Guest at biggest show on planet

Sharon Brookes
Sharon Brookes
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BLACKPOOL golf professional Sharon Brookes was this week reflecting happily on her trip to the United States to attend the 2011 PGA Merchandise Show.

She was hand-picked from among a number of professionals nationwide to make the trip as a reward in encouraging people of all ages to take up the game.

And as well as attending the biggest golf show in the world in Orlando, Florida – arriving there in style by limousine – she also attended golf’s version of The Oscars.

It was a memorable, as well as, rewarding experience as she came back with new ideas and techniques to pass on to her many students.

The show took place at the Orange County Convention Centre, and Sharon received VIP treatment from day one.

“I was driven to the show in a limo with tinted windows – that set the tone for the three days I spent in Orlando.

“I was even asked to go on the phone to answer calls on the PGA/USA Today golf tips hot-line.

“It was a lot of fun and the callers seemed pleasantly surprised when they heard an English accent on the end of the line!”

In Florida, Sharon got the chance to mix and mingle in the company of famous golfing names such as Paula Creamer, Annika Sorenstam, David Leadbetter and Butch Harmon, who were at the show to promote golf.

She met up with top female coach Renee Powell and Golf Channel expert Michael Bred to compare notes of the latest coaching techniques.

She attended a number of educational conferences, lectures and forums, as well as meeting the heads of the Executive Women’s Golf Association.

There was even a useful discussion about the benefits of yoga for golfers.

There was a lot to pack in, including taking part in the Play Golf America Forum, in which professionals from right across the United States got together to share ideas and put forward suggestions to grow the game.

Sharon said: “It was a privilege to be invited to take part.

“I enjoyed exchanging ideas and experiences with them and I was made to feel I had made a positive contribution on the development of golf.

“The show was so big there were 10 miles of floor to negotiate!

“You could ask if three days was long enough to take it all in – it was difficult, but you can do a lot if you are prepared to talk and walk until you drop!”

“I got the chance for hands on testing of the newest equipment, latest technology and design from all the leading manufacturers.”

Sharon added: “I owe a huge thank-you to a host of people who made the trip possible and enjoyable.

“Firstly to the PGA of Great Britain and Ireland, the chief executive officer Sandy Jones and the media team for choosing me.

“And once in Orlando, numerous members of the PGA of America who went out of their way to make me feel welcome as an expert in the game of golf.

“I met some great people, got some great ideas, made new friends and was treated with the utmost respect.

“What more could a PGA professional from the UK ask for?”