Golf Gary Pouponneau becomes Seychelles’ third pro golfer |08 September 2022
Gary Pouponneau is Seychelles’ third professional golfer after he graduated as a fully-fledged qualified Professional Golfers Association class A player under the Professional Golfers Association of South Africa.
On Monday at the Bryanston Country Club in South Africa, director of golf at Constance Lemuria Seychelles on Praslin, Pouponneau received his degree certificate after completing a three-year course.
“I’m very proud of myself upon realising such an achievement, being a PGA member with an internationally recognised qualification and belonging to the PGA family.
“I look forward to grow the game of golf by touching lives through this beautiful game and more exposure to international tournaments,” Pouponneau told Sports NATION.
Pouponneau was accompanied in South Africa by fellow Seychellois professional golfer William Weidner who is also a PGA player but qualified under the Great Britain & Ireland Professional Golfers Association.
The other Seychelles professional golfer is Yves Emond who qualified under the Belgian PGA.
Weidner was Pouponneau’s mentor during the three years of his studies as all golfers attempting the PGA degree need mentors who have qualified prior to oversee their course work, preparation for assignments, written exams and practical.
Pouponneau’s performance could be described as outstanding and his hard work has paid off as he finished second in his class out of 33 graduates for the year 2022.
“The journey during the three years to become a PGA professional was a tough and challenging road as I had to face lots of challenges, but one I will surely cherish and hold on for the rest of my life,” said Pouponneau.
“I can’t thank everyone enough who supported me through till the end. The long nights and hard studies. Firstly, the Almighty who has blessed me and my family, my wife and daughter who have been my rock and I wouldn’t have this qualification without them. A huge thank you goes to Constance Lemuria Seychelles, our General Manager Bruno Le Gac for sponsoring the studies and for believing in my abilities. To William Weidner, a close friend and mentor, for his support and advice throughout and to the training staff of the PGA for all they have done through the years,” he added.
“I started the residential in May 2019 in South Africa where the other associates/students and I were welcomed by the chief executive officer (CEO) of PGA of South Africa, his training staff and lecturers. It was intense learning where we spent each day with different lecturers for each subject that was planned to cover during the year such as golf coaching, business finance, golf retailing, rules of golf, sports science, equipment technology and golf world.
“Based on the above subjects, there’s a monthly assignment that was handed as per deadline. Basically, one assignment per month from June to January and then we sat for exams in all the subjects in February including a practical teaching ability test (TAT),” he explained.
Pouponneau added: “It’s been a tough three years considering my responsibilities in my job, my family and studying at the same time. I sacrificed my time spent with the family as I needed to focus on my studies. Even during my holidays and time off from work, I had my laptop to finish the assignments.
“Upon joining the PGA, I set myself three goals. Having successfully completed a teaching certification in the field of golf instruction with the SAGTF (South African Golf Teachers Federation) in 2011, it gave me the experience and confidence to take this course.
“I was very pleased after successfully passing the exam for year one.
“Year two didn’t start well as Covid-19 hit the world and we were unable to travel to South Africa that year due to restrictions on traveling. Thankfully the PGA training staff were able to accommodate all those who couldn’t travel via webinars for the residential and remainder of the year.
“In year two, subjects were sport science (biomechanics, nutrition and health), business finance, coaching (sports psychology), equipment technology, business law, tournament organisation. Like in year one, there were monthly assignments and end-of-year exams based on those subjects. Sadly, we lost the PGA training manager mid-way during our academic year due to Covid. There was an emotional effect on all of us associates and training staff as he was the main mentor.
“In year three, practical exams had to be done online due to Covid which was a challenge as I couldn’t be physically present with the examiner.”
Meanwhile, Pouponneau and Weidner joined forces with two fellow South African pros to finish third overall out of 18 teams of four in a Four-ball Alliance competition played prior to the graduation ceremony.