Meet the PGA professional: Luke Eggleston

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick November 17, 2022 15:20

The current PGA East captain, and resident professional at Canons Brook Golf Club in Essex, talks about his two roles, the importance of an indoor studio and his time playing on the Challenge Tour.

Can you tell us a bit about Canons Brook Golf Club?

Henry Cotton was given the task of designing the course and work started in 1961. The farmhouse and outbuildings became the clubhouse and pro shop.

On May 9, 1963 the golf course officially opened with an exhibition match between Henry Cotton / Richard Costain versus Ian Large (the club professional) and Cyril Beaton over nine holes. This was unforgettable for the spectators who turned out to watch Henry Cotton perform his golf magic; he was, after all, the holder of three Open Championships and a past Ryder Cup player.

On May 22, 1964 the full 18 holes were opened for play and again Henry Cotton arranged an exhibition match involving himself and Michael Bonnalack, who became secretary of The R&A. Years later he told Cyril Beaton that he remembered every hole at Canons and complimented Henry Cotton for the best course he’d ever designed.

To this day the club still plays competitions in the name of the three at the original meeting, The Beaton Bowl, The Hyde-Harvey Cup and The Derek and Catherine Moule Trophy.

Over the years the course has matured and settled to become a tranquil but challenging golf experience. In 1991 money was found to rebuild the clubhouse into the superb modern building that we have today – but still managing to retain its links to the 17th century farm that centuries later houses Canons Brook Golf Course.

In 2013 the course celebrated its 50th birthday and is still going strong, heading towards its 60th next year.

You were the assistant professional at the club in the 1990s, and are now the resident professional and current PGA East captain. Can you take us through your career to date?

On leaving Canons Brook in 1997 I then went on to work at Wanstead Golf Club from 1997 to 2006, Orsett Golf Club from 2006 to 2012 and Loughton Golf Club (now folded) from 2012 to 2014. I then formed the LEAP Golf Academy in an indoor golf studio in Woodford Green from 2014 to 2022, and I’m now back at Canons Brook from May 1, 2022.

What does being a PGA regional captain involve?

The PGA in England East Regional Captain involves being on hand to every PGA member in the region. If any situations arise then they could relay it to me before going to committee level and possibly further. I also attend PGA functions, like the end of year PGA awards and ceremony which is held in London. I’ve also served on the committee, since 2014, dealing with all aspects we have in our region from elections, disciplinaries, tournaments and so on.

Has Canons Brook seen a growth in membership in the last two years?

From 2019 to the end of last year we have seen a growth in members.

What’s the club’s approach to coaching juniors?

We are currently structuring an academy programme to take the juniors forward in their development. The juniors are also undertaking individual lessons on a consistent basis.

Are you doing anything to get more women playing the game?

The current ladies’ section has had a few taster sessions in regards to lessons and the plan is to advertise within the club and local community to promote women’s golf and the benefits from beginning to being an active member at Canons Brook GC.

You have an indoor studio with a simulator – how important is that to your business?

An indoor studio is vital to my business, previously for the last eight years I had a standalone facility for lessons and custom fitting. With custom fitting it is so important to use launch monitors as the data is so accurate – I use the Foresight GC Quad. The use of the monitors is also vital to developing golfers into better players. For me it is making the golfer that walks through the door a better golfer by the time they walk out the same door.

You’re a member of TGI Golf. Has that proven to be of benefit to you?

I have, since joining TGI, benefitted so much with visits from their staff in helping with certain aspects of my business which is bearing fruition. It also allows me to source products at preferential rates with excellent companies that are under the TGI banner.

How does the club market itself?

Two board of management members are responsible for the marketing and promoting the club both locally and regionally. The club has reopened new avenues with the PGA, the county and England Golf.

A new board of management were elected last autumn with a positive mission statement. Over the last year we have upgraded the whole image of our club from the logo onwards. We use new social media interaction and a new website – albeit with some teething problems that are still to be ironed out!

The big push is encouraging more green fee visitors and golfing societies, and we’re aiming to improve our membership numbers which are lower than we are happy with.

The club is more than a golfing venue – it hosts weddings and conferences. How important are these to Canons Brook?

It is important as all the other services we provide at Canons Brook. We have developed the barn and clubhouse into a wedding venue which is much needed in the local community.

You played on the Challenge Tour – what are your proudest playing memories?

The Challenge Tour came a bit too early for me really and I didn’t have the backing like players do now with management companies, it was also hindered by several injuries at the time which didn’t help. I suppose my proudest golfing achievements are meeting and playing with some very influential people and idols along the way, winning an East region Order of Merit event, my ten hole-in-ones and playing golf with my dad.

What are your predictions for the next few years for the UK golf industry?

I think there are serious ramifications from Brexit and Covid-19 in regards to supply and demand; hopefully supplies are now coming back into manufacturers. The golf industry saw a boom once the first lockdown was lifted with golf resuming and manufacturers couldn’t cope with the initial demand. Stock supplies are still down with many products still on a shortfall which has an impact on many PGA professionals with a retail establishment. I can see many small companies being bought out by the mainstream, or even the smaller companies offering a smaller selection to what they have produced in the past. Hopefully we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel.


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick November 17, 2022 15:20
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