Peebles-born Ewan Hogarth discusses a career path that has led him to enjoy a number of roles in Asia, including his current position of PGA Head Professional running the PGA Academy at Thailand’s Chee Chan Golf Resort.
Ewan Hogarth says he has been “very fortunate to work all over the world” in a career that has already taken him to Italy, Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Indonesia and, now, Thailand.
A teenager when he began his PGA training, he has developed into a specialist coach who cites John Jacobs and Butch Harmon as influences.
Describe your career path to date…
I have been very fortunate to work all over the world – from continental Europe to the Caribbean and now south-east Asia. Originally from Peebles in Scotland, I first moved out to Asia in 2013, initially working as Tourism Professional in Sabah, East Malaysia. In 2015 I was offered the Head Teaching Professional’s position at The Royal Selangor Club in Kuala Lumpur, where I spent two very happy years. In late 2017, I took up a new position with Mizuno Golf Schools in Jakarta, Indonesia, where I spent two years before being offered the fantastic chance of career progression with IMG at the setting up of The PGA Academy at Chee ChanGolf Resort in Thailand, where I moved to in January 2020. I was involved with every stage of the planning, design, pre-opening, opening, and now the daily operation of the academy, which has been a tremendous experience.
What attracted you to work overseas?
My first opportunity came in 2012, when I ran the golf programme for onboard ships for Costa Cruises, working out of Genoa. I must have visited more than 30 countries in my first year, which really opened my eyes to the global reach of the golf industry and really whetted my appetite to working overseas.
How did you hear about the role at Chee Chan?
I initially found out about it through the PGA’s online recruitment page, although already having connections in the region allowed me to discuss the role with Paul Burley at IMG, who are management consultants for Chee Chan Golf Resort. Being based in Jakartaat that time and having a good deal of experience of working in the region were probably significant factors.
How has your PGA training, support and resources helped prepare you?
The PGA gives every young, aspiring golf professional a great foundation on which to build their career in the golf industry. I was very young – 18 or 19 – when I started the training, giving me the time to build on my experience and develop my career gradually.
What facilities does Chee Chan offer?
We have an outstanding five-star championship golf course that was voted the best course in Thailand in 2020 by Golf Digest. Our location is unrivalled in the area with the famous Khao Chee Chan Buddha mountain overlooking every hole. I run our PGA branded golf academy and provide all tuition, and I think our driving range view is up there with best in Asia!
What does a typical day involve?
Although we cater to all levels of golfers, the main bulk of our coaching is with promising youngsters that are looking to compete as elite juniors and professionals. The standard of the youngsters here in Thailand is quite exceptional. They are always playing scratch tournaments on challenging courses all year round that almost forces them to get very good very early.
What are the most rewarding and the most challenging aspects of your job?
I would say dealing with the impatience of my pupils is the most challenging thing. Trying to get them to manage their expectations can be tricky. We are lucky to have a great crop of seriously talented young golfers, including Thai national team players and US collegiate golfers. One of our golfers has only just turned 18 and is already inside the top 500 of the world rankings.
What is your coaching philosophy?
Keep It Simple Stupid. There are of course times where you need to delve into more detail, but KISS is a general rule of thumb. I enjoy many of the old school, no-nonsense teachers like John Jacobs and Butch Harmon. There is a lot of wisdom in their teachings, and I use many of their ideas. Bob Rotella is another big influence for me when preparing elite players for tournaments.
I always make sure to learn from other PGA Professionals I have worked with. Each sees the game slightly differently, so you can always learn from peers that have had different experiences.
What technology do you use most?
We use Foresight Sports GC Quad and Swing Catalyst video analysis here at the PGA Academy. It can make coaching a lot simpler having the data and measurements for a diagnosis of any issues. However, don’t underestimate how important having a depth of knowledge, a trained eye, good communication skills, and enthusiasm are in coaching day to day.
Have you had any mentors?
Neil Douglas and Russell Maw, both experienced British PGA Professionals in Malaysia, gave me some great early advice about living and working in the region. David Baron and Alan Martin, both PGA Professionals in Cambodia, have been great guys to know, as well as my current general manager here at Chee Chan, Passakorn Roddej, a Thai national from whom I have learned a lot about the country in general.
What do you know now that you wish you had when you started out?
That when golf becomes your career you lose it as your hobby.
Where will you be in five years?
I hope to still be progressing my career in this part of the world, which has become home for me, either coaching, in golf management, or in the wider golf business in Asia.