Shane O’Grady has been named an Advanced Fellow PGA Professional in recognition of his work at Dunshauglin’s Black Bush Golf Club in the latest PGA APAL (Accreditation for Professional Achievement and Learning) Awards, writes the PGA.
During a successful 19-year stint at Black Bush, O’Grady has developed one of the top golf academies in Ireland and coached some of the country’s best golfers including the talented Maguire twins, two-time Irish PGA Championship winner David Mortimer and PGA Cup player John Dwyer, to name but a few.
The award is the second highest classification available to PGA Professionals behind Master Professional, and recognises the 43-year-old’s commitment, hard work and skill throughout his career.
It is noteworthy that Shane is only the third, and the youngest, PGA Professional to achieve the Advanced Fellow status in the Irish Region. The next step is to achieve the status of Master PGA Professional and join a very select group. At the moment there is only one Master PGA Professional in Ireland, former European Tour player David Jones, though Howard Bennett, John Garner, Bob Torrance and Pete Cowen, who are also Masters Professionals, have all had close connections with Irish golf.
“It feels fantastic to be given this honour,” he said. “I’m really happy that my achievements have been recognised in this way.
“As a young professional I enjoyed playing and had great success at it, but as I went on in my career I developed a real passion for coaching. I enjoyed it and seemed to have a lucky knack of achieving huge success.”
O’Grady is renowned for his search for excellence at Black Bush, which is now reaping dividends as witnessed by a recession-busting rise in participation at the club, which is debt free and breaking even during tough economic times.
Aside from acknowledging his contribution as a club pro, O’Grady’s award also recognises his role as coach to the Golfing Union of Ireland Leinster branch and the Irish Ladies Golf Union.
“I enjoy teaching people from a range of different backgrounds and abilities,” he said. “For many people the initial lessons are about giving them a level of competency so that they can enjoy the sport.
“As you progress with an individual you have to understand their personality and how you can work with them to get them to the level they want to be at. Some want to go on and win tournaments but others just want to be at a good enough level to get the ball around the course.
“There’s a real buzz when someone you work with goes on to achieve things and win tournaments. Coaching is all about the player and to see them achieve success is always very rewarding.”
Shane has had over 80 recognised tournament winners under his tutelage over the last 20 years.
Despite his success, O’Grady shows no signs of letting up. He has recently launched his own online SOG Golf Academy (http://soggolf.com) which includes online tuition and a range of video content to help increase his offering to his students.
“I’m excited to be offering the new website,” he explained. “It is the first of its kind in Ireland and I hope it will help to further improve the coaching services we can offer.”
And he still harbours a major aim for his future career.
“I’ve enjoyed progressing through The PGA and I would hope that I can achieve Master Professional status over the next few years. That is the next big goal for me.”