak heart and not being able to do any exercise.”
The former Werneth Low junior was junior captain at Romiley in 2010. He started his career in professional golf at Cavendish Golf Club, in Buxton but soon moved to Hazel Grove to work for their professional James Rowlands. “I really learned that there was a lot more to working in golf than what I had previously experienced at Cavendish.
“Being at Hazel Grove gave me the chance to meet all of the local professionals at other clubs in the area and this is what sparked my addiction for playing professionally as previously didn’t get the chance at Cavendish.
“My first year or so at Hazel Grove was all about getting to know the members and playing a couple of local small tour events before starting my PGA qualification under the watch of James.
“Playing-wise, I struggled for a couple of years due to pressure and a lack of practice but then finally the scores and results started to come.
“My highlight of working at Hazel Grove however had to be working in the shop and dealing with the banter from members and James.
“After gaining my PGA at Hazel Grove I decided it was time to go self-employed and after an inspiring trip to China to look for “the next big thing” for my new Business Golo Golf, which I used predominantly for buying and selling second hand golf equipment. But then a drastic change in the second hand market meant that this didn’t last as long as I had hoped.”
He moved on to become a teaching professional at Adlington Golf Centre in Macclesfield before being offered the manager’s position at Sale.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help and opportunities provided by James at Hazel Grove and also not forgetting my dad, for pushing me all the way even when I considered changing careers and quitting my PGA, he always encouraged me to pursue my dream of becoming a professional.”