Case study

New partnership to boost golf education in Scotland - University of the Highlands and Islands

21 Dec 2015

The PGA and the University of the Highlands and Islands have unveiled a new partnership aimed at enhancing educational opportunities in Scotland for those eager to pursue a career in golf.

Students are able to take either a BA Honours Degree in Professional Golf or in Golf Management at the University’s Dornoch base next to the world-renowned Royal Dornoch Golf Club. There is also a new Diploma in Higher Education in Professional Golf which will be studied while students are in work at Scottish golf facilities.

The courses are aimed at those aspiring to a career in the golf industry which in Scotland is estimated to support the employment of more than 20,000 people.

The honours degrees are being delivered over a four year period on a full-time basis and are also available for part-time study. The diploma will be delivered by distance learning. The Professional Golf qualifications will ultimately lead to the opportunity for graduates to apply for PGA membership upon completion.

A close working relationship with Royal Dornoch will offer a unique opportunity for students to be involved in coaching, hosting golf events and placement opportunities at the world renowned golf club facility. 

The courses cover topics such as coaching, equipment technology, sport science and business management plus other subject areas developed to meet industry expectation and requirements.

There will also be residential weeks at PGA headquarters at the Belfry for those students following the Diploma in Higher Education course.

For the honours degree students there will be summer placements in golf facilities at home and overseas.

Dr Kyle Phillpots, The PGA’s director of education and career development, said: “The change in the student funding system two years ago meant that Scottish students were at a disadvantage when accessing our vocational degree programme.

“As a consequence, The PGA wanted to establish a partnership with a university in Scotland with the philosophy and dynamism that we have had for many years with the University of Birmingham in England.

“We are very pleased to be entering into a long term relationship with the University of the Highlands and Islands and believe it will provide an excellent opportunity to ensure that Scotland continues to have the highly skilled and knowledgeable professional workforce that the home of golf needs.”

Dave Robinson, The PGA’s training manager, commented: “The new courses will hopefully provide a huge ‘shot in the arm’ for the future of the game of golf in Scotland.”

Professor Neil Simco, the university’s Dean of arts, humanities and business and assistant principal curriculum growth, added: “This partnership builds on the university’s existing work within golf and will bring real benefit to current and future students on our golf provision. It will also position the university as the ‘go to’ Scottish university for golf education and training.”

Donald MacBeath, principal of North Highland College UHI, said: “For many years now, North Highland College UHI staff have been delivering a high quality, industry focussed golf curriculum from our Dornoch campus.

“This investment reflects the significance of the game to both the local economy and the wider Highland tourism experience. I am very pleased that their efforts have been formally recognised by The PGA and I believe there will be many exciting new opportunities for students and staff flowing from this new partnership agreement.”

Alan Fleming, programme leader for the university’s golf curriculum and a PGA Member, said: “I have been involved in North Highland College UHI’s golf curriculum for a number of years and also, as a member of The Professional Golfers' Association, I am extremely excited and proud to lead the development of the new Diploma in Higher Education in Professional Golf in partnership with the PGA.

“The resources and experiences of the team at North Highland, through many years of education in golf and the direct engagement with industry has been beneficial in the creation of the new programme.

“This will provide many exciting opportunities for our students, graduates and the programme team in the future. We aim to become the lead provider for education for the golf industry and the partnership with PGA is a significant milestone towards that.”

Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, commented: “Scotland is the home of golf, and we are fortunate enough to have some of the world’s best and most beautiful courses. I welcome this new partnership between the University of the Highlands and Islands and The PGA.

“Not only is golf a great sport, it’s also a real asset to Scotland’s economy. There are some tremendous career opportunities available in the game, and these courses will provide an ideal grounding.