Alex Higgs with Lee Westwood
Where did you go for your work placement?
Celtic Manor Resort
What was your job role when you were there?
Retail Assistant/Golf Operations
Why did you decide to do a placement at that particular facility?
I thought that with Celtic Manor being a 5* resort and having held the Ryder Cup in 2010 that there would be great opportunity for me to enhance my learning of the golf industry. With the fantastic facilities and reputation it would give me a great experience to help me further my academic studies.
It was an unbelievable experience which I am never likely to experience again
What was the personal highlight of your time on placement?
The whole placement was thoroughly enjoyable but the real highlights would have to be experiencing the NATO summit during the start of September. It was an unbelievable experience which I am never likely to experience again. There were tanks and fighter jets on the golf course with police and police dogs circling the resort. However in terms of the best golfing experience it would be the week I spent on the range at the Wales Open, European Tour event. I was able to interact with some of the world’s best golfers including Lee Westwood and Thomas Bjorn who the following week were to represent Europe at the 2014 Ryder Cup.
How do you find living in your placement location?
I was lucky enough to live at home during my placement however I had to travel 40 minutes just to get to work. This was very time consuming but was worth it.
What were the main things you learned about working in the golf industry and yourself?
At the beginning of the placement I was a little shy and unconfident about the jobs I was doing however by the end I had developed these making me confident with customers and the industry. I learnt lots about the retail side of the industry as well as custom fitting, coaching, club repairs and golf operations.
What is your top tip for other students thinking of doing a placement at that facility?
Being a first year I knew I was going to be thrown into the bottom of the food chain and made to do rubbish jobs. If you do these well and show enthusiasm then things won’t stay that way for long and good things will come. For example, when I accepted my placement I wasn’t getting paid and was purely voluntary. However on my second day I vacuumed the whole of the upstairs bays (25 of them). Everyone was so impressed with the effort and attention to detail I had displayed including my boss. The next day when I turned up to work my boss’s boss approached me and asked whether I wanted a full time paid job for the summer.
What are your aspirations for the future and how has the placement benefited you?
My aspirations for the future after my degree are to go into golf club management as the director of golf or similar golf role. This placement helped me to gain an understanding of how a 5* golf resort operates. I have experienced the retail side of the industry so I am fully aware of how this works. In my future placements I would like to undertake coaching and custom fit work to gain experience on that and also more management type roles. This may be event organisation or something similar. I feel this would then give me the whole range of jobs within the industry to help me to prepare for time after my degree.