This week’s PGA Pro Q&A features an LET Professional and PGA Coach… Eugenie Knight!
Eugenie, based out of St. Austell Golf Club, Cornwall enjoyed a successful amateur career, which included Captaining the Girls County Team to victory in the South-West Inter County Championship. Eugenie now balances competing on the LET, with coaching.
More recently Eugenie finished T22 in the Rose Ladies Series Order of Merit, in a successful series of events, which included 4 top 20 finishes in 8 events.
We were keen to learn more about Eugenie’s background in golf and about the balance with competing and coaching.
What’s your first golfing memory?
Going up to the driving range with my Grandad. The deal was I had to hit the rubber tee every time before I could go onto the golf course. It definitely helped! I can’t say I didn’t hit every other bad shot possible but a top shot wasn’t a common one haha.
How did you first get into golf?
I used to walk around the golf course with my Grandad and then one day I gave it a go myself and loved it, the rest is history!
You currently coach as well as play competitively, how do you approach honing your own game, whilst coaching others?
Balance is key really. I try and book my lessons into just a few days each week so on my days off I can have a full days practice. I believe in quality practice rather than quantity of poor practice. I try and make mine SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound).
“… A stronger mindset, trusting my ability and believing I can actually win the event instead of just making up the numbers.”
More recently, you competed on the Rose Ladies Series, finishing T22 on the Order of Merit. What were your expectations going into these events, how would you reflect on your performances and what can you take away from them to help compete in 2021?
Going into the Rose Series I was excited, but also unusually nervous, due to being out of competition for a while because of COVID-19. We were also able to compete against some of the best females in the world – which was awesome – but added another element of pressure to the competition. Therefore my main objective for the first event was to just go out and enjoy the golf and not put high expectations on myself. I knew I had the game to compete amongst the best, but once I placed in the prizes after the first event, it gave me more confidence to aim higher and really trust my golfing ability.
I was happy with most of my performances during the Rose Series, especially my last round at Wentworth Golf Club. Sadly I didn’t finish. I had one hole left when the fire hit, but I really felt my game and mindset was in the best place during this round. I believe this is why I had one of my best scores during the Rose Series.
After analysis of all the rounds, there are a few aspects which I believe I need to work on to perform better in 2021. For me that is stronger mindset, trusting my ability and believing I can actually win the event instead of just making up the numbers. The other, which I believe you can always improve on, is dispersion with my approach shots. By this I mean the clubs I feel to be my scoring clubs, such as short irons down to my wedges. If this part of your game is on fire, then it gives you more realistic birdie chances instead of a 20ft putt. Looking at a 10ft putt seems much more holeable.
Finally, the last aspect is putting. I don’t think you can ever over practice this skill and it will in turn save you the most shots on a round of golf!
How would you recommend children hone their own skills at home?
Focus on the swing drills that your coach has given you and try and implement them for a little bit everyday. Short game practice can be done fairly easily inside, but maybe invest in some airflow balls. I’m not responsible for any broken windows! Keep those aim targets small, so it’s challenging and change things up so it doesn’t get boring and feel like a chore.
What advice would you give to parents whose children have just shown an interest in golf?
If the parent is also interested in taking up the game, get involved and help each other learn, I feel the key ingredients for a child’s progression in the game is positive encouragement and competition and keeping things fun!
“The best part for me is seeing the children progress and grow a passion for the game that we all love.”
At what point should parents encourage their children to seek coaching?
I personally think as early as possible to prevent any bad habits taking place. Group coaching is always a great start and for quicker progression one to one coaching is recommended.
Working with children presents a unique challenge. How do you approach coaching with different ages and ability levels?
I have actually created two Junior Coaching groups. One for my beginner/non-Congu handicap Juniors and another for my Congu handicap Juniors. This enables me to plan my lessons accordingly, so I’m able to further progress my Juniors in the correct manner. It’s important not to scare off my new Juniors with too advanced skills to begin with. It’s also important not losing the advanced Juniors interest with too basic skills either. I do alter the golf terms I use – dependent on the age of child – so it’s easily understandable. Regardless of age and ability, everyone loves a fun competition, so I try and pack my lessons full of these.
What’s the best thing about coaching Juniors?
It’s great fun coaching the Juniors as I’m like a big child myself! I love creating fun challenging games for them. The best part for me is seeing the children progress and grow a passion for the game that we all love.
What would your dream four-ball be?
Ian Poulter, Phil Mickelson and… Happy Gilmore!
Where can we find you?
Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us. I’m sure a lot of our junior readers will be take your experiences as a player to aspire to be an LET player. We look forward to seeing you succeed in 2021!